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metadiscussion: Windows and Linux topics

By apotheon ·
I decided, on a whim, to compare the first page (first 25 threads) of the Linux discussion section with the first page (first 25 threads) of the Windows discussion section. I decided I'd divide each list into two sections: stuff where someone's begging for help with a problem, and stuff where discussion isn't a plea for aid.

I went into this with the hypothesis that, contrary to popular opinion about how "hard" Linux is, the number of pleas for help with Windows would outnumber those for Linux. I'll share my results with you, now.

WINDOWS: I discovered four non-help topics. One was about Microsoft response to piracy, one was about Microsoft claims that interoperability is a priority, one was a simple request for opinions on whether XP Pro or XP Home was better (for the record: go with Pro), one was an "open letter" to Bill Gates explaining how horrible Windows is, and one was just a general question about what NTFS is. The other 20 were pleas for help. I'll list the problems for you.
1. SP2 preventing network shares
2. executable files are "broken"
3. Office files won't open any longer
4. activation status was lost
5. need help with bootable thumb drives
6. help with remote desktop functionality
7. help with WinPE/OPK
8. lost product key
9. searching files locks up computer
10. virus problems
11. Windows not playing nice with keyboard
12. help roll back computer to initial state
13. scanner not working with Windows
14. computer crash
15. help restarting in DOS mode
16. won't detect hard drive
17. won't detect mouse
18. audio screwed up
19. lost user profile
20. print dialog not visible

BOTH: Yes, both. There was one topic in the Linux section that actually pertained to help with both Windows AND Linux. It was about setting up a computer as a dual-boot system. This reduces the first 25 Linux topics to 24. Such is life.

LINUX: I actually was intentionally harder on Linux than Windows. For instance, in Windows I put the "What is NTFS?" thread into the "not a problem" category, and with Linux I stuck the "What's the maximum file size for Linux filesystems?" question in the "pleas for help" category. I just decided to be really strict with Linux because I wanted to defuse claims of bias. Even doing that, however, I ended up with the 24 topics left after removing the "both" thread being divided evenly, with 12 each in the "problem" and "not problem" categories, as follows.

1. Novell business strategy
2-7. six threads asking what distro should be used (one was for a charity project)
8. a link to a funny video
9. antivirus software advice
10. TCO for Linux vs. commercial UNIX
11. Revolution OS movie discussion
12. a question about Solaris, which isn't even Linux (or, for that matter, open source at the time that thread started)

1. MS Access on Linux
2. setting up PHP
3. requested list of shell commands
4. removing software on Mandrake Linux
5. setting up mail server
6. terminal services help
7. fear of having been rooted (like a trojan on Windows, kinda)
8. question about user accounts
9. shell scripting help
10. question about filesystem characteristics
11. help wiping a Linux filesystem
12. advice for where to get help learning Linux

I can make all sorts of analytical statements about what this means, but I think you need to come to your own conclusions. It's not like my conclusions aren't going to be obvious, anyway, particularly since I'm posting this from my P4 2.4GHz Debian GNU/Linux system right now.

By the way, a recent uptime check showed 78 days without a restart. The last time this system was shut down was to move power cords. Can you say that about your Windows system? I know I can't say it about my Windows system (the computer I usually don't use), at the other end of the desk.

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by apotheon In reply to The trouble with statisti ...

The Windows discussion area here at TR sees a lot more traffic than the Linux discussion area. As such, there's a far higher incidence of Windows problems for the amount of time that has passed. The various threads for Linux include more than one post by one person (I think it was three posts). The various threads for Windows include two posts by one person, and two non-problem threads started by "Newsletter Editor" to spark discussion.

There. How's that?

It was a very unscientific survey, and I think I mentioned as much. I certainly didn't manipulate the statistics in the favor of Linux after the fact: I just hypothesized that Windows topics would include a greater incidence of problem-threads than the Linux topics in the first page of each, and it turned out I was right.

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Timeframe, nothing.

by Absolutely In reply to The trouble with statisti ...

What these statistics show is that Linux users don't have to beg for help as often. It's only partly because people who adopt Linux are more industrious, more intelligent, more curious, more obsessive, and learn more about how their OS does what it does. The nature of open source also allows more free self-help, at various technical levels, to be available.

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