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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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You hit the nail on the head!

by RknRlKid In reply to Change the Windows mindse ...

There are two things that I think all people need to realize:

1. Linux is NOT Windows.

2. Windows is NOT computing.

They are different. Different is okay. I have a computer running Ubuntu, and I have a brand new laptop running Vista. I use them for different things.

Talk about drivers being a problem: The curious thing to me is that I had to buy a printer specifically for the Vista machine! And the wireless doesn't work well! (Gee, where have I heard that before??)

Computers existed long before Windows, and did quite well. And before Windows, there was real choice: Commodore, Amiga, Atari, Kaypro, Radio Shack. Each ran a different type of operating system. Each had it own sets of drivers for different hardware. Each had its own quirks. The only thing I don't recall happening is everyone complaining because they didn't talk to each other!

Linux is not Windows. It requires a new skill set, and some flexibility while learning it. Heck, Windows was the same way when it came out - it required learning new skills. Expecting Linux to bend to be Windows is like expecting a cat to be a dog. They might be about the same size, but they aren't the same thing.

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Printers for Vista

by CharlieSpencer In reply to You hit the nail on the h ...

I keep reading comments from people saying they couldn't get Vista drivers for their printer. I'm not debating that, but every version of Windows since 3.11 has included a "Generic / Text Only" driver. Has this been left out of Vista? I realize such a driver will not allow you to use the full capabilities of a printer. I'm just wondering if it is still present, and if people bother to try it before they buy a replacement printer.

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That's part of the point too!

by RknRlKid In reply to Printers for Vista

That is the problem with the Linux driver complaints too. No one wants to just print *words* they want to print photos and pretty pictures off the internet. So, the correct driver is very important.

If all we wanted to do was print words, then we could still be using our IBM dot matrix printers :)

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On a test box

by jmgarvin In reply to Printers for Vista

I had trouble printing to a HP 5100 (I think that was the model) with the generic print driver...It would only print a # and @ on the page then kill the print job....

For other printers I had good luck with it though.

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Must be a slow day in Scotsdale

by j-mart In reply to A Stroll Through Linux Wo ...

Posting to get the old linux - windows flame going to fill in the day ?. As most who work in technology,know linux has moved a long way from being the technical toy it was back in the 90's. Today's linux is a mature, stable easy to use modern OS that is a usefull tool that has many uses within the IT industry, it is not windows, it does not work the same, it is different.

That said, any competent IT profesional, from a windows background, if they have the need or the inclination, should be equiped with the knowlege an skills needed to come up to speed with linux retatively easily. If, as an IT profesional this is too difficult, with linux in its present state of developement, maybe technology is not you best career option. that said, computers, linux, windows, etc is not something we need to become obsessed about, these are just another tool to get certain jobs accomplished.

Personally my OS of choice is linux, it is all I need on my own personal computers to do the tasks I require, at work my employer provides me with a winXP machine to do my work, but I could probably do the same work on a linux machine. I still find the odd task that can be performed most efficiently using DOS as the OS. We can all get on our soap box and rant on about which is the best OS, but we are supposed to be living in a free world ( free as in speach not as in beer) so you use whatever OS that does it for you and I will choose the one that suits me.

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