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Windows vs Linux - Home

By rkuhn ·
Scenario - Cheaper/generic components, no experience with anything but Windows, little to no support, time with job and family more important than fixing PC, ability to obtain a wide variety of software (taxes, games, office, CD-burning, DVD making, security (AV, antispyware, etc), replaces PC maybe once every 4-5 years, dialup and broadband users, etc.

Let's hear your opinions. Hey, it's the "typical" user who likes Doom, Barbie games, surfing the web, sending emails and making CD's from their MP3 collection.

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Home users don't swap OS's

by CharlieSpencer In reply to Windows vs Linux - Home

The typical home user doesn't swap operating systems. Actually, he often doesn't know what the term "operating system" means. He views the computer as an entertainment device, not a tool.

He uses the OS that came with the computer; usually Windows, occasionally Mac OS. He only reloads Windows when forced to by malware or hard drive failure. He can be convinced by the Microsoft marketing department to upgrade Windows, although he rarely has applications that require it and won't check the hardware compatibility first.

He will not install a different operating system on his own initiative. A technically competent friend can often persuade him to install an alternative OS, but that friend should be prepared to provide support for the next few weeks to several months, depending on the user's skill level.

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by rkuhn In reply to Home users don't swap OS' ...

I agree with your analysis. Quite accurate of the "real world" in my opinion.

But your analysis doesn't really stake out a position of whether or not Linux or Windows is better for the average home user.

I do like your "real world" approach though. I sort of framed the question unfairly (I suppose) in that I personally believe given the "real world" scenario, it is immaterial which OS is better for various reasons, in the "real world" Windows is probably the clear winner in light of those facts.

If you have a "friend" that you speak of, maybe Linux is better, but how many people of a "friend" like that?

I'm just trying to narrow down the debate by framing the discussion so as to possibly eliminate certain angles people take.

For example, again, someone said in a discussion that you shouldn't buy "cheap" printers (that typically aren't supported by Linux). But, people do so is that a fair argument?

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Position on which is better

by CharlieSpencer In reply to Agree

Whichever one comes installed on the machine and it's easiest for the user to get support help

Home users don't care about operating systems. They care about accessing their files as easily as possible. They'd prefer the apps to be the same ones as work, school, or their friends.

Right now, that OS is Windows because the major hardware manufacturers pre-install it. Why? MS has a marketing department and a goal of making money. Marketing tells the home user he needs Windows, then cuts a deal with the h/w companies to install it. Home user has used Windows at work or school (although the number of students exposed to other OSs is growing), and he's heard the ads, so he buys a computer with Windows. He can call the manufacturer for a few months to get support, and the undertrained punk at the retailer's repair desk has a half decent chance of fixing it.

The home user wants to pick up the phone and talk to somebody about his problem. He'd really rather take it somewhere and have it fixed, preferably for free under warranty but he'll pay for the convenience if necessary. Linux distributions have on-line support; some distro's are better than others, but no phone support for home customers and minimal at the big box retail level. He doesn't want to have to go on line, post a question in a forum, wait for an answer, get smacked because he didn't provide all the necessary info, provide the additional info he understands, wait again for an answer, get smacked again for not searching to see if his problem has already been answered, etc.

Right now there's just no consumer interest in alternatives to Windows, and no ad campaign to drive it. Until there is, the major hardware vendors will stick with Windows because that's what the consumers think they want.

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Spot-on !

by cave-homme In reply to Position on which is bett ...

You are spot on.

I have personally used various OS and hardware professionally and at home since 198x.

I love linux for various reasons. I love MAC and OSX for similar and other reasons.

At the end of the day, life is too short with too many things to do and get on with that i have stopped farting around and put up with XP and its fairly extensive problems....but at the end of the day it works very well, its maintenance with AV and anti-spyware is not cheap but it cannot be beaten on range of applications and compatability with work apps, etc, etc,

I have even become so lazy (or is it actually more appreciative of real-life outside of IT and nerd-world?) that i surprised myself immensely to getting myelf, wife and kids on MSN Premium recently ! My God, i thought, for a moment i felt like i was Luke Skywalker jumping allegiance to Darth Vader.

But you know what? MS make it far simpler (despite issues) for the majority of people. With a PC installed with MSN premium costing a mere $60 a year for upto 10 mail accounts, encarta premium, kids homework, kids paental controls, mail / calendar / task synchronisation, Outlook connector, photo editor, etc, etc, and even McAfee security suite thrown-in !

Jes H Chr!st, that's value for money, and ease of use! Why would i spend the rest of my short years playing around with something far worse than $60 a year ?

While i will inevitably still play with Linux etc, i would be mad to ignore the obvious ROI of using MS and MSN. Life's too short, and MS Marketing may have caught me....but hey, give them some credit.

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Windows for the Homey

by ball5ball5 In reply to Position on which is bett ...

I have to agree with what you said here, Palmetto. As much disdain as I have for MS product and their ill-gained monopoly, they are the only real solution for the average home user. Even Macs have somewhat of a learning curve as OS X and above seems to be based in the Linux kernel nowadays.

Windows has pandered to the lowest common denominator for years- the guy who wants to walk into his den, turn the computer on and have it access his email, porn and Word docs easily. For this, MS has lost a lot along the way, mostly sacrificing stability and security for ease of use.

Linux, however, is getting damned close. Install the latest Mandriva distro and you?ll get an inkling of how close Linux is to being a real force for the home user. The new distro has the best of both worlds- you can turn it on and surf, type, copy the pics off your digital camera, listen to tunes then shut it off and go away. Or you can sit there and tinker to your heart?s content with all the cool stuff in there. Open up a Terminal and ?su? yourself into geek heaven. It?s close. Damned close.

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Linux versus windows usability

by paul.ivans In reply to Position on which is bett ...

I have to agree in the greater part with this statment. Microsoft do have the home PC market almost exclusively to them seleves and human nature being what it is "People are most content with familiarity" Microsoft operating systems are by far the most widley known and used. However, in fainess to microsoft windows is very easy to use, modify, and install new software into.

Personally I like LINUX and most distrobutions have improved greatly over that last few years and I hope that this continues in the future. I would love to see linux take it's place as another reasoable choice of operating system on a par with the choice of hardware. However, if LUNUX is to make it into the home and small busines it needs to be "simple to install and simple to remove new software." Software also needs to be more readily available. Cost does not come into it really. If the cost is reasonable, and the product is good. people will be prepaired to pay for it.

LUNUX (major distributions) are very reliable and do not seem to crash once installed. The instalation is now as easy as windows possibly even easer. However, this is no consolation to the average user who simply wants to be able to buy at a reasonable price the type of software he wants to run, then take it home and install it and run it.

BUT if the user can't install the software with a minimum of fuss mr average will simply give up and probably never consider trying again.

This as I see it is the last hurdle that LINUX has to overcome before it takes its place as the operating system of the future.

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another one

by apotheon In reply to Linux versus windows usab ...

Several times in any busy discussion thread comparing Windows and Linux, someone will come along and claim that the real problem with Linux is that it's not easy to install and remove software, and/or that there is not enough software available.

Debian has more than 18000 software packages available in the main repositories, at your fingertips. All it takes to install is a shell command like "apt-get install package" where "package" is, of course, the name of the software package you want to install. To remove, use a command like "apt-get remove package".

There's no money spent. There's no trip to the store. There's no waiting for something to be shipped. There's no fifteen-step installation wizard. With a package manager, it Just Works.

If you don't realize that it's much, much easier to install and remove software in Linux than Windows, you aren't paying enough attention.

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For the mouse generation, too...

by FCometa In reply to another one

For those not comfortable with typing commands, you have examples like Suse YAST. Installing/Removing software is easy and effortless. And 'mousey', too... It's just click, click, click...

Check it out:

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even better

by apotheon In reply to For the mouse generation, ...

Don't forget about Synaptic, the GUI front-end for apt/aptitude. YaST2 is a pretty good graphical interface for package management, but I found it to not suit my preferences at all. Synaptic uses the same sort of organization as aptitude, though, whose organization I rather like more.

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by s.ball In reply to Windows vs Linux - Home

Im a home user who got a freebie on a computer magazine of Mandrake Linux. I thought I'd give it a whirl so partitioned my hard drive and installed it as a dual boot machine. It installed easily and i thought it looked and worked fine, but I couldn't get it to recognise my modem or NIC (which was a built in dell laptop modem and NIC) neither love nor money could get this damn modem or NIC to work and hence I couldn't connect to internet to search for drivers.
In the end as nice as it looked and worked, I uninstalled it as it wasn't practical to have an OS that couldn't access the t'interweb

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