Women in Technology

Hear us Roar



Weblog:   Open Source vs. Mac vs. Windows
Subject:   support...
Date:   2004-02-09 09:00:20
From:   jinjelsnaps
Response to: support...

Thank God I'm not the only one who's had those same issues with Linux. To be fair to Linux fans, I don't believe I've ever heard a distro to be touted as "easy to use," or at least "easier to use that MacOS or Windows."


I've been working in IT since '99, and have gone the "Windows has crashed on me for the last time!" frustrations and tried to go to Linux...only to have it crash more often than Windows did. And that was on a basic, "let Red Hat take over the disk and do it for me" type of setup!


Also, they tend to claim Linux will run really well on old hardware...which I guess is true if you're not going to run a GUI. Most of my attempts to run KDE or Gnome have been...issue-prone, at best, when the same hardware will run Win98 or Win2k just fine.


Oh well. I like the author's attitude about where Open Source should "fit in" in "corporate environments." I wish more people would see the benefits of a best-of-both-worlds kind of blending...

Full Threads Oldest First

Showing messages 1 through 3 of 3.

  • support...
    2004-02-10 03:44:48  sequitur [View]

    To be fair to Linux fans, I don't believe I've ever heard a distro to be touted as "easy to use," or at least "easier to use that MacOS or Windows."

    Mandrake and some other distros like Xandros and Lindows would like to assert that. In reality there are variables that could make it more or less true. If you had to learn the computer without knowing either and you had needs the installed software would fulfill I think you might be surprised that it would be very close. If you really know a piece of software it could be lousy but you would prefer it for a period of time even if you suspected the other was better.

    I've been working in IT since '99, and have gone the "Windows has crashed on me for the last time!" frustrations and tried to go to Linux...only to have it crash more often than Windows did. And that was on a basic, "let Red Hat take over the disk and do it for me" type of setup!

    Gee whiz. What crashed? Your GNOME desktop? I switched from OS/2 to Red Hat in 1999 and was mortified by the desktop crashing. Then I switched from GNOME to KDE (in fairness GNOME has gotten better since then) which was much better and showed promise. Then tried other distros and it got good. I use Gentoo now which is all from source, however I liked Mandrake a little better than SUSE. Note that the CEO of Red Hat said recently Linux was not ready for the desktop and they have since dropped their desktop distribution in favor of a community developed project... Translation... Red Hat said they came to the desktop at version 8.0 and left it after 9.0. They never really cared for the desktop and were the worst solution for the desktop.

    Also, they tend to claim Linux will run really well on old hardware...which I guess is true if you're not going to run a GUI. Most of my attempts to run KDE or Gnome have been...issue-prone, at best, when the same hardware will run Win98 or Win2k just fine.

    Come on... win98 and W2K don't have anywhere near the same hardware requirements. KDE 2 used a little more resources than KDE 1. You needed 64 MB of RAM. (Processor is secondary for speed until 644-128 MB) KDE 3 was faster using less resources as was 3.1. 3.2 is noted for being so fast that it is supposed to be faster than lightweight desktops like XFCE. I've seen people say they were happy with it on 500 MHz systems even with low RAM. You can run win98 with 64 MB fin but try W2K without 256 MB.

    Note also that speed will be affected by how your kernel is configured (everything under the sun makes anything slow), processor optimizations (Red Hat is actually compiled for 386 believe it or not), running processes and daemons, compiler version (gcc 3x is faster than 2x) and a variety of other factors. Gentoo rus several times faster than my previous distribution because it's tweeked for speed. Try doing that with W2k. (When IBM licensed windows for OS/2 their initial version ran 10% faster than MS' because they used a Lattice compiler which was more efficient than the garbage MS was producting.)

    Oh well. I like the author's attitude about where Open Source should "fit in" in "corporate environments." I wish more people would see the benefits of a best-of-both-worlds kind of blending..

    There's nothing "best" about a company that refuses to ship their software with macros turned off by default and request user confirmation on executing certain actions, or any actions generated by software that has just been downloaded. On Linux it would have it's executable bit unset and the current directory would not be on the path so the user would have to want to execute it. Not so in Windows land, and this brings us tons o' spam to harvest email addresses and choke mail servers. Gates has an answer he says. Who wants to bet it's a proprietary system that requires their software, locks out everybody else and exposes your private information to them like Passport?

    There are some companies you just can't live with because they just can't stop their criminal abuses.
  • support...
    2004-02-09 11:49:15  cascadefx [View]

    There are distributions that work, and work well, right out of the box. I use SUSE Linux daily as my primary (sole except for rebooting into windows to walk users through solutions to their problems) desktop.

    It is rock-solid. It never crashes. It comes with a ton of software (multiple office suites, multiple browsers, tons of games, great email applications, and chat programs that talk to EVERY email client out there -check out gaim and kopete). AND it is pretty easy to use and more powerful than any proprietary OS out there.

    Maybe it is because I have a few years on you as I have been working in IT since 95, but with a little reading (in the early days), I could get a barebones Slackware system up and running in about an hour. My SUSE install took 30 minutes before I had a login screen and I could do my initial online updates and keep working without having to reboot. That includes installing all the software that I use on a daily basis (office suites, email, chat, etc). Windows, Mac OS, and all of their accompanying apps take hours... and you generally have to reboot when done.

    While not all distributions and windowing systems will run on really old hardware, there exist MANY that do. If you have old hardware, run Fluxbox of Xcfe as the window manager and you will go far. You can't do that with Windows.

    I don't think you have to go all or nothing. Open Office and Mozilla run on Windows, as do Cygwin, Abiword, the GIMP, and a host of other apps. However, you get the full power of the Open Source design and philosophy running the entire suite of applications and OSes that exist under that mantel.

    While it is erroneous for me to say, "Because I could do it, it is not impossible." It is equally erroneous for your failures to forbode doom for others.

    Linux/BSD is powerful and increasingly easy to use. Most time invented will pay off. That is a promise that I can make.
    • Linux support...
      2004-02-09 15:04:52  klinux [View]

      The point that many of these people are making is not that they couldn't ever under any circumstances get Linux or BSD to work, but rather, that it wasn't worth the time required, when they could quite simply reload Windows or Mac OS. I know that myself. I had lots of fun running the early LinuxPPC distros and also fooling around with BeOS in the 90's. However, when it came time to actually get work done on my computer, I switched back over to the Mac OS. You see, I'm not a programmer or a network guy. I'm largely involved in photography, some small web stuff, and research. I find that it is much easier to get that work done on a Mac than on Linux. If I want to tinker and have fun, I pull up the Terminal and get out my Unix manuals. I enjoy that, but when I need to get the job done, I want the computer to get out of my way, or maybe even assist me in my tasks. I expect the computer to understand certain things about the way I work, and work with me on them. This I get from many proprietary software packages from Apple and other companies, and I don't get from the Open Source side as much. Open Source is improving, and one of the best things happening right now, is when the developers get recompensed somehow. I wish that more Open Source projects would go the Shareware route. Then there is a little more incentive on the developers to make it user friendly, and they get something back for their hard work as well.
      But in the meantime, those of us who want a computer that seems to understand us, and doesn't always try to make us understand it, will continue to use Macs.

Showing messages 1 through 3 of 3.