Linux optimize

What does Linux do that Windows can't?

The Linux camp usually finds itself in the position of having to prove that there are open source applications and tools that do as good a job as their Windows counterparts. But what does Linux do so well that puts Windows in the position of having to play catch-up?

Linux aficionados on TechRepublic have spent some time coming up with Linux applications that can do the same thing as Windows programs, and Jack has answered the question, "What can't Linux do?" in a previous blog, but I couldn't remember when I'd seen someone list the things that Linux does well, which Windows can't equal (I can hear people saying "security!" but let's be more specific!).

Lee Matthews at downloadsquad.com has written a post called, "3 Linux Apps That Make Me Hate Windows," in which he selects applications that have no equivalent in a Windows environment.

I'm a Windows user, and it has served me well. That being said, I play with a lot of Linux distributions and there are some applications that are just so much better than anything Windows can offer that I find myself wondering how long it'll be until I make the switch.

Matthews cites Synaptic, APT, and Amarok in particular. What do you think of these choices?

About

Selena has been at TechRepublic since 2002. She is currently a Senior Editor with a background in technical writing, editing, and research. She edits Data Center, Linux and Open Source, Apple in the Enterprise, The Enterprise Cloud, Web Designer, and...

224 comments
marklkachel
marklkachel

Continue to run without so many darn errors, I made the switch almost 3 years ago to (Ubuntu) Linux, now version 8.04 lts and love every moment of it. The savings in virus updating along is worth gold to me. I still use MS Windows XP, but only as needed until Wine (another great linux resource) gets caught up. Linux has many abilities and great uses. It is currently being developed to run on smaller and older systems which should have never been abondoned. I give my buyers the option of having either installations of linux or cd/dvd iso install disks with there purchase order, free of charge. Its nice having a way out of virus/malware from time to time.

sumit8856
sumit8856

linux is safe then windows.but linux has some problem in installing some software.

mitzampt
mitzampt

I recently managed to connect my linux installation to the Internet and after that I just opened synaptic and fully configured my operating system and my application suite with almost all i needed, updated, upgraded, and got all ready to use without restart... the only thing that neeeded the restart was the kernel patch... now tell me if you can do that in Windows. I am not gonna expect Windows to be free, or to have a software repository or some software database on the net since things looks different on the comercial side of the road and this is specific to a community... But the surprising thing about this set of events is that lasted only a hour and a half on a 6Mb Internet connection... all the configurations included :D

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

>Fail at marketing a product >Fail at capturing marketshare >Succeed at scaring off potential users >Create snot nosed users who think they are the only ones who know how to choose an operating system that fills their needs

mikeholli
mikeholli

Let's step thru the magic mirror, the years is 1983 and this new fangled wannabe UNIX operating system comes out of Redmond, Wa. called DOS, which stands for Disk Operating System, we're happy humming along on our dummy terminals that are running off an RS4000 running IBM's AIX UNIX Operating System. Our XWindows are running smooth as silk, we haven't crashed in 9 months. Now let me ask you this. What does DOS do that UNIX can't? This is NOT a case of what something can, or cannot do but a case of human nature and our wanting to ALWAYS have bigger and better! Don't get me wrong, we as humans need to do that so we keep our county's economy thriving.

cjcoats
cjcoats

Windows scroll bars require me to carefully and manually snoopervise my mouse when I use a scroll-bar, to make sure I keep it in that itty-bitty little track. Linux (or generally X) scrollbars behave _correctly_: grab it and pull down, and it goes the right way. Having to use windows every now and then drives my blood pressure absolutely up the wall!!!

normhaga
normhaga

Let me see the discussion revolves around whether the user agent issued by a browser is a workable method that can be used to track unique visitors to a web site and whether this information would be useful in forming a reasonably accurate assessment of which browsers and operating systems are predominant. One participant maintains that this is a viable method to track the browser and the OS used to access the website and that given a large enough population is useful in tracking the desired information. This participant did bring up that the user agent can be altered to indicate that a user agent and the associated information can be altered to something other than what is really being used, but also that such spoofing is relatively rare and statistically insignificant. The other participant that because of routing issues and spoofing UA based methods of browser and OS determination are only slightly better than useless. This discussion grew from the Linux/Windows religious discussion. This is a continuation of that discussion. It is my position that even though UA's can be spoofed without difficulty they are a useful indicator of what OS and browser is being used. The reason for this is that spoofing is a method that, while not illegal, smacks of methods that criminal hackers/crackers use. It is so close to the border that in some US jurisdictions, such as Wisconsin, there is a very real possibility of finding criminal charges levied against you. I make no judgment as to how valid those charges would be, only that the possibility exists. I myself spoof my UA when needed; one such example is one bank I use supported only IE 6 and 7. Because I routinely use Linux as my prefered OS and we all know that Internet Explorer works with Linux, I have to spoof my UA presented by Firefox to indicate IE 6 or 7 on a Win 32 or 64 bit platform to access my account information. (The bank in question included FF as a supported browser when I presented these concerns and the news articles from WI. showing an ongoing criminal prosecution for UA spoofing.) Is UA tracking by itself viable for the given purposes? No. However when used in conjunction with time expiring cookies this might be a viable method. UA strings survive proxies, unless the proxy is setup to strip the UA, or to spoof it. The reason is that when the web page finally returns to the originator, it needs to present the proper layout to the requesting browser. Sometimes funny things happen when you read a Safari layout in FF or IE 7. With my own website hosted by Yahoo Small Business Web Hosting, I track individual users, OS's and browsers with the UA string and time expiring cookies. It is a little more complex than simple cookie/UA tracking because I also use IP tracking to indicate whether the user is a unique IP. I then analyze this information to determine what browsers to support. For those concerned I only collect UA, OS, and IP information for the stated purpose; If I see a large number of repeated IP's I might do a reverse DNS to make a sales call, but so far have resisted the temptation. I also use this method as an experiment in tracking and blocking spam. Can this method return spurious data? Certainly. One legitimate example would be were if several employees of a large viewing my website from the same server in a short time period. Could someone use proxies to obscure their IP? Certainly. There are many faults with this method, but I assert that for the purpose given it is a viable method. Next contestant in "The Guess is Right," poleeaaase.

as901
as901

The question should be, "What does windows do best and Linux do least?" The answer is crash and freeze! Mark Heinemann

manuelpinot
manuelpinot

macchanger kismet aircrack suite Fluxbox all the security tools works better and are free

jmbrasfield
jmbrasfield

I love all three choices, but I have found two choices for certain Windows applications. Synaptic Package Manager for Linux, Appsnap for Windows. Not near as comprehensive as Synaptic is for Linux, but a good place to find open source applications for Windows and keep up with updates to the open source applications you've installed. Amarok for Linux, MediaMonkey for Windows. I would have to say I like them equally, although I'm sure I don't use them to their fullest extent. They both do exactly what I want them to do and do it very well. Compiz Fusion for Linux, enough said!

jfreedle2
jfreedle2

From my personal attempts at using Linux, I can say that Linux wastes time! I have been looking at Linux and attempting to find a way in which I could use it as a replacement for Windows, however I cannot find any redeaming qualities, other than it would be free to acquire, and free to update. But in order to do that I would have to spend a lot more time learning the workings of the system and have to spend much more time maintaining my operating system rather than spending time in class and productive working.

techrepublic@
techrepublic@

">Fail at marketing a product" Windows does NOT market a product, Microsoft does. ">Fail at capturing marketshare" Windows has a residual market share in supercomputers, Linux dominates that market at around 90% share. On the desktop market it is the reverse. ">Succeed at scaring off potential users" Nothing scares a new user more than having is new computer stop working and not knowing why. From my support experience, most of these are malware related. ">Create snot nosed users who think they are the only ones who know how to choose an operating system that fills their needs" There are plenty of those for Windows also ... and Mac OS, *BSD, etc.

bratwizard
bratwizard

"What does DOS do that UNIX can't?" Ummm, sorry, can't think of a thing. Turn the question around and I'll have a great big list.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Well done on moving the emerging thread and with the opener. Good lord, they want to extend wire fraud to include maipulating your browser response? That's as bad as banning networking tools rather than the malicious use of them. I can think of a few ligitimate reasons: - testing firewall rules or trouble shooting network issues by changing your test system's MAC. - testing your webserver config and logging or any browser specific functions by changing your browser response. - the same subscriber using two machines on the same account (suspicious I know but stick with me here). I was on vacation in sunny Florida and the resort provided subscribed access to internet over wireless. I have a PDA always with me which needs wireless connectivity when around the resort. Back at the room, I have my notebook which is also used for various networking needs but not carried around the resort with me. Only one machine would be online at a time and both would be used by myself as the week long ISP subscriber. This was a concern because I didn't want to go through the online subscription forms, have my mobile MAC recorded then not be able to use the notebook without a second fee and MAC recording. After asking the support desk, I was told that the browser entered username and password where the only authentication to get out of the resort router. MAC filtering was not used and the same subscriber could use two different machines provided it was not at the same time. Had MAC been a component of the authentication, I think using the same MAC on both machines would have been valid. I can use my access at any of the internet cafe machines around the resort and the resort specified that multiple machines could be used indavidually. Penalize those who spoof there information for malicious purposes; absolutely. Heck, burn out there NIC if you can get a spike back down the network cable. But, for the love of rational thought, don't ban the softwaer, ban the idiot using it. Your website stats are probably accurate enough for yoru needs. If not, then they at least taylor both your website and the end users who will cunciously or unconciously respond to the results of those statistics. This probably produces an accurate enough ross section between the suttle adjustments on both sides of the wire. My own issue is more a habbit born out of computers and experience now as a business analysts. With my computers, it's binary; it works or it doesn't. I either hit the command and enter or I don't. Like any computer, they are dumb, frightfully dumb, the can only do what you ask and exactly that be it what you intended or not. At work, it is even more so the case. I can't stand putting out analysis based on best guesses and fiction (numbers not from the database or combared between two incomparible systems). Most of my time is spent figuring out how to get the most accurate information with only a few regular tasks requiring incomparable data consolidated into the same reporting. Questions like "these numbers look a little low/high, can we just change those down a little before you send it out?" - always responded with 'that's what the data base says it is, we can look further into why tha t is if you'd like". Basically, questionable source data and having to base real analysis off it is something I can't stand doing. 1+1!=3, ever (this isn't accounting ;) ). Those are probably the biggest reasons for my own distrust of market share research between software options and webserver statistics beyond what is fully trustworthy. I still view the two seporately though with very similar reasons for distrust. I'm also one of the people who screwes up your statistics since cookies are whiped at each session end by all my browsers. Each visit, I'm a new browser/OS combination inflating your figures. I also often browse from FF under Mandriva so I then don't get counted as an active Windows install though I also use it for many other tasks; MS get's me tagged on the Windows Update stats though. I can accept the stats from the logs as esimations to some degree for browser hits. I still can't shake the distrust of data that can not be difinitively analysied without at least, less variables.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"Remember, Sunday afternoons are our 'No Smoking' buffet. Try the veal. Don't forget to tip your waitress. Good night, TR!"

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

It was a few weeks back or so; same discussion title, reversed brand names. And yes, "Crash" was at last one person's one line comment in that discussion. (really, Linux based OS simply crash more gracefully)

rkuhn040172
rkuhn040172

If any OS is crashing or freezing on you, there is a problem and it probably isn't the OS. Check out driver issues, poorly written software, etc. I haven't had Windows crash on me in years. Seriously. I have had Windows Explorer freeze up occasionally when browsing through my music and video collection but I think it is because the sheer size of some of the folders. I probably have 300 GB of music and videos.

mwagner
mwagner

Linux doesn't have a Blue Screen of Death.

normhaga
normhaga

Must be a newbie in Linux if you have not had the OS crash or freeze. It happens less frequently than Windows, but it does happen.

marianne.popp
marianne.popp

As usual we're to busy flaming each other to stay on target with the question...so since we're not on target, I'm just adding my 2 cents... I switched to Linux OS/Distro Ubuntu 2 years ago, because I was bored stiff with Windows (after going from MSDos to XP) wanted/needed something new to keep occupied. Then when Vista came out...well unfortunately it wouldn't work with any of the windows programs that all my computers we're running....so, I switched one computer back to Windows XP, put all the programs I used on it, got the best firewall software (even though I have a good modem/router firewall) and got the best anti-virus, anti-spyware available....then I took all the other machines and put Ubuntu desktop on them, loaded them with Openoffice, firefox, gnu software for money management, etc. Thank god that I cloned the windows machine, because even with the firewall, anti-virus, anti-spyware, I've had to re-clone this machine at least 3 times....due to either something malicious coming through patches, hacking or something else. On the other hand, the Ubuntu desktop on the other machines is running like a charm...have not had to reload, re-clone...they just work. And to me that is the joy of the Ubuntu desktop..it works!!!

RipVan
RipVan

I had to ditch Windows on the home computer due to all the time wasted with 2 teenagers web surfing. When Firefox came out, that was a huge help by itself, but Windows was simply too time consuming with maintenance, let alone hunting down the latest virus to which those silly goobers would fall prey. And yes, that even occurred with the "lates" virus definitions... Now I can let them do anything they want (yes, including iPod hookup) and I can concentrate on working on the Windows installations of family and friends. And no, I don't do it professionally, I do it because I feel sorry for the people who know so little about their "best operating system in the world". People frequently mention giving Grandma Windows and being amazed because she can figure out how to use it. Well, the same goes for Linux, and I never have to go back because of viruses or crap removal, bloat removal, temp file management, viruses, etc...

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

The mistake a lot of new users make is dropping into forums saying "Linux is broken and doesn't work worth a crap because I can't do XYZ (so, by extension, it must not be possible)." A good start it to check out a few liveCD to find a distro you like. PCLinuxOS get's a lot of attention these days. I'm a Mandriva user. Ubuntu is popular. Try them all out off bottable CDs. When you install, use a VM or dual boot system if your comfortable setting up partitions. Use Linux and switch back to Windows as needed. Learn to use the package manager. You may also find some of the "equivalent software" website lists handy for finding a program that does what you need if package manager searches don't. It's Libre, it's not Free, you will have to pay with your time as you would when learning any new thing. If you've specific issues, post a list and I or other's will try to help. What hardware gives you grief or what function do you need a program for?

j-mart
j-mart

Linux is more of a time saver than a time waster. When I recall all the time I have spent with various windows versions searching for drivers for sound cards, graphics adapters network cards etc. Linux always finds these things for itself. Often with windows you often need to open up box to find details of various hardware, or by using one of the live Linux distros boot up an unknown windows box use Linux's far superior hardware detection to get detailed specs of hardware you require windows drivers for. Especially for those who work in IT industry being frightend of putting in a small amount of effort to learn something new is never a waste of time.

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

I can agree that there is a learning curve. However, I find Ubuntu self-maintaining and OO.o more than suitable to my personal needs. I installed Ubuntu once, configured it appropriately once, and don't have to mess with it. Took about an hour and a half, once. In comparison, Windows XP needs defragging, virus and malware scanning, rebooting, on a weekly basis; the occasional complete wipe and redo including loading all the software (which takes a day to a day and a half when you include pulling in all the Updates). I may be more proficient with Windows, more comfortable with Windows, but it is far more time-consuming than is Ubuntu.

kmiller
kmiller

I think you're making his point for him. You're saying your preferred OS crashes on large directories but it lets you make directories large enough to cause a crash? That sounds like poor design. I use windows (several flavors) and Linux both, I believe in using the right tool for the right job, it's not a religious thing with me but rather a practical matter. I've had Windows lock up on big directories too. I use Linux for many things but I wouldn't dream of forcing it on our users for their workstations. You have to consider productivity. Still, if an OS lets you create a directory big enough to cause problems with that OS, that's a design problem. No offense, but you can't have it both ways, it hasn't crashed in years but it locks up on big directories? I'll grant that Windows has gotten MUCH more stable since W95, W2K was much better, XP may be a little better than W2K, I'm witholding judgement on Vista.

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

Must have cost a fair bit of money for all that media! That or the scanners will be on to you.

RipVan
RipVan

Over time, I found a few distros to be nice, and the family is settled on PC LinuxOS. One thing many people mention that they like about different distros is Compiz. Whenever I activate it, it works great for one user. But when the kids logon, they lock the session and then when someone else logs on, the system starts to develop various problems and I have to reboot. I checked linuxquestions.org, the PCLOS site and the Compiz site (yeah, Google too), and no one else seems to have posted the same problem. I didn't want to post it until I hunt around some more, but I am very surprised that other people don't seem to experience this. So do any of you Compiz lovers end up with multiple users logged on? And does your system act fine when you do? (If you have ever seen this problem posted, do you remember what forum it was on?)

mitzampt
mitzampt

I read all the 140 posts until here... i thought that my oppinion was obsolete, but i want to give you a good example... The only reason I am not using Linux as the most important OS in my system is because i can't do the things you just mentioned before. Because I live at "countryside" there is only one Internet sollutin around here, a nasty USB interfaced ADSL Ethernet Adapter... which eventually requires a closed source firmware. Now I would search and update the drivers (since downloading is free) but the automated task cannot be done without... Internet... so all falls down to me... I have been struggling for a month to install that device without luck... I actually like linux a lot... and I would remplace XP at any moment if I could connect to the internet from within Linux... I must add I used about 8-9 different distros and of course all my research stopped at some package requirement. I even did an interesting thing and loaded my Linux i had on my hard-drive into a VM and used a bridged network to gain access to internet, but i gave up fighting with the new interface I had to configure(that being the network adapter bridged) These things can be made fully automated in linux, if the geeks at linux realise that Windows based applications are comodly intuitive and also allow advanced features to be reached... All linux software (linux-specific) have a whole lot more features and options avaible than windows counterparts (actually, everyone knows how Windows registry hacks allow an user to do a feature that isn't included in GUI). I am a man ready to learn... actually as a student.. this is what i do :)), but fighting with this requires for me to make an effort i can;t do until i research it a lot lot lot

rkuhn040172
rkuhn040172

Windows supports more hardware than any OS and includes most drivers as part of the install. Top that off with the fact that if you go the OEM route, companies like Dell, HP, etc give you the restore CD. My god, how hard is it to put a CD in the PC and click Next, Next, OK, Done. Geez!

rkuhn040172
rkuhn040172

XP does need to be defragged but not nearly as often as the old days. Once a month is plenty for most users and it can be scheduled to occur at night. Malware scanning is now real time with again only an occasional full system scan. Probably once a month sufficient again and can be scheduled at night. Lastly, using Ghost or something similar for the OS along with regular data backups you can avoid the rebuilding issue all together. Not to mention slipstreaming patches and say SP3 into your builds. Life in the Windows world, while admittedly a pain in the ass years ago, is substantially easier nowadays.

techrepublic@
techrepublic@

Some times I have more than one session open using Compiz Fusion and have not had any problem arising from it. One thing that is important to notice is that each session takes a slice of memory potentially causing swapping. If the system is starved of memory the "Out Of Memory Killer" will kill a task and that can cause undefined problems. Also, some 3D graphic cards/drivers have problems sharing its resources and this can cause state (e.g. image, texture) corruption or slow/unstable performance.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

That is something I've not had reason to try though I do make use of alt+F#. My first guesses would be hardware limitations or glitchy Compiz. I find KDE has enough bling to balance the performance and the rest of it. I tend to just go with a shnazzy KDE theme then use eTerm with almost clear backgrounds; clean minimal fram and the size always seems to tile well. The nice thing is that the X session should remember open windows and possitions if you can get them in the habbit of logging each other off; by extension, maybe developing the habbit of logging themselves off after loosing a few unsaved documents. (depends on the sibling relationship of course) The Unix like OS tend to manage resources better but I suspect that the open session is still keeping hold of memory so the first person get's a 1gig of ram machine, the second get's 75% of that, the third less.. That may be it right there depending on the hardware you installed on. If you've a multi-core 4 gig of ram monster of a machine, I'd question the degredation of performance more.

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

since Vista is not a true multi-user OS. Quick user switching doesn't really count.

RipVan
RipVan

And since I forced Linux on them, I thought I would make it as enjoyable as possible. But they leave their sessions open when they walk away from the computer. Someone else comes along, they leave the first session up and then start one of their own. So there are sometimes 3 users running at a time. I guess that is degrading the performance, but I thought since only one was active at any given time, that it wouldn't be a problem. Perhaps I could still do that, but cut down the number of effects that Compiz uses. Not sure if that is a solution, but there must be some answer if no one else complains about this. Maybe everyone else is smart enough not to do it! And of course, I wonder if Windows users have this problem with Aero...

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Is the issue that you have three user accounts; one working, one partial, one not at all with Compiz? Or, is the issue that three users are logging in at the same time and degrading performance with each addition? Also, is Compiz required? It is pretty and lasted over a day on my system but at the time it was young and the ATI X module was pretty flakey with it. I had X crash out twice leaving me at a cli then "urpme compiz" fixed everything (ok, I removed it through drakconf because I was lazy :) ). My experience is that Compiz is flashy and the cubed desktop is a nice way to switch. The flat desktop layout showing everything is very nice also and there must be some great plugins by now. I just personally have no need of it above and beyond KDE's native abilities. Wobbly melting windows do not make minimizing any more efficient.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

It's not critical and I've a few other hobby tasks ahead of it on the list so I haven't got back to looking for it. I apreaciate you keeping an eye out for it in passing. Let me know how the cable box goes. If it's only a USB dongle then you gotta go that way with it but if that provides an internal network port that would be ideal. The ISDN and Cable modems used around hear seem to provide both methods of connecting the internal network.

mitzampt
mitzampt

...when i bump into something else that i need. This could be off-topic, but when you install a linux and you are curious about the mirrors from which you get updates (not that i ever succeded updating :)), since i cannot connect), you see so many many many domains which cover linux... (In my country there are more linux mirrors than Counter-Strike game servers... and there are a whole lot of them) Linux is better than Windows at this point because it's a community-based sollution. If you want to find an answer about linux you google it, but for modules you're in another dimension. When a friend asks me to search something he was searching for weeks, i find it in 2 minutes, and before he realises he has it... I am interested too about kernel modules, but i'm so new on the field i might slow you down. But let me give it a try by searching my way for that modification and if i bump into something i-ll send it to you...

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

.. then it'll be a bit of learning initially but seemingly simple after you get through it once. If I have time, I'll and have a look for howto online. For installing unsupported hardware; I'm actually mucking with a Nintendo wifi adapter right now. The Wii has built in wifi so rather than return the dongle or accept the 20$ loss, I'm going to see about using it as a standard wifi adapter. (mmm.. wifi adapter on my powerhouse of a desktop would more handy than using the N810 for capture then moving the file to the desktop for analysis.) Ironically, it's easier to hack it on windows; I just edited the driver from the vendor who made the chip and crippled it to Nintendo's needs. To use it under my Mandriva boot, I hear rumours of a bit of light kernel module modification but all the websites I find are for the Windows crowd.

mitzampt
mitzampt

I have a speedtouch 330 ADSL adapter... I found the firmware, the frimware extractor and instructions on how to do it, but i got stuck because I needed to download a module (I can't remember which one... I'll try to repeat the experiment this week-end and get the thing), but i'm also very very unexperienced in this field and after installing the device I can't start it... You see.. if there were a wizard for doing this (and by wizard i don't mean GUI, just step by step assisted installation) i would of forgotten about Windows... When I'll learn enough about this i might make a script to install the interface step-by-step.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Assuming it's not possible to use a generic ADSL supporting router between your machine NIC and the phone line, what is the USB adapter's model? I may not find anything to help but I'll have a look. Maybe even if it can be ndwrapper'd into behaving since the vendor seems to think only one OS exists. Also, does your ISP support osX and how do those machines connect?

j-mart
j-mart

Windows is primarily a consumer product and is marketed and sold like any other consumer product. Back in the DOS era it was primarily a buisiness - industrial tool. With the rise if the internet and with Win95 onwards Microsoft has put a lot of effort into growing this "consumer" part of the market. I see Vista as a result of this focus on the consumer market more so than the buisiness and industrial part of the market and hence the slow take up of Vista by commercial customers. Being more and more geared to being another consumer appliance and marketed as such. Linux, on the other hand is much different, it owes it's existance to a large number who work on it for the enjoyment, desire to create and the challenge. The direction it takes is not decided by marketing departments and as a result it goes in whatever direction interests these contributors have an iterest at the time. Because the underlying design and architecture has been based on well proven, well tested concepts, this lack of direct control has not harmed the finished product. The way Linux evolves has given us solid stable multi-functioning, multi-dimensional OS that because, at it's core, open source can be adaped and modified to serve many different purposes. Windows, because of it's closed source totaly secret nature can only ever be one dimensional and only what ever Microsoft wants it to be. Discussions like this tend to concentrate on a series of points and counterpoints around the usual arguments eg. games or the merits of this or that application. In todays computing enviroment there are many tasks that you can do quite easily with Linux or windows, whatever you prefer to use. Where Linux becomes better option is when you move outside the scope of what Microsoft has placed Windows in, it may be something as simple as wanting to run your system without a web browser, or it may be wanting to cluster together PS3 machines together. Linux is a versitle tool where those with the skill, knowledge and imagination are going to use it to provide an effective efficient solition to many technical problems. A more modestly skilled person like me can use Linux as a solid reliable straight forward OS for my personal needs, getting the best out of the hardware I have for minium cost.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

...all of them dental techs. One of them is probably your favorite.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Doesn't anybody here have a hot sister? How 'bout a niece just back from 'Lindsey Lohan Rehab for Wayward Young Trollops'?

j-mart
j-mart

Boot with live Linux CD (Mandriva's a good choice) and it will give you a detailed run down on hardware in box. much better than booting windows to find out and saves opening it up to find out

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

After the third reinstall in as many months. She evaluated her options and downloaded and installed PCLinuxOS with no issues. She says she likes the cleaner interface of both Firefox and OpenOffice now that she's changed the default color scheme so she can see it with her 80-year-old eyes. Edit: Oh, almost forgot. She's glad her [u]10-year-old[/u] computer is working again. (Had to call her to ask how old it is.)

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I only install the media provided old driver if it's required to get the new driver stack. Ideally, I look for drivers that don't bundle in various token programs; just give me the damn .inf and related files. For general hardware, the Windows included drivers are usually sufficient though I have a list of components that get tracked for new driver releases; primarily sound, gpu, mobo and bios. I have to confirm if I can update the bios in the nvidia 8800 along with the drivers. I remember the cuts and bruses from win95; thankfully technology evolves.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

How many of you out there have grandmothers doing there own OS installs? If Linux knows a piece of hardware the "driver" is just there. The kernel developers have all but begged hardware vendors for driver interface specs in offering to write all the drivers for them. One kernel knowing the hardware means all distros using know the hardware. X also takes hardware modules but that's your two places. They either know the hardware, can easily have a binary or community driver added or eventually will if it's common hardware. By contrast, your grandma who does her own OS installs will be needing the initial Windows install. That will be followed by getting latest drivers from vendors websites through various support processes. That driver off the vendor provided install media will get them enough support to go online for the latest driver though that mprobably means some plinkety crapware installed with it also. (Asus, good motherboards but the monitoring programs are the bare minimum; for example.) The vendor support hardware rather than OS developer supporting hardware is also an issue. Is your scanner, printer and other hardware still getting updated drivers? How's patching win98 going for her or does she not go online? In the Windows world, hardware that does not return profit margins to the vendor does not get further driver updates nor are specs usualy released for other's to carry on with. That is slowly changing as demonstrated by AMD and others though. What is with the "people don't care" crap though. How does people's emotional state relate to the technical abuilities of any platform. I don't "care" that Windows runs AutoCAD since I haven't need for that application; does that mean Windows is irrelevant? I don't "care" that Linux linux can run high end scientific simulation software; that somehow makes all it's advantages irrelevant? Drop the emotional crap and stick with the what technological attributes each platform presents. We're not picking class president for the school council.

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

the longest I have ever searched for a driver is 4 hours, and that was because lenovo miss-labeled the driver as being compatible with an older card, which was no longer supported by that version of the driver.... Installing the drivers can take 10 minutes, sure, but I rarely if ever spend more then that looking for them. Most have these handy little browser functions to get you to the right machine... you just have to know whats in the box.

jdclyde
jdclyde

OS's don't support hardware, hardware vendors support OS's. It is the vendors that write a driver to go with a set OS and not others, that causes that issue, and had nothing to do with windows/mac/linux.

rkuhn040172
rkuhn040172

If you don't have your disks anymore, that's a customer service issue and more and more companies are doing a fabulous job at it (grant it, some still suck). Ever tried HP's website? You don't have a driver, you install a small app on your system and it scans your system for you then tells you want you need. From some of your other comments in this thread, I sense you hanging onto issues of the past. It is the 21 century and with XP and Vista, alot of your "issues" are gone or at least less of an issue. This isn't the Win 95/98 days man!

rkuhn040172
rkuhn040172

I concede that point. However, do you really think my grandma cares who supports what and how? She buys her Windows PC, plugs it in and it works. If she were to ever try Linux, keeping in mind she's 95 and still runs Windows 98, good luck with Linux supporting all her hardware that is anywhere from 1 year old to maybe 10 years old...scanner, printer, etc. Do you see my point? People don't care how or why (under the hood), all they care about and see is that it works.

j-mart
j-mart

And with windows it is always a time consuming process to find and install them. A typical example would be a machine that may have had some components upgraded, replaced etc. All windows machines deteriorate over time from original install. A complete format and reinstall often being the quickest way to sort out the system, and original driver disks have a habit of getting lost. This windows tendency to require regular maintenance and the odd reinstall can be a plus for those in the trade as windows keeps quite a few employed keeping it up to the task.

Mad-H
Mad-H

Not always, I can't remember the specifics but we had Dell machines at my last company with nothing unusual (so it's not an issue with obscure hardware) and one of the hardware drivers required much messing around with in Windows 2K to get it working so we only reloaded them if we absolutely had to. Knoppix booted and worked with that particular bit of hardware without even coughing.....

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Care to list the processors supported by Windows? How far back does hardware support for Windows go? So you've got hardware like a GPU that is not fully supported without the manufacturer's driver CD. Now you have whatever driver version shipped when that hardware was packaged at a factory. Will that CD be jumping online to grab the latest drivers for your hardware or is that still a manual task for the user? Windows get's the vendor's attention for latest and greatest consumer hardware like GPU and budget printers. But in general, it does not support the largest library of hardware and support much hardware that Windows couldn't be shoehorned into. Dell and HP don't seem to present an issue with preinstalled Linux systems either so what is your point? Anything preinstalled has already had the vendor go driver hunting.

foard
foard

Windows supports almost no hardware, it simply lets hardware vendors support it. Linux doesn't support 100% of the hardware out there, but it does support hardware.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"Windows supports more hardware than any OS ..." No, Windows supports more personal computer and peripheral hardware than any other desktop / laptop / tablet OS. *nix OSs support far more overall categories of computer, from PCs to big iron to specialized single-purpose systems.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

The article was also focusing on newer hardware and the current generations of freakishly fast and large hard drives. Basically, the rate at which the hardware moves data these days, the defrag is mostly useless because the hardware more than compensates for the degredation of the read/write times. Both the cases you two mention where reasons for Defrag. Older hardware that can show a performance improvement from defrag; it's still an important bit of maintenance. Similarily, an 80 gig drive is small with 250 to 300s for $100 at the shop with SATA 3 gig interface. The high traffic in that small space is another place that the defrag makes a difference. My own case; when back to my parents for a visit, I usually take half a day (that's how slow the machine is) to do a maintenance run with a finer toothed comb than the folks do themselves. clean the crud from temp, scan the heck out of it for malware, defrag the beast. CCleaner and defrag take the longest to run through so defrag is usually left running on it's own without me. That machine is around a P2, P3 with 128'ish meg ram, win2k and a mess on the hard drives from so many years of unmanaged directory structure. Defrag is very much a part of that machines life. By contrast, my Quade core and 4 gig ram with two drives on SATA 3gb shows no difference between a chewed file system and clean defrag. habitually, it's hard not to do a Windows Update, cleanning run and defrag each time I boot over too it. Heck, it's hard to not do only the defrag before I pop open whatever game I had to boot win32 for. For older hardware and where it does show an improvement, Defrag is not going anywhere. With the newer systems, the hardware is more than overcompensating. Defrag is dead, long live Defrag.

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

80G and 40G drives. WinXP Pro. Originally built about 4 years ago. I do a lot of copying, and moving student homework and quizzes on and off the machine, back and forth to various flash drives. I also download (legally) a lot of mp3's, and am in the process of copying my vinyl collection to hard drive, backup, and CD. This makes for a lot of traffic on the hard drive. I don't use that limited piece of Diskeeper crud that they licensed to MS, I use the full Diskeeper package. Noticeable improvement in performance after defragging. Do a boot-time about once every 3 months, and defrag the MFT periodically. Wouldn't do without it.

jdclyde
jdclyde

Defrag is very much still a part of my world. We have some systems as old as a PII350 with 256m ram and 20 gig drives. Thing is 10 years old, but for a user that only checks email and our intranet, it does the job. The main time it makes a difference is every few months, and/or after uninstalling programs or deleting data. Manually clearing the temp folder makes more of an impact than defrag though.....

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

What is the size of the drives? The particular article was focused towards gamers and home users so they where using like drive. With industrial beasts like storage clusters (if they used ntfs or fat) or monster machines with huge file counts and storage space, I could see you noticing the performance hit. My own ntfs/fat partitions don't have enough traffic for the defrag to be noticable. I run it regularily out of habit but it's really just watching the graph clean itself rather than for any performance increase. That's my own machine though and the rest of it is ext3 defraging automatically.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I don't think it is laziness entirely though that definately plays a part for some. We all get spun up over topics though which also tends to drudge in the wild arguments (hopefully I mange to justify the points that seem off topic but maybe not always). Lack of experience is a huge one I think too. I could state a baby's arm long list of things that osX can't do but I realize it's only because I am minimally familiar with the OS more. Vista, I have opinions about but but realize the limited experience I have with the OS since I haven't a license for it to be installed; I've only played with other installs lightly. (Vista and various distros, I see daily at a very intimate level and have issues and admirations for both. Granted, less admirations on one side than the other.) In a discussion, people exchange information with consideration of the other points or provide further information to aid understanding. In a debate, you don't have to be write if you can prove the other person wrong by some minute point. I much prefer the discussions too the debates. Though the usual suspect topics seem to eventually devolve into the latter.

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

re: defragging. Beyond a certain fragmentation level, this particular machine behaves badly. Sluggish to open programs, if they open at all. etu

rkuhn040172
rkuhn040172

Way too many times certain people act as if Linux or OS X are maintenance free. Sure, one can argue Windows requires more maintenance, but anyone who fails to maintain, monitor, update, patch, etc their systems, whether they be Windows, Linux or OS X is just an idiot. And, way too often, people drag in arguments from the past such as defragging. Defragging is quickly declining as a serious issue. Malware scanners are vastly improved and so is security in general. Products like Ghost are more mainstream and easier to use. There are more and more really good freeware programs out there. Anyways, bottom line is sometimes I think people get carried away with their arguments out of sheer laziness or perhaps lack of experience/familiarity.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

This is one of those times we're in agreement so I had to post something. Defrag is almost usless unless you have a freakishly huge storage space where every last billisecond of time is valuable. I recently read a comparison of various defrag programs including benchmarking against the fragmented test drive. The difference between a freaking mess and fresh defrag was negligable at most. With the speed of modern hardware, it's pretty much just to watch the nifty graph go from spotty to organized. (I can't give up the habbit fully but only out of habbit) For malware, I still do work by hand. Active scanners catch most of it but you get some dregs lingering about that get past. It is still worth running the manual scanners too though (spybot is getting old but still usefull). Besides, more scanners means taching what the other's missed. That doesn't work with large installs but they have many layers of scanners before the workstation; home users don't. Ghosting is a must. It's not always fun to get the image build just right but imaging the disk once you get it makes a huge difference. Slipstreaming is also a nice new feature. I'm a little surprised I've not slipped my own install disk yet but I don't reinstall too often these days either. On the other side, I don't leave my Linux based systems unattended either. Automated scanning gets done and reports back. Manuall scanning gets done. logs get read. It's far less maintenance than other systems but it's not untouched. osX get's it's regular maintenance also. Same with my routers. It all takes some level of maintaining.