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Why Linux?

By IslandBoy_77 ·
At the risk of stirring up a hornet's nest, I simply have to ask this question: why go to Linux? I've read a number of threads on Tech Republic recently, and I can see NO reason to swap over from Wintel or Apple. Let me tell you why:
I run a small business in New Zealand supporting Wintel and Apple PCs, some in a small business setting, some in a graphics/design environment. I have found both platform reasonably fraught with glitches, bugs and problems. And before you Mac "weenies" start huffing and puffing, the hardest and "dumest" problems in the last 2 weeks have been on OS X 3 / 4!! I have often wondered about Linux, and have heard much bragging about security, uncrashability etc. However, these are the problems I have thinking about Linux:
1) Will my customers, who run apps from CAD, to Office, to Photoshop, to Garage Band, REALLY be actually better off on a pure-linux machine? Why?
2) Why is it that all the discussions I see about Linux talk about this distro and that distro, looking for drivers, typing commands lines and such? The "beauty" (if I can dare use that word...) of Win XP Pro or OS X 10.4 is that it is one "distro", in one place (i.e. comes in a single box), with all the drivers normally needed for most devices (given that any new system I build on a PC comes with all the necessary drivers for the motherboard, video card etc). I don't have the time to learn a whole "programming language" (which is what the Linux command line looks like: is that right?): I just want the OS I am installing to work "out of the box". Now don't go spouting off about how Win XP doesn't necessarily work that well "out of the box": it does 99% of the time for me, and I don't have to spend copious unchargeable hours trolling thru websites looking for drivers to do basic things like play DVDs.
3) Compatibility: As with the driver thing, neither I nor any "average" computer user wants to waste hours having to "piece" together basic computer functions by having this emulator for Office, and that compatible program for Photoshop, and another to play this game, and another for creating PDFs etc etc: computers are supposed to be about ease, not hard graft. When I started in computers 20 years ago (a ZX Spectrum with 48KB of RAM), "hard graft" was par for the course. GUI's are supposed to take 99% of that work away, not just be window-dressing to make command-line work less frequent.
4) Compatibility 2: In a Mac design environment, it's tricky enough getting a full post-script environment that works with Freehand MX and Adobe Creative Suite (and why that is I don't know... aren't Macs supposed to be "king" of the design enviroment?) - what sort of nightmare could my design clients be in for in a "cobbled-together" Linux environment?
5) Standards: Following on from 4), it has taken the likes of Adobe et al 10 years+ to get a "postscript" environment that is reasonable seamless, robust and "consistent" across various printing presses, image setters, large format printers etc: has Linux got this? If yes, how much time and effort (web trolling again?) is it to "mimic" a full design environment in Linux?

I hope all of you reading this see where I'm going with this: I'm no computer newbie, and have quite a lot of experience in general computing and system builds (as well as 9 years as the production manager for an advertising company, that included tech support for 18+ Macs). But all I see in Linux is a massive amount of endless trolling, updating and general farting about, just so I can say "I use Linux and don't get viruses". Well, I already don't get viruses, and neither do any of my clients, 'cos I show them how not to (standard recommendations are Avast! and SyGate Firewall). So, without getting onto very high soap boxes, will someone out there please explain, in plain, calm, ordinary English, why I or any other "average" computer user should REALLY want all the hassle of Linux? No smart-cracks about Windows etc please (there's enough of that going around to fill several large septic tanks), no xenophobic rants: just tell me the hard FACTS. Let's face it, if you can really convince me, I might just turn into a Linux convert and start "evangelising" this part of the world...

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well first off..

by Jaqui In reply to Why Linux?

what's wintel?
where do you get a wintel operating system?
I've never heard of it.
windows yup
macos yup
linux yup
irix yup
freebsd yup
openbsd yup
netbsd yup
bsd yup
os/2 warp yup
dos yup
unix yup
solaris yup
hpux yup
but no wintel.

the reason for driver problems is hardware manufacturers who refuse to write the drivers for the *x os. ( macos excepting, and apple corrupted thier bsd based os to make the drivers and software usless on any other os )

bands: application rosegarden, full adio recording editing system
video needs for editing/ making films:

pdf files, creating.
even a console text editor can create a pdf in linux.. it's an ability in the print server, not an application. use any app to create the content, then hit the print button, in the dialog select pdf as the output.

the crossover office plugin is the only tool which will get you comparable tools to adobe's cs.
( I do NOT think that G.I.M.P. is comparable [ other than having a lousy interface just like adobe does ] )
it will allow you to use adobe's cs in linux.

if adobe would actually port thier products to linux then the crossover office plugin wouldn't be needed.
if hardware manufacuterers would write device drivers for linux then the driver issues would go away.
if you are only using runlevel 5 ( gui only ) then the bash scripting isn't needed.
it's only people who want to free up resources by NOT using a gui that want to learn bash scripting.

I agree that mac os is not a good looking interface, I feel the same about windows.

I personally will never buy any operating system designed to be used by untrained monkeys ( gui only )
and that was my opinon back in 1982 when I first saw a gui only system ( mac )
will never change.
no options to look and feel? not going to use it.

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by IslandBoy_77 In reply to well first off..

Sorry about the "Wintel" moniker: I've seen it used extensively in TechRepublic, and thought that was how people were referring to PCs with a Windows installation (of any flavour). Am I using the word incorrectly? How would you use the word? Thanks for any clarification on that.
Do you feel that it is necessary for most users to be able to totally customise their OS? If yes, why? And, if yes, to what extent? Does this raise any inter-Linux compatibility or standardisation issues? Clearly, a large percentage of the computing world are, comparatively speaking, "trained monkeys" (I prefer to use the term "button pushers"). However, one of the main reasons there are so many is that large retailers (incl the likes of Dell and Gateway, RIP) have positioned computers as an "appliance" (the same shops that sell computers also sell washing machines, TVs and stereos). This creates a perception in the "untrained masses" that computers are just like their TV or Microwave. That being true (and it most certainly is in New Zealand), can Linux "migrate" into the "main stream" market? Should it even try? If not, does that mean "we" (those who have at least a moderate working knowledge of what computers are all about) simply write the "monkeys" off, and laugh at them struggling along with Windows or Mac OS?
You say "it's only people who want to free up resources by NOT using a gui that want to learn bash scripting" - does that mean I can grab a distro of my choice, bung it on a fresh PC, and everything is sweet? What about installing drivers and getting all my Windows software (which I've paid good money for, am comfortable with, and can use with a large degree of proficiency) to work? I'm no dummy, and can probably learn "bash scripting", but I really don't have the time to be spending many, many hours farting about with trying to get "basic" stuff to work (I thought I had seen the last of that sort of drama with the passing of Windows 98SE...).
Can you give me an example of an "easy" Linux distro that works "out of the box" to at least Win XP Pro SP2 level (without any smart remarks about Win XP Pro SP2 please)? Where would I get it from? It might be that manufacturers are "refusing" to write Linux drivers, but that's no help to me if I just want my computer to work (which, after all, is the main reason to have a computer in the first place, isn't it?).
Thanks for your input - more level-headed non-emotive comments welcome.

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well, for a FULL

by Jaqui In reply to hmmmm

wintel is, here at least, windows telephony services, not an os at all. :)

distro with basically plug and play operations, a graphic install, go with mandriva or red hats fedora core.
( 3 cdrom download edition )

as I mentioned ( probably elsewhere ) crossover office plugin is the way to go for majority of windows apps, but they do not work for 3d graphics / animation tools.
the actual apps in linux are not from the major vendors ( mostly ) and function slightly differently.
in most cases, open office, moz firefox and thunderbird will be familiar enough to most people to be comfortable with them, and give them the tools they want online.

yes, flash plugin in available, so is realplayer, quicktime, yahoo messenger, a java based icq and aol im.
( kopete and gaim, both available with the distros both connect through all chat protocols. )
if you have webcam for video chat, gnome meeting will connect through h232 server with it.
( installed by default if camera found )

Xandros is extremely close to windows in it's layout and feel, based on corel's version of linux. ( using debian package management )
it, with boxed set, comes with crossover office.

ms visual studio, borland's c++ builder, delphi all will install into linux with crossover office.

windows based games are not a strongly supported area, but quite a few can be gotten running, with effort.
( I'm not into gaming, so I have never even tried )

the distros with the bsd installer, like debian and the bsds, are not as user friendly during the install, but once installed are as user friendly to use.

mandriva has a sweet addon to thier installer, you can save package selection, as well as set up an "auto-install" boot floppy. this is fantastic for installing multiple workstations in a network.
go through on one what you want installed, save selections, then boot and go with the floppy on every other workstation.
if you start with a network install, you can have the server either over the internet through ftp, or a local server running so no need to even worry about switching cdroms.

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"bsd installer"

by apotheon In reply to well, for a FULL

Debian has had a new installer for almost a year now.

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by Jaqui In reply to "bsd installer"

you mean they finally broke down and got a graphical installer?
the version I downloaded 9 months ago was the bsd installer still.

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by apotheon In reply to ooohhhh

**** no, it's not graphical. Why use a graphical installer for what amounts to hitting Enter over and over again?

The new installer is still basically text-based (it actually looks like it's ncurses-based), but now installation mostly consists of hitting the Enter key several times rather than having to input hardware types and the like.

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ok, a rewrite

by Jaqui In reply to Graphical?

of the bsd installer, to fix the problems with it.

most people seeing any non graphic install will flip out, no matter if it's "only hit enter a few times" or not.
( specially if they are used to windows and macos installs. )
I know that some of the installer team for debian are wanting to get a graphic install option for it, to promote windows users to try debian.

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new installer

by apotheon In reply to Graphical?

Debian currently uses what is called the "debian-installer", a completely new installer rather than just an improvement over the old installer, as far as I can tell. It's still not a GUI installer in the tradition of Anaconda, but I'm glad it's not. The last thing I want to see happen is Debian turning into another friggin' Red Hat. I like having an installer that doesn't require 128MB of RAM to run. I like having an installer that doesn't screw around with rendering Fisher-Price widgets. I just want an installer, and that's it.

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by Jaqui In reply to Graphical?

my preffered distro is lfs, building from sources in console is definately not a gui.

but, for people coming to linux from windows or macos, a graphic installer isn't going to freak them as much as a console installer.
they are used to haveing the "pretty pictures" lying to them about what's happening, having plain old text tell them what's happening is to different for them to accept it's a user friendly os.

this must be the biggest sticky point for adopting linux, the console installer makes it look like they need to be a computer science genius to install it. ( the bsd installer specially )

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GUI installers

by apotheon In reply to Graphical?

There are GUI installer versions of many distros that normally only have CLI installers. For instance, the Progeny Componentized Linux version of Debian uses a modified Anaconda installer.

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