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Rant on Linux on the Desktop

I am new to Linux. Just started experimenting. I am a fairly competent programmer - in the Windows environment though. I know this will not be thought of highly by my peers.

I greatly appreciate the comraderie of Linux and the help I have receive from fellow developers.

My rant - Linux is still far from user friendly. We are analyzing moving our desktops to Linux at the company I work at - 2000 or so PCs. Now I am a small fry - so I just help make recommendations.

There are so many challenges in making Linux more accesable to lay users - the simple act of downloading and running an application is a two or three step process and not very easy to follow.

Now I understand that as I am new to the Linux community - my creds are limited. And also I could be mistaken about some of the hardships as there could be easy ways that I am not aware.

I am not the biggest fan of Microsoft - I hate to put a $$ value on the amount of time we spent with hot fixes, undocumented features, virus warnings, worm 'holes', and the cost of dealing with MS support.

I was wondering if there are posters who know of initiatives to making Linuz more user friendly that it becomes easy to use for the most techno-phobe out there?

Marlene
Tuesday, September 02, 2003

You're gonna have an equally fun time doing some of those, and some slightly different, tasks with Linux. Enjoy!

Mickey Petersen
Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Try the Mandrake Linux distribution.

www.mandrake.com

TJ Haeser, The Brazillian dude
Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Could you elaborate on how downloading and running an app is different on Linux vs Windows? What are the steps involved in each?

Darren Collins
Tuesday, September 02, 2003

You don't seem to understand...this *is* the user-friendly version of Linux (seriously).

One question.  Why do you doubt your intuitions?  If you find it difficult to perform a simple action like loading and running a program in Linux, maybe it is because it *is* more of a challenge than it should be.  If you think the Linux interface is difficult - the interface being the "face" the software presents to you - why do you blame yourself?  Why should *you* need "creds"?  (Ok, that's 3 questions).

ONE...SIMPLE...RULE: computers are here to serve us, we are not here to serve them. 

Mark Brittingham
Tuesday, September 02, 2003

The only real "initiative" that I have observed that has as its goal to make Linux more of an end user platform is "Lindows", which is the Linux based Windows emulation stuff (WINE) combined with a sort of online subscription to a free application download facility. Retailers like Wal-Mart and Tiger Direct resell computers preloaded with Lindows. This is commercial software, by the way.

Otherwise, what you are facing with Linux is a collection of desktop managers and open source applications, of widely varying quality, documentation standards and usability.

I'm pretty cynical about Linux's viability where end users are concerned. Some commercial entity is going to have to deliberately design some sort of "wrapper" that acts a lot like OS/X or Windows - especially in regard to common desktop functions (acting like the Windows Explorer desktop, connecting to a Windows network, and installing applications for a big three) in order for Linux to be competitive. I don't expect an effort like this to arise from the open source movement because, frankly, most open source development is more about making personal statements than it is about providing something readily used by someone who hasn't been involved in the source code since day 1.

Bored Bystander
Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Here is a link to a rant that details some of the reasons linux doesn't capitalize more on the desktop.

http://tinyurl.com/m14u

Mike
Tuesday, September 02, 2003

" "Lindows", which is the Linux based Windows emulation stuff (WINE) combined with a sort of online subscription to a free application download facility."

Actually, it has nothing to do with windows emulation or emulation of any kind. Lindows is based off Debian linux so you can just go to the debian site and download all the applications, compilers, libraries, and languages you want and install. Lindows' subscription service basically gets applications and endusers can install them with a mouse click.

Tom Vu
Tuesday, September 02, 2003

www.ximian.com

Install Ximian Desktop on top of a redhat system. It's pretty damn easy to use once set up.

Andrew Murray
Tuesday, September 02, 2003

I'm off to go recompile my kernel...

Guy Incognito
Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Let it be known that command line user interfaces are the pinnacle of human/computer interaction!

Guy Incognito
Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Since your title was a "rant" I was trying to decide if you were serious or a troll.  I am going to go for serious and make your life easier.

:- Remember, you rarely install windows.  The fact that so many people complain about the Linux installation is most are still running the windows version that came on their machine.  Grandma is no more likely to move to XP by herself as she is to move to Linux.  However, this somehow makes "Linux bad."
:- You can always find a hard distribution to install.  GENTOO, while an excellent distribution, is on the far end of Red Hat, SUSE, Yellow dog, and Mandrake.  If you are truly looking for "just like windows" then look at Lindows.  Also, one of the "secrets" of Linuxs is most distributions cooperate.  This means I can use Yellow dogs package installer with my red hat installation and get the best of both worlds.
:- To make your life easier, do it just like windows.  Create an image you like and ghost it across the boxes.  This reduces the install time and... heck, this IS just like windows.
:- Downloads are like windows downloads. If you pick a good distribution and want to download something it is as simple as "yum install application"  [see http://www.steidler.net/uptime/archives/000460.html#more ]
Yes, that is a step different than popping in the CD and running setup, but it is also very easy to keep current or not, as you decide.
:-  This is the user-friendly version.  And Mark is mistaken as it is far easier than anyone outside the advocates would like you to believe. The reason to doubt you intuition is the same reason you no longer program in basic.  New concepts are difficult in an abstract environment.  It will take a little while to understand the structures and frankly rolling out 2000 desktops without OS experience is crazy.  And I would say the same thing if you were rolling out any OS. 
:- Fear is the motivating factor in the Linux/Windows controversy.  Fear that for every desktop that goes to Linux, we windows programmers lose an opportunity.  That is silly.  What makes me a good programmer is transferable.  I no more fear Linux than Apple or MVS.  My skills work across multiple platforms and that provides me more opportunity not less. 

You are not making a mistake, but you are on new ground for you.  Many companies are doing or have done what you are undertaking.  If you have the business case it is bad business to go with windows because you know it.

Embrace the "who moved my cheese" opportunity...

MSHack
Tuesday, September 02, 2003

"I'm off to go recompile my kernel... "

Don't forget keyboard support.  Isn't that off by default?

Crockett
Tuesday, September 02, 2003

I agree with Mark Brittingham regarding your comments:

>Now I understand that as I am new to the Linux >community - my creds are limited. And also I could be >mistaken about some of the hardships as there could be >easy ways that I am not aware.

Make notes about your problems, because as a techie you will probably get over them very quickly. But the regualr Joe will encounter these exact same problems, instead of being a challange, they will be a frustration.

No matter what I do, when I am new I always consider myself to have one advantage of the more experienced people. That is that I can relate to the other inexpererienced people. When I first learn a job, this is often when I begin writing the manuals for new users., and improving processes. This is because I am right there experiencing the exact same problems.

An Aussie Chick
Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Keyboard support is on by default in Linux 2.4. However, keyboard and terminal support is off by default in Linux 2.6. Because everyone knows that (theoretically) keyboards and terminal displays are optional.

This is true, not a troll!

runtime
Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Runtime, that is what I though.  I think that is proof that linux dominance on the desktop is just around the corner.

Mike
Wednesday, September 03, 2003

"However, keyboard and terminal support is off by default in Linux 2.6"

<g> like many 'truths' this one doesn't tell the whole story.

Keyboard support is off by default in the Linux _kernel_, but the only way you will be installing the kernel yourself is if you are a half-crazed lunatic with visions of geekhood grandeur and _like_ installing windowing systems etc separately)

The rest of us will be using one of the distributions (redhat, suse etc etc) which (surprisingly enough) will have the keyboard _on_ by default.

FullNameRequired
Wednesday, September 03, 2003

I remember the days when virtually every linux user had to recompile the kernel.  Can you believe early versions didn't support loadable device drivers?  Yea neither can I.  Yet somehow we are still here today.  I remember my old P 66 with a full 16 megs of RAM cranking away all night on a build to support my gravis sound card.  I must have been demented ; ) 

There are some hard core security folks who believe loadable modules are a potential vulnerability and disable loadable drivers in their custom builds.  The do have a point as it makes trojans nearly undetectable.

christopher baus
Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Marlene, you wrote:
"My rant - Linux is still far from user friendly."

Which makes me ask: Are you a troll?

I could equally well write: My rant - Windows is still far from user friendly, as long as I don't mention *which version*.

Any "fairly competent programmer" as you describe yourself, would of course write *which brand and version of Linux they were trying out*.

If you've been trying to utilize Salckware Linux 0.99-alpha.pre-14 or something like that, then I'm not surprised about your rant - just surprised that you call yourself a "fairly competent programmer"...

Martin A. Boegelund
Wednesday, September 03, 2003

FullName - it is almost certain that you will have to build your own kernel since it dimply doesn't have everything in it you'll want (and will likely contain stuf you don't). For me that is isdn, for some people I guess that might beto not have a kbd (for some people it damn well /should/ be to not have a kbd, but I digress...), however the number is quite small for both, I think. Maybe a better solution would be to have the build process simply ask as a first step what type of system you are building for and make some sensible guesses about defaults from there (isn't that the way the install works these days, or is that just Debian?).


Wednesday, September 03, 2003

I've said this before but I found Mandrake 8.1 considerably easier to install than W2000, and much easier if you take into account that Mandrake loads all your apps, whilst with Windows you have to do that separately. I wouldn't like to count the number of hours spent loading/repairing Office 2000.

The main usability problem is that you are used to Windows, so anything different is "counter-intuitive". Of course, your "intuition" has been learned in thousands of hours interaction with Windows desktops.

I do suspect adding new programs can be more of a pain than in Windows, because there is not the standard for installing programs you have with Windows. and  od course, device drivers are a pain.

But for a simple home desktop, using enail and word processing and internet surfing a standard Linux distribution is fine. And for a corporate roll out you set up a model machine and then clone, just as you do Windows.

Stephen Jones
Wednesday, September 03, 2003

I don't know what the situation is now, but a few years ago, installing Linux and configuring a video driver for X was a major pain in the behind.

In order to configure the video driver, you had to be an advanced hardware expert, and know lots of things you don't need to know for Windows.

In Windows, installing a video driver is a lot easier - just install, set resolution, set refresh.

In Linux, you will be asked things that I am willing to bet even over 95% of experienced programmer's don't have a clue about.

:-(

If you don't know those things, X will not run!

And also, the command lines.. the command lines are very long and many of them accomplish very little.

Recently I tried Knoppix.

It is "linux on a CD" - doesn't install, but boots directly, from the CD, into the graphical interface. A large step into the right direction.

Still I couldn't set the refresh rate in Knoppix.

In Windows, it's as simple as right click on the desktop, and navigate the menu.

I tried that with Knoppix, struggled for 15 minutes, then gave up.

Why should I struggle and waste my time with this?

Robert
Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Because when you buy MS you are suporting the church of scientology.

Eric DeBois
Wednesday, September 03, 2003

"I am not the biggest fan of Microsoft - I hate to put a $$ value on the amount of time we spent with hot fixes, undocumented features, virus warnings, worm 'holes', and the cost of dealing with MS support."

Whatever gave you the idea that this would be better in the Linux world? Prepare for spending >more< time and money, not less.
Any eventual savings in operation will be from changing your operations, the way you handle setup, support, maintenance, ...  not from changing platforms. If there are any savings at all they can be had at far lesser cost from reviewing your current operational model and improving it.

Just me (Sir to you)
Wednesday, September 03, 2003

"If there are any savings at all they can be had at far lesser cost from reviewing your current operational model and improving it."

'cause as we all know, Windows and Office are free.

Jim Rankin
Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Re: usability

I think the more interesting aspect is the relative rate of usability improvement in Linux and Windows.  It seems the Linux usability curve is rapidly approaching Windows, and Windows is pretty much standing still.

Innovator's dilemma:  Linux just needs to get "good enough" to eat Window's lunch.

Jim Rankin
Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Marlene,

You are used to one thing, now you must change to another.  Its as simple as that.  In Linux there are no wizards, no auto-installers (none that work anyhow), so you might as well just accept that fact and move forward.

You want to change screen resolutions?  You may have to learn the /etc/X11/XF86Config-4 file syntax (although, I will have to say, the screen settings GUI apps these days seem to work pretty nicely, so perhaps you can pass on that one).  Nevertheless, get used to getting info from 'man' pages, and reading the file syntax.  The fact is, under Windows you never really knew what was going on - some wizard did it for you.  When something broke, what recourse did you have?  Now, although you are forced into learning what a device node is, at least when you hit a snag, you can very likely fix it.  That's what Linux is all about.  If you don't like it, or don't want to adapt to it, go back to Windows.

nat ersoz
Wednesday, September 03, 2003

One mroe thing...  about that keyboard driver.  Our deployed products have no standard keyboard, and therefore require no "standard" driver.  It is annoying as hell to deal with an operating system and BIOS mentality that refuses to load because there is no keyboard attached.  Linux is already the consumer electronics embedded OS of choice - that is well established for all the right reasons.  More to come.

nat ersoz
Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Some of these Linus disadvantages can be turned into advantages. As one commenter put it, your savings aren't going to be from getting the software for free, but in making better use of your time and resources.

Installing software on a Linux machine is harder. This seems like a good thing to me, from a tech support standpoint. That means that it's harder for somebody to add their favorite desktop toys that foul up the works. Harder for them to twiddle things that go all to heck, and then some tech support guy has to fix it.  You'll have the luxury of knowing exactly what's installed on the machine, because the user couldn't bring in a disk from home to goof up their machine.

If your organization is serious about moving to Linux on the desktop, you will have to put in the time to find good applications for people to use. The Ximian e-mail suite is a good choice for a corporate operation. Mozilla/Galeon make nice browsers. There are good file explorers for the common window managers that make file interaction very similar to Windows. With the many IRC tools, you even have a good electronic conferencing platform.

We've done nicely at home with programs like AbiWord, a very excellent word processor that looks and feels like Word. We even have business accounting with SQL-Ledger, since both my wife and I have our own businesses.

In short, this is an excellent opportunity for your company to rethink how it manages its IT resources. There is a big opportunity to save time and money on long term desktop support if you do things right. That money could be channelled into things like equipment upgrades, infrastructure improvements, or horror of horrors, salary increases.

Clay Dowling
Wednesday, September 03, 2003

If you don't want users installing software then make it so. You do not have to change platforms. Everything is right there to support you in this. Why is it not used?

Relying on "it will be harder so let's hope they don't try" is a pathology of poor administration. This type of reasoning is what is the problem with your current process. Another platform wil not save you, it will be just as bad.

Just me (Sir to you)
Wednesday, September 03, 2003

MSHack, have you actually installed a recent version of windows?  It is so easy I could cry.  You basically don't have to do anything except enter in a few things about what time zone you're in and what you want your account name to be.  Now to be fair I haven't installed Linux using some of the more recent releases, but from what I've seen people are right to criticize linux install vs windows install.  It's not just that most people don't have to install windows (which is of course true), but windows install is actually pretty painless.

Mike McNertney
Wednesday, September 03, 2003

<troll shields = "up">

You want usability and *nix?

Mac OSX!!!

</troll>

Reginald Braithwaite-Lee
Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Mike - Funny you should ask.  Yes, I am writing this from my newest installation of windows 2000.  (The company is not yet on the XP band wagon).  My point was that it is no harder to install Linux. 

For example, Nat's comment on Xwindows has not been an inssue in most distrubtions in several releases.  But like an urban legend it will not go away.    Same for "noname" where my last recompile was in release 4.7 when I had a third world off brand ethernet card and did not want to shell out $20 for one in the hardware list.  So I spent about 4 hours downloading, figuring out how and then recompiling.  Something I did for _myself._  I would never recommend it be done at my office.  We would have selected a more mainstream card.

Cheers --

MSHack
Wednesday, September 03, 2003

"A poster suggested that with Linux you have to do everything yourself - i.e. screen resolution/installation etc. And the beauty of this is that you know what is going on."

99% of my colleaques do not want to know what is under the hoods on their OS. They just want Word (or an equivalent) to launch when an icon is clicked. They just want to do stuff easily and quickly - they do not, and should not, want to tinker with the PC more than they have to.

WE in the IT department must services their needs - after all that is what our job is and this is what that pays for the chair I am sitting on.

Linux, despite all in-roads, requires tremendouse amounts of resource investments to be made operational in a business environment - both upfront cost and ongoing.

Linux must become as seamless to use at Windows. The geek culture of tinkering does not help. More business savvyness has to be brought in.

Technology is not inherrently difficult - I can code perfectly well if I am working on an open source project. But technology becomes challenging when there are business deliverables. The users (aka customers) must be listened to and a cost-effective solution that is both functional and easy to use are the the deliverables.

Marlene
Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Clay Dowlings' view of Linux as a "black box" being desirable is interesting and is valid for some environments. I know some consultants who have worked on exactly that basis. IE, their clients do not want to allow *any* budget for technical support of a system that allows end user tinkering.

I tend to agree with Marlene's take and observations and none of it is trollish. I for one am a "Windows head" who has tried (and in some instances succeeded) in embracing open source software and Linux. I've run "someone's" Linux on an extra computer for years now. Certain operations - software installations for one - configuring the X environment for another - never seem to get any easier. I am presently developing a mixed system for a client that uses BSD Unix as a server and backend and Windows for a frontend. I definitely do *not* fear Linux or another *nix from overtaking Windows. I just don't give it any real odds.

Also, the Linux culture is completely "against" backward binary compatibility, which makes distribution of commercial closed source binary applications to Linux problematic. Whereas, there are lots of DOS and Windows 3.1 apps that will run in XP.

Bored Bystander
Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Marlene,

My wife was once looking over my shoulder as I was viewing a Linux page, perhaps something like Linux Magazine or something...  Anyhow, there was some obnoxious geek culture add on the page with scantily clad women.  And she said "that's disgusting, Linux needs to clean up their act".  I tried to explain that there was no one to complain to, but it was no use.  Linux is disgusting.

There you go:  Linux is what it is.  There is no one to complain to, except perhaps the distributor or reseller (RedHat, Suse, etc.) OTOH, Linux has great advantages in terms of being remotely administratable and secure.  You as admin can clone hard drives, enable services, configure permissions and security without buying 3rd party tools or ever leaaving your seat.  But it is different than Windows and you aren't going to figure it out by wishing it were.

nat ersoz
Wednesday, September 03, 2003

I fought the OS evangelism wars in the 80s (Atari vs. C64 vs. Apple vs. IBM vs. Mac vs. Amiga vs. Atari again) and have no desire to do so again. The bottom line for me was: Use whatever works for you.

When I worked at Bell Labs and 3,000 developers were all updating the same real-time program (1M+ LoC), we used Unix systems and home-grown build environments. However, when I worked in professional services, I used Windows. It's all a matter of what you have to accomplish.

If I were to build a "pizza box" rack-mount server appliance, Linux would be the first OS I'd consider because of cost first and reliability/app suite second. However, on the desktop, there is nothing to use other than Windows. I have about 50 games at home and 48 of them don't work on Linux. I have about 20 applications that I use and about 18 of them don't run on Linux (maybe there are alternate versions for about 8-10 more).

I tried to install RedHat 7.x at home a year or two ago and it still wasn't ready for primtime desktop replacement. The installation was too "geeky" and I had to hack the loader just to get Windows back. Once inside, it worked okay but had to boot Windows all the time in order to be productive. There was an included game with Linux that I could never get to work either. The way I look at it, if the one bundled game doesn't even work, why the heck would I spend my valuable time giving anything else a shot. I'm not some college kid with a lot of free time anymore.

StickyWicket
Wednesday, September 03, 2003

I am reminded of the sales adage that a satisfied customer will tell one other person, a dissatisfied will tell ten.  Like the people who spent hours trying to get windows-Me to work and eventually lived without the scanner or camera or usb because it was too much of a hassle.  As I said earlier, there are bad distributions and much like you would not load XP on a 300 mhz machine with a 4 gig hard drive, all distributions will not run on everything. 

Marlene, may very well have been one of those unlucky people who just cannot get a break.  It happens.  That being said, the comment that "Linux, despite all in-roads, requires tremendous amounts of resource investments to be made operational in a business environment - both up-front cost and ongoing." does not ring true in my experience.  The number of cases where I have seen a department level or corporate level roll out, success has been on par with any similar roll-out in windows (95 to 2000, 2000 to XP).

However, if you depend on windows applications that do not exist in Linux and you are unwilling or unable to convert to another software, then windows is where you should remain. Those conditions however are not a limitation of the OS, but of your business need.

MSHack
Wednesday, September 03, 2003

I don't know why I keep reading these Linux vs WIndows posts. I guess it's like a car crash. I can't not look.

mshack - You're going to choose your OS and then determine which apps to run. Dontcha think you got that backwards?

pdq
Wednesday, September 03, 2003

One good thing you will find about Linux is that if you choose the right distribution it will probably come with all the basic software you need (web, email, office, etc) right from the installation. So although the installation might be a little more lengthy, you don't need to do much afterwards. Plus all that basic software comes totally free which is always a bonus.

Daniel Searson
Wednesday, September 03, 2003

-----"I don't know what the situation is now"-----

So whjy the hell don't you find out before you post a load of ignorant speculation.

For your information the situation now is that X Windows finds and sets up the graphics card without any problem. In fact a Linux install is as easy as XP, and easier than Windows 2000.

Sure a few years ago it was a pain in the backside, but so was Windows up to W2000. I ran my first computer in 16 colors because nobody told me I had to install the video driver separately, in Windows 9*, and that situation continued right up until W2000 came out, and that was on the market a year before third parties got their act together with new drivers, and you needed to get a new scanner anyway.

Have any of you guys and gals who moan about Linux ever tried to make an NT4 boot disk for example, or tried to administer an NT4 server with six service packs to keep track of?

Stephen Jones
Wednesday, September 03, 2003

"As one commenter put it, your savings aren't going to be from getting the software for free, but in making better use of your time and resources."

A lot of your time and resources can be spent in .config hell.

MIke
Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Stephen,

Why pile on NT? My first real server admin work was managing 2 Windows NT Server boxes. Against Microsoft's recommendations, I ran SQL Server, IIS, and Exchange all on the same box that was doing file/print services. I read all the manuals and followed best practices (this was when it came out at v.3.1,3.5,3.51,4.0 and little Internet support was available). Guess what? I had one instance of unplanned downtime in 2 years. After that experience, I have a hard time believing anyone who says that their servers/computers crash daily or even frequently. I never had a problem with a service pack other than the dreaded SP2, which I rolled back immediately without problems. BTW, Unixes (HP/UX, Solaris) have upgrades and patches too.

StickyWicket
Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Some people are liucky with NT and some aren't. There are plenty of people that set up Apache or Samba and leave it in a cupboard for years (and there are still NT3.51 servers in cupboards running perfectly even though everybody in the company has forgotten all about them).

If things did go wrong with NT though you had a mess with rolling back and reinstalling service packs.

My argument is simply that the problem of Linux being difficult for a non-technical user to install has been solved, and that in the past MS software was anything but easy to install, as was Linux.

Stephen Jones
Thursday, September 04, 2003

"My argument is simply that the problem of Linux being difficult for a non-technical user to install has been solved"

Reading some of the posts in this thread, that is patently not true.

John Topley (www.johntopley.com)
Thursday, September 04, 2003

"Some people are lucky with NT and some aren't."

This is because they fail to RTFM. Acts of god don't count statistically.

"If things did go wrong with NT though you had a mess with rolling back and reinstalling service packs."

Not true with me. I only had one problem and the rollback was easy. However, I will grant you that restores can be a pain. However, I set up my system such that a total restore would take less than 2 hours (45 mins NT, 1:15 disk restore).

"My argument is simply that the problem of Linux being difficult for a non-technical user to install has been solved, and that in the past MS software was anything but easy to install, as was Linux."

Then your argument is not a good one. Linux still has a way to go to catch up to Windows and Windows has had solid installations since the beginning. Even Win3.1 was a snap. My only complaint with Win2K/Xp is that they shield way too much of the stuff that's going on from the user. Thus, if I were to experience a problem, troubleshooting it is harder than it used to be.

StickyWicket
Thursday, September 04, 2003

On what do you base the idea that Windows installs are easy, and Linux has a long way to go. As I said before installing Mandrake 8.1 was a hell of a lot easier than installing XP and Office (Office 2000 is a pain, even if you choose to run everything of HD).

As for RTFM. isn't that the attitude everybody complains about in Linux newsgroups? And as somebody who has read both the W2000 manual, plus the resource kit, plus a few other books, I can assure you that there are problems it doesn't easily explain. For one thing the recovery console appears to be almost useless; the only time W2K crashed on me, I spent an hour and a half with the recovery console getting nowhere, and reverted to using the Ghost clone which installed in forty-five minutes.

Stephen Jones
Thursday, September 04, 2003

---"Reading some of the posts in this thread, that is patently not true. "---

Then read them more closely. You'll find that all the people who claim Linux is difficult to install, haven't tried to do so in the last year or so.

Go onto the Linux forums and you will hear equal rubbish about how Windows is unstable, spouted by people who haven't used it since 3.1 or 95.

In fact at present Windows is more stable than Linux, and Linux is easier to install than Windows. Go figure!

Stephen Jones
Thursday, September 04, 2003

"In fact at present Windows is more stable than Linux, and Linux is easier to install than Windows. "

Facts are items that can be proven true with empirical evidence.  I don't know that either of these have been.

pdq --  I do not believe I suggested picking the OS first.  My comment was simply "Choose what works for your business needs."

MSHack
Thursday, September 04, 2003

Dear MS Hack,
                      Do the experiment. Give somebody a copy of the latest Mandrake, and somebody a copy of XP and Office and a photo-editor, and a few text editors, and any other equivalent programs that come with Mandrake for free. Make sure that the person installing Mandrake has never installed it before, and that the person installing XP has never installed either XP or Office before. Rinse, lather and repeat.

                      As for reliability, go around your firiends and acquaintances who have W2K or WinXp Pro installed on their desktops, and ask them about reinstalls, reboots and down time. I am pretty certain you willl get the problem that this is not an issue ( I think you will also find that most consider XP less stable than W2K, though whether that is because XP is more forgiving of non-standard hardware I don't know). On the server side this is a different question of course; I suspect Linux still wins on the reliability stakes there.

                      The point I am making is that the old cliches, Linux is hard to install, and Windows is unstable, are both no longer true. In fact, if anything, the roles have got reversed.

Stephen Jones
Friday, September 05, 2003

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