Linux

10 reasons why Linux isn't triumphing over Windows

In a recent article, Jack Wallen built a case for the ascendancy of Linux over Windows. Now Kris Littlejohn steps up to argue the converse: From cost to software availability to ease of use, he suggests that Vista notwithstanding, Windows is the superior OS.

In a recent article, Jack Wallen built a case for the ascendancy of Linux over Windows. Now Kris Littlejohn steps up to argue the converse: From cost to software availability to ease of use, he suggests that Vista notwithstanding, Windows is the superior OS.


In the last few years, there has been a surge of renewed interest in using Linux, in both the server and desktop spaces. Several factors are contributing to this surge, all happening at once. First, there is the trend from powerful desktops to smaller, but less powerful, notebooks -- and now, netbooks. In addition, more user (and media) friendly Linux distributions, such as Ubuntu, have hit the scene. Finally, here comes the OS everybody loves to hate: Windows Vista -- significantly more resource hungry than XP and perhaps released a little too soon. The confluence of these factors has led many users to give Linux a shot.

Largely, however, Linux has still been found wanting. Whether because of some inherent weakness of Linux, a preconceived advantage that doesn't pan out, or the fact that users simply miss their familiar Windows functions, there are a number of reasons why Linux isn't triumphing over Windows. I'm going to look at 10 of these reasons, some that apply primarily to servers, some to desktops, and some to both.


The flip side

Check out Jack Wallen's article "10 reasons why Linux will triumph over Windows," along with the related discussion.


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

Servers

1: Cost comparisons are often misleading

Let's get what may be the most controversial point out of the way early. First, in the server space especially, we should try to compare apples to apples. This means comparing Windows Server to paid Linux. By far the most dominant flavor is Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), with about a two-thirds share of the paid enterprise Linux market, so this seems the most logical comparison. While there are plenty of free options out there, such as CentOS, for a business running mission-critical workloads, an unsupported operating system is a hard pill to swallow.

There are a couple of ways we can look at cost, neither of which is nearly as flattering to Linux as one might expect. First, we can look at the costs directly related to the acquisition of the platform. RHEL is a subscription-based license, meaning that rather than pay for the software itself, you pay for support. This doesn't mean just phone tech support or troubleshooting (although that is included too, whether you want it or not) but also includes standard patches and bug fixes. Standard support for RHEL 5 Advanced Platform is $1,499 per year per server, or $4,047 for three years. Compare this with $3,999 for Windows Server 2008 Enterprise edition with free patching and bug fixes, and you can basically call it a wash unless you use a ton of phone support. And there are also features that aren't included and must be purchased separately, such as Red Hat Directory Server -- thousands more per year.

The other way of looking at cost is total cost of ownership (TCO) of the platform, and this leads into our next issue.

2: Expert talent is more readily available

When looking at TCO, we're not just looking at the software costs but also at staffing and administration costs, costs due to downtime, hardware costs, etc. Of these, staffing is the largest, accounting for more than half of the TCO. Here, Windows wins out because IT pros experienced with Windows are much more plentiful and generally cheaper to hire than Linux experts and because they can often be more productive.

With Linux, efficient management over many machines usually means going to the command line and pounding out a script to automate a process -- which is cool. However, with Windows Server 2008, PowerShell is now built in, which means the Windows guys can do that too, arguably better. Add that to the System Center family of tools, where virtually all management tasks are available at the click of a button (and which really have no peer on the Linux side), and Windows is simply easier to manage.

3: Linux isn't actually trying to compete head-to-head

The last reason Linux isn't triumphing over Windows in the server space is that it's not really the primary focus. Right now, both Linux and Windows are gaining in server market share. How is that possible? Old granddaddy UNIX is being thrown under the bus to make it happen. Today, companies are dumping their old mainframe or proprietary UNIX servers for cheaper x86-based commodity hardware. It's easy for a Linux sales guy to come in and make the value proposition: "It's essentially the UNIX you know and love, but it runs on hardware a fraction of the cost."

Unfortunately, the market for UNIX conversions and mainframe modernization is drying up. When those deals are gone, Linux will have to compete head-to-head with Windows to continue its growth, and this is a much harder proposition to make. Why should an organization already using Windows change platforms and have to build whole new skill sets around Linux?

Desktop

4: Windows offers familiarity and ease of use

Let's face it: Whatever else you might say about Windows, it is easier to use. We love our Start menu and our Task Manager and our system tray. Some of us are even starting to love our Vista Sidebar and gadgets. Young adults today never had to use MS-DOS, even if they started using computers at an early age, so they aren't going to be comfortable at a Linux command line.

Don't get me wrong -- Linux has come a long way. But remember how far back it has had to come from -- where just managing to install the operating system for a non-expert (and sometimes experts too) was considered a major triumph. There are still too many things in the Linux world that are expected to be done manually, like program installation. A majority of users will say, "I might have to compile something myself? No thanks."

5: More software is available

Here's another one that's a pretty clear edge for Windows. It isn't about being able to play the newest games, even if that is one of the most often raised issues against using Linux. Simply because Windows is the dominant operating system, there is much more (and usually higher quality) software available for it than for Linux. Much of it comes from evil Microsoft itself.

A good example goes straight to one of open source's greatest recent successes: OpenOffice. OpenOffice is great software... considering it's free. I use it when I'm in a pinch on somebody else's computer. It's almost certainly adequate for a light user or a student typing up a couple of essays. As a writer, however, I can't imagine being stuck without Microsoft Office for long. When it comes to features like SmartArt, quick table generation, editing and review functions, and inserting basically any kind of object into a document, there is no comparison. When you go beyond the word processor to the presentation software or spreadsheets, the gap grows even wider.

Now of course much of our favorite Windows software can be run using an emulator such as Wine, or on a virtual machine running Windows -- but if we find ourselves doing that all the time, why use Linux in the first place?

6: Windows Vista is just a bump in the road

This had to come somewhere. Vista has become the proverbial red-headed stepchild of the operating system world -- everybody loves to beat on it, and not completely without reason. Vista hogs resources like no OS before, and initially, at least, there were plenty of issues with both software and hardware compatibility. Without going too far in singing the virtues of Windows 7, however, I think it is reasonable to say that there is no reason to expect Vista's shortcomings to be repeated in the next generation.

Windows Vista was like the growing pains experienced by a teenager when he starts to, well, grow. Too many things were happening at once, and there was bound to be some pain involved. We combined security changes such as UAC and how applications were handled fundamentally by the operating system with lots of nifty but resource-intensive gadgets at a time when so many users were switching away from their powerful desktops, and we got a sluggish OS where things don't always work quite right.

However, Windows 7 is faster. Software vendors and Microsoft have had time to update their code, so now applications are compatible. Before much longer, Vista will be behind us.

7: Hardware continues to advance

Now, while Windows 7 is significantly faster than Vista, I won't try to claim that it will be as friendly to the lowest end hardware as Linux. Fortunately, time marches on -- and hardware improves. We can now get a quad-core processor and 8 gigs of RAM in our laptops. Intel has a dual-core Atom processor out, and even if it is made for nettops rather than netbooks, it's a safe bet that a dual-core Atom with netbook-friendly power consumption levels is right around the corner. In any case, as hardware continues to advance, that aspect of the Linux argument will become more and more irrelevant.

Also, while we're on the topic of netbooks, let's not forget that while these may seemingly be the perfect candidate for conversion from Windows to Linux, according to a Laptop Magazine interview of MSI's director of U.S. sales, Andy Tung, the return rate of netbooks running Linux is much greater than the rate of those running Windows.

"They start playing around with Linux and start realizing that it's not what they are used to. They don't want to spend time to learn it so they bring it back to the store. The return rate is at least four times higher for Linux netbooks than Windows XP netbooks"

Both servers and desktops

8: Claims about open source don't stand up to scrutiny

Much of the hype about Linux is really more about open source development in general. The buzzwords all sound good: Open source is about sharing. Collaboration. Proliferation of knowledge. For certain, there is nothing wrong with the open source model, and its use surely helps advance new ideas in software development. As a business model and a model for end-user products, though, it's less reasonable. Here, it causes a lack of standardization. Egos among the different developers collide, and the final product suffers. Let's not forget the old adage "Too many cooks spoil the broth."

Another claim is that Linux and open source software are more secure than Windows and Microsoft software. This is largely based on problems with legacy versions of Windows. Back in the NT and Windows 2000 days, there were valid points to be made, but this is far less true today. The last several years have seen a massive emphasis on security across the industry. And now, with Windows Server 2008, Windows Vista, and the whole Forefront line of products, Microsoft is running a pretty tight ship -- enough so that major competitors such as Red Hat are not really bringing up the security argument against Windows anymore.

9: Linux is still too bleeding edge

Since a Linux advocate will be quick to bring up the problems associated with Vista's perhaps premature release, it seems only fair to bring up similar issues with Linux. Though not as high profile as the problems with Vista, the inclusion of KDE 4 with Fedora 9 was perhaps just as much of a flop.

This is no big deal as an isolated incident. But the problem is that it was merely a symptom of a larger issue in the Linux world: Much more emphasis is placed on technological innovation than usability, and often a technology will be dropped or juggled with something new at a moment's notice. Look at Red Hat's hypervisor history. At the end of 2004, Red Hat announced support for Xen -- first with Fedora and to be included later in RHEL. Then, fast-forward a year and a half to summer 2006 and it announces that Xen isn't ready and that Novell was irresponsible in including it with SUSE. Less than a year later, in spring of 2007, RHEL 5 was released and Xen was a major feature. And last summer, in 2008, at the Red Hat Summit, it announced the shift from Xen to KVM.

Whether Xen or KVM is better isn't the issue. The issue is that an emphasis on the newest but perhaps untested technology leads to rapid and inconsistent changes in direction that leave users scrambling to keep up.

10: The Linux culture isn't always responsive to the common user

This all brings us to the last reason Linux isn't triumphing over Windows: the Linux community and the users and advocates themselves. Linux is a geek's OS. I don't mean geek in a derogatory way and certainly include myself in the term: a very technically skilled user who derives pleasure from the technology itself.

The problem is that geeks are not the majority. We don't drive the market, the Average Joes of the world do, and Linux geeks in particular don't seem to be receptive to that. In an already unfamiliar and more difficult environment, when people using Linux for the first time encounter a problem and turn to the community for help, too often they're met with ridicule. They don't want to hear, "All you had to do was recompile the kernel."

Of course, this is not the case for all users, and there are plenty of dedicated individuals providing free support in the forums around the world. But until Linux users as an entire community can accept that all users are not programmers or even power users, there is no chance that their operating system of choice will come out on top.


It's in your court...

Okay, you've heard from Jack, you've heard from Kris -- so what do you think? Do you see valid points on both sides of the debate? Have any issues been overlooked? Share your opinions and OS experiences in the discussion below.

About

Kris Littlejohn grew up in a household of tech writers and has been playing with, building/disassembling, and writing about computers and other gadgets from an early age, including a number of articles for TechRepublic.

105 comments
russinkovsky
russinkovsky

Hi, I was a Linux fan when I was studying in University. To setup a cron job on machine that has only vi editor - it was so cool! It was some kind of romantics. Now I have married and and I become a little bit older... And I can't spend night any more finding why this rpm does not want to install. I want something more predictable.

gak
gak

If a person is interested in any form of software, this person already knows Linux (and Ruby, Python, Java, C#), guaranteed. So, this point should be rephrased as "cheap modest quality Windows people easily available". In other words, if you need the best Windows and Linux are the same, but it may be easier to keep people motivated with Linux. If you want cheap and interchangeable, that is, no new ideas and such, Windows is better.

RipVan
RipVan

...and I need that extra time. All of the people using the "more familiar" system don't know anything about it. They end up with malware, viruses and a slow, clogged system. They can feed Microsoft all they want. I start out making them use Firefox. For many people, that helps keep my visits down to a minimum. If they still cause themselves problems, I tell them to switch to Linux or I won't help them anymore. At that point, I only have to show them how to update the system or how to search for and install software.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Easy search field, easy descriptions, manager deals with what dependencies also need to be installed. Granted, if your only experience was Red Hat's "rpm" command years ago then I can see where you get the idea of grief from.

mass1
mass1

I can relate to this. The "hands on" approach to linux is fun at first, but after a while it just isn't that practical. The incompatibility with things is what did it for me. - Lauren How To French Kiss

I_like_to_kick_it
I_like_to_kick_it

Yep this is the forum that got me and do you know whay cos I like linux I think its pretty and shiny one day I hope I have a computer to place shuch a shiny operating system on. -YEY-

zlgtr
zlgtr

Ballmer last week: "...we're very focused in on both Apple as a competitor, and Linux as a competitor. I think the dynamic with Linux is changing somewhat. I assume we're going to see Android-based, Linux-based laptops, in addition to phones. We'll see Google more as a competitor in the desktop operating system business than we ever have before. The seams between what's a phone operating system and a PC operating system will change, and so we have ramped the investment in the client operating system." "From a revenue perspective, unfortunately the healthiest part of the market is the netbook, where we get the lowest revenue." "Linux is the big competitor. Linux still dominates Web and scientific computing workloads."

Jeneral22
Jeneral22

I am a tech lover but by no means a computer expert. I consider myself an advanced user. I installed a dual boot Ubuntu / XP on my home PC and have defaulted to Ubuntu as my primary but what a pain in the backside to get it running on my Nvidia and ATI cards. It was doable and I got it working but there wouldn't be any possible way this would happen with my parents. When hardware vendors can ship a CD with Linux and Windows and Mac drivers we will see a better balance emerge. Palmetto, is it possible the Linux Distros are putting out "new" OS's too often? Ubuntu has changes every 6 months compared to Windows 6+ years or 3+ in Vista's case. As you mentioned each distribution could put out a new OS that the end user would have to learn how to use each time. I know you don't have to upgrade each time but, seeing the UPGRADE AVAILABLE button gets me all excited! So, I do it only to find after a night of downloading my ATI drivers have gone away and X is running is low graphics mode or just plain black. I have no problem with Windows I just love the fact that we are able to finally have some serious discussion and competition in the OS marketplace which is driving change and enhancements that are tuned to world wide users and not based on one companies good ideas only.

Doug Vitale
Doug Vitale

"I was a Linux fan when I was studying in University. To setup a cron job on machine that has only vi editor - it was so cool! It was some kind of romantics." Wow. Did you go to Pacific Tech and have a roommate named Lazlo Hollyfeld, by any chance?

w2ktechman
w2ktechman

there are several good package managers out there

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Many of us don't write programs or develop web pages or create databases often or at all, regardless of the OS we use. Speaking form under my part-time system administrator hat, scripts, yes; macros, occasionally; programs, not for over a decade (COBOL, FORTRAN). I've got too many other new things on my plate (some of them from MS, despite your opinion that they have nothing new) to waste time keeping up skills I no longer require nor am interested in.

pworlton
pworlton

>> If a person is interested in any form of software, this person already knows Linux (and Ruby, Python, Java, C#), guaranteed. Talented people CAN focus on one specific technology without ever touching some other technology that you obviously have a bias towards. I supported Windows environments for 10 years before I ever touched Linux. I would argue that my narrow focus made me better at supporting Windows than the generalist that you seem to favor. As for Ruby, Python, Java, and C#, not everyone who touches a computer is a programmer. Even full-time developers may not feel the need to learn every programming language, nor do they necessarily need to. It all depends on the employer's focus.

russinkovsky
russinkovsky

Hi guys, actually I know several graphic package managers - I use YAST because I use OpenSUSE11.1 Do you really think that these managers solve all problems ? - It is not so.

chris
chris

For me the difference is peace of mind. every time I do something with my windows machine, there is always that nagging malware/spyware/virus thing looming out there. my kids and wife get malware and virus scanners going just hoping we're doing enough. not once has my linux box had a problem.

cubeslave
cubeslave

So far, I am interested in Linux as a way to get use out of some older hardware I have. Preferrably someting I can setup and not mess with. From what I have been reading, a lot of the different "versions" of a given distro seem to be little more than bug fixes and addressing compatibility and security issues. My box at home running Vista auto downloads and installs the same kind of stuff all of the time. My other box running XP updates a lot less frequently, by comparison, but it still does the same thing. Using the same yardstick the Linux makers seem to use, I wonder what "versions" of Xp and Vista I am currently running. Oh, and did I mention that when I came home last night after the latest automatic update, my Internet connection didn't work any more?

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

With ubuntu, your not really choosing the highest quality distribution but you do get the advantage of popularity in the help forums. For me, desktops are Mandriva. It has great hardware support making nvidia and ati painless setups. urpmi does what "rpm" should have in the first place and rmpdrake (gui tool) is fantastic. PCLinuxOS is the other distro often mentioned for hardware support and easy of use. As for new releases too often; Mandriva does two a year, 2009.0 is the initial years release and 2009.1 will be coming along soon as a more solid release. Near the end of 2009, 2010.0 will probably turn up leading to 2010.1 soon after. Mandriva tries to be a bleeding edge distro though so it's rare to not have updates listed after a "urmpi --auto-update". The up side is that you know development is still going on. When you stop seeing updates; the developers may have lost interest and moved on. Also, you don't need to update to the latest release distro if you are still getting updates. I have 2007.1 and 2008.1 systems running strong and since they are still getting updates; no reason yet to upgrade to a newer release. On the other hand, Debian just released a new stable distro version. The previous one, now "oldstable", was about two and a half years before the new stable version. The distro focuses on stability and security so Stable will normally only see security issues and general bugs patched. For more bleeding edge, one can use the testing distro. It will include newer software versions and additions but may not have the same stability as Stable; fine for desktops but stick to Stable for servers. The other thing to consider is that not all distro versions are a completely different version. Win2000, winXP, those are very different animals. The version must clearly differentiate itself from previous versions for marketing purposes. To stick with my two examples, Mandriva will have larger differences between major versions 2008 was kde3, 2009 uses kde4 (another reason I stick to 2008.1). The upgrade from one to the other is pretty painless for an install process if you want to go that rout though. Debian is also designed to easily upgrade from one major version to the next. The ideal is a rolling distro which, though going through major version numbers, is a constant evolution of the platform; imagine win98 becoming winXPsp3 simply by visiting Windows Update. Ubuntu is a good introduction, did very good things with the liveCD method and provides some benefits through popularity, but it's not the best distribution available nor the alpha example of a distribution based on the Linux kernel. The real downfall remains that people think "Linux" means anything that happens to use that OS kernel. The different distributions that happen to use the Linux kernel are different platforms with different goals; they are simply built from the same commodity lego pieces. That availability of choice shouldn't be allowed to intimidate anyone; it simply means you have to test drive more than one mountain bike before you leave the store with it.

linux for me
linux for me

I am currently running Fedora 10 on both my systems, a tower and a laptop. Answer a few networking questions such a dhcp or static IP, computer name, timezone and away it goes. The system reboots and I am online and running. Installing a Windows system should be so easy. Pugged in my HP photosmart and the printer is detected and ready to go. In Windows, you have to load drivers and software. Plugged in my digital camera and I am asked where I want to store my pictures. In Windows, grab the CD and install more software and drivers. No, linux today is much easier and simpler than Windows. I will continue to install linux on my clients systems, and the Windows to linux conversions continue to grow. I have never had a linux system crash, but the Vista OS which came with the laptop bluescreened constantly. You like Windows? Fine, but I would rather get my work done and be secure than use a badly designed OS such as Windows.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"Palmetto, is it possible the Linux Distros are putting out "new" OS's too often?" Beats me, I'm not the Linux expert. Different distros have new releases on different schedules. Some, as you noted, are on a regular semi-annual routine; others may go a year or two (or more). However, the learning curve shouldn't be as steep with a new Windows release. A new release may not contain a new desktop, so you may not see any immediate difference. And you're going to have more success replacing a new Linux desktop GUI with an older one than you will trying to get Windows Vista to look like 2000. Remember, just because you see a "Upgrade Available" button doesn't mean you have to click it, regardless of your operating system or application. Instead, wait a couple of weeks and then Google to see what others have to say. Let them do the graphic and wireless debugging. Use Ford Prefect's 'SEP' approach - let it be 'Somebody Else's Problem'!

russinkovsky
russinkovsky

...we were measuring online transactions processing speed: Oracle - 280 tr/s DB2 - 450 tr/s MySQL with InnoDB engine - 600 tr/s PosgreSQL - 1100 tr/s MS SQL - 1500 tr/s .. when he's said to me - You know what? Free soft will NEVER reach performance of commercial software !

Timbo Zimbabwe
Timbo Zimbabwe

"there are several good package managers out there" And dozens of different distros. That is the problem. If you think that people complain about 6 different versions of Vista, what do you think they say about the number of Linux distros? The Linux community would do itself a world of favor if it would find 2, 3 or 4 distros to stick with and develope....

russinkovsky
russinkovsky

... what if given Linux distributive has no package required? As a live example - I want python library cx_Oracle (this is a data connector for Oracle RDBM) in OpenSUSE 11.1 ?

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

What can I say, programming was a class in school that I could sleep through and still run circles around the teachers. The moment I found the include= tag for ColdFusion, my websites become a lot more like programming code; header "function", footer "function", menu "function" and seporate body content pages bound through includes and a back end SQL server (ah, the days before every website seemed to be run out of a database back end). Includes in PHP fantastic for all the same reasons. My Hello World was a search page that returned product specific documentation after sanatizing input and all that good stuff. After ten minutes of flipping through my trusty PHP reference it all just made sense and I got to the building what I needed. Perl is tempting for doing more complex things than Grep or Sed piped outputs. Ruby, well, that opens up MSF and Scapy. The latter of the two being the real motivation for me.

chris
chris

i started because I wanted "includes" i take my sites and cut them to pieces and include anything that is common (header, main menu, sidebars, footers, sitemaps, etc) but, these days, I use it way more to do other things (random photos, random testimonial display, config infortion (address, email, company name that i use when displaying it on the site) and on and on). fast and flexible. just be sure to put things in functions and includes to you aren't spaghetti coding :-)

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I'm no developer any longer but when I finally had reason to do some small coding in PHP for a site, it was a great "hello world"; best thing for my needs since ColdFusion years ago. I've not yet had the chance to dig into the other languages enough to have an opinion. Ruby is probably the most interesting as it applies to Mestasploit and a number of other related tools so that would probably be my next one.

chris
chris

by the way :-P haha

chris
chris

if it plugs in, it's I.T.'s responsibility? hahahaha I know, I'm a web programmer and people ask me about printers all the time. I don't know! Who needs a printer when it's on the web :-P

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

You think OS choice is political.. every developer has there preferred languages. Just ask a Ruby guy why they prefer that over Python and watch all the Python folk jump in.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

No one tools solves all problems but package managers are significantly above and beyond setup.exe/setup.msi. You open the graphic manager and search for what you need by name or description or you browse the library list. It's as hard as finding a song in your iTunes music library.

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

but simplify the process for the user that just wants internet, email, and word processing types of tasks. A general user in other words. Many people never feel the need to venture out and try unsupported packages, or compile a specific version/program from source. Solve all problems? NO. But for many users it's 1,000,000% better then installing from the command line only.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

What's the older hardware, a few here could probably recommend good distributions. It's one of my personal adjustments; full version number displays across the bottom right of the background. The irony was that the major version displayed was "2600" for a long time. I usual do it through the TweakUI utility but it's just a registry edit to enable it. Check your favorite search engine for details if of interest. In general, constant version updates are a good thing. It indicates that development of the software continues. security updates specifically mean that something has been fixed to make the software safer for the user. When I stop seeing regular updates for a program, I go and see if development has moved to a new major version (eg. win2k to winXP) or if a new program has become the standard. In the past, when I've stopped seeing updates for Mandriva, it's been a clear indication to upgrade to the newer version. I'm still seeing updates for Mandriva 2007.1, 2008.1 and 2009.0 so any of those are still alive and well. 2009.1 will be out in April and 2010.0 will likely turn up around the end of this year leading towards 2010.1.. and around it goes. In the case of my network router at home; the vendor stopped providing firmware updates so it was time to look at thirdparty firmware and now DD-WRT goes on all my routers. I'm actually waiting for the alternative firmware for the Linksys NAS200 to mature a little more so it can do for my network storage what ddWRT does for my routers. The problem is when updates are blindly counted as bad things while ignoring what the actual update does. This is the notorious "bug count" proof that comes up so often; FOSS applications, being open with the public by nature, generally have higher bug reports so you see things like "but Firefox had ### bugs last year while IE only reported ## so IE is better". This ignores the time it took between discovery and patch release. It ignores the severity of the patch (just a stability bug or something exploitable)? It also ignores the undisclosed bugs that a company may know about but keep quiet on for PR reasons (Apple's "bulletproof" osX exploitable network stack bug from a few years back "it's not a bug.. oh wait.. here's a patch"). Or worse still, the choice not to fix to save a few budget dollars unless the bug becomes publicly embarrassing enough to focus on (Microsoft's recent IE patches released outside of the regular Patch Tuesday schedule due to public embarrassment). In the end, updates are far more important than the PR appearance of invulnerable software. The trick is too install them manually after seeing that they don't cause problems for earlier updaters. With my Mandriva and Debian boxes, it's a quick command in under a second by habit each day to see what's new since yesterday. With my Windows boxes, it's a visit to the update site and [custom] button once a month; others choose to autodownload Windows updates though I'd recommend the "but let me choose when to install them" option. Now, I gotta go see if Adobe's announced update is waiting for me to download. (sidenote for the up and coming OS geeks): It's probably also worth mentioning that Windows can be seen in distributions the same way Linux based OS are. Vista, Windows7.. same kernel but different userland wrapped around it so different distributions. WindowsNT, WindowsXP.. same kernel but different userland wrapped around it also. Debian, Ubuntu, Mandriva.. same kernel (or kernel brand at least) with different assemblies of userland wrapped around it. Discussing Windows actually becomes much more productive and interesting when one makes the distinction between Windows kernel and the rest of the software wrapped around it. And, the twist, OpenBSD, FreeBSD, NetBSD.. different kernels with the same or very similar userland wrapped around them. The BSD's are sort of the reverse too the other major distributions or "OS" as commonly though not so accurately called.

waers1t
waers1t

There is one market that only linux covers, and that's in IP-PBX's. Yes there are versions of windows based IP-PBX's, but they tend to be incredibly expensive, incredibly power and ram hungry (noptice a trend here!!) and almost impossible to updare versions of. Linux has customised distro's soley for the use as IP-PBX's and that's why i LOVE linux as pereferance to windows. My system runs much nicer, better and much mroe stable then any version of windows i've tried. Linux isn;t for geeks at all, that's just lazy emerican fat headed retards talking who can't be a@@ed to get up, learn something new for the possability they havn't got the brains to learn something brand spanking new. I say if you ditch open source, your ditching free speech and free rights. Mr gates has made billions from microsoft. He's worth $50 BILLION for chrisake!! Obviosuly he's overcharging for his software.

gak
gak

What was it? Was it necessary to patch the kernel and dirty hackers flooded the Net with fake patches? Was there a Ubuntu patch that rendered the card nonoperational but couldn't be removed since Ubuntu depended on it? Was it a bug in configuration scripts? Was it a bad version of some software selected by Ubuntu? I do not have to do notebooks and wireless yet so I do not know what to imagine. As for phone reflashing and the like, I hope this will be solved instantly when the REPORTED Linux share reaches 5-10%.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Don't take Ubuntu as representative of all other distributions. Mandriva 2007 through 2008.1 ran perfectly on my T40. I'm currently using Mandriva 2008.1 and Backtrack distributions without either requiring special treatment to enable the wireless.

spawnywhippet
spawnywhippet

It took the combined might of 6 full weeks of my time (IT solution architect for 10 yrs) and a huge amount of help from the Ubuntu Forums to get my Broadcom wireless card working in my ThinkPad T40 with Ubuntu - one of the most widely sold laptops and wifi cards on the planet. Under XP, I did not even need to load a driver, XP found it and installed automatically. I was recompiling, reinstalling, endless command lines, reboots, changing aliases etc etc. A non-computer literate person would never go it working at all. And all too often, I need to go back to Windows because I need to run an application for which there is no Linux alternative, eg reflashing my mobile phone, connecting to the ECU in my car.

Betelgeuse58
Betelgeuse58

I totally appreciate you taking the time to help me out. Just a little while ago (but before I got here), I attempted to go ahead and do a "non-destructive" PCLOS re-install. It did NOT destroy my files, but it did not fix [b]all[/b] of the problems, either. So, I'm going to just [i]'play'[/i] around with a for a day or two more and if I can't get it tweaked the way it needs to be, then I'm going to nuke the hard drive, do a clean install and start all over again. :| At least I have my files copied off of there now. :D YUP, it IS definitely a [b]LEARNING[/b] experience! ...NOT all a bad thing, I guess. ]:) So let's just call [b][u]this[/u][/b] "Solved". ;)

Betelgeuse58
Betelgeuse58

I [i]did[/i] finally get my files off there. I uploaded them to my ISP e-mail and mailed to my Y! e-mail. Now all I need to know is "How do I simply re-install the Root partition while leaving the User partition intact?" Is this in fact possible? How do I do that? ?:|

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I shouldn't be surprised but it's still a little novel when my own comments turn up during a search. Encase other's run into it looking for PSAD/rsyslogd solutions; PSAD can read iptables data from /var/log/messages rather than pipped syslog. That seems to be the way to go. Now, if only the Deb Bastille package maintainers would hurry up and fix the missing DB5.0 and PSAD setup scripting. ah well, one of the FOSS benefits; I can go do it by hand myself rather than being limited to when a third party staffer gets around too it. :D

The Scummy One
The Scummy One

Funny, I had the same thing happen to me, and I didnt know what I did (however, I was playing with settings and installing updates and cr@p). Anyway, it sounds like a re-install, as that is what I had done. Since you dont have a cd burner, you can copy data to flash drives, or use the live cd to boot from and copy things off to a network share or external hard drive. I am copying the email text here in case someone else has a better suggestion. "Sorry to have to contact you this way but you seem to know what I need to know. I humbly ask your forgiveness and help. Thank you in advance for both. Here's the story behind what I did THIS time to skroo up my system. It is PCLinuxOS 2007 KDE 3.5.9. and it lost its window decorations. As I eluded to before, I made the colossal mistake up going into Synaptic and checking updates to the screen saver apps already showing installed but having those updates to add. During installation of the updates I got an Error message that stated over and over again that it could not connect with the Debian and internode mirrors. After that is when it lost lost most of the window decorations. E.G.: Window Boarders, the _ , minimize/maximize box and the red X up at the right hand upper corner of the window, etc. This occurs in ALL windows no matter where one navigates or what mode one is in and, as I stated before, in both the Root and User accounts. Also, a couple of games come up in a minimized window that is totally unmovable. The clock, clipboard and volume icons are missing from the task-bar as well. I also lost some of the screen savers...one of which is the clock one that I like to use. Maybe it has to do with KDE? I don't know. I *can* still navigate by using the words at the top of the windows. Thank heavens they are still there! The last time this sort of thing happened, the guys at my local LUG couldn't do anything with it and I had to do a clean re-install losing the data I had accumulated up to that point in my user account. Thank goodness that time I had nothing really all that important there. I'd rather not go that route again if I can help it in any way. I now have files in the User Account that I simply can not afford to lose if I can keep them in any way possible. As I said somewhere in the thread, the CD/DVD ROM is not a writer and PCLOS won't recognize the floppy. I posted a question in Yahoo Answers giving these details and got one answer back. This: >"If you installed it right the first time - Linux itself in its own partition - just reinstall that partition. If not, now's the time to learn how to install Linux properly, so if you have to reinstall again you don't lose anything but Linux itself.""The installation was done properly with help from the guys at my LUG, so Linux is in its own partition like it's supposed to be. ***$60,000 question: How do I re-install the Linux-only partition?" Now, it is quite a distance for me to go to get to my LUG. I no longer have transportation that is reliable enough for me to be able to trust it that far. This is why I'm try to find out in places like Yahoo! Answers and here in TR how to re-install the Linux-only partition since I got that answer from both the person in Y! A and chris here in TR just above where you answered me in the thread starting here: http://techrepublic.com.com/5208-13583-0.html?forumID=102&threadID=303280&messageID=3032533 Again, Thank You so very much for any help you may be able to give me. Sincerely, betelgeuse58 "

C
C

Sorry about this, but I can't properly sub-thread the discussion :-) Anyway, I'll respond to each of you individually: cbellur: Yes, I am sure the only time my system reboots is when I do it. The system screen saver is different from my personal screen saver so I know when I've been logged out. Neon Samurai: Being a developer, I can only comment about my experiences and can't say much about my employers DCs and other systems. I regularly upgrade existing software and install new software and I still seem to maintain a stable system. Granted, I'm not stress-testing the machine; but, that's not my job. I also have much sympathy for the poor (unsophisticated ) soul who inadvertently downloads buggy/malicious software and gets in trouble. For them, my rates are very reasonable :-) Chris: Which version of Windows are you using? Win 2K is way out of date! :-) Thank you all for your comments. It is always edifying.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I finally popped the first of the DeICE disks. Now it's time to reboot the liveCD and see how clean I can do it. The quieter you are, the more you are able to hear. Ironically, the biggest hangup during my first go was a basic user command not one of the security utils doing the heavy lifting.

The Scummy One
The Scummy One

and break :0 At least you dont have to re-activate for a re-install :D If you cannot create a new user, it may be time for a do-over :0

Betelgeuse58
Betelgeuse58

This machine is set up with only two accounts: Root and my user account. I run in my own account. I do not run as Root unless I'm prompted to in order to achieve a certain goal, i.e. getting into Synaptic. As soon as I'm finished accomplishing whatever task I'm prompted to log into Root as I close Root. Basically, the same types of problems occur in both the Root and in my own account. So, I'm still stuck. EDIT: →insert frustrated/disgusted emoticon here← ...NOT at you, Scummy. At myself for messing in Synaptic to begin with. :^0

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

That was the real clincher when choosing a hardware platform. Dell.. nope.. IBM.. nope.. HP.. supported as a matter of publicly announced company policy. I like that they release the Lenny tools as an ISO containing native packages. Much cleaner too if you only need the health monitoring bit. We can only hope the desktop market can one day be so well supported and provided choice of software platform. The Server market is wide open to one's individual needs.

The Scummy One
The Scummy One

logging back in as root. If you are already logged in as root, try a different user account. If you are logged in as root, this may be why there is a problem. You should not need to log in as root except for a few tasks. If you primarily use the root account then problems that arise may need a rebuild instead of just switching users. And yes, I have made this mistake (even knowing better too).

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

with Deb 5 has to be an error of intention or lazyness. Its not like Debian is obscure of developing to fast to keep up with... Actually, the slow, resistant to change development cycle may be part of the problem. Does IBM support Debian as well on their laptops and desktops?

Betelgeuse58
Betelgeuse58

I followed Scummys instructions to the letter and 'Configure your computer' will [i]not[/i] even open at all. :_| Next? ?:|

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Heck, if I can get it to support my wifi, I'm fine with having to do a quick config edit when switching between networks; I don't connect to enough regularily to make it an issue. For me right now, it's the decision to exclude the bnx*.fw from the netinstall image. HP supports multiple platforms including multiple distributions of which Debian is near the top of the list. DL360s are not a rare server. What drug effected decision justified dropping the network card firmware from the netinst when it has a long list of other network cards right there? Etch.. pop the disk in and you've got a server. I'd also like to see Bastille fixed finally. DB5.0 is not recognized and the issue goes all the way back into the younger branches. Could it also be fixed to properly support rsyslog for PSAD rather than the no-longer-standard syslogd in Lenny? The first issue is fixed easily by providing the bnx*.deb or .fw on floppy/flashdrive or a floppy.flp image containing the file. Three servers now Lenny from clean installs for production use with no issues once I read that the bnx was excluded and how to provide it during the install. The second issue is partially fixed by editing the two files containing "DB4.0" by adding DB5.0 in like format. I'm working on PSAD currently to see if I just drop the syslogd config line into the rsyslog.conf. Bastille is not the final step in hardening so manual adjustments are not an issue really.. just a pain since the tool is meant to handle them during config. Seriously though; first distro since Mandriva was still Mandrake which has given me reason to consider it for a host OS. There is no question why Debian is loved and why, if you don't go BSD, you go Debian for your server unless it's an SLA with the big brand names.

The Scummy One
The Scummy One

Go to the PC button (lower left side). select System -- Configuration -- Configure Your Computer Enter root password On the Left panel, go to System double click on add/remove/or change users go to Options (menu) -- Add User

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

wireless networking to the extent" I would leave my wife and move to a state where it was legal to marry a computer. Actually, it would be impressive. Unfortunately, Debian's focus is really more of "as stable as possible," which is way new releases are so slow. This makes it perfect for servers, as well as the relative flexibility of the installer (gui or not, LVM or not, encrypted HD or not etc). And its this that makes it less popular on end-user desktops =\ (I actually love it plain, vanilla gnome look. And it simple to change for people that want more.) Debian would have to change their focus and development model to be a Desktop option for the masses. Which is weird, since its soooo superior to Ubuntu.

Betelgeuse58
Betelgeuse58

to do those things. techman, how do I do that? ?:| Chris, how would I go about that while leaving my files [u]alone[/u]? ?:| I've had another tell me the same as what you said but I [b]need to know how[/b]. :8} :( EDIT: Any of you PCLOS Gurus have my permission to e-mail me through my profile here with info you think may be of use to me. Thank you in advance. :)

chris
chris

this guy is hardcore. more power to you.

chris
chris

when I plug in my device while WMP is running it tries to jump me into a syncing process that I don't know if I should do or not. just because you aren't as familiar with it, don't cry foul.

chris
chris

yeah, this whole thing is funny really. to me, I am about doing what works for me. I don't like spending lots of money and that is why I started using linux. office is what $300! then you go every other little app that is between $20-200. don't even try to be legal with SQL Server or Photoshop. sorry. Linux works for me most of the time. There are a few things that are just easier with windows and my company requires it. so what? they both actaully work and linux "could/can" work if some company wanted to implement it. it can, they do. most people use windows because that's what they know.

chris
chris

simple "just do it" mode and "i like candy" mode.

chris
chris

hahaha don't install anything on it, you'll reboot it then too :-)

chris
chris

Mandriva is better. It just is. just don't use KDE4 OMG!

chris
chris

but I do very occasionally get a full freeze :-)

chris
chris

the best part of linux is all your user settings are separate from the system, so a reinstall of the OS won't be as catastrophic as with windows. just do it, reinstall a few apps and ALL your settings (for those apps too) are there.

chris
chris

my linux (mandriva) is very stable. But, so is my XP. I really see no difference in terms of "crashing" have not tried Vista.

w2ktechman
w2ktechman

try creating a new user. Often it is the user account that goes bad, and a new user account will fix things up nicely.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I'm sticking with my preferred distributions specifically because they fill needs that are not met by the other platforms.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

... want to shell out a few grand for a new laptop if your old laptop can run like a champ and provide all your needed functions? :)

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I don't mean general use or a specific average load task such as browsing and email or the printserver case in this thread though. When making my moneys as an analyst, I'd break Windows a few times a week easily. Sometimes through IE but usually through Excel. Sometimes IE would start hanging when "downloading from website" degrading into complete unresponsiveness. More often, it was Excel reporting "calculating" to update spreadsheet formulas in an infinite loop or print settings would corrupt into a single cell per page and "settings outside printable page area". close all IE and Explorer controllable sessions then reopen my spreadsheet work and life was usually ok. Cold reboot in severe cases. Reboot at the end of each day a must else these issues where guaranteed the next day instead of potential grief in my day. I should mention that I was dealing with workbooks in the several tens of megs and heavily using nested sum(if(if())) type formulas so we're not talking Bob at home reading his Fox "news" from the website. So, its a variable. windows can require reboots upwards of daily or multiple times a day or it can chug along for months. Servers with load heavier than printer sharing have historically been in the weekly range though.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I'm guessing your print server stability is directly related to the correct hardware drivers being in place and that machine being configured initially then left alone to do it's given job. With a Windows box that gets regular wear and tear from pointy-clicky home users who have to check out the latest game, flash video or topless popstar picture that they just found in there email things get messy quickly. In the case of my other platforms, the regular user can't randomly install crap so the whole system doesn't suffer and if they do manage to "break" the computer it's simply a matter of removing and recreating the user account "wow dad, how did you reinstall the computer so quickly" (rmuser johnny, yes delete home directory. adduser johnny. done.) My Windows boxes at home rarely crash once configured and left alone beyond regular application use. When they do crash, I try to identify if it's a hardware issue, hardware driver issue, third party app or something truly in Windows. Also, if it's something that a third party or driver may have superficially caused but could be properly fixed in the OS back end by MS. It's often drivers in terms of BSODS though. My complaints, as a tech, a consumer and end user, are elsewhere with Microsoft.

lcook
lcook

The "plug and play" examples you've illustrated are just as valid in the newer releases of Windows. The only devices that have forced me to install 3rd party software are those of which the device's manufacturer force you to do so(my Sony handycam for example), not Windows. Linux can be a more stable platform once up and running, but I've had more experiences with it not booting AT ALL after install than similar situations with Windows. "Badly designed OS such as Windows" - your point of view, and no one can take that away from you. But really, did that comment achieve anything?

cbellur
cbellur

Are you sure that Windoze box isn't rebooted weekly? I work at a very large corporation, and they run a service that reboots all the Windows machines once a week. Why? Because Windows has memory leaks and all sorts of issues -- it needs to be rebooted once a week.

cbellur
cbellur

I think this demonstates the Windows mentality where the goo they put into each release of their OS *needs* to run on the fastest hardware on the market. You can upgrade old Macs to newer versions of OSX. You can install Linux on a virtually hopeless computer and get some use out of it. In fact, the performance rivals that of a contemporary PC running Windows XP (let alone Vista) For me, I had an old laptop laying around with Windows 2000 on it. It ran slow and was buggy. I decided to put CentOS on it, and I was amazed. The 7 year old laptop was resurrected. I was amazed how easy it was to do this. I am still amazed at how much free software there is, and how good it is. Particularly, I am amazed by Ubuntu Studio, a version of Ubuntu with a low-latency kernel for audio devices. This means, you can get way more tracks on a Linux based hard-disk recorder than Windoze or Mac. All the software is free, and Ardour actual rivals ProTools, Cubase, Logic, et al in terms of features, stability, and price. One guy even wrote a driver for the Wii controller, so you can wirelressly control the Ardour transport -- so if you are sitting at your drum kit doing takes, you don't have to have an engineer operating the recorder. Genius! Great software is made by people who care. The lead contributor to Ardour was employee #2 at Amazon as well as an academic. This is great software made by talented people with little compensation. I am going to support this product financially, and I urge all people who enjoy open source software and Linux to donate to their favorite projects!!! Let's kick Bill Ga

Betelgeuse58
Betelgeuse58

All I did each time was mess in Synaptic. The first time I selected more apps to install than the hard drive had room for = had to do a complete OS re-install. The second time, all I did was "update" some screen saver files that where stared and I figured it would be OK to simply apply an update. NOT so! :( Now an OS re-install is again necessary. Only this time I have files on there I need to figure out how to get off of the machine. It's an old laptop with no cd burning ROM and PCLOS won't recognize the floppy which does me little good anyway because a couple of the RPMs that I've found (Lord only knows from where) are too big to fit on floppy.

C
C

... want to run anything on a seven-year-old laptop? :-)

C
C

I run a print server at my desk that runs XP and since powering it on about two years ago I can't recall seeing it crash, and the only time I reboot is when some update mandates it. I also do a significant amount of work on it, in case someone was thinking that the only reason it doesn't crash is that it isn't used.

cbellur
cbellur

I agree. I haven't used Linux up until 4 months ago. I was a Windows XP & Server user for years. I couldn't *believe* how easy it was to install CentOS, and how awesome it is. Can you run Windows Vista on a 7 year old laptop? No way! But I am running the newest version of CentOS on my 7 year old laptop, and it performs better than my contemporary Windows system on a much more powerful machine. They gave me more software than I need!!! I have 4-5 different ways to listen to music or watch a video. Adobe's Flash works in Firefox, so I can watch Youtube and Hulu. What's not to love about that?!? Pidgin is the coolest app I have ever seen -- it does every IM standard, and it comes standard on CentOS. After I installed CentOS and played around with it, I was blown away that THEY GIVE THIS AWAY!!! Linux now has it all -- ease of use, stability, and efficiency. You will never have a fast performing Windows system. As computers get faster, MS puts more junk in their OS that slows it down. Bill Gates said this is how they roll. This is probably why most PC vendors prefer Windows. Even though they can sell a Linux system for less, people must buy a new machine to run the new version of Windows. They pass the cost of the license on to the user. The user is the one who loses. Businesses lose too, and they are starting to realize this. This can only go on so long -- the fact that an obviously superior OS that doesn't have monopoly power to force it on users, will remain a fraction of market share... Now if you look at all the devices, netbooks, AND desktop PCs that run Linux, you will see much more competition vis-a-vis the different flavors of windows (including windows mobile and embedded windows -- what a joke!) At work, we need to run MKS tools on our Windows servers in order to actually get scripts that do something. In the Windows world, you are supposed to use VB for scripts that go beyond .bat capabilities. VB? You gotta be kidding me... Yeah, when I installed CentOS a few months ago, and realized how hard it rocks, I decided to change my career path on the server side and get more into linux/open source. For a J2EE guy, this is not that much of a challenge. I mean, I don't want to buy a $60,000 WebSphere license to do my J2EE learning. I don't want to use Windows or WebSphere in production. I'm just waiting for the economy to get better, so I can move on to a job where they are using RHEL and JBoss. If you've ever dealt with the obstacles WAS puts in your way with servlet filters, installing Spring and other frameworks, getting JMS settings like retry delays to work properly, and all of the bugs they don't fix, etc... Sometimes I wonder how they can even call WebSphere a J2EE app server? To call a remote EJB, you have to install their "thin client" on the machine -- a thin client that is 322MB?!? I have to say, some commercial J2EE app servers are good. I have fond memories of BEA Weblogic... I have a problem with Microsoft and IBM. I am tired of dealing with their support that never has the correct answer to any of our problems. They end up telling us something we know is not correct, and we end up finding the problem anyway. I'd prefer a community of knowledgeable users to some people in a far off call center trying to help us understand what is in the black box. The black box needs transparency. Both in computers and finance/banking. Turn on the floodlights and the cockroaches will scramble...

john3347
john3347

"Answer a few networking questions such a dhcp or static IP" Linux developers must realize that "Joe Public" doesn't know what in the world such things as dhcp and static IP addresses are, MUCH LESS HOW TO CONFIGURE THEM!!! "Joe Public" doesn't want to have to know these things, they just want to use their computer. On the personal level; I tried about 3 or 4 different linux versions (Fedora 9 & 10, Ubuntu 8.04 & 8.10, Mandriva 2009, PCLinuxOS, etc.) NONE of these systems recognized my HP Photosmart C7280 wireless network printer. (This is just one of a few problems) I plug my digital camera card in and I am asked which of 3 or 4 "Greek" sounding names I wish to use to open the files. (Names that usually don't even have any intuitive relationship to pictures.) Until I have already become familiar with all of these items, I have no idea which I wish to use. I cannot download and install Faststone Image Viewer that I am familiar with (or whatever one's favorite happens to be). IF linux wishes to compete with Windows, Linux developers are going to have to do a better job at producing what current Windows users want. NOW...........That door is wide open if anyone wants to step through because Windows leaves a HUGE hole in filling users needs; but until now, no linux distribution comes close. If Linux is to remain a "nitch" system in the computer world, that is fine; but IF they want to compete for the masses, they have to take a better look at who their target audience is.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I've looked at other distributions over the years but I always ended up back with Mandriva. Debian is really the first distribution that's been a serious contender and I wouldn't build a server with anything else. I even have to keep a Debian VM handy for things like netdiscover and some other tools since Mandriva's focus is on the average and new user rather than advanced specialty user. If Debian did 64bit Flash and simplified wireless networking to the extent the draketools do... Mandriva is definitely an ignored and under-rated gem though.

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

I installed and tested the latest Mandiva over the weekend. And i was impressed. It was installed on a Dell Precision 470 desktop. No wireless, bluetooth, or other problematic hardware. So far all hardware has just worked (various degrees of work with video drivers) with any distro I have tried on it. Mandiva is clean, responsive, and attractive. My only problem with it is that its not Debian, which is what I am use to. There are several hoops to jump to get Debian to do certain tasks Mandriva just does out of the box (video driver for one). I will add Mandriva to my list of recommended Distros for new Linux users.

extremejm
extremejm

We run a host of Linux OS based servers and in 9 years the only crashes we've ever had have been from hardware failures. That's not to say you couldn't get any from bad user configurations but it's certainly worth mentioning that not having to reboot on a regular basis is nice. And before I get flamed by MS cool-aid drinkers, there are certainly well configured and well running MS servers; we work with many of those too. Finally, installing a card or device that isn't naturally supported by any OS isn't much fun, but it's the nature of the game.

Alganon
Alganon

Hi Neon, For some reason Mandriva is not taken seriously by the American Computer press, but I have found it to be outstanding over 9 years of use. Jack Wallen, I believe, is a Mandriva user also - it just works. Ihave set a lot of people up with Mandriva, and only one has returned to Windows, largely because he was impatient and lazy. Some people complain that Linux is not like Windows, they feel it should work the Windows way, well thank God it doesn't, or else we would have 2 crappy OSes instead of just Windows. Linux is an alternative, not a replacement. Evolution is better than Outlook - it works differently. Digikam supports hundreds of digital cameras, has a fantastic data base and even uses fuzzy search to locate your photos. This is significantly better than needing dedicated software for every camera yo may attach to your system. Amarok runs rings around iTunes ... the Linux apps are getting better and smarter every day.

Alganon
Alganon

Hi, I often see remarks by Windows defectors, who struggle with drivers in Ubuntu. On the other hand my Mandriva boxes do not crash. Set up is easier with Mandriva, just make sure all of your peripheral devices are connected and turned on and it will find them - printers, scanners, cameras, external HDDs and even other Windows machines on your network. In this article Kris trots out some very old FUD. I have not chosen to compile a program for the last three years, although compiling is not that hard under Linux.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Never had an application suddenly close leaving you to reopen it through the X program menu? Damn.. what distribution are you running?

anandarpm
anandarpm

I have been using Linux since from last 4 years.I haven't experienced any crashes nor problems. However,some distro set wrong screen resolution.(intel 845GLLY) Installing software is very easy if you get acquainted with APT-GET.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

.. it's currently in a box under other boxes which will eventually consolidate into my computer nook again. Unfortunately for me, the printer is a consumer model and old enough that the manufacturer isn't making drivers any longer. Now, for printers that respect generic interface specs in addition to the wizbang selling features added on top; plug it in and go thanks to CUPS.

w2ktechman
w2ktechman

several times trying to deal with personal folders in Outlook (wine). Ok, the system was unstable until I killed wine and outlook, but hey.. For the most part though, linux has been more stable for me. Once I got rid of the wine and Windows apps at least.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Just load the ever-popular "Generic / Text Only" driver.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Every printer requiring some gimicky ink level graph during print sucks. Keyboards attach and just work; drivers may provide advanced features. Monitors, mice, hard drives, flashdrives, .. not a problem. I'd love to see the other hardware components show a little more respect for a standard interface. heck, I'd go back to lpt ports if it meant the printers could provide basic printing functions without some cheesey bloatware from the hardware vendor.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Granted, crtl+alt+backspace and I was right back at my friendly command line prompt. A "startx" and I'm back in my lovely graphic desktop with the glitch fixed. Actually, it was an issue with the session getting locked up over firefox trying to hit a website. Lockups are rare and it wasn't a hardware lockup so the key command above worked perfectly. I've just moved into a new area and had too much noise on my wifi channel. The flakey network connection caused the issue. Change the router's wifi channel and life is grand. Before someone gets all excited; Windows presents the same issue with flakey wifi signals. "XYZ distro of Linux never crashes" is as accurate as "Apple computers are invulnerable to viruses and other malware". While that is marketing fluff, the reality is that they both crash and have malware; they just manage those events better than my other platforms.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

All those CDs that are included with cameras are totally unnecessary. You can connect any camera to a USB port and Windows Explorer / My Computer will display it like any other flash drive. The CDs may contain the occasional useful utility, but most of what they install is there so the consumer feels like he's getting more for his money. Most keyboard and mouse CDs are the same. You only need to install the drivers if you've got a bunch of extra buttons or keys you want to program.

mamies
mamies

I find this hard to believe, any computer no matter of the operating system will crash at some point in time. I remember crashing Ubuntu alot when trying to install my new Graphics Card. It was a real pain. With the new releases the hardware is much easier to get working because its becoming more compatible but i must agree with the post above yours when he says drivers are hard to install. Find a card that isnt naturally supported by the OS and then try and install it. Not much fun

chris
chris

MS Users just tend toward lemming-hood. You have to really, otherwise you're leaving exploits open.

chris
chris

is it "good enough"? if so, save the money. if not, get ready to pay pay pay. how much is that MS SQL Server license again? how many people have it installed illegally just to do simple little things?

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I see your point now. Sorry, the humor was missed in text on that one my first few reads through.

chris
chris

I understand that if you (an admin) have built a solid and secure image you are going to use it. the problem is trusting the industry. MS has proven that they cannot be trusted (look at all the avs and malware apps out there). If everyone uses MS, then one exploit hit them all (and it does today). that's all. I trust my admin to have a secure image, I don't trust MS to have a secure Email server or SQL server.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Or do you honestly think that building two identical machines by hand versus by script somehow makes them more secure. You don't actually work with servers or large rollouts do you..

chris
chris

at least it'll make some things better

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Try a Mandriva liveCD and it should over your multimedia needs. Knoppix is a great distribution and the first to run as a liveCD but it's also meant to run as a liveCD only in general. It's a little like using SystemRescue liveCD and wondering why it doesn't do DVD. The other potential issue is a matter of patents and codecs. It has the drivers to read from the DVD drive but the video codes are not there. If it includes VLC video player then that may cover your movie needs though. But, Mandriva liveCD hasn't let me down for Flash, music or DVD yet. Same issue is on Windows. When I got my ATI graphics card with DVD video processor, it included the DVD codec and still asks for the original install disk to confirm a valid DVD codec from before updating the player. Welcome to patents synthetically restricting conumser's legally obtained hardware.

gelfling6
gelfling6

Timbo poses a very good point. Though, 6 distros a far less than the actual.. There are, virtually hundreds of distros, from base level to variations there-of.. And each one, changes in mere seconds, meaning everyone else must now catch-up. If you don't catch-up, you're left behind in the dust with yester-month's version. Granted, I don't like Micro$oft any more than I need to.. I'm tied to Vista's quirks & limits only because it's what came with the computer. But, what irks me most, is most of this hardware, requires external drivers. The Smart Modem of old, became the Win-Modem because the smarts were removed, and delegated to the operating system. (which seemed to have it's usual strangle-hold in .DLL's and .INF's. which, obviously Micro$oft claimed proprietary and intellectual rights. (Hey, it has to work with our OS, It needs to follow OUR guidelines, and limitations.) The hard part, is making the manufacturers of various peripherals and hardware loosen up, and allow their drivers to cross both paths, rather than limit themselves to Micro$oft's demands of "Rights".. But, it seems instead of "pissing-off" the mother of all OS's, they would stay with, and never stray. result, people must now reverse engineer (Anyone ever hear of Seattle Computer?) and create drivers from scratch, rather than the manufactures step-up and allow access. They want us to stay out of their "look & Feel" because someone else has already seen, grabbed, and prevented access to.. Is it me, or has anyone else noticed new distros of live CD's are getting as bloated, and security paranoid as Win? I tried to run a copy of KNOPPIX, and it refused to allow access to a DVD video.. Claiming I did not have authorization to use the player, or access to the DVD drive. Even SUDU failed.. totally blocked. I imagine this is because of the lack of recent drivers for the hardware. But, did we need these drivers? no.. Why do we need them? Because the hardware is no-longer smart enough to know it's purpose.. The drivers, are required to access.. guess what OS already has drivers? Is there a linux version? Nope! can one be obtained? probably, but is it on the live-cd? nope, Not without a compleat rebuild.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

There must be thousands of phones to choose from and they all have different OS and application managers on them. This won't due. There should be one mobile phone design, one cellular radio technology, one mobile phone OS.. Or.. maybe each brand of phone is different and somehow we manage to choose among them. For the purpose of clarity: "Linux" = "mobile phone" "Connonical" = "Nokia" "Ubuntu" = "Symbian" or "3230" if you want a product model number. http://www.nokiasymbianthemes.com/your-phone Now, in terms of 2, 3 or 4: Mandriva Ubuntu PCLinuxOS That's three, pick one and get on with it. If you don't want to deal with choices, default applications are selected already and all provide a liveCD. The problem is not having many distributions assembled from the same parts in similar fashion; it's thinking that any new user has to understand and choose from the complete list over at distrowatch.org

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

distros but a lack of cross-distro standards for file structure and package format. Debian and Fedora use a slightly different structure for user files and installed programs (can't remember exact differences atm, but I ran into this while setting up nagios). The other issue is .rpm vs .deb Source code can be ignored since it is distro neutral. This is further complicated by Red Hat rpm and Suse RPM, vs vanilla Debian .deb and ubuntu .deb. In many cases, they can be used on their counter part, but not to the extent that its a guarantee. This is the confusion to Windows users switching to linux. Its even more complex then .msi vs .exe.

C
C

Okay, I concede the point. Linux seems to have (finally ;-) ) reached the epitome of convenience when it comes to software. :-) I still don't consider the Windows way to be so onerous as to abandon Windows and adopt Linux (more than I already have).

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

" Mac users are always quick to point out the benefits of their self-contained applications; one package to download, no installation procedures, easy to remove. While this seems ideal, there are many problems with the actual Mac OS X implementation of this idea. Applications in Mac OS X are generally not easy to remove at all, because they leave a trail of files around outside of /Applications that normal users rarely encounter. Over the course of time, this can amount to quite the mess. In addition, Mac OS X provides no way of updating applications in a central way, resulting in each application in OS X having its own updater application; hardly the user-friendly and consistent image Apple tries to adhere to. The Windows world is not much better off - in fact, it is probably worse. Not only does it have to deal with the same problems as OS X, it also has too deal with dreadful installers. Some of them are such usability disasters they make me want to curl up in foetal position and cry. And then, when I'm done crying, I can start all over again because the uninstallation procedure is just as dreadful. This leaves us with the Linux world. They have the centralised, easy updating application - the update application in for instance Ubuntu is an excellent example of proper balance between providing enough technical information for experts, but still hiding all that fluff from normal users. However, Linux suffers from other problems. Dependency hell, while not nearly as huge a problem as it used to be, still exists to this day. Downloading a package outside of the repositories is a risky business, but it really shouldn't be. You are completely dependent on your distributor updating his repositories and keeping them clean - nothing is as annoying as knowing there is a new version of Super Awesome Garden Designer Ultimate Edition, only to realise all the distributions except yours already packaged it. " http://www.osnews.com/story/21135/Blind_or_Deaf_Program_Management_on_Modern_Systems I thought it was a nice comparison of install methods along with the rest of the article and had to share.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I'll be booting up the machine and logging in as local admin. - I'll open Firefox and run it's update utility - I'll then visit Adobe's site for flash ActiveX and standard plugins - open Adobe Reader and run through it's updates checker - visit quicktime and java's updater utilities through the control panel - then the machine brand vendor's "value add" software updater - then Windows Update.... I don't do automatic updates on Windows boxes for several good reasons. A management appliance to do most of this centrally but if we're talking about searching Google and clicking on links, such a device is outside the scope of the topic and likely far outside the budget of the user. After that, I'll update my Mandriva workstation: urpmi --auto-update - read the list of update recommendations for anything questionable and hit Y if I accept. Then, I'll check for updates to my servers aptitude update && aptitude full-upgrade In this case, I'll do a little reading once I see the list of expected updates but I never blindly update my production servers regardless of platform. In both the latter cases, it would be as easy as opening the local GUI package manager and pressing update. If I where adding new applications, it's nice to be able to browse what's in the repositories or browse the results of the search field. Searching Google or Download.com really doesn't compare to a local package manager. Having indavidual update processes for several different applications is also a mess compared to a centralized package manager. For a comparison, imagine that you only had to visit Windows Update. During that visit, you are shown the updated patches and software versions along with the full library of software vetted against Windows for stability and compatability. This list would include several applications which compete directly against Microsoft's own offerings and you would be free to mix and match as you saw fit. Now, imagine that Windows Update could be done through a GUI (as is now) in very few mouse clicks or directly through the utility behind that fancy GUI by three or less keyboard commands (including "y" to accept).

C
C

Sorry, but I have reached my max message level. Anyway, isn't that what Google is for? I have found tons of free software for Windows. I click on the link, select 'Open' and it installs. No problem. Having a built-in interface to do the search isn't what I would call an overwhelming advantage.

cbellur
cbellur

You have to order or obtain that CD, and browse to a directory to click setup.exe. Linux is even easier. You start the GUI software manager from the desktop and type in the name of the software you want to install (say XMMS). Then you install it. You don't have to creep around the file system for a .exe to click on. You don't have to order a CD or go to CompUSA and buy something. That's how software installation on Linux is even easier than on Windows. I am new to Linux, and everything I see, I am like -- why does Windows suck so bad?!? I expected Linux to be very hard to use. It is even easier than Windows. I hear countless stories of 80-year old grandmas using Ubuntu with ease. I don't think that's Linus Torvald's granny...

C
C

in Linux easier than double-clicking on setup.exe? Or, for that matter, just popping in the CD?

cbellur
cbellur

I agree. As someone who has recently moved to CentOS, I am impressed with how much easier it is to install software. They have a "software updater" gui which wraps around YUM. But for the average user, this means you can get a ton of free software, and all you have to do is click on it. I am so impressed, I am moving my Windows based home recording PC to Ubuntu Studio and Ardour. It is better than the recording software I paid $600 for, and they fix bugs faster.

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

with apt-get and (blech) yum getting larger repositories and the ability to add repositories at will, means you really don't need rpm anymore.. Sure, some stuff I'll still build from source, but that's because I want to control how it's installed.