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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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by Davep89 In reply to Windows vs Linux

I am yet to hear a good reason for using Linux on a desktop for general office automation tasks.

My organisation has a purchasing agreement with Microsoft that delivers reasonable prices for Windows and compatible products. Skilled Windows technical staff are widely available as is certified training. Users are familiar with Windows and compatible products and get the same look and feel across products.

Microsoft provides reasonable service regarding patch delivery and in a network of 500 PCs and 20 servers we don't have problems with viruses.

I can't see how I would justify rejigging our entire operation to take advantage of whatever opportunities are presented by Linux.

The same is not true for home use where the cost of Microsoft products is a much bigger factor. Its is still true though that expertise is more widely available for Microsoft products, installation and setup of Microsoft products is more straight forward, there are likely to be less compatibility issues with Microsoft products, and Microsoft products tend to be generally more user friendly, feature rich and better finished.

And none of this means I wouldn't use Linux anywhere it made sense which I currently believe is back end server functions.

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Something I have noticed for years

by pocketken In reply to

The responses from industry technicians, programmers, business owners and the like... who have used Microsoft in thier production environment and who have generally also extensively used Mac and linux (as I have) USUALLY have valid and eloquent arguments presenting the case for windows.

Those responders on the side of linux USUALLY slander, post nonsense and mean-spirited derrogatory rebuttal, use ever-so-clever phrases like "M$" and do not generally ever answer the honest questions over whether it is worthwhile to retool your environment, retrain your users etc. etc. etc. in order to switch to a new operating system.

It's ludicrous. Even my own post is ludicrous but only because it (like so many I've read here) has NOTHING to do with the topic.

So - to correct that:
Linux is great. It's a reliable server operating system which has not yet become popular enough to be affected by the mainstream spyware, virii and related internet trash. I personally use an athlon64 suse machine as my vpn/web/email server.
At work however, I use a windows 2003 server for this same function. There are many advantages to VPN on the 2003 server for that environment of XP clients. Hardware firewalls provide the security I need in my low risk environment and the 2003 server is a solid reliable machine which has not been rebooted in probably a year.

Both definately have thier place, and I'm not somehow afraid to say that (as linux worshippers seem to be.)

Stop falling back on your policy differences with Microsoft as an organization, they have nothing to do with the technical merit of the software and that's the issue at hand.

Finally.... I can't let this go. There's an unbelievable amount of feedback from linux users on this issue (though not in this thread, thankfully) that hardcore windows technicians are simply not as skilled (or what have you) as unix / linux technicians.
Now how can the same people who say that windows is this easy-mac "luser" OS, when they obviously can't keep their windows machines from crashing?
But I thought it was so "easy"...?
Those of us who work in this field professionally do not have this problem. I'm not saying a windows machine has NEVER crashed on my network... but to be absolutely honest the 2003 server has easily matched the uptime of my suse box here. Microsoft has made huge strides and until someone admits that, I don't take their argument seriously.

I don't understand Apple. I worked there for a few years... don't really want to talk about it. I'll let it suffice that I don't respect the company or their products, but they aren't part of this conversation.

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Really?

by apotheon In reply to Something I have noticed ...

"Those responders on the side of linux USUALLY slander"
From what I've seen, there's far more egregious lying, disinformation, and snowjobs on the anti-Linux side than the anti-Microsoft side.

Who cares if someone says M$ instead of MS? I don't, but if someone feels clever by doing so, more power to 'em. If you're seeing that as "slander", you're probably identifying too closely with the vendor and the operating system, rather than looking at it objectively. Pay attention to the technical message, and not what passes for "wit" in a posting, unless it amuses you to do otherwise.

From ignoring the "clever" phrasing (after a suitable chuckle where necessary) and paying attention instead to the technically relevant information in a post on one side or the other, what I have seen is that the Microsoft-defenders tend to spout repackaged MS marketing copy, and the Linux-defenders tend to refer to privilege separation, software management, free as in speech and free as in beer, the advanced Linux desktop, server uptimes, stateful firewall capabilities, the ineffectiveness of viruses due to system architecture, resource overhead, rock-solid industry standard server applications, and so on. Perhaps you're just judging books by their covers.

"do not generally ever answer the honest questions over whether it is worthwhile to retool your environment, retrain your users etc."
Maybe that's because every situation is different.

If you think the Microsoft side is answering such questions, you're too gullible. MS-funded TCO studies that compare the cost of operation of an x86 Windows 2k server vs. an old-school Unix mainframe (yes, that was a real study, including the cost of the power draw of the mainframe in the TCO for Unix/Linux) are far from unbiased. I'd rather have someone say "In general, Linux would be a better solution, but in your case you have to judge for yourself," than base my decisions on Microsoft advertising slogans.

"not yet become popular enough to be affected by the mainstream spyware, virii and related internet trash"
I'm getting sick and tired of this kind of spurious nonsense. Seriously. Here's some slander for you: get a clue. If popularity was the cause of exploitability, things would be much different in the world. Compare the exploit rate of the 60% Apache majority with that of the 20% Microsoft IIS minority for web servers, and stop spreading this FUD. It's getting very, very old.

"the 2003 server is a solid reliable machine which has not been rebooted in probably a year."
Wait . . . you haven't been patching your WS2k3 system?! You're either stupid or lying -- and in the case of lying, you think we're stupid.

"Stop falling back on your policy differences with Microsoft as an organization"
I, for one, don't "fall back" on my "policy differences" with MS at all in these discussions. I address relevant technical issues at great length. I do this despite the fact that I believe that MS "policy" is perhaps the single most important problem that must be addressed in the long run, because I know 98% of you aren't thinking past the next fiscal quarter.

"There's an unbelievable amount of feedback from linux users on this issue (though not in this thread, thankfully) that hardcore windows technicians are simply not as skilled (or what have you) as unix / linux technicians."
Consider this: Most Linux sysadmins were Windows admins first, and/or are Windows admins as well. I'm Microsoft certified, personally. Many of the reasons for my high(er) regard for Linux are tied to my extensive knowledge of Windows system architecture and administration. Wouldn't you say that someone who knows both Windows and Linux is more knowledgeable than someone who knows Windows and is so ignorant of Linux that he thinks popularity is the main reason for Linux security as contrasted with Windows lack of security rather than issues of privilege separation, extensive and ongoing code review, and better patch management? Wouldn't you say that person knowledgeable in both has more expertise than the typical Windows admin who, for the most part, thinks the command line is a relic from the past rather than a powerful and flexible tool for system management? Wouldn't you attribute more knowledge and expertise to the person who knows many options exceedingly well rather than only the vertical stack solutions provided by Microsoft partners, complete with marketing brochures? Until you know Linux as well as I do, I will consider you less knowledgeable a techie, considering I almost certainly know as much Windows as you do.

"I'm not saying a windows machine has NEVER crashed on my network"
Good. I'd think you were lying. On the other hand, I've never had a Linux machine pull the equivalent of a BSOD in any production implementation.

"to be absolutely honest the 2003 server has easily matched the uptime of my suse box here."
You need to patch and reboot that sonofabitch post-haste. Seriously. Not doing so is like standing on an open hilltop in a thunderstorm wearing a full suit of armor and shaking a golf club at the sky, shouting imprecations and insults and taunts at the gods, daring them to strike you down.

"Microsoft has made huge strides"
Yes, it has -- in both directions. Sadly, even where it has moved forward, it's generally just not up to par. It boggles my mind that Microsoft has been promising a nonfragmenting filesystem since NT 4.0 and still hasn't delivered. That's not just incompetence; it's very nearly criminal.

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File Fragmentation

by rkuhn In reply to Really?

Grant it, I probably don't know as much about this topic as I should so please explain.

How can a non-fragmenting file system possibly be as fast or faster than a fragmenting file system?

The inherent "weakness" in a fragmenting file system is precisely its strength. Its faster read and write speeds are what's causing the fragmenting to begin with.

Again, I'm more of a software junkie than a hardware junkie. Please explain to me how a properly maintained fragmenting file system is any better or worse than a non-fragmenting file system.

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not quite..

by Jaqui In reply to File Fragmentation

the same disk spins at the same speed for either os.
the fragmented filesystem requires ore passes to read the entire file, as it's not contiguous.

a non fragmenting filesystem has faster access as the drive does not have to move the arm once it starts reading the file, it's all passing under the head where it is [ if not a huge file that takes up more space than one ring of cylinders ] this means the drive can spin at full speed of read capacity and the file gets loaded into memory at the maximum rate.

with a fragmented filesystem the drive has to find each fragment slowing performance down noticably.
this is why you should defragment your windows filesystems regularly. [ windows being the only os that has a default filesystem that fragments ]

a real world example of this in action:
take two identicle binders with a document in them.
open the rings on one, scatter the papers all over the office.

that is your "fragmented filesystem, and the paapers are the file you need to access.

the other binder, with document inside it, same file on a non fragmenting filesystem.

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extended analogy

by apotheon In reply to not quite..

Writing operations are sometimes faster for fragmenting filesystems. This depends on two things.

1. It depends on whether you're writting wholly new data to the drive and have contiguous free space on the drive into which to write the data. If you do, you're golden: it writes slightly faster than if it has to rearrange bits during writes to keep from fragmenting files. Of course, when you edit already-written data, your write speeds drop considerably because the read/write heads have to move all over the damned place to find the various bits of data it has to change, or it has to delist the entire file in the file allocation table and rewrite the whole thing in the free space at the end of the full space. Either way, you lose performance.

2. It also depends on how well designed your nonfragmenting filesystem is. For instance, some do temporary writes to the end of the partition where there's free space right away so that you don't lose any write speed performance, then shuffle bits in "downtime" when the drive and controller aren't otherwise occupied. This approach is a little like having gnomes come defragment your drives while you sleep, except that it happens in real-time without chewing up hard drive access times.

To extend the binder analogy:

Sometimes, fragmenting filesystems are faster to write to because you can just take new pages you want to add to your fragmented binder and throw them in the general direction of your office. Much faster than putting them in a binder in a neat, orderly manner. Of course, write times can also become slower if you're throwing edits in there, because you have to find the old version and remove it from the mess of scattered papers.

With a nonfragmenting filesystem, your write times might actually be comparable to the fastest a fragmenting filesystem can achieve because all you have to do is add new pages in a stack, tucked into the back of the binder, and while you're not actively looking at the binder's contents the binder organizes itself, magically.

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That's Understandable

by rkuhn In reply to extended analogy

The previous reply was horse brown smelly stuff.

Both file systems have advantages and disadvantages depending on read or write operations and the condition of the file system.

Apotheon seems to have not only a clearer explanation but also less personal opinion and more fact.

Jaqui just seems to have issues with facts.

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Huge strides

by Starderup In reply to Something I have noticed ...

Microsoft has become better, but there was so much room for improvement.
Don't talk about uptime with Windows servers. That is measured in months. Uptime with nix machines is measured in years. The server for cdrom.com is a 486 and it was serving terabytes of files per month for years. It may still be in service.
The company I worked at had a Free BSD server that was up continiously for three+ years, and the only reason it went down was that power lines were knocked down by an ice storm, and the UPS eventually ran out.
Windows could only dream of being that stable.

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Simple Requirements

by dogknees In reply to Windows vs Linux

I am a Unix user from way back, so I would be happy to run Linux, if it met my requirements for a home PC. It doesn't at the moment.

I have very simple requirements for my home PC. I expect to be able to buy pretty much any software written for a PC platform off the shelf, take it home, load it, and run it immediately.

That includes the latest game, a development platform, music creation software, high-end graphics, whatever I feel like buying today.

I don't run an internet connection at home because that lets me keep my PC running fast with no virus checking/etc clogging things up. So, having to download something to get my new game running is not acceptable.

I also require it to work correctly with any standard hardware I might buy. Again, without requiring me to run around and download patches or whatever. This would include wireless mouse and keyboards, graphics tablets, midi keyboards, LEGO Mindstorms system, whatever.

If I'm wrong, please explain how to setup in the same environment (no internet connection) and get the same results (buy any off the shelf software/hardware, take it home, load it and play it).

Until then, Linux just doesn't meet my requirements.

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Wish your post was true

by Deadly Ernest In reply to Simple Requirements

"I expect to be able to buy pretty much any software written for a PC platform off the shelf, take it home, load it, and run it immediately."

"I also require it to work correctly with any standard hardware I might buy. Again, without requiring me to run around and download patches or whatever. This would include wireless mouse and keyboards, graphics tablets, midi keyboards, LEGO Mindstorms system, whatever."

I have boxes of software written for Windows that I can no longer use on a Windows box because they do not support the older operating systems in anyway and the current systems are NOT compatible with the older systems or most of the software written for it, also getting older OS drivers for the latest hardware is problem to. Yet I still use the software by running it within WINE on a Linux box, I run the games within Cedega as it is a bit better for the games - even most of the latest Windows games.

I have not yet been able to buy any graphics cards, scanners, modems, or printers that did not require some fancy footwork to get the specially written device drivers to work within the Windows version that they were written for and none will work with the generic Windows drivers at all.

My current PC and the previous one require several extra drivers to be loaded to work properly in Windows - yet both work well in Linux without any extra drivers to get the hardware working. In each case I just placed the disc with the operating system in the machine and rebooted - both Mandrake 10 and Fedora Core 4 loaded and worked perfectly with built in drivers for the graphics card, modem, printer and both scanners (one of which I can not get Windows drivers for anything later than Win 98SE).

I have seen this issue from both sides and I still think that choosing here is a matter of personal preference for most people and that comes down to what they are used to - both have their own way of doing things that are different and people going from one to the other notice the differences not the similarities etc.

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