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A Stroll Through Linux Wonderland . . .

By Number 6 ·
I confess.

Being so pleased with Microsoft's recent release (defecation?) of Vista upon the great unwashed masses, I finally gave in to the primal urge which has beckoned me to a good, hard look at the Linux desktop. I did this not only for myself, but for the endless stream of miserable people who call on me to pull their ailing, bloated systems out of a malware-infested sausage grinder. Security and clean functionality: There had to be a better way for everyone here.

So, armed with a sense of euphoric resolve to finally put an end to my little corner of the Microsoft treadmill, I rolled up my sleeves and dug in. After several weeks of "Distro Watching", forum scouring, and endless gigabytes of unintentional beta-testing (ahem), I found myself finally answering the question: "Why bother with Windows?" Well, my report is as follows --

First observation: Until ReactOS finally (if ever) matures, there may never be a replacement for the native functionality which has already been extended to Windows through the MILLIONS of commercial and freeware offerings available to the platform. The flexibility and diversity provided here cannot be matched by Linux or anything else, period. And yes, I have heard of WINE.

Next, my trollings revealed that a significant portion of the complications which prevent Linux from being more widely adopted as a replacement for Windows is the ongoing unavailability of drivers for hardware (printers, anyone?) and the pervasive, entrenched unwillingness on the part of the greater development community to drop its arcane and problematic approach to ad-hoc software installation. Security and usefulness can be balanced here, and indeed must be; to allow for the ready installation of unknown new software by the end user (true freedom?). Ultimately, this is the right and privilege of the computer system owner (idiot or otherwise), and must not be shunted away. Furthermore, the global technical problems which require distro-specific compilation of new software for a given installation is an abomination and must be roundly addressed: which brings me to my last point.

The final crippling **** for Linux today really comes down to ego on the part of individual members of the development community and their disjointed hodgepodge of distros du jour. For, without a central, standardized, unified SINGLE distribution effort to forcefully address those several issues which prevent its widespread adoption, Linux will never find popular support in either the freeware or commercial software sectors; and, therefore, will continue to languish in relative obscurity ad infinitum.

Get smart, get it together, or get out, Linux: Microsoft is laughing its head off at your ongoing disorganization and narcissistic behavior; and we're all suffering the consequences.

Tower of Babel, anyone???

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Is it 1998 again?

by jmgarvin In reply to A Stroll Through Linux Wo ...

I swear I've seen this exact same post (and refuted this exact same post) for the past decade.

Meh, why bother AGAIN...

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Why refute it , indeed.

by CharlieSpencer In reply to Is it 1998 again?

You say you've seen the same litany for a decade. Why refute it again?

Well, this is a person who's just given Linux a try. Maybe he hasn't seen your counterpoints. On the other hand, if he's repeating complaints you've heard before, maybe it's because no one is addressing them.

I too am tired of hearing purists insist closed-source drivers are unacceptable, and that no driver at all is preferable. Talk about cutting your beak off to spite your face...

His post could have have been less judgmental, but that may be due to frustration. It certainly sounds like some of my feelings whenever I make the attempt, although I have different problems. I wish he had posted his problems here as he encountered them instead of a post-traumatic semi-rant. I've always found TR members to be helpful with Linux issues.

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Ok, a few points

by jmgarvin In reply to Why refute it , indeed.

"The flexibility and diversity provided here [with Windows] cannot be matched by Linux or anything else, period. And yes, I have heard of WINE."

I'm not sure I'm tracking. You claim that Linux isn't flexible, but I'm able to chose to run command line only, log in on multiple consoles (truly multi-user), use different Window Mangers, have my choice of text editing/word processing/spreadsheet/etc apps.

What isn't flexible about Linux? What diversity are you looking for? You can't complain that there are too many Linux distros and then complain there isn't flexibility or diversity.

"Next, my trollings revealed that a significant portion of the complications which prevent Linux from being more widely adopted as a replacement for Windows is the ongoing unavailability of drivers for hardware (printers, anyone?)"

What print drivers weren't working? This has been pretty well sorted out about 5 years ago.

"and the pervasive, entrenched unwillingness on the part of the greater development community to drop its arcane and problematic approach to ad-hoc software installation."

What? You'd rather use a CD or have everything installed by default or what? I thought you wanted flexibility?

What's wrong with apt-get, yum, or any other flavor of package manager?

"Security and usefulness can be balanced here, and indeed must be; to allow for the ready installation of unknown new software by the end user (true freedom?)."

Uh, you can. You can bork up your user space ALL you want...you just can't bork up the system like you can in Windows.

"Ultimately, this is the right and privilege of the computer system owner (idiot or otherwise), and must not be shunted away."

sudo is your friend.

"Furthermore, the global technical problems which require distro-specific compilation of new software for a given installation is an abomination and must be roundly addressed: which brings me to my last point."

Why not use the package manager and NOT compile from source? You aren't FORCED into a box like you are with MS. Your only choice is ONE Window Manager, ONE user at a time, NO package manager that compares what many Linux distros have to offer.

"The final crippling **** for Linux today really comes down to ego on the part of individual members of the development community and their disjointed hodgepodge of distros du jour."

It's called choice. What works for me, may not work for you. I may prefer Gentoo, you may prefer Ubuntu. That's just fine.

"For, without a central, standardized, unified SINGLE distribution effort to forcefully address those several issues which prevent its widespread adoption, Linux will never find popular support in either the freeware or commercial software sectors; and, therefore, will continue to languish in relative obscurity ad infinitum."

Uh, Linux is QUITE popular in the commercial software sector and becoming more popular in the home computing sector. Hence, Dell offering Ubuntu PCs.

"Tower of Babel, anyone???"

The Tower of Babel is MS. Nothing quite works right in Vista. Many .Net 3.0 apps still need EXTRA code to make them behave properly in Vista. The biggest **** is Windows, Office, and .Net are drifting further apart and the APIs are turning into a huge frustration for devs.

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Now maybe he'll see where you're coming from.

by CharlieSpencer In reply to Ok, a few points

I agree the posts below about his possibly bringing the wrong mindset to this trial.

From the standpoint of one who has tried three distros (each current when I tried them), I have only one disagreement with your positions above.

"What? You'd rather use a CD or have everything installed by default or what? I thought you wanted flexibility?"

Yes, I'd rather have the option to use optical media. I once spent money ordering Fedora on 4 DVDs. I didn't install everything during the initial installation, figure I could pull anything else I wanted off the DVD later. it was beyond my feeble abilities to configure Fedora to use the DVDs as a repository, despite massive assistance from many TR members.

Why would I want to do this? Because not everyone has a broadband connection, and downloading apps over a dial-up line is painfully slow. That's why I ordered the DVDs in the first place. If Linux discriminates against the home user in any way, it's the assumption that everyone has a broadband connection. It's great that it's free, but that isn't much of a selling point if I have to hook up a $59 per month umbilical cord.

I realize this isn't a technology issue. Other than that, you were dead on.

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IIRC they fixed that in FC6

by jmgarvin In reply to Now maybe he'll see where ...

You can point to the local repository as of 6 with yum, yes?

Wasn't that FC5 that you were using? (I remember the thread, but honestly, it was a while ago).

I totally agree though. With Debian, Ubuntu, Gentoo, and other, you can point to a local repository (eg a DVD) and pull from that rather than connect to the internet.

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You're correct.

by CharlieSpencer In reply to IIRC they fixed that in F ...

That was FC 5. If that issue has been fixed, I withdraw my objection.

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They changed how yum worked in FC6

by jmgarvin In reply to You're correct.

I THINK it has been fixed, but I'm not 100% sure.

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that's because

by Jaqui In reply to Is it 1998 again?

they use the exact same RH Linux 7 for their tests instead of being SMART enough to get a recent version.

after all, a 10 year old verion will not have changed, so they can lie to everyone and say it's no good.

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Wow, are they that up to date? ;-)

by jmgarvin In reply to that's because

I thought they'd still be using Slackware on the 1.4 kernel....

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scary thing is

by Jaqui In reply to Wow, are they that up to ...

that I see companies looking for people to admin rh 7 to rh 9 regularly.

backporting patches to keep it secure?
no thanks, way to much work for the pay.
[ not to mention admin for win2k network is included in job description ]

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