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Windows vs Linux - Experienced IT Pro

By rkuhn ·
Scenario - Knows Windows like the back of his hand. Been in the business of IT for 7+ years (like me).

****, let's just use me as an example. I think I'm probaly pretty close to the norm or average as much as I hate to admit to it.

Familiar with all things Windows. Win 95 thru XP, NT thru Server 2003. AD, file replication, shadowing, Exchange, web hosting, etc. Blah, blah, blah.

I'm always looking for tomorrow's next great thing. I'm always looking for an edge or something to separate me from the rest of the pack.

What's my motivation to learn and start using Linux (both personal and/or career) vs just diving in deeper with Windows getting more and more advanced certifications and/or combining them with Cisco certs?

And don't be overly simplistic. Remember, in some parts of the country (I live in the US, specifically Indiana), Linux is a non factor. In other parts, it's a huge factor. For small companies, at least here in Indiana, almost no one uses it. Large companies, many use it but still limited.

As an advanced PC person, I have some PC equipment that is more expensive/branded etc and some like my kids PC, generic as generic gets. I have at home two laptops (one new, one very old), one nice PC, one generic PC, a cheap low end server, and have connected my two neighbors for file sharing and chatting purposes...they use Windows exclusively.

I like to primarily play games (America's Army, Doom, Quake), surf the web, send emails, make CDs and DVDs, and experment/train myself for work related things.

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Give it a go

by Namco In reply to Windows vs Linux - Experi ...

You have plenty of PC's, give it a go! try a file server, installing a few apps, web/application/database server etc. compare to windows and just keep all the effort it takes and the pros and cons in mind when approaching IT challenges - see if it jumps out as a solution.

Try mirroring the 2 neighbours file sharing, consider authentication and education of users. Set up a backup routine etc

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It need not be that hard

by Deadly Ernest In reply to Windows vs Linux - Experi ...

I have been doing IT tech work at different levels since 1985, and went full time pro about 8 year ago. Much of the PC work has been MS Windows since it came out and use both Windows and Linux at home.

When I was first exposed to Linux, Red Hat 6, about 8 year ago it was as easier to load and use than DOS 6 and Windows 3.1, and tech support needs were at the same level as Win 3.1. In recent years I have had a lot more exposure to Linux as a server operating system and have found it to be far superior to Windows in server and gateway work. Linux for end user and desktop had lagged behind but has caught up now.

Yes there are many Linux versions and you need to examine what you want and choose the one best suited to your needs - kind of like a few years back with Windows XP Home - XP Pro - 2k Server - 2k Advanced Server - CE etc. You could use 2k Adv server for a desktop but it is not the best option and you could use XP Home for a file server but it is not the best option - same applies with the Linux varieties; although most Linux versions are closer to being universal than the Windows systems.

With MS Win Vista due out and the high end tech specs it appears to need I am seeing more and more people who do NOT want to go that way for their business software as they see that level of hardware and media support excessive for the business environment. Estimated cost of a Vista capable machine in Aust is expected to be several hundred dollars more than an equivalent Linux capable machine, add in the MS software and you start to look at a cost difference of a A$2K to A$3k per unit on the desk; an important point for small business. The problems come in regarding third party software running in Linux, which WINE and CRossover now resolve for most applications.

With this in mind I started looking at some of the latest Linux versions in light of non-tech end user ease of use. To that end I have found that Fedora Core 4 is easier to install than XP Pro and with WINE runs all the office applications I have and use. For gaming I just subscribe to Cedega and run the Windows based games within that - all I have tried work well (many better than in Windows).

Linux has a better record regarding the fixing of vulnerabilities than does Windows, and there are less holes in its security to begin with. It is not a perfect operating system but it is technically better and better coded than Windows.

IMHO Windows vs Linux is very much a personal choice or cost choice not a technical decision for the majority of people. I would recommend that you get some books like Linux in a Nutshell and learn how to do some Linux administration. Also talk to your clients about what they want and prefer. You can now get Linux versions that are almost impossible for end users to tell apart from Windows.

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Useful information,

by kveratis In reply to It need not be that hard

Your comments on Fedora Core 4, WINE, and Cedega are quite useful. I have always had a lot of trouble with Linux, but have wondered if there was simply something I was missing that would make it work better. The biggest problem that I have had is with installing software, especially from tar.gz files. I would follow all of the directions in the README file, but after the install supposedly worked it would turn out that none of the new files had been copied or deployed at all. RPM packages worked a little better sometimes, but were frequently 2-3 revisions behind the tar.gz files and some times had really strange dependencies. The distributions that I am familiar with are Mandrake and Red Had Advanced Server. Has anyone else had these kinds of problems? The main reason that I have stayed with Windows so far is that installing software is simply double-click and presto it works. If the software needs other libraries that you don't have yet, it simply includes them in the installation package. IMO, Linux will need to get to this level of ease with regard to software installation and setup before it can dominate over Windows XP Pro.

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even easier

by apotheon In reply to Useful information,

Actually, software management with modern Linux distributions is easier than on Windows.

You don't have to go to the store and buy CDs to have access to more than 18000 software packages with the Debian distribution. It's all a few keystrokes away. You want to install Type apt-get install at the command line (and don't forget to hit Enter). That's it. It's installed in a few minutes (about five). Whee. So difficult.

Same with the Apache web server: apt-get install apache

Mozilla Firefox web browser: apt-get install mozilla-firefox

Gaim multiprotocol instant messenger client: apt-get install gaim

Actually, if you do a kitchen-sink default install of most major distributions, you'll have OOo, Firefox, and Gaim already installed anyway. Free. No trips to the store. No ordering online. No half an hour spent mucking about with the MS Office installation wizard.

How easy can it get? To be any easier than this, they'd have to make the package manager telepathic.

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Never tried Debian

by kveratis In reply to even easier

I honestly never tried a Debian distribution of Linux, so I have not had the good experiences that you have. However, now that I know how to get a better experience, I will try out Debian or Fedora Core 4 (I hear it can use apt as well).

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more package management

by apotheon In reply to Never tried Debian

Fedora Core makes apt-rpm available (an RPM-adapted version of Debian's apt), but FC's "official" package manager is YUM (adapted from Yellow Dog Linux). While apt is generally a little more flexible and robust, and much quicker, it's no longer as well-supported on FC as YUM. Many FC users people prefer YUM over apt anyway, but I for one don't really understand why.

Debian is even more of an adjustment from the Windows way of doing things than Fedora Core. Any Linux distribution is something of an adjustment for habitual Windows users, but some are less Windows-like than others. Debian, in my experience, tends to be the easiest distro in the world to manage and maintain. It's likely to frustrate Windows users more than Fedora Core, most of the time, because of it's rather severe departure from the Windows way of doing things.

Under the hood, FC is of course just as different from Windows, but it has a great many superficial trappings meant to make Windows users feel more comfortable and "at home".

. . . things to keep in mind.

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by apotheon In reply to NOT FEDORA!!!!

Your runlevel information seems to be inaccurate with regards to Debian. I posted a response to your blog about it.

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in reply..

by Jaqui In reply to note

I replied in the blog to that, as my original comment was based on what debian did when I did exactly as you posted.

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A side note

by jmgarvin In reply to NOT FEDORA!!!!

I see Fedora as less of a server and more desktop. Defaulting to run level 5 seems to make sense (although I'd wish they'd offer a choice).

For me:
Fedora is good training and a decent desktop
Gentoo is more server oriented and highly customizable (kind of like the other slack meat)

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