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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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No kidding...

by jmgarvin In reply to scary thing is

I've never understood why companies are so afraid to migrate when it is PAINFULLY obvious that the product is deprecated.

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I can't speak for Linux systems

by CharlieSpencer In reply to No kidding...

but we have several DOS and W95 machines in storage as backups for operational systems. The applications are home-grown ones that run diagnostic tests on some of our products. The apps are optimized for the processors (!) and if we move them to faster hardware the programs run too fast. The programmers have long since left, and the department doesn't have the developer-hours to rewrite them. We're looking at desktop virtualization as a potential solution: create the virtual machine and starve it for resources.

In this case we have no reason to upgrade these standalone systems. Our biggest problem is keeping an operational supply of spares. We lose at least one whenever we test them annually. I'm not offering this as an excuse for not staying current, and it certainly doesn't excuse not keeping servers within a version or two of current releases.

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generally, these linux systems

by Jaqui In reply to I can't speak for Linux s ...

are the mission critical servers, where having them completely current is a very good investment. It would give a more reliable server, with more interconnectivity features for the multi platform environment.

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Change the Windows mindset

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

I think the main issue is that you are coming into the GNU/Linux world with a Windows mindset. You cannot run EXE binaries on GNU/Linux (again, yes we all know of wine). Trust the GNU/Linux distribution's package manager and use programs made for GNU/Linux. The goal isn't to get people to use Windows programs on GNU/Linux, it's to get them to use similar, free programs on a new Operating System.

And sure, your printer with the Windows sticker on it works well in Windows, but that's because Microsoft pays people to write drivers. GNU/Linux drivers are written by intelligent, helpful people who wish to share with others. Security, of course, is very dependent upon the end user, but compare the Windows OS to the GNU/Linux OS "out of the box" and you will see the lack of viruses/spyware for GNU/Linux as a wonderful gift to the end users who don't know how to secure their system, or who simply don't want to spend the money to do so.

You last "crippling ****" is a misunderstanding of GNU/Linux. A distribution is a set of tools for people to use with the Linux kernel and there are quite a few good ones out there: Ubuntu, SUSE, Dream, etc. If you don't like the package manager included in a distro, guess what? You can change it! It may not be the OS you are looking for, but your preference doesn't equate to a GNU/Linux fault. Also, GNU/Linux not only will find, but has found, popular support in freeware software. Ever heard of Open Source? It's a massive movement and mostly based on *nix systems. I say let Microsoft laugh, it's not a popularity contest.

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Totally agree

by jmgarvin In reply to Change the Windows mindse ...
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Great link

by deity_chooch In reply to Totally agree

I had not read that article before. It was a very good read, even for someone who has been using GNU/Linux for a while. I'll have to bookmark it. Thanks!

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Yes. That is good one.

by seanferd In reply to Great link

I had not seen it before, either. Thanks, jmgarvin.

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Both of you are quite welcome, but thank

by jmgarvin In reply to Yes. That is good one.

Chad Perrin (apotheon), he's the one that turned me on to it.

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The Bottom Line

by dhohls In reply to Totally agree

Agreed. There should be a link to this from the front-page of the website of every distro out there. "Before you download, read this!".

If the OP had read even the last 8 paragraphs of the "NOT Windows" article, it may have saved him some pain.

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Good read...

by four-eyes_z In reply to Totally agree

Thanks for the link. Quite a good read....

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