General discussion


Windows vs Linux

By rkuhn ·
Ok, these discussions are out of hand.

Anytime there is a discussion of Linux vs Windows, without laying down some background, it is almost impossible to have a meaningful discussion.

For example, there are substantial differences between rolling out Linux in a business environment vs rolling it out to a home user with minimal PC skills vs rolling it out to an experienced IT home user.

I'll start 3 threads to reflect this and let me hear the arguments.

For example, for a inexperienced home user, I don't want to hear about "cheap" printers when it comes to drivers. Let's face it, home users buy cheap printers...that's a fact of life.

Conversely, in a business environment, you do have time, money, etc for a roll out whereas in a home environment, you don't.

Let's agree to some variables. Corporate environments typically have time to train, get support, tweak, whatever.

Home users typically just want things to work, buy cheaper and more generic components, etc.

Let's hear your opinions now...

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not exactly a reply but more of a question ...

by ijusth In reply to Windows vs Linux

I don't want to hijack this thread but I was hoping that this would be a good forum to ask this:

clear something up on the Linux versus Windows issue please. Can't you buy a workstation without ANY OS at all and essentially have it with Linux and thus not need to pay for the XP license? I was told by Dell that you had to buy a license and I thought that this was what the lawsuits were all about.

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yes and no..

by Jaqui In reply to not exactly a reply but m ...

The real reason that Dell requires you to buy a windows license is that if they sell a computer without one, they lose the cheap price they pay for windows.

This is a technique that MS has been using since win95 came out, to try to create the monopoly that is illegal.

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Ease of use is the key

by roy.maines In reply to yes and no..

The main reason that MS is on over 90% of the desktops is because it is simple to use. One could argue that Mac is better, but that is a whole nuther story. Linux is an excellent OS, reliable, fairly secure, but how many people know how to edit a file in VI? Come on! You need a freakin Masters in Comp Sci to know how to cut and paste in VI. Ever wonder why they put arrows on the blinker of a car to indicate left and right vs h and l? I have over 25 years experience in IT and know both environments fairly well - they each have their place but Linux cross to bear is that it is just to complex for average users.

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Linux GUIs are easy to use

by guitardave8077 In reply to Ease of use is the key

The KDE and GNOME graphical interfaces are very intuitive and easy to use, IMO. Many home users wouldn't even need to know how to program in the shell environment.

KNOPPIX is a great distro for Linux newbies and doesn't require formatting of disks or installation on the user's part. Instead it's a 'live' bootable CD. If you're interested in seeing how Linux looks and feels without making the full 'switchover commitment', check it out.

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Without getting into a distro war

by coffeeroyal In reply to Linux GUIs are easy to us ...

I am a tech. I have been using Linux to run my business since 1998. I have introduced quite a number of people to Linux over the last 4 years or so since it became useable for the average granny.

My preferences for a new user are Mepis and Xandros in that order. Mepis, because it installs just about everything the average person needs, with a couple of exceptions that are really not beginner software anyway.

The one big issue I have with it is that if someone tries to print to a printer that is turned off, they need the root password to turn it back on.

Other than that, the only things that don;t work are a few of the later Windows video codecs, and webcams on yahoo, MSN etc, the novelty of which wears off after a while for most people anyway.

I have only been a tech/programmer for 28 years. I support all Windows versions, and a number of Linux distros. Personally I use Knoppix, SuSe and fedora on some of my own machines as well as checking others, but my day to day stuff is on Mepis.

I almost never use command line. I had enough of that in my Unix and DOS days.

I like the computer to just work. I don;t want to be reloading systems all the time, and I certainly don;t want to come back here and troubleshoot after doing it "out there" all day. I must admit I use apt-get at the command line because I am too lazy to open synaptic, but day to day, I use the GUI for everything.

That said, guess where my support calls come from? Linux users phone me because the printer won;t work. We restart the printer over the phone a few times and they get the message. Other than that, I rarely hear from a Linux customer unless they are thinking of buying a new printer. I tell ALL my linux customers to call me first, and I usually suggest a HP, simply because even the cheapest HP will almost always work with any Linux system.

Windows users call me regularly with anything from "I can;t get the modem to work again" to The computer is getting slower again" to "I think I have a virus again".

Do I think everyone should use Linux? No. Windows has a **** of a lot going for it:

Its multimedia capabilities are still far ahead of Linux.

There is still a lot more commercial software available for it. People usually prefer to spend a few thousand dollars of software for there new computer, than use free stuff.

Mostly however, if more people used Linux, there would be far less work for people like me. Most regularly used Windows computers need to be completely wiped and reinstalled every six months. You always know when, by the frequency of the "my computer keeps crashing/my computer is slow" calls.

Without this problem, a **** of a lot of hardware techs would be out of a job.

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by rkuhn In reply to Without getting into a di ...

For the input, the suggestions and the non-partisan stand.

I'm hoping to get this discussion back under control.

I think your comments go a long way towards this.

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by apotheon In reply to Without getting into a di ...

Last I checked, MEPIS was great. Both standard MEPIS and SimplyMEPIS were among the best distros for default newbie usability, in my experience, and provided extremely complete software selections without overburdening the user with heaps of cruft.

Because I prefer a more personalized environment for hardware installs, and for LiveCDs prefer the incredibly good hardware support of Knoppix, I haven't touched MEPIS in some time -- the last time I tried it out, ProMEPIS was just coming out. One of the problems I had with MEPIS was it's software differences from the standard Debian archives, which rendered it effectively incompatible for many purposes. The stability and extensiveness of the software in the Debian archives are a major selling point on which MEPIS misses out because of that divergence, unfortunately, which is another reason that MEPIS will probably never be more than a very slick LiveCD distribution to me.

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YESS!!! This is good!!

by JCitizen In reply to Without getting into a di ...

I agree with you Coffeeroyal - this kind of civilized discussion is what both camps need on this board. In fact I think I will try some of your suggestions, I am still trying to ween myself off Windows; and my distros are for old slow machines - maybe this will invigorate me to get up off my duff and buy a new cheap fast unit to get back to the real world.

I don't feel a person is going to be convinced to switch to a superior OS by brow-beating and insults.

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by apotheon In reply to Ease of use is the key

1. You don't have to use vi to edit a file. Try using one of the multitude of graphical text editors and word processors available. If you want a highly functional, reasonably unbloated text editor, I recommend SciTE.

2. You don't need a Master's degree in anything to cut and paste in vi. Delete something (for instance, dd will delete a complete line), then go to just before where you want to insert the pasted text (such as on the line before where you want to paste it if you cut an entire line), and hit p. Pretty simple, actually, and I use it all the time. It's a heck of a lot faster than having to switch between keyboard and mouse all the time for cut and paste procedures, trying to make sure it highlights exactly what you want (and no more), clicking and right-clicking and choosing things in menus, and so on.

3. You can use the arrow keys to move around in vim (vi improved) if you want to.

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vi for average home user IS ridiculous

by Underground_In_TN In reply to ridiculous

Windows text editor:
- Notepad is default, user doesn't have to know which program to use.
- Notepad's keystrokes and mouse actions for copy and paste (and other functions) are identical to 99.995% of ALL other Windows programs: shift+drag mouse/arrow key, ctrl+C, ctrl+V.

Linux text editors:
- is there a default? which one out of the hundreds possible, should the user try?
- how does the user find out that dd deletes a complete line, and p pastes? Use the man pages? Hah! We're talking average users here: people who want their computer to be as easy to operate as their microwave and DVD player. And if the user switches to another editor besides vi, they have to learn a new set of keystrokes to copy and paste. Same goes for their spreadsheet program, photo editor, etc., they generally use different keystrokes for identical tasks.

Linux is not yet user-friendly enough for the average home user.

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