Linux

10 things Linux does better than Windows

If you tallied up the strengths and weaknesses of Linux and Windows, which OS would come out ahead? According to Jack Wallen, superiority in security, flexibility, interoperability, community, and command-line power (among other things) put Linux well ahead. See if you agree with his assessment.

If you tallied up the strengths and weaknesses of Linux and Windows, which OS would come out ahead? According to Jack Wallen, superiority in security, flexibility, interoperability, community, and command-line power (among other things) put Linux well ahead. See if you agree with his assessment.


Throughout my 10+ years of using Linux, I have heard about everything that Windows does better than Linux. So I thought it time to shoot back and remind everyone of what Linux does better than Windows. Of course, being the zealot that I am, I could list far more than 10 items. But I will stick with the theme and list only what I deem to be the 10 areas where Linux not only does better than Windows but blows it out of the water.

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

#1: TCO

This can o' worms has been, and will be, debated until both operating systems are no more. But let's face it -- the cost of a per-seat Windows license for a large company far outweighs having to bank on IT learning Linux. This is so for a couple of reasons.

First, most IT pros already know a thing or two about Linux. Second, today's Linux is not your mother's Linux. Linux has come a long, long way from where it was when I first started. Ten years ago, I would have said, hands down, Windows wins the TCO battle. But that was before KDE and GNOME brought their desktops to the point where any given group of monkeys could type Hamlet on a Linux box as quickly as they could type it on a Windows box. I bet any IT department could roll out Linux and do it in such a way that the end users would hardly know the difference. With KDE 4.1 leaps and bounds beyond 4.0, it's already apparent where the Linux desktop is going -- straight into the end users' hands. So with all the FUD and rhetoric aside, Windows can't compete with Linux in TCO. Add to that the cost of software prices (including antivirus and spyware protection) for Windows vs. Linux, and your IT budget just fell deeply into the red.

#2: Desktop

You can't keep a straight face and say the Linux desktop is more difficult to use than the Windows desktop. If you can, you might want to check the release number of the Linux distribution you are using. Both GNOME and KDE have outpaced Windows for user-friendliness. Even KDE 4, which has altered the path of KDE quite a bit, will make any given user at home with the interface. But the Linux desktop beats the Windows desktop for more reasons than just user-friendliness. It's far more flexible than anything Microsoft has ever released. If you don't like the way the Linux desktop looks or behaves, change it. If you don't like the desktop included with your distribution, add another. And what if, on rare occasion, the desktop locks up? Well, Windows might require a hard restart. Linux? Hit Ctrl + Alt + Backspace to force a logout of X Windows. Or you can always drop into a virtual console and kill the application that caused your desktop to freeze. It's all about flexibility... something the Windows desktop does not enjoy.

#3: Server

For anyone who thinks Windows has the server market cornered, I would ask you to wake up and join the 21st century. Linux can, and does, serve up anything and everything and does it easily and well. It's fast, secure, easy to configure, and very scalable. And let's say you don't happen to be fond of Sendmail. If that's the case you have plenty of alternatives to choose from. Even with serving up Web pages. There are plenty of alternatives to Apache, some of which are incredibly lightweight.

#4: Security

Recently, there was a scare in the IT world known as Phalanx 2. It actually hit Linux. But the real issue was that it hit Linux servers that hadn't been updated. It was poor administration that caused this little gem to get noticed. The patch, as usual in the Linux world, came nearly as soon as word got out. And that's the rub. Security issues plague Windows for a couple of reasons: The operating system comes complete with plenty of security holes and Microsoft is slow to release patches for the holes. Of course, this is not to say that Linux is immune. It isn't. But it is less susceptible to attacks and faster to fix problems.

#5: Flexibility

This stems from the desktop but, because Linux is such an amazingly adaptable operating system, it's wrong to confine flexibility to the desktop alone. Here's the thing: With Linux, there is always more than one way to handle a task. Add to that the ability to get really creative with your problem solving, and you have the makings of a far superior system. Windows is about as inflexible as an operating system can be. Think about it this way: Out of the box, what can you do with Windows? You can surf the Web and get e-mail. Out of the box, what can you do with Linux? I think the better question is what can you NOT do with Linux? Linux is to Legos like Windows is to Lincoln Logs. With Lincoln Logs, you have the pieces to make fine log cabins. With Legos, you have the pieces to make, well, anything. And then you have all the fanboys making Star Wars Legos and Legos video games. Just where did all those Lincoln Logs fanboys go?

#6: Package management

Really, all I should have to say about this is that Windows does no package management. Sure, you can always install an application with a single click. But what if you don't know which package you're looking for? Where is the repository to search? Where are the various means of installing applications? Where are the dependency checks? Where are the md5 checks? What about not needing root access to install any application in Windows? Safety? Security? Sanity?

#7: Community

About the only community for Windows is the flock of MCSEs, the denizens at the Microsoft campus, and the countless third-party software companies preying on those who can't figure out what to do when Windows goes down for the count. Linux has always been and always will be about community. It was built by a community and for a community. And this Linux community is there to help those in need. From mailing lists to LUGs (Linux user groups) to forums to developers to Linus Torvalds himself (the creator of Linux), the Linux operating system is a community strong with users of all types, ages, nationalities, and social anxieties.

#8: Interoperability

Windows plays REALLY well with Windows. Linux plays well with everyone. I've never met a system I couldn't connect Linux to. That includes OS X, Windows, various Linux distributions, OS/2, Playstations... the list goes on and on. Without the help of third-party software, Windows isn't nearly as interoperable. And we haven't even touched on formats. With OpenOffice, you can open/save in nearly any format (regardless of release date). Have you come across that docx format yet? Had fun getting it to open in anything but MS Word >=2007?

#9: Command line

This is another item where I shouldn't have to say much more than the title. The Linux command line can do nearly anything you need to work in the Linux operating system. Yes, you need a bit of knowledge to do this, but the same holds true for the Windows command line. The biggest difference is the amount you can do when met with only the command line. If you had to administer two machines through the command line only (one Linux box and one Windows box), you would quickly understand just how superior the Linux CLI is to the vastly underpowered Windows CLI.

#10: Evolution

For most users, Vista was a step backward. And that step backward took a long time (five years) to come to fruition. With most Linux distributions, new releases are made available every six months. And some of them are major jumps in technological advancement. Linux also listens to its community. What are they saying and what are they needing? From the kernel to the desktop, the Linux developer community is in sync with its users. Microsoft? Not so much. Microsoft takes its time to release what may or may not be an improvement. And, generally speaking, those Microsoft release dates are as far from set in stone as something can be. It should go without saying that Microsoft is not an agile developer. In fact, I would say Microsoft, in its arrogance, insists companies, users, and third-party developers evolve around it.

That's my short list of big-ticket items that Linux does better than Windows. There will be those naysayers who feel differently, but I think most people will agree with these points. Of course, I am not so closed-minded as to think that there is nothing that Windows does better than Linux. I can think of a few off the top of my head: PR, marketing, FUD, games, crash, and USB scanners.

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.

50 comments
ButtChunks
ButtChunks

The fact is that I can do everything that you NEED to do on a computer with Windows. Windows is easier, I mean you can even do minor hacking with windows and it is ALOT more basic on windows, But I will probably switch to linux based OS because code fasinates me. The thing is that you cant sit there trying to say that one is BETTER than the other. They are 2 completely different OS for different purposes.

netwidget
netwidget

"Sorry, I just hate the spread of biased rhetoric based on myths. If nothing else please keep in mind that more choices is not always a good thing. Most of us just want to drive the car, not learn how to build it." Seriously! How incredibly blind and short sighted a thing to say. Everything in this article is smack on. I have been in the IT and in the high end engineering field using Windows platforms for the last 22 years. I can say unequivocally that this comment smacks of a limited perspective of self use only. What MaslowK has failed to see (most likely based on his own mastery of the windows operating system) is the propensity for things to go wrong because of the average users inability to understand the operating system they are using. In fact the mark of any good tool is its simplicity of use and how efficiently it is applied to solve the problem for which it was created. With this premise as a backdrop, it is interesting that arguably the most user friendly operating system on the planet for the last hugh 20 years the MAC OS was migrated12 years ago to the Unix based platform. Moreover if you have followed at all the evolution of the MAC OS X it has become more and more linux like such that Leopard and Snow Leopard command line shell and syntax are almost identical to a Debian based distro. How ironic that the very things that you claim are hallmarks of Windows, were in fact first conceived and perfected on the mac and then shamelessly and poorly copied for use by Microsoft. And how ironic still that Apple saw the "writing on the wall" 12 years ago and evolved and Microsoft continues to try an stunt the computer world while it tries to unscrupulously hold onto it market share. To borrow a phrase, "The more [they] tighten their grip, the more [OS best practices] will slip through there fingers." But back to my direct beef with your concocted theory. In the 22 years I have been administering systems, I have worked on macs, PC's with linux, PC's with MS DOS, PC's with Windows, Unix, and even some older ones to date myself. In that time frame I have had 2 viruses ever bring a PERSONAL system down (both on Windows) so my record is pretty clean. But than again most of that time has not been fixing/repairing MY systems but a sea of others who do dumb stupid things on their computers. On the record of cleaning up other people's messes what are the stats? simple Apple mac computers 0, PC's running Linux 0, Windows PC's ALL 234 systems, and ALL 10 Windows servers over that same time frame. Cleaning viruses and fixing screw ups on Windows systems has cost so much money and time from me and those who I have worked for that I consider these losses blatant irresponsible and lazy design if not down right criminal. Windows compared to ALL other OS platforms is like the ENRON, and the WORLD COM's of this planet. In that time frame I have not only had to fix them myself but I have had to fire 3 IT companies and their lead MCSE certified engineers for failure to achieve, fix, and maintain the Windows server environments they were in charge of. I have zero faith in Microsoft and even less in those that are certified "experts" their systems. Linux is not easy you say, it is hard to configure, and complex and complicated you say, Well I have news for you I have 2 teenage daughters and an 11-yr old son who all use Linux systems running Ubuntu 10.04 LTS, and are completely capable of running them and installing software from repositories without any help from me whatsoever. Yet I have had a couple hundred adults who cant keep there PC's running MS Office working without constant supervision. I guess I should thank Microsoft for ALL the job security. Microsoft is the reason all computers need an off switch ... just saying .... (By the way I am NOT sorry for the long comment)

MaslowK
MaslowK

I normally don't bother getting in between linux cultists and windows fanboys but eh, here goes; Concerning point #6; "But what if you don???t know which package you???re looking for? Where is the repository to search?"

athena288ca
athena288ca

I have a Linux computer since about a little more than 6 months. So far I am not too impressed, except that it is more stable (a lot more stable) than windows and viruses are virtually non-existent in Linux. I know that, because I had a virus on a jumpdrive (it was bought with the virus on it, which I find disgusting from Future Shop). I put the same jumpdrive into my Linux Laptop, I even copied it right into the computer, because I didn't know what kind of a file it was, and I wanted to know. IT NEVER AFFECTED LINUX. My Windows computers and all the external drives and jumpdrives I had to re-format. And a good thing that I had the Linux, this way I was able to save my content from the external drives. However, yesterday I was going to view a pdf file on my Linux. (I have the Eee PC laptop from ASUS with the GUI interface.) It told me, that I need to update the Adobe reader, so I went into the Add/Remove Software area and clicked on Update. After a while it came back, that an error occurred and it couldn't update. So, I went back to Add/Remove Software and wanted to try it again (because that sometimes works with Windows), but then there was no Update of the Adobe Reader to be found, no install - nothing. The only remains, that there was ever an Adobe Reader installed is the icon in the Work section. When I click on it, it hangs up the computer. So how will I ever get the Adobe Reader back installed. This Interface, I think it is called KDE, I wished, there wouldn't be one at all. Maybe it would be a little more complicated the Linux otherwise, but I don't think it would be too much, because I started with computers when DOS for Windows was still around. I know, DOS and Linux are not the same, but it is similar. Anyway, I have the KDE Interface and I will have to live with it, but it frustrates me, because so far I haven't gotten much help, especially not from ASUS. If I had bought the Laptop from HP, I know I would have done better, because they have courses on their website from almost anything, and I have taken some Linux courses there too. Naturally, mine being this small Eee PC laptop with the GUI interface, not much does apply. To keep Linux's reputation up, it shouldn't be represented by ASUS. This company offers no help whatsoever. That's why I am somewhat disappointed. For a new user of Linux, there should be more support. I know, it is not Linux's fault, but those companies who offer the Linux products should be more helpful. If I could get a better hang of Linux, the installation process and in general, I would have pushed Linux here in Ontario so much, that Windows would have been only a distant memory. I know, Linux is very good, even if I don't understand most of it yet, but since I know that Linux is a much better program, that's why I don't give up on it. Athena my e-mail: athena288@sympatico.ca

potter67
potter67

Nice article from a Linux enthousiast. However real life is more complicated, at leat on the Desktop side where it is not clear which OS is the winner between Linux and XP. However against Vista, Linux starts to have a chance (at least a release like Mandriva 2009 perhaps Ubuntu)

Marco Parillo
Marco Parillo

I have a corporate issued T61 with Win-XP, but I frequently run my Ubuntu 8.04 LTS Desktop Edition live-CD. I think the basic Gnome interface (as-is) as packaged by Ubuntu is more than adequate, and if I were a small business owner, I would not pay any Microsoft tax for the MS UI. What I do notice is the fonts seem ugly. Not sure you are old enough to remember, but when I first used OS/2 Warp, with Adobe Type Manager, compared to MS-Windows 3.1, the subtle improvement in screen fonts that ATM provided seemed like a big deal to me. Similarly, MS-WinXP seems just a bit crisper in its fonts. Does anybody have a link to a FAQ that might describe why this is, and what I could do about it (I am sure I will need to stop using the Live CD to start)?

dogknees
dogknees

File format copmpatibility has nothing to do with the OS. It's all about the apps. If you're comparing Linux and Windows, stick to the OS. The apps that are available or installed is a completely separate discussion.

Thewanderer
Thewanderer

You had me up until the FUD, crash etc. comments. Don't say you're not closed minded then proceed to contradict yourself through inanely subjective, uninsightful, and utterly useless comments. FUD may be experienced by those who can't operate Windows, but then again, I fail to see where Linux would help in that category...

rmlounsbury
rmlounsbury

I'm still waiting for the day I can install a wireless card without the following: - ndiswrapper - The zillion commands that come with ndiswrapper and the potential of screwing up just 1 command and blowing the install up. - Spotty WPA support. - modifying a half-dozen configuration files. - Not having to know what chip set is powering your wireless card. For that matter when is Linux ever going to get simple driver support. Sure most distros will automatically install drivers but they usually don't unlock the full potential of the device unless you want to go through the often painful process of installing manufacturer drivers. Now granted this problem falls on the hardware makers more than Linux but it doesn't help the case for Linux. That being said I run Xubuntu on my HP MiniNote, Fedora 9 on my work desktop, and Ubuntu on my home desktop (with XP dual-booted as it is the only way to sync le iPhone and le iPod to iTunes and play 99.99999% of the games on the market.).

jmantra
jmantra

If linux had a server app that is the equivalent of active directory in that provides the same level of functionality (i.e. easy replication, software push- out, group policy, etc) and ease of use... linux would have me sold.

fhal
fhal

Front up: I'm writing this on Linux (Slack 12). And now the "but": It doesn't help Linux nor does it make things better if one repeats and repeats and repeats ... Linux fanboy opinions. Packages: Working with (Free)BSD in my job I can tell you, that Linux' package management is, in fact, still a pain in the ass. Even if (if !) there's a package available for some app and your distribution, dependency handling is still to be improved a lot. And we still do not have some widely applied standard, still apps (and all the stuff that comes along ...) might end up in /bin, /usr/bin, /usr/local/bin, /opt, /usr/share, etc, etc. "Glue & Gui": Yes, we have a plethora of bits and pieces around, e.g. for printing. But we still in many areas don't have a Gui enabling us to point & click, we still don't have our system just noticing some new device attached _and properly handled_ in some areas. Anything on earth has advantages as well as disadvantages, so does the communtiy. Community also means "lack of responsibility". It's somewhat like a democracy and its bodies; nobody is really responsible (friendly grin) I'm a technical person, a pro. And in fact I end up googling for some weird technical issue more often than I like. Now, how is a newbie or my grandma supposed to handle that ? We have dead bodies in the cellar, too. One of the worst examples: The gnu toolchain and, in particular, gcc, the c compiler. There are still many, many applications out in the wild that must be compiled with version 4.x.y and, even worse, many of them _must_ be compiled with (old) version 3.x.y Do I mean to bash Linux ? No, definitely not. Rather than bending over for Microsoft, I did prefer to live even with a pile of hardly useable crap (which Linux was some years ago but is _not_ anymore. In fact, it's pretty close to becoming a serios contender for the Windoze desktop). But, please - we didn't come that far by preaching and by fanboy chants. We did it by working hard so as to offer working solutions to real problems. Listening (to criticism, to user and their needs, etc), Jack Wallen, can be and often is a lot more powerful than evangelizing. Think over and look again with open eyes. What you've written shows, being looked at more closely, to contain more than just a grain of salt ... Greetings, Ram??n

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

The Server I'll admit it, I've been a Mandriva junky since Red Hat convinced me to try Mandrake. I've recently had reason to test Debian as a server platform. The first though was; does Debian still default to sendmail rather than postfix and is it going to be as much grief as Postfix under Mandriva was the first time? Postfix is in the Debian repositories and I do my builds by custom package selection rather than "mail server, web server, desktop" checkboxes so the first consideration was a non-issue. During install, postfix presented a very clear page on what options I was about to be asked. On the next page, I selected the applicable option "internet server" to provided the send/receive mail functions and encryption I desired and that was it. The simplicity blew my mind. I had a functioning smtps/pops mail server for the house in fifteen minutes. A less server focused distro like Mandriva I can now setup in a few hours though there are gui management tools available. Windows, it does mail also of course but just not nearly as smooth as my current server OS of choice. Security IPTables/IPChains work with the firewall at kernel level and it's a true multi user platform.. what else is there to say that hasn't been said many times before. Flexability and Package Management My new house mail server is the boot loader, the kernel/firewall, postfix and popd; three layers, if you count the boot loader as layer one by starting the kernel. Package management takes care of what minimal dependencies those have plus confirming that all software is updated to the latest stable versions. Interoperability Linux even does Windows shares better than Windows. Within my house, I interoperate with Windows, *nix and osX. That list includes my PDA (Maemo Linux) which who's storage I have full remote access too through sshfs. Command Line There's no GUI on my new Debian groupware server and really, there is no need for one. I haven't even bothered with Webmin. Evolution What Debian Testing replaces Stable, I'll do apt-get update, apt-get upgrade, apt-get dist-upgrade. Then I'll come back to the machine in a half hour and see if I'm running the new Stable yet. ;) effing awesome. I don't see any future date where I won't keep multiple platforms around including the Windows platforms I have licenses for already but for me and my primary platform of choice; "what would you like to do today?" is far better than the alternative "where do you think your going today? Approve or Deny?"

fourijm
fourijm

I have no use for Windows. Linux gives me all I need to do my work very efficiently. Never experienced a virus threat, maybe because virus writers target Windows? Unfortunately, when our MS guys switch off imap on the outlook server, I can not access my mail with thunderbird or evolution. Then I have to use MS's web interface to read my email - BUT when I type in a longish email, the MS server connection times out and I have to start the typing all over. If it were my business, I would definately go for Linux all the way and forget about Windows. But in the mean time, I have to do as the boss says, even if I think it was the most non ligical decision to switch from Novell to Windows. And Linux could have given us ALL the functionally for FREE. This is a mad, mad world.

stanlisa
stanlisa

Regarding interoperability, I must strongly disagree with the notion that Windows plays well with Windows. In fact, this was the straw that finally broke the back of the camel that I was riding through the Windows desert. With XPSP2, several of the Win-95/98 games that kept me on Windows would not play in XP even with the 95/98 compatibility toggled on. That, and several other issues finally pushed me over the tipping point 4 years ago. Now, I've found that my digital camera software runs much better under WINE than it does under XP. Another issue that I didn't see was hardware support. Until recent kernels came out, my experience has been that Linux consistently gives better hardware support than Windows... with the exception of wireless. Recently, that exception has completely disappeared, for me (but that may just be because I have been lucky enough to grab cards with the Atheros chipset). In terms of TCO, it's a time factor for me, rather than money. As a father of 4 with a busy job, I just don't have the time to constantly nudge a temperatmental OS. XP's time costs are unacceptably high. We still have two XP PC's at home for specific games, but the kids usually go to my PC for anything that matters.

Jaqui
Jaqui

Stability. While applications [i]can[/i] lock up occasionally on any system, the GNU-Linux server software has a proven track record of always working. Why else do we see companies with 10+ year old versions of linux systems as servers still? They have not caused enough problems to push the company to upgrade to a newer release.

letter_2_roy
letter_2_roy

Hi ! Dear Sir/Madam, This is also interesting and splendid in reality. I have got to like it to read and share with my friends. With thanks & regards, Swapan.

bladeoz
bladeoz

Each operating system has its purpose, strengths and weaknesses - I get it already. I could have swarn I had seen another "10 things" article two weeks ago bagging windows, and possibly another one 2 weeks before that...

jck
jck

Nice. I like it because it seems that everyone and their dog has a wiki on Linux. Finding resources, help, etc., for Linux is just easier. Finding help for Windows (if it's buried in MS KB) is getting harder and harder to do. Google Search + public Linux wikis > MS KB QED :D

The Scummy One
The Scummy One

#2 -- While I would agree about ease of use there are still issues that are brought up with your description. A. users can change their desktop, or replace it. While I agree this is good, many home users will not want to do this and it adds considerable complexities over MS's offering (quick and easy). B. If the desktop hangs, you can just restart x -- However, this would be for the more technical -- restart the desktop. In Windows, we restart explorer.exe (when it works), but the average user reboots or powers off. How many are going to know about just stopping the desktop? So in this case, for an average user it may be overly complicated.

jkiernan
jkiernan

Go-OO will import docx files. For the uninitiated, Go-OO is a version of Open Office without the restrictions of Sun's corporate interference. It offers VBA macro handling too. http://go-oo.org/

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

It should at least be listed with the installed programs so you can uninstall it. Remove it, reinstall it and your done. There is a command line way to do it if interested though something like a broken PDF Reader package should be all over the Asus help forums with GUI solutions.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

On the desktop front, one can easily use either platform unless there is a specific tool that requires one or the other. So far, I can find only a few things that require Windows specifically: Latest blockbuster game titles thanks to DirectX and hardware vendors. Specialty software (games really fits here but is usually delt with seporately. AutoCAD, specific security tools, Adobe's 10% of functions not replicated by other tools. MS Office 10% of functions not replicated by other tools. These all take somewhat of a specialist to use at the level where the software tool and underlying platform become a required combined package. Windows compatability. This one is the latest I've heard of. A Network admin had to confirm that a Windows server was working by testing a specific MS only network protocol (authentication mechanism I believe). The only thing that will test Windows is Windows since compatability is intentionally broken outside of a mono-OS environment. I'd love to hear other Windows only functions if anyone has them though; outside of hardware vendor imposed synthetic limitations for support.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

My business issued T60 runs the Mandriva liveCD when not being used for company work. I haven't had issue with the fonts but in terms of functionality, it works great and I'll continue the practice until given approval to partition the hard drive (not likely ever going to happen with this unit). I'll have to try a GNOME based liveCD and see if it's a GNOME/KDE thing maybe.

No-Dough
No-Dough

Actually, I believe Windows has _more_ security. The number of third-party security apps for Windows is staggering. What you may have meant is that Linux has _more effective_ security.

danfrancie
danfrancie

If you have to reinstall windows (XP in my case) and you or owner of the laptop didn't care about CD coming with the laptop. You have to download and install all drivers (graphic card, wireless card, sound card, ...). Yes, just download from the manufacturer site and then 2-click. But even this is still pain in ass. For newer version of Linux distro, sound and grahic cards are well configured without your intervention. Have you ever seen the screen resolution after reinstalling XP and before installing the grahic card ? Just to say that, with linux may be you have just problem with wireless card, but with Windows you have also problem with sound and graphic cards after reinstalling the system. I use Windows 75% of my time at work and at home but, i hate the complexity with it all little thing must be accomplished with Windows. I have used Linux for 2 years and every time i enjoy using it. Everybody has its opinion on what or what subject and has the right to have it. In the case of Linux vs Windows, I prefer Linux among Windows, I use Windows just because i don't have for the moment an employer who fully use Linux.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

With a ThinkPad T60 I've the wireless has worked perfectly without any configuration beyond specifying the wpa or wpa2 passphrase. What NIC are you using and what distros have you tried? Full potential of the device tends to be included in the kernel module (driver). For the hardware that has to be supported through reverse engineered due to poor management decisions by the hardware manufacturer, you may not get all the hidden features unlocked but that's really a political issue not caused by the software platform. Especially with the kernel developers publicly stating they will develop complete kernel support (modules.. or drivers as often called) for free if hardware manufacturers simply give them the complete interface specs to write against. Hardware makers don't even have to spend there own budget to gain full support and access to a larger buyer market. I'm a Mandriva person myself. It tends to have better hardware support though I hear PCLinuxOS is a bit better for hardware even. Debian is solid for my server boxes and Maemo runs my PDA very nicely. I can even drop my wireless radio into monitor mode which is a feature normally missing from vendor provided win32/win64 drivers. My XP dualboot supports games and a few windows only security tools; you have to use the platform that supports the need. Palm used to keep me dualbooting for sync software but that's a thing of the past. If the consumer device is not supported across platforms, it's not worth my looking at it; vendors will get the picture when the profit margins convince them.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

LDAP is nothing new, MS didn't invent it and Active Directory is not the only implementation. If that's your only issue though, I hear Suse works very well with it as do the other modern distributions. I've not had opertunity to setup an LDAP (AD or otherwise) so what do I know. I will be doing so though as soon as I confirm that the hardware issues taking my workstation down have stopped so I can start doing clusters and LDAP groups of machines under VMware. I think the bigger concern with that would be the Exchange Server that's probably running on your AD network and making sure consumer choice remains limited and locked in too it. Now that the home mail server is running, it's time to stack a groupware layer on top. The one I'm looking at will sync cleanly with Windows, osX and Linux distros including my PDA.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

It's not just about criminals targeting Windows. As *nix desktops become more popular, more will target them too. The difference is in the platform's design. *nix developers tend to see a virus as a proof of concept for a bug to be fixed where Windows tends to respond with virus signatures rather than fixing the programing flaw/decision that makes that virus possible. *nix platforms where hit with a virus recently but as mentioned, the issue was poor administrator habits since the fix for the flaw the virus exploited was ready and waiting. My prefered platform is Linux based but I keep as many different platforms handy as I can and have some reasons to use Windows still (games and win32 specific security auditing tools or testing production Windows system protocols). I'd be cutting your pop/imap off too but I'd be replacing it with secure-pop and secure-imap to maintain compatability. In the end though, Exchange server has some design decisions meant to make Outlook as close to the only client choice as possible. If you have that kind of pull at your work, ask why they can't implement pops/imaps using SSL or TLS. The ultimate truth in the business world is that you have to support the tools that actualy do your work (programs, not the people ;) ). If there is a Windows only program that is integral to the work being done, that's the platform you'll be locked too. That means all your AutoCAD workstations will be Windows but that doesn't stop the admin staff, management or back end from using something else.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

The other one seemed to get slammed for being biased with points not based on technical merits. This one seems to provide a more technically focused list of merits. In terms if bias, any article is going to be biased in one way or the other unless one is expecting a scientific white paper written by someone who's never seen a computer before in there life. The trick is to read the points presented within the article and consider them for one's self. This bit here is not directed anywhere particular, just included before the "what bias BS" flame wars start burning away.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I thought I was this topic recently. It's getting kind of tired.

j-mart
j-mart

Linux, get the job done with minimum fuss and reliability. Windows, provide a continuous revenue stream for techs, hardware providers, and many others in the computer industry keeping the load of rubbish that is windows in some sort of working order.

Antagonist
Antagonist

I would completely disagree. A. users can change their desktop in linux, but the default is just as user friendly as windows xp or vista, so your complaint of added complexity for the average user is wrong. B. restarting x with ctrl-alt-backspace is much easier than starting the taskmanager, which requires clicking the processes tab and then finding explorer.exe, then waiting for the 'end now' dialog box to show up, then waiting some more and then pressing ctrl-alt-delete again, clicking the task manager, then clicking file from the tools menu, then clicking new task...run, then entering explorer.exe. This guy was dead on, and for a self-professed fanatic was rather un-biased.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

If the user wants less config options under Properties, there is Gnome. KDE's config options are pretty strait forward but users can elect to not make use of them. IE falls inbetween the two in terms of gui accessed options. No desktop forces the user to change settings though either. A more technical user has the option to restart IE or X; with X, they also have the option of multiple terminals they can use to get in behind it. That also doesn't preclude the average user from hitting the power button. Neither OS likes to be rebooted without it's cleanup and shutdown processes but *nix like OS will reboot clean with a quick partition health check if the mounted drives take that much of a hit. I still think it comes down to OS distribution too though. The more new user and desktop oriented distributions that would be preinstalled along side Vista or osX preinstalls are all about the same on a superficial level. The major reasons for sticking to the old ways are increasingly more political; fear of change and saturated supply chains. Eurpoean places where interoperability and open standards are mandated seem to get around all this without any issue.

Mad-H
Mad-H

What speed comparisons do people have on Vista vs new Linux distros? I dual boot vista (because I got it with my laptop) and Ubuntu Heron, and I notice the boot time is a lot quicker in linux. I only ever use vista for playing games I can't get running under linux, and I found a big surprise with WoW. I run it under WINE and was always sure that it ran better on that than on vista, so I did some speed testing:- Game load time, win = 19 secs, linux = 5 secs Character load time, win = 21 secs, linux = 14 secs FPS (tested under the same conditions) win = 29 linux = 36 This is surely a joke, a game designed fr windows runs noticeably and significantly better on linux/wine than windows. Good old MS bloat.......

Jaqui
Jaqui

X font server config issue. I've noticed that the "ref count" is always off, installed or livecd. doesn't matter which GUI or distro, the xfs config always seems to have a few glitches.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I wouldn't say Windows has more security simply because there are more third party addons available for it. One would have to account for the effectiveness of those third party addons along with the overall potential level of security that can be provided. Any platform can be configured to be wide open to a breach but platforms seem to differ in the level that they can be locked down. Windows can be hardened to some degree and well protected with the addition of various Unix based appliances ahead of it in the network. Unix can be hardened down to a much higher level of security with more chance of survival when placed directly in contact with the outside network. A hardware enforced MAC (mandatory access, not Apple) based platform probably tops out it's potential security above the first two mentioned platforms though software enforced MAC is available too them. I Windows may have a larger market for protective software but I wouldn't equate that to having more security, just more third party addons to choose from. It makes me question why the market for third party protection is so much larger.

Mad-H
Mad-H

Just a little comment, I laughed heartily when I saw what AD could do because I had seen it all before, years ago, in Novell 4......

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

My initial post was going to be "what.. another one of these? You don't think the forums are already good and saturated with X vs Y argument catalysts?" I found this one to provide a bit more of a technical basis so I started with something more supported than a quick bit. In the end, this discussion will likely devolve a quickly as all the rest have though. I think that's disapointing too.

bladeoz
bladeoz

Im just fed up with seeing rage dumps on here from fan boys (from any OS). Arguments based on pure preference are flawed and biased. They make for unconvincing reads.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I often watch as explorer crashes out and restarts but there are enough times when it does not restart and I end up with only the open program windows that don't rely on it. At that point, it's usually a reboot to be sure things reload clean though a logout/login may do it also.

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

I kind of assumed it SHOULD be ;-) Adobe is always a problem, be it Windows or Linux as the platform...

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I thought it was one of the limited netbook distros like on the Eee. If the add/remove does provide an alternative PDF reader, I'd give it a go. In the case of a full distro like Mandriva; no reason to need Adobe Reader specifically.

danfrancie
danfrancie

One of things i don't like with some new disto of Linux is the lake of the standard 8x13 font of the (Li|U)inux terminal. Also the pixel based font smoothness which don't work properly on LCD screen without manual configuration. For some issues on Ubuntu hardy, this is a link which can help: http://www.ubuntutips.net/taxonomy/term/16.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Netware 3 was the standard when I was in highschool and Netware 4 was the latest but last before Novell seemed to abandon the market. I thought they would continue by licensing LDAP rather than producing a network OS but .. Oh well, at least I'm still seeing some job postings asking for Novell experience so it lives on in some places.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

It is more technically oriented than the last one (Sonja's?), but there's absolutely nothing new here. Many of the same points were in Jack's "Why use Windows when Linux is available" (or whatever the one is that's been rattling around for several weeks / several hundred posts.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

.. rather than based on preference. Mind you, the comment you replied was less based on supported points than other's have already been. My personal spin would have been that a software platform that does not force hardware upgrades purely based on pushing more pretty graphics stimulates the hardware market by requiring manufacturers to show true reason to upgrade rather than faster GPU and CPU clock speeds alone.

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