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OneAndOneIs2

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Sat, Dec 31, 2005

[Icon][Icon]Linux != Windows feedback

• Post categories: Omni

This post was created just to allow anybody who wants to to leave a comment on the first version of the article.


112 comments

MrMotane
Comment from: MrMotane [Visitor]
A good article and a good point, but i think you've beaten your point to death. In my opinion Linux should be what people want it to be. Linux really isn't an OS per say, just a kernel. What makes it an OS is what everyone puts into it. So for the sake of this e-mail Linux is an OS then. Linux is an alternative to Windows as well as a hobbyist OS for programmers. It's certainly great that people want to "make" a new kind of Linux. That's why we have Distros. There really should be a version or distro for desktops and i believe someone should make it. An OS by definition for me is a piece of software that helps me control my hardware. Even tho I'm in IT i do Network Administration not programming. So giving me a version of Linux that i have to write the drivers for everything and make a version of Linux from scratch isn't suitable for my needs. It's like asking a foot doctor to do heart surgery. Personally I believe it's completely arcane to expect anyone that uses an OS for their desktop to work in a terminal all day. We should be at the point of using a powerful GUI fulltime and if we want to add something or repair something the command line makes perfect sense. I just hate wizards and wouldn't mind seeing them go away. This is why i think Macintosh is the perfect OS for all around users. I do alot of photo-editing and I can tell you i use GIMP and Photoshop and no matter how much i know how to use GIMP it doesn't even compare to photoshops ease of use and usability. When i edit photo's i want to just do my work, not program an app to do my work. Linux runs my DHCP server at home, its my firewall and its my terminal at work. It's a work horse, but it's certainly not as good as a desktop as say Windows or Mac. Linux wasn't even designed for such a thing, but thats changing. A large group of people want Linux as a desktop, so encourage that. If a users says, "Cant this app, just work?" Ya, it should. By making something you strive for excellence if its interface or clean running code. Think i want to open a terminal and repair bad code from someone's project while im in the middle of something important? Your right, in those cases i either find the problem or a just dont use Linux. I love Linux, because people are using it for so many things. Router, firewall, terminal, server and soon coming the Desktop. No one wants an OS that works half the time or something that you need to take 8 hours to go through configs to repair a problem. Honestly, Windows is almost the same...difference is your on the phone with a bunch of assholes asking them whats wrong, because you cant see the source code. No matter what you use, someone wants something else for it. Thats good, we need improvements. Should Linux act like Windows? Yeh...just Linspire. Thats a distro for the newbie, for us we use Slackware, Gentoo etc. I've been using Linux since 2000 and I've seen it come a long way. I'd like to see a distro for every purpose and I'd like to see it more than a hobby OS that everyone learns to use. Please remember, once apon a time Windows was just like Linux. We all used DOS. Not as powerful as Linux, but similar fashion of using the command line and making batch files. We'll in time, 3.11, ok GUI and Win95 and then XP. We'll since Linux is opensource, someone can take that route if they want too or stick with old school like Slackware. Even tho we dont use DOS commands anymore i know how to use it if need be. If people use Linux enough the same will happen. I hope this makes sense and you dont have to agree with me, but hell....I dont want Linux to be a camp for nerds and hobbyist, i rather see programmers and grandma's using it. More people who use it the less they will use Windows and what a wonderful world that would be.

Thanks for your article
01/11/06 @ 03:27
gr
Comment from: gr [Visitor]
New to linux myself and and you have presented some excellent questions for the newb. I do agree 100% that "requiring" linux to be like Windows is unrealistic.

I do have to ask however, did you come to the conclusion that GNU/linux incentive was to develop functionality first and form/ease of use/feeling good was second? I think functionality AND ease of use are not mutually exclusive.

I would have to say that software developers are NOT necessarily the best people to CONVEY the philosophy, form or function of their 'brainchild' to the end user. There are plenty of aeronautical engineers who DON'T have the situational awareness to actually be good pilots. I can tell you that many brilliant music composers can't perform their own compositions. Joel Spolsky and Eric S. Raymond have written some great articles about what a great UI should be.

Your post created the impression that "easy to use" is NECESSARILY a longer journey. Throughout the article is mentioned that "once you get used to it".
Intuitive means that the path to usability is short, easy AND functional precisely because the programmer thought out the users' "usability flow chart" to its logical conclusions and did not present the user with unnecessary options that it (the software) couldn't decide for itself. Options are nice but don't guarantee "flexibility" if they are presented at innapropriate times or in a confusing manner.

Anyway, great article and good observations.
01/11/06 @ 03:30
anonymous
Comment from: anonymous [Visitor]
A reply to gr above, in your post you say: "There are plenty of aeronautical engineers who DON'T have the situational awareness to actually be good pilots."

However when it comes to software, as the original article states, most linux coders ARE the end users. To use your example as a reference, the skilled Pilot learns all he can about aeronautical engineering, so then when he does work in that field it is from the unique perspective of someone on both ends, so that he can not only design something that is functional, but that has good useability.

As both a coder and an end user of my own products, I know this from personal experiance.

Just keep in mind that:
If you make something any idiot can use, only idiots will use it.
01/11/06 @ 03:30
KristofU
Comment from: KristofU [Visitor]
What's the point of saying that Linux if for the it enthousiasts ( 0.1% ) and Windows for the all the other people ( 99.9 % )? Isn't that the same as saying that we should just accept Windows as the main OS and that Linux will forever be obscure and arcane?

You could give someone a PC without anything on it installed and then claim it uses the brand new CreateOS. You don't like CreateOS? Well that's because CreateOS is not like any other OS at all, you just write the things you need yourself. It's for the real hardcore developer. The nice thing about CreateOS, is that it doesn't force anything upon the end user. Don't like the fact that there is no boot loader, file system or network stack? Write them yourself !

Of course Linux is somewhat more advanced than CreateOS, but the point remains : if you don't have the goal of delivering something that can be used by ALL computer users, you should keep forever silent about Microsoft's devilish monopolistic tendencies. After all, you advocated it.
01/11/06 @ 03:56
Erik Chong
Comment from: Erik Chong [Visitor]
Thanks for the great article and for most part I agree deeply with yours.

But for one reason Linux implementations sucks ... Unorganized

There are too many favour of Linux out there. They use the same Linux kernal but apart from that, each of them is almost a separate OS with different way of doing things.

Yes, Linux is a pet OS for many hackers not for common Joe, and keep the mind set of "go away if you don't like it". However, I think Linux is transitioning into a more matured position to welcome ordinary guys, interoperability and user experience count.

However, Linux implementations still lacks a common application framework, or better to say too many frameworks, that most developers agree. Install/Uninstall software, aligning applications' version are painful even for average users and developers.

Though many people complaints on Window registry, Mac's user preference, ActiveX, .Net, DCOM and etc. However, they provided guidiance and building blocks that general developers can follow and interact, making components that others can build on top. Where Linux implementaions is way inferior.

I think that a decent architecture above the Linux kernal and beneath the good looking KDE and GNOME, is what missing in Linux implementations.
01/11/06 @ 04:01
Hans Bezemer
Comment from: Hans Bezemer [Visitor] · http://hansoft.come.to
Great article! I may not agree with all details, but I have to congratulate you for being the first one in years that cracked the "userfriendly" myth. Tom Gilb was the first one. Unfortunately, this concept is used in many user requirements and I always reject it for the simple reason that it is meaningless.

What do you want? "Efficiency of user tasks" or "Intuitive"? Some say "both" but more than often those requirements bite each other.

I must say that I don't find Linux not intuitive. I pretty well can figure out what is going on by following my programmers instincts. My girlfiend has no problems using it as well and she doesn't know a thing about computers or Linux.

At least it beats Windows when trying to figure out what is wrong. I can pretty much figure out where the problem is. Windows errors are usually so peculiar that I don't bother. Note that this is with fiends/family. I haven't used Windows since 1999 (apart from a tiny QEMU/Win98 image in snapshot mode for running those legacy CD ROMS ;-)
01/11/06 @ 04:06
patrimak
Comment from: patrimak [Visitor] · http://www.patrimak.5u.com
This is a nice piece of work (or article if you wnat to say so), It had me sit for a while and think why i like Linux. Happy to say the Openness is what attracted me in addition to the knowledge gained.

Indeed a lot of people think Linux is a replacement of Windows "Wrong concept"

If all thought like you, the world would be a changed place.

Linux makes you feel like a genious, because you know exactly what you are doing and what your computer is doing as opposite to ....(afraid i might be sued)
01/11/06 @ 06:50
Igor
Comment from: Igor [Visitor]
Excelent article, couldn't agree more. That's exactly what i've been telling my friends when complaining about Linux. Linux is indeed an alternative not replacement for Windows, and when decided to embrace Linux, be prepared for some homework. I use both, windows(corporate environment) and Linux(home use). I use it for home use because I've got tired of viruses, adware and such stuff. But as you said, it was not an esay option. It took me 4 years from Linux newbie to intermediate experienced Linux user, and still in process of learning. But, I have no regrets for going this way. I love linux every day more and more.
01/11/06 @ 08:04
BeastOfBurden
Comment from: BeastOfBurden [Visitor] · http://beastofburden1.blogspot.com
Great article - you articulated a great deal of what I find difficult to understand about those who are resistant to Linux as well as why I enjoy Linux so much.

Two nit-picks:

1) Not that I'm a GNU zealot, but to be fair, Linux is just the kernel, whereas the vast majority of the quality FOSS programs that run on Linux were written by the GNU project or other groups, so I think they deserve a mention. In some ways it may be more useful to title your article "Windows is NOT Unix", because your same arguments could be for the most part applied (except for the GPL discussion) to the BSDs and Solaris on which these same GNU tools and other FOSS programs can run.
2) With deference to Eric Raymond, instead of a motorcycle, I think you should use a tank in your metaphorical comparison between vehicles, but your illustration still gets its point across.
01/11/06 @ 09:59
hpoom
Comment from: hpoom [Visitor] · http://www.hpoom.co.uk
I really enjoyed your artical, it sums up what I have thought for a while. Your Car != Motorbike comparison was an excelent way to explain the Linux != Windows point.
01/11/06 @ 10:40
RTyrgen
Comment from: RTyrgen [Visitor]
Nice article. I would think a good read for someone in the situation you describe - fleeing from Windows.
I love learning linux and feeling like a complete novice sometimes. Honestly. Its worth it when you get whatever you are trying to do working, because it generally does it so well.
A saying myself and some tech friends have used for years is 'Windows makes you stupid'.
01/11/06 @ 10:43
drg
Comment from: drg [Visitor]
Interesting article, but I basically disagree with you on every point except one - Linux is not Windows.

The main point you seem to miss is that for the vast majority of people in the world, the computer is simply a tool they use to get their job done. It doesn't really matter if it's Windows, Mac, or Linux. What they want is a tool that works, allows them to do their job, and does not require them to work on that tool. After all, when you are working on your tool, you are not doing you want to or need to be doing.

You state in your article that people look for alternatives to Windows because of the problems it has. But it's not because they dislike Windows, it's because the tool they are using is not working as good as they like. They want a tool that works, so that they can do their work without messing with the tool. When they look at Linux, the see they are simply trading one set of problems for another, but at least in Windows, they already have experience in dealing with the problems.

Sure, you can argue that Linux works as designed, but these people look at the things you call "functionality" as nothing more than different problems. To argue that Linux is better because of function x or ability y is irrelevant to the average end user, because to they simply say "ok, thats nice, now how will it help me do my job? And remember, I have a deadline at the end of the week."

Strangely, most of the arguments I hear for replacing Windows with Linux do not from the "Linux newbie", but instead come from very experienced Linux people. They are often very bigoted against Windows for many reasons, and blindly argue that Linux can replace Windows. But anyone who takes the time to look at the differences can see that is not true. Linux is not Windows. It never will be, and in reality, never should be.

But that doesn't mean Linux can't be made easier to use or more user friendly. Great funtionality and ease of use are not mutually exclusive. Certainly, it does not have to be Windows to be easy to use. But it does have to be a tool that "just works", with the ability to easily figure out how to use it, so the end user does not have to worry about it and can simply do the task they have in mind.

Comparing VI to Notepad, then saying Vi is a better tool to use is simply ludicrous. System Admins have been cursing Vi for decades, and the vast majority of Vi users probably know less than 20 Vi commands. Why? Because Vi is a tool, and thing you use to get something done. I want to accomplish my task, not learn the arcane intricacies of Vi.

Unfortunately, the Linux community does have a reputation of being elitist. And while your article tries to argue otherwise, making points like - if you don't understand Linux, then you shouldn't use it - or "Linux wants users who want Linux" all smack of elitism. Nothing irritates the average person more than an arrogant computer person. This, unfortunately, is a huge problem in IT in general, so maybe its unfair to label it as a Linux community problem, but my experience indicates that it is more of a problem in the Linux world. Just remember that it is important the point of view of others, and not belittle it, because the vast majority of people are not "techie" and have no desire to be.

If you want Linux to be a tool to be used by the knowledgable user, then fine, all is good. But if the goal is to gain more widespread acceptance, then Linux has a long way to go to get there. It can be done. I remember Windows from way back, and it was NOT a pretty application. It was beyond complex to get the first Windows running, and to make it useful. In fact, it wasn't until years later that it was actually useful. Linux simply needs to make some strides, realize that not everyone is a computer enthusiast, and add a few improvements. That is easily said, but may require a fundamental change to the approach used to develop application, because applications will need developed with the "general" user in mind.

01/11/06 @ 11:31
wpostma
Comment from: wpostma [Visitor]
The original poster has a valid point, and the guy who left a post by the name 'drg' has a valid point, and the two don't really disagree at all, even if drg thinks they do. They are talking at cross purposes, and both of them have valid points.

I'd like to say that I disagree about Windows "just working". I find Linux "just works" for me more than Windows does. However, both completely fall flat on this point, compared to the Mac.

My mom finds Windows bafflingly complex, and loves her new Mac G5. Personally, I find the clean and well-designed Mac OS attractive, and I'm tiring of tripping around inside ugly guis, and complex text configuration files on linux, and sick of all the headaches of Windows as well, and I'm seriously considering going Mac at home.

However, at work, our entire set of office desktop PCs runs on Windows XP desktops. This is essential for us. Neither Mac or Linux is even an option because we have over 100 vertical-market specific applications we need that are available for the PC that just aren't available for Linux, or for the Mac. Can anyone show me Mac or Linux equivalents for AutoCAD, Protel and ORCAD? How about Parts&Vendors? How about ACT? We can't switch even if we want to. Crossover office is nice if all you want is to run a few Windows applications. But it doesn't run everything under the sun. We have stuff you've never heard of, and none of it runs on anything other than Windows. There are probably 10-20 million commercial vertical-market applications for Windows. Every single one of them has somewhere between dozens to millions of customers who rely on these applications every day. Will Windows ever go away? The last 8-track tape and the last vinyl record will be gone from the earth long before Windows, or something with a new name that is backwards-compatible with this installed base of software, goes away.

I've looked around, and I think Linux and the applications that run on it are great for for certain purposes, the Mac OS is great for certain purposes if the applications you need are available for it, and that Windows, whether you think it's "great" or it "sucks" has more important business and technical software available for it than any other software platform, for more industries, than any other platform. Everyone who discusses these things likes to pretend that everything that they don't need doesn't need to exist. Linux will always exist. Commercial unix-based systems will always exist. Windows, or whatever Microsoft renames it to next, will always be with us. Mac will always be with us. They are all acceptably "good" enough for many people, for many different purposes.

Warren
01/11/06 @ 13:38
Malcolm Dean
Comment from: Malcolm Dean [Visitor]
The attitude you strongly state points to the real problem: you talk of Linux but do not point to the Desktop Linux "community." Your position is really that of a normal Unix SysAdmin who has to deal with some desktop issues. Evolving a real Desktop OS is a very different question. Unfortunately, even among the Desktop Linux vendors and developers, this is not clear, nor have they really acquired a full, true, and complete user orientation.

You end by offering the Intel/Mac alternative. With WINE and other products, this is probably where Desktop Linux will lose users. The key stumbling block, for millions of students and professionals, is the lack of a native Acrobat (not the Reader).

If a user has only basic "office" needs, Linux is sufficient. But if it involves academic research, professional publishing, and many other specialties, even running Linux with Wine or emulators will not suffice. A true Desktop OS does not raise such obstacles to users. Linux vendors need not acquire the Macintosh "religion", but they do need to acquire the "user religion."
01/11/06 @ 16:33
silicon_id
Comment from: silicon_id [Visitor]
I must have missed the part where you wrote "Linux is better, it roxxors!"

I think it is really amusing reading all the comments that say "You're wrong... Mac this... Users that..." It seems to me that everyone missed the point of your article, which to me can be summed up equally with the analogy "Why a hammer is not like a screwdriver." Both are tools, and can pretty much do the same things, but each do what they were designed to do better.

The article describes the similarities and differences between different tools, and suggests the user pick the one that best fits their needs, and stop saying one should be more like the other.

I have been using the top three listed here: Windows, Linux (I know, it's just the kernel, blah, blah, blah... several distros including Fedora, SUSE, Mandrake, OpenBSD, Gentoo) and Mac, and there are things about each that I love about all. I use SUSE Linux as a desktop on a dual boot machine that has a WinXP partition for gaming, and a Mac for graphics and multimedia production. Have both Windows and Linux servers at home. Use Windows and AIX at work.

"The answer, usually, is that they don't actually want to move to Linux. They just want to get away from Windows..." Beautifully stated. That has been my experience with anyone I have set up Linux for, and while they usually have pains at first, they are able to quickly learn how to do what they want to do, and leave it at that.

Windows has unparalleled driver support. Linux has unparalleled functionality built in. Mac has unparalleled presentation. If you want all of them, use all three.

Also for gr and drg, you seem to have missed the part about ease of use != easy to learn. Reread the part about vi, the most difficult and crappy, unfriendly peice of software ever made. But like the author explained, if you know it, you can do more from that single app than you could with the entire office suite (if you don't believe me, try running commands (and no, macros don't count) from within word by using key commands.)
01/11/06 @ 17:36
This article has hit UserFriendly's comment board on the address above, if you're interested in the commentry there.

Yes, I'm the one who basically said that only the last six paragraphs of the article were of any merit.

LionsPhil
-- Gentoo user, programmer, Vim fan
01/11/06 @ 18:06
Clive Menzies
Comment from: Clive Menzies [Visitor] · http://www.clivemenzies.co.uk
Great analogy - from a biker and a recent (3years) convert to Debian.
01/11/06 @ 18:30
Oluseyi
Comment from: Oluseyi [Visitor]
So, basically, you're saying that people must bend to computers rather than computers bending to people? That's a pretty stupid idea.

Here's a metaphor for you: computing is a car, and operating systems are transmissions. Windows is a dash-mounted automatic, Linux is a mid-cabin stick shift. Or, at least, it will be if people like you determine its future.

Fortunately for everyone, yourself included, your opinion is marginal.
01/11/06 @ 19:20
Joel
Comment from: Joel [Visitor]
Good article.
I do want to get away from windows. More than the eula, I want to get away from the rude business model that periodically obsoletes your OS and apps with ones that require the purchase of a new machine.
I already have some unix under my belt so I just have to come up with the energy (and time) to push through the learning curve.
Your article is difficult to read as you show me some of my own tendencies a bit too clearly.
I agree with MrMotane that your point is seriously bruised by the time you're done with it.
Thanks
01/11/06 @ 20:30
NZ_Justice
Comment from: NZ_Justice [Visitor]
Motor Bikes are not free
01/11/06 @ 20:42
Erik Chong
Comment from: Erik Chong [Visitor]
[Off Topic]

Heard a lot of saying that Linux Desktops are no harder than Windows or Mac. Yes if you only want to open a notepad or pre-installed applications and simply use them. But for a little more, installing applications, removing some, exploring software, without breaking the system, there are too many gotcha for average user nor developer.

There are too many variety of configuration file and version dependencies. Worst of all, what apply to one Linux favour may not work on the others. For a non-hacking people, what matters is productive (both personal and commercial activities). With everyone spending hundred of clueless hours figuring out how those common issues to be fix, it seems to me there is problem.

For one thing, as many applications developed dedicated to KDE or GNOME, I alway wonder why on earth there is no installation tracking mechanism included or standardized as part of KDE or GNOME? I think many developers will be happy to have such a mechanism to follow and ease everyone the pain.
01/12/06 @ 04:36
Nicholas
Comment from: Nicholas [Visitor]
Great article, I agree mostly with what you have said, and am so glad that somebody can articulate my feeling for this topic so articulatly. I'm 21, and when I started working in IT when 19 I was stunned at how quickly my boss was able to fire up an SSH session, open this strange editor (I later found out was vi) and configured some new hosting site that needed special requirements, and had reloaded and opened the new site, all literally within 30 seconds. I'm glad to say that I am now in that same league, and find that having to go back to windows to do anything is like trying to enter a triathlon with no arms and only one leg.

In word or notepad I repeatedly find myself typing :wq or SS instead of ^S ALT-F4.

Like you, (or maybe not?) I don't mind if a windows user flames linux or its ideals, the fact is, more people move from windows to linux, than the other way around.
01/12/06 @ 07:02
SebaGR
Comment from: SebaGR [Visitor]
Well, some things are true, but some key facts don't.

The main thing I disagree with is the part of easy to use vs easy to learn. I think almost (if not every) thing in the world, not related to any kind of randomness, is easy to use provided you know how to use it. So, the ease of use is not how you get things working, because everyting in the world is easy to use if you know how to use it, but is how fast and easily you can get to do what you want.

In that point, Linux is extremely difficult to use, but I agree that it does what it's supposed to do :)

In fact, whe you say

'If the answer is "I want Windows without the problems": Do a clean install of Windows XP SP2; set up a good firewall; install a good anti-virus; never use IE for browsing the web; update regularly; reboot after each software install; and read about good security practices. I myself have used Windows from 3.1 through 95, 98, NT, and XP, and I have never once had a virus, suffered from spyware, or been cracked. Windows can be a safe and stable OS, but it relies on you keeping it that way.'

that's EXACTLY what you were saying about Linux but for Widnows: it's easy to use and help you do what you want to do, IF AND ONLY IF you spend time to learn how to do it.

'But if they give Linux a try because of viruses and spyware, and then decide that they love the idea of an OS that they control'

I find it difficult for a guy who doesn't know HOW to set up his Windows-based system so he never gets viruses and spyware to really value the fact that he can control that OS... I think the main reason of giving Linux a try are the viruses, spyware and $$$, not the fact of knowing you have control of your SO.

I think it is a very good article :) I'm one of those people who think 'The best OS is the one that helps you do what you want to do'. And since I really don't want to control my OS and hack it, I'm not fond of Linux, but I do like FOSS.
01/12/06 @ 07:36
Supes
Comment from: Supes [Visitor]
Hey all I’m a noob (Window & Mac User) I’m currently researching DSL (Damn Small Linux) You see, I come a cross a ton of old machines, would like to refurbish them & donate them to people that can’t afford a new machine. Anyway, the article was great it gave a lot to think about. Thank You. B/T/W Todd, I don’t know if you are aware if it but newegg & tigerdirect… just to name a few sell “barebone” built no OS units… grant it they aren’t dells, comcraps, hewlett crappards, but (for the most part) its the same stuff in a no name box .
01/12/06 @ 10:54
Rico
Comment from: Rico [Visitor]
It was an amusing prank that doesn't quite live up to the 'is your son a hacker?' article posted years back. For reference, it was the general patronising tone of the article as well as the ridiculous method of copying paragraphs in Word that gave it away.
01/12/06 @ 11:47
Sohail Mirza
Comment from: Sohail Mirza [Visitor] · http://vertex.wordpress.com/
I have to agree with some of the previous commentors -- the article did have a distinctly elitist tone, and that does no good to Linux or FOSS.

The fact that you chose to define what FOSS is and who it is for, to me seems contradictory to the definition of FOSS. Freedom and openness are the key words in FOSS. Freedom and openness inherently mean making things accessible.

If Linux was created with the principles of FOSS in mind, then it should also be about accessibility, and you clearly write that Linux is for people who want Linux and not for people looking for a free, open alternative to Windows. Why can't Linux be everything to everyone?

If Linux is FOSS in the truest sense, then Linux is whatever I want it to be. You should not be telling average people that Linux is simply too l33t for them and they'll never get it. You should be telling them that you prefer your l33t flavour of Linux and that they should look for a more intuitive and userfriendly variation of Linux.

That choice, that customizability is what Linux (and FOSS) means to me. Why doesn't it mean that to you?
01/12/06 @ 17:08
Marby K. Eacret
Comment from: Marby K. Eacret [Visitor]
The fellow who writes that article is writing with an understanding toward the "non-techy end-user" who just wants an alternative to Windows, and who wants that alternative to just work. Then he contradicts himself later in the article using contentious remarks against those who provide a way for such ones as myself to use an alternative to Windows. I admire those folks who can and do use Linux running it from the CLI. People in my position don't have any interest in learning to do that; like he says, it takes time to learn the CLI. We don't want to take that time. Linspire provides me the alternative to Windows without me having to learn Linux CLI's.

I'd run MS DOS since DOS 2.x. However, I learned little about DOS because I had someone that knew what they were doing to install a GUI so that I wouldn't have to learn all that DOS stuff. At that time there were various GUI's available. The DOS Techy's complained about those GUI's just like these Linux Geniuses are complaining about Linux GUI's. I embraced those GUI's back then and I embrace them now. As I recall, MS DOS didn't "really" take off until a GUI was introduced in to DOS, hence, "Windows." All I wanted to do was get my projects done. Those GUI's first, then Windows, made that easy for me.

All those who want to keep using Linux with the CLI, more power to them, and my admiration to them will continue just as my admiration was with DOS CLI users. All you who think Linux is being abused by those with the forethought to make Linux available to me on my terms---you are just plain wrong. Linspire provides an alternative for me just as those who wrote GUI's for DOS provided a way for DOS to just work without me learning DOS. I praise such ones who are doing this for me. Linux is not being damaged, but rather enhanced to my benefit as well as millions of others being benefited. Thanks to such ones as the brilliant Linspire Technicians under the farsighted visions of Micheal Roberts and his team; and, those brilliant others who are continually improving their versions of OS's and GUI's for running other forms of Linux.
01/12/06 @ 21:13
Eyal Rozenberg
Comment from: Eyal Rozenberg [Visitor]
The article is outrageous, sometimes bordering on the ridiculous.

Before referring to the arguments themselves, let's just begin by mentioning that Linux itself is a _kernel_, and above it are built a lot of different distro's, each with its own stated objectives and features - something the author is completely ignoring, pretending to speak for (almost) every Linux user and free software developer.

Now for the content itself:

"The Linux community is not trying to provide the average Windows user with a replacement OS"
That's the exact opposite of the truth. A lot of the development effort is intended to do just that.

"Linux [is] an alternative, not a replacement"
"they work in fundamentally different ways"
So is Linux about having a different keyboard layout than windows? different keyboard shortcuts? icons with different colors? taskbar buttons in a different order? etc. ? These are just GUI-candy, they're not the essence of Linux, just some usability issue with some apps, or the window manager, or xkb, etc. Expecting Windows-like behavior is not at all contrary to the essence of Linux and free software. I happen to like CLI work a lot; so what? I still want to have the same functionality and the same mouse and keyboard behavior as in Windows; or is mouse focus and single-click-to-open supposed to be pillars of the faith? This guy is really full of it.

"Linux Windows is like Motorbikes Cars"
That's a completely invalid metahpor. Or can motorbikes have inflatable virtual cars inside of them which run like normal cars but slower?


"suggestions about making Linux more like what they're used to"
It's not a matter of making Linux like you're used to, but rather adding some more GUI, keyboard, mouse, etc. customization abilities, streamlining driver configuration (don't you just love editing your xorg.conf?) or porting more apps. That's it. It doesn't mean disabling consoles or crippling the kernel or anything like that. Sure, if you're a GNOME purist, you want an interface which works just-so with not many options, and that's perfectly fine as well, since there are alternatives.

"A Windows user must realize that he's only an experienced Windows user, not an experienced computer user"
Pray tell, how does this apply to me? Or are we making invalid generalizations again?

"causing them to have more problems than the less knowledgeable users."
This may be true for many people, but it's definitely not true for people like me, or for experienced Windows users. The more experienced you are in using Windows the more you realize its limitations, get exposed to the fact that "there's more than one way to do it", get familiarized with consoles, configuration files, the registry, file associations, maybe even some scripting and programming etc. And this knowledge doesn't work against you. You don't expect Linux-based desktops to be Windows, but you do expect certain features to be customizable to your liking.

'Linux is an alternative to Windows, but not a replacement. It will never be a replacement,"
These two aren't contradictory. It will be an alternative _and_ a replacement. And it's getting there. But it

"Typical FOSS software is created by somebody who looks around, doesn't find any pre-existing software he likes, and so writes his own"
Another typical scenario (Linux kernel, almost all basic GNU software including emacs, gcc, shell utils, etc. etc.) is that someone looks around, sees a proprietary piece of software he does like and wants to improve, so he/she writes his/her own free version.

"FOSS is all about the software. It's not about the number of end users"
Silly me, I thought software was intended for users to _do_stuff_ with it.

"The only difference is, one of the definitions of quality in these projects is "How easily can a Windows user use it?""
Sophistry. That's like claiming everyone in the world is only serving his/her own interest, but some people's interests include helping others. It may be technically true but it's quite irrelevant.

"The 'typical' Linux user is a hobbyist: "
Maybe 5 years ago. This is no longer the case. Tens of thousands of office workers now use linux for their daily work. Cell phone and PDA users use linux. etc.

"And that's perfectly okay, but from the typical Linux user's perspective, this is like somebody who wants a Lego car that comes pre-assembled and glued together so it can't come apart"
Another invalid simile. The 'I just want it to work' users don't want to prevent it from working differently.

"If you want to hack it, use Linux"
A typical Linux distro involves in excess of 50 million lines of code. How much of that am I expected to hack? I think this guy is some extreme laissez-faire lindividualist. But maybe the motorcycle metaphor was ok after all: "Your motorcycle doesn't 'just work'? Then hack it!" ... that is not much more ridiculous than when it comes to software.

"the user interface (UI) as good as possible"
So should we disable skins and themes on everything?

"You don't get the finished, highly-polished GUI package released right from the start."
I've been waiting for a decade now. I don't mind waiting some more, just don't tell me my expectations are invalid.

"Linux is deliberately designed for the well-informed, knowledgeable user"
Again, no. Some apps are, some aren't.

"Where, in any of the above text, did you see a way that FOSS would actually benefit from attracting lots of typical Windows users?"
Nowhere. But the fact that the author doesn't mention these benefits doesn't make them disappear despite what his overinflated ego might expect.

"If it worked like Windows, Linux would suck"
Demagogy.

"Linux is actually blissfully easy to use."
He's either lying or hallucinating.
01/13/06 @ 02:59
Alex
Comment from: Alex [Visitor]
Your comparison of different operating systems to cars and motorcycles is nice, but there is some other side to the matter. A lot of Linux applications and distros are not motorcycles, they are more like "do-it-yourself" car assembly kits. Of course, a car obtained out of such a kit performs beyond all expectations - in case it has been assembled by a specialist using good equipment. The problem is most people are not such specialists. They don't like dealing with kits.
The problem is not in OS/working environment being customizable. The problem is not in having a possibility to take the working environment apart and reassemble it to your liking. The problem is having to configure a lot of parts before the application / environment actually works.
I personally am a professional programmer working mainly with and for UNIX and Linux systems, running Linux exclusively on my main home computer, so I wouldn't consider myself "an average illiterate user". I like to customize my working environment a good lot, up to reassembling it completely. As you understand, I've got no problem with compilations.
Nevertheless, I like to explore a system in fully working state, before deciding how I reassemble/customize it. I hate digging through a lot of configuration entities ( be it configuration files or registry entries ) to make an application work.
So, a motorcycle, a bike, a car - whatever. Each tool for its job. As long as it just works.
01/13/06 @ 03:28

# diff windoze linux


Two ways I think Linux should present itself differently to Windows:

1) Linux is a heterogenous system, making KDE look like GNOME is not the answer, the answer is to present Linux _as_ a heterogenous system, users need to be presented with software as QT/KDE software, or as otherwise, intelligently, so that they know what to expect and are aware of the different skill sets required, and even possibly have some idea of the background and culture of the software they are using.

2. Linux needs to sell itself as a system that has it's own completely open standards and software, that has hardware manufacturers that support this infrastructure (these should be listed), but also as a system that includes software that has been written on the back of an attempt to reverse engineer closed systems (this software should be separated out).

This way users know exactly what they are getting involved with, and have no illusions as to what to expect. Linux I think would fair better as a result.
01/13/06 @ 10:56
NZ_Justice
Comment from: NZ_Justice [Visitor]
Motor bikes can come pre built and ready to use, but they are not free (unless you steel it, get a hand down or gift), if you want to personalise your motor bike you have to know what your doing, all this cost money unless you steel the parts or get hook up's from mates (they still cost something). Motor bikes have running costs and maintance cost. Sounds more like Windows than linux to me. linux is free (sort of) there's the cost of downloading the source code, then the cost of reasearching and learning. The huge cost of time to do all this. Then there is the endless bug fixing and improvment. Sounds just like windows. What was the difference again? Looks like the only diffrence is the EULA and license fee's. Sony use linux, and they can be an evil corporation that install malicious code/software on your pc when you buy their music cds.
01/15/06 @ 14:48
Shai-tan_NZer
Comment from: Shai-tan_NZer [Visitor] · http://zebcarnell.blogspot.com
Sony might be evil but they didn't make a rootkit like software for Linux did they? I thank Sony.
Windows has only just come to the light about rootkits where as Linux users have known about them for years.

I agree that Linux isn't just about Hobbyists anymore.

The cost of research? You can get more free training and free tutorials about Linux than you can MS. RHCT certificates are cheaper than the MS alternatives. Support is much larger on the web for Linux. Whats the difference between that and MS? MS has been used by kids who were bought up on it. Linux hasn't had that chance yet. Start bringing people new to Computers and put them on Linux. Then see how much more it costs to do Linux research.

Linux only takes more time to learn for people who are used to using Windows.

Every OS needs bugfixing.


Shai-tan
01/16/06 @ 16:32
Grant Lauzon
Comment from: Grant Lauzon [Visitor] · http://greenfoot.ca
When I try to explain to someone the difference between windoze and Linux I tell them:
Windoze is like a sleek high preformance sports car that's always in the shop.
Linux is a Mack Truck.
One looks good when you're trying to pick up chicks. The other one gets the work done.

I enjoyed your article. Thank you.



01/19/06 @ 12:00
paxik
Comment from: paxik [Visitor] · http://www.paxik.net
Hi, a friend of mine recommended me this article because I (a power Windows user:) asked him for new Linux installation. I like the way you explained the difference between both OS. I also dare to disagree with what you said about GUI: sometimes there can be features in the program which author doesn't even use so he really has no need to make them easy-to-use, has he?

Well, I have to say you made me a bit reluctant about Linux, but I guess I'll give it a try. Thanks for great examples and parables (those are always the best when it comes to explain something, aren't they?)

GBY, have fun! Pavel, Czech Republic
01/21/06 @ 15:36
Wolf Kirchmeir
Comment from: Wolf Kirchmeir [Visitor]
It seems to that the old Linux community is not prepared for the interest shown in Linux. So they don't understand that the vast majority of _computer_ users don't care about the OS or CLIs or anything other than doing what they want to do - whether that is e-mailing a picture to Aunt Emily, or finding how may Widgywodges are in stock, or putting together a 359 page thesis (not counting endnotes, bibliogaphy and index), or whatever. So the original article, while it's a very clear expression of where Linux is now, and what one can, and more importantly can not, expect from it, it really doesn't answer or address the ordinary user's quite natural expectation that a computer should be useable on the user's terms, not the programmer's.

I tried SuSe10.0, and did something or other that caused a serious problem. I will focus only on the most important fact: I was making a series of menu selections. That's all. I clicked on Finish, and SuSe destroyed all /home/ directories. I could find no way of restoring them. I couldn't even find an empty /home. So I destroyed SuSE. Or maybe it was GNOME that did the damage. Or Yast. Or maybe the writer of the app/utility I was using hadn't checked all the dependencies. Or whatever.

Frankly, I don't care which it was. I was just mad as hell. I tried SuSE _because I was under the impression that it was more stable and crashproof than Windows_. SuSE let me down. What happend should not have happened.

I intend to reinstall SuSE, and I now know that I will have to do things differently, and have very low expectations. I will end up with (I hope) a working, stable system. But it's already clear that many of the things I want to with a computer I will not be able to do with SuSE, or, apparently, with any other distro. It looks right now that I will use the SuSE box only as a network server, and replace the remaining PC with another laptop. It will probably be an Intel machine running WinXP/pro, because my wife needs to use a cost-estimating program that will run only on Windows....

BTW, our laptop is a G4 PowerBook. Apple's single button mouse is one of the Dumbest Ideas In Computerdom - I replaced it as soon as I could. Now I have to find a way to disable the "live corners" feature - another Dumb Idea, since it ignores the fact that pretty well everybody will sooner or later mouse over a live corner without intending to.

The motorbike analogy reminds me of the attitude that "real" bikers had to Honda bikes when they first came out. You know - they were those bikes that you could actually ride for weeks and months on end wthout having to tear them down for servicing. The people who took their machine apart every 500 miles looked down their noses at people who just rode their Hondas from end of the country to the other....

Ciao.
01/21/06 @ 22:29
John
Comment from: John [Visitor] · http://www.rafflesnagoya.com
Well I found that article linked to by a poster to a forum ("beginners -read this") and was quite put off.
As a complete newcomer to Linux I was, and still am, very taken with it -its ability to be reshaped just how you want it is most impressive, apart from the security and other advantages over Windows, but the tone of the article was unnecessarily condescending.
Subjecting new arrivals to Linux to this kind of preemtive rant seems counterproductive.

Finally as machine power increases we'll be able to afford more and more sophisticaded user interfaces- less productive for the machine maybe, but for the human...?
Most of what I'd want to say has already been said by other posters here, so I'll leave it at that.
01/24/06 @ 11:56
Floppie
Comment from: Floppie [Visitor] · http://www.quadra-techservices.com/
Huzzah. All I can say is, great article~
01/24/06 @ 15:35
Ankit
Comment from: Ankit [Visitor]
I am a typical - and now immortalised :P - "windows-to-linux" newbie.

The astonishing part is that I have been in transition for the past 2 years. I have tried nearly half a dozen different distributions, hoping that the next one I try will allow me unleash the "power" of linux.

The primary concern I have with Linux is that since it's FOSS, everyone is entitled to their opinion and with so many opinions it is tough to filter them to get the one that helps you the best. With Windows, every application comes with so much "help" documentation - which is annoying many a time, but ... - which serves my purpose 9 out of 10 times. Documentation for Linux is all over the place!

I feel, that with an intuitive UI which is built with the end-user in mind, the user will be able to gain confidence in the system faster and if he wants to get his work done faster then it is upto the application to allow him to evolve.

Instead of telling him, "here ... learn the commands by night-fall or else ...," he should be allowed to appreciate a few of the simple features first, and then the user can explore the functionality.

In the end I'd like to say ... I think the article is very well-written and it was a pleasure to read!
01/27/06 @ 14:02
Cookster
Comment from: Cookster [Visitor]
Who wrote this article? Bill Gates? I would think so except I think even he has a little more respect and appreciation for Linux. I havent been using linux for more than a year and I love it. I took an A+ class in high school and learned a lot about windows and computers. I learned also that there were other OS's available. I looked into it and found that Linux was free of spyware, ad-aware, and viruses. I think that might not be completely true but if there are its barely any compared to windoze's. Also look at how popular Firefox is! Its open source software and soon your going to find more and more open source software on Windows. Ubuntu was a break through for Linux. Heres a distribution thats so simple to figure out and they 'll end you a CD with the Full OS for FREE!!! How much is XP? Oh yeah $200. In my opinion installing Linux can be easier than Windows. I have openSUSE 10 at home and I was able to customize all the software thats installed. Are you able to not install Outlook Express for windows? No! Can windows configure your hardware automagically? No. I had to install all the drivers on XP for my nvidia network card and my WinTV tuner card. SUSE did all that for me at the click of a button. I was amazed at how easy it was after installing XP. So amazed that I put openSUSE on my primary hard drive and windows on my secondary. The only thing I had to setup was my SBC Yahoo! DSL which required me to go into my nice GUI network config and type in "SBC" as my dsl provider and click FINISH! On XP I had to install a WHOLE cd to get it to work. Oh dont forget that in Windows you have to pay a lot of software, I've found open source versions of software for almost every application I used in Windows. I only keep XP to play Games on, and I could fix that if I were to pay for Cedega or configure Wine. Only problem is Im still new at this whole Linux thing. I would also like to tell you that I read an article today that Google is creating its own linux distro. Goobuntu, based off Ubuntu obviously. Im hoping Googles attempt at Linux will bring people away from the malicious software you call windows.
01/31/06 @ 13:07
Raajiv
Comment from: Raajiv [Visitor]
I agree what u wrote in article.But instead of being satisfied that linux is meant for geeks and those who wish to 'devote some time' to linux,i still emphasize what most newbies ask.Make Linux as easy as it could be.LUG's and mailing list crusade aggressively and literally try to convert windows users into linux and then someone like u ask us to learn it or get lost.U should remember that Lispire and projects like them really help newbies and linux to grow.This projects are very important to end-users and linux-community as well.
So point is User-friendliness and ease of use should be given importance,of couse we dont want Linux to be like Windows.
02/01/06 @ 15:17
ZeffriN
Comment from: ZeffriN [Visitor]
This guy has hit the nail on the head. Get the functionality first and then GUIs will appear later, often by other developers...

Linux doesnt need to be made any easier, as this guy said it's already easy enough. Lots of l33t windows users just need to realise they dont actually know anything about computers. ;)
02/04/06 @ 17:57
Dušan Knežević
Comment from: Du¹an Kne¾eviæ [Visitor]
very nice article,
ill put a link to it in my signature on every 4um
02/08/06 @ 17:45
Nice article thanks. Former tech/computer guy, getting back into it after years of a language and literature focus.
Two things:
A. What dumping Microsoft as a political statement and economic protest? And Linux users at all levels commitment to that. Because even though you might prefer to not think of it as such, Microsoft is the planet's dominant corporation and as such is an apparatus of the world's dominant culture, government, etc. I for one am strongly motivated by the interest in removing myself from such an associations. Not primarily, but nonetheless it is a factor.
B. Don't talk down to others when making and argument. No matter what motivation you thing you have. If they are intelligent you are telling them that you are assuming that they are ignorant. Which is ignorance on your part. Besides it is rude, and as such serves no purpose except to perpetuate such behavior amongst others. It may make you feel all techi-superior, but the feeling you have as you read this, is not productive.

Although, again the article is very, very illuminating, thank you.
02/12/06 @ 14:16
Peter
Comment from: Peter [Visitor]
Hi!

I would like to ask for a permission to translate yours article into my mother language - Slovak and for placing it on my blog. Of course, with the home address of original and with name of author.

Please mail me! Thanks.
02/13/06 @ 07:46
DG
Comment from: DG [Visitor]
It is a good article though the cartoon is stupid. I am someone who will install a linux OS on one of my computers and I'll do so to learn about computers. I will keep my windows OS as I need it and its proprietary softwares for my job and school. I agree with what you said about anything being easy if someone is willing to learn(i myselft have self-thought myself more things than i have been taught) but the only thing that made me weary of using linux wasn't that it'd be too hard or complex but that I wouldn't be able to do (with proprietary windows based softwares) things that I'd need to do for work and school and that my Dell all in one wouldn't work with Linux, hence why I plan on getting linux on seperate computer.

But overall great article and makes one think about why they should make choices and not just for linux either but for many other things. BUt the cartoon really is shit!
02/17/06 @ 00:24
eMagius
Comment from: eMagius [Visitor]
I've been running OpenBSD (and a few other *nix systems) for about six years now and it's not because I have anything against MS Windows -- it's just that *nix (and OpenBSD in particular) better fits my needs.

And while I have a few nits to pick when it comes to some of the details in your article, the overall gist is something that I find myself repeating to both friends and strangers. [X] is not MS Windows. If you want something like MS Windows, use MS Windows. If you want something like [X], use [X].

As for my minor gripes:

1. The rant isn't really about Linux, GNU/Linux, or FOSS -- all of which are loaded, exclusionary terms -- or even "Freenix" as much as it's about alternatives or just plain "otherness". Yes, I realize that "Linux" is the term that carries the most meaning for the one to whom this article is addressed.

2. Before you insist that a more Windows-like UI would make the software better, bear this fact in mind: The creator of this software, a coder who, by definition, knows far more than you do about this piece of software, doesn't agree with you. He might be wrong, but the odds are against it.

Let's be honest here. With very, very few exceptions, the GUIs that the [F]OSS community puts out are absolutely horrible. Perhaps you were referring to the classic *nix CLI, but the way that portion of the rant is written is misleading. Knowledge of GTK/QT/etc. bindings and a willingness to do volunteer work does not make an HCI expert. Likewise, the characterization of KDE/Gnome developers as omnipotent and benevolent beings is demeaning to, well, pretty much everyone (said developers included).

3. Everybody can chip in and do their part in making software work better, do more, be less buggy. It's great when a piece of software attracts a community of developers. But it's great for the software. It makes the software better... FOSS is about making good quality software...

While this may be a great ideal to shoot for, the most prominent recent examples of OSS software -- Mozilla and OpenOffice.org -- prove precisely the opposite. They're clearly technically inferior to the competition (Opera and Microsoft Office, respectively) in most every way, but the developers don't care. They're more interested in publicity stunts than going back and fixing the root of the problem -- taking the time to refactor and rewrite code "that's already done" doesn't bring in new users whereas more slopped-on functionality does. And that's the direction the developers want to go in to the point of refusing to even allow others to correct their mistakes.

4. The Linux community is not trying to provide the average Windows user with a replacement OS. The goal of Linux is not "Linux on every desktop".

That's certainly the goal of a very vocal section of the Linux community, one that has taken upon itself the task of spreading FUD like wildfire. It's impossible to say how much of the Linux "community" is involved in such, but it's something that's virtually exclusive to GNU/Linux (as opposed to the rest of Freenix or even general OSS).
02/17/06 @ 14:33
eMagius
Comment from: eMagius [Visitor]
I've been running OpenBSD (and a few other *nix systems) for about six years now and it's not because I have anything against MS Windows -- it's just that *nix (and OpenBSD in particular) better fits my needs.

And while I have a few nits to pick when it comes to some of the details in your article, the overall gist is something that I find myself repeating to both friends and strangers. [X] is not MS Windows. If you want something like MS Windows, use MS Windows. If you want something like [X], use [X].

As for my minor gripes:

1. The rant isn't really about Linux, GNU/Linux, or FOSS -- all of which are loaded, exclusionary terms -- or even "Freenix" as much as it's about alternatives or just plain "otherness". Yes, I realize that "Linux" is the term that carries the most meaning for the one to whom this article is addressed.

2. "Before you insist that a more Windows-like UI would make the software better, bear this fact in mind: The creator of this software, a coder who, by definition, knows far more than you do about this piece of software, doesn't agree with you. He might be wrong, but the odds are against it."

Let's be honest here. With very, very few exceptions, the GUIs that the [F]OSS community puts out are absolutely horrible. Perhaps you were referring to the classic *nix CLI, but the way that portion of the rant is written is misleading. Knowledge of GTK/QT/etc. bindings and a willingness to do volunteer work does not make an HCI expert. Likewise, the characterization of KDE/Gnome developers as omnipotent and benevolent beings is demeaning to, well, pretty much everyone (said developers included).

3. Everybody can chip in and do their part in making software work better, do more, be less buggy. It's great when a piece of software attracts a community of developers. But it's great for the software. It makes the software better... FOSS is about making good quality software...

While this may be a great ideal to shoot for, the most prominent recent examples of OSS software -- Mozilla and OpenOffice.org -- prove precisely the opposite. They're clearly technically inferior to the competition (Opera and Microsoft Office, respectively) in most every way, but the developers don't care. They're more interested in publicity stunts than going back and fixing the root of the problem -- taking the time to refactor and rewrite code "that's already done" doesn't bring in new users whereas more slopped-on functionality does. And that's the direction the developers want to go in to the point of refusing to even allow others to correct their mistakes.

4. The Linux community is not trying to provide the average Windows user with a replacement OS. The goal of Linux is not "Linux on every desktop".

That's certainly the goal of a very vocal section of the Linux community, one that has taken upon itself the task of spreading FUD like wildfire.
02/17/06 @ 14:35
Kreuger Burns
Comment from: Kreuger Burns [Visitor]
Great article man, best i've read in a really long time. and THE BEST about Linux compared to Windows.
02/22/06 @ 16:30
WiLLuMPJuH
Comment from: WiLLuMPJuH [Visitor]
Like your article very much. Though I'm a former Windows user with comparable attitude, I'd still advise any Windows user to give Linux a try AND ONLY THEN read your view upon it.

Anyway... What i wanted to ask is.. you still want / need a Dutch translation for this ?

Let me know ...

A former Windows newbie using GNU / Debian .. not UNIX .. but that's what GNU stands for , isn't it ? :D
02/25/06 @ 04:45
iceman
Comment from: iceman [Visitor]
Good article. Though you might have thrashed your point to near death, i believe that you have missed a point - Corporates going towards linux due to "percieved" reduction in costs, which usually is very different from the actuals, esp in the context of operations.

In most non-IT companies end user is shifted to Linux platforms because "it is cheaper than windows".

But is it really the case.... I believe a short and to the point article on the same would be appreciated on this site

Regards
Iceman
03/01/06 @ 23:35
linuxer
Comment from: linuxer [Visitor]
Can you give information about how to add our translations about this article to its page?
03/02/06 @ 14:56
oneandoneis2
Comment from: oneandoneis2 [Member] · http://geekblog.oneandoneis2.org/
Email me with either a link to where the translation is hosted, or with the translation itself, and I'll take care of the rest ;)
03/02/06 @ 15:20
Peter L
Comment from: Peter L [Visitor]
If the answer is "I want a replacement for Windows without the problems": Buy an Apple Mac. I've heard wonderful things about the Tiger release of OS X, and they've got some lovely-looking hardware. It'll cost you a new computer, but it'll get you what you want.

Thanks for making our point OSX runs on BSD Unix, ta.
03/04/06 @ 01:48
matt (crAckZ)
Comment from: matt (crAckZ) [Visitor]
very well written.

thank you for taking the time to post this.
03/04/06 @ 10:26
Ghost|BTFH
Comment from: Ghost|BTFH [Visitor]
I just recently read your article and I have to say, "Good job!"

One of the annoying things I've heard from those who are curious about Linux is, "There's too many distros out there..." or "There's too many programs that do the same thing!!!" and I think, "Wow, this person has no clue what Linux is all about!"

There aren't too many distros out there, there's a fair amount. We could probably use a few more. Download them, waste a few pennies and burn a cd of the stuff, try it. See if it works smoothly for you. That's the FIRST STEP in learning Linux - Find one that just WORKS for you.

Then there's the software - Sure, there's a dozen different programs that work as FTP clients. I like ONE of them. I use ONE of them. I don't use 3-4 different programs. But I've TRIED THEM OUT. I picked my favorite.

That's what Linux does for people - it allows them to pick the best of the best (In their opinion) and not worry with the rest. Imagine what Windows would be like if you could try any product you wanted for a month before you decided which one you wanted to buy! Uncrippled, non-demo, the whole deal in one shot...

THAT is what Linux has to offer.

The bottom line after my spout is - your article hit the nail squarely upon the head. People complaining that Linux isn't "User friendly" have no clue what they're talking about. If they had never used a computer, they would LOVE Linux from the word GO.

I would suggest however, not to reccomend a Mac to people, especially considering OSX has FreeBSD under the hood...*laughing*

Cheers,
Ghost|BTFH
03/06/06 @ 15:29
Nasir Aziz Awan
Comment from: Nasir Aziz Awan [Visitor] · http://nasiraziz.com
im a regular user of linux and wins parrell ... i luv both due to its featers.... wins has its best domain architecture.... and linx has its own security and web related servicess.....

but no dought that wins is best for its user friendly nature...

linux is gr8 for its squid (caching). apachi, file services.... etc etc

even windows printing servies have no match...


cheers

nasir
03/09/06 @ 04:01
Scott
Comment from: Scott [Visitor] · http://www.pirate-ninja-zombie.com
FINALLY!!! Someone has put into words, what I have been trying to say (i speak poorly) for years!!! Much Thanks to the Lord of words :o)
03/10/06 @ 17:59
Tharkin
Comment from: Tharkin [Visitor]
I found this page by accident, but i couldn't stop reading it. A very good article. I just recently put Gentoo on my system. 1 cause i want to try a 64bit os, so I can see the real power of my machine. And 2 i want a challenge. I know how to use windows. And quite bored with not being able to do what I want. ( enough of this)

Any ways good article. I'll make sure others read it that compalin about windows linux!

GENTOO ROCKS!
03/12/06 @ 21:11
ScaryBob
Comment from: ScaryBob [Visitor]
And the moral of the story:
Always wear a helmet while using linux.
03/20/06 @ 04:11
Tonk
Comment from: Tonk [Visitor]
Read the whole article. Rock on; you're an inspiration.
03/28/06 @ 09:47
TT
Comment from: TT [Visitor]
I so agree 100%. Why rant and rave about an OS that you're not familiar with when you decided to try it. The best bet is don't try it unless you want to.

Each OS has it's own strengths and weaknesses. It all depends on the amount of time spent on that particular OS to really harness the full power of it.

well worth a read for all newbies who love to rant and rave.
04/02/06 @ 21:51
borg
Comment from: borg [Visitor]
hmmmm... this article is utter stupidity. First of all, the author speaks as if he owns Linux with comments like -

"The Linux community is not trying to provide the average Windows user with a replacement OS. The goal of Linux is not "Linux on every desktop".

I mean who gave this guy the right to speak on behalf of the entire Linux user community?. How does he know what users want & what they don't want?. There are a wide variety of Linux users & each have their different priorities & requirements. You can't put all Linux users in a single box.

Next. One thing that baffles me is how Linux users believe that making Linux easy to use would somehow destroy Linux. This is utter stupidity at its peak. How would a little ease of use destroy Linux?. Ease of use doen't mean taking away the user's power. It means providing an 'easy to learn & use' environment which would help new users to be accomodated. Power users will always have the option to override default settings & use their CLI to their hearts content. No one is stopping them from customizing Linux.

Next, I do agree that Linux should not be like Windows. I don't like the idea of copying Windows or any other OS for that matter. Linux should retain it's distinction. But that doesn't mean that its ok to require users to figure out how to recompile the kernel & edit that conf file. Linmux can be easy to use & different, just like OS X & XP are different & are still easy to use.
04/03/06 @ 01:02
Greg
Comment from: Greg [Visitor]
A good article! Speaking as a Linux newbie, I must say that I do not expect Linux to look and feel like Windows. However, I would very much like a GUI way of operating many of the important features of Linux - at least initially until I learn Linux better. My experience with Windows began by my using the GUI for everything. Then, after many months, I became more familiar with the "DOS" command line. More and more, I began using the command line for many Windows-related tasks. Now I write "command" (.cmd) or "batch" (.bat) files to do most of the repetitive grunt work in administering and managing my systems. So, in my efforts to learn Linux, I have begun using GUIs (KDE) for all my Linux practice. I do this to become familiar with Linux and start using it for useful tasks right away, without having to spend many months becoming familiar with all the command line applications and internal commands, just so I can do basic tasks. In addition, using the GUI gives me that all-important "mental reward" that I am actually able to accomplish something without spending days/weeks/months to find and work out the intricacies of basic commands. After my introduction to Linux using the GUI, I am certain that in the months to follow I will become more familiar and at-home with the Linux shell command line.

An example:
If I want to install a new application on Linux, it is not a simple thing! I usually have to uncompress it, and then it usually installs in the folder where I uncompressed it! There is usually manual editing needed of some configuration file to get it to work. This was the case with installing Mozilla Firefox.
My hope is that for relatively common applications that are likely to be used by most new users, a completely automated installation process will be implemented.
I realize that for applications that are intended for very specific, uncommon purposes, there will be a completely manual installation requiring all kinds of manual configurations, before and after the installation. But I would not attempt such an installation until I learned more about Linux.
In order for a new user not to be turned off to Linux completely right at the start, a little user-friendliness would go a long way.

When I first tried Linux about 5-6 years ago, I had a very difficult time installing it. And I never succeeded in configuring the Ethernet card to work. I could not even get the visual display to work correctly. And this after getting 3 books and spending about 2 weeks on the installation/configuration. Finally, I gave up completely. I did not try Linux again until just last year. I hoped it had improved. Imagine my surprise when I put the Fedora CD in, booted the computer, and it recognized everything right off the bat. It even recognized the motherboard's Ethernet controller and the motherboard's audio hardware - something that Windows could not do and for which the motherboard's manufacturer provided a CD with Windows drivers!!! I was extremely impressed and decided to give linux another try.

I do not see how Linux's functionality and separateness from Windows were harmed by its ability to recognize all this hardware that even Windows could not do out-of-the-box. I think the Linux community would do well to concentrate on continuing this kind of ease-of-installation advantage, and extending it to ease-of-application-installation, and ease-of-use.
The giant improvement in Linux's installation process was instrumental in making me continue my current efforts at studying Linux.

I am hopeful that eventually I will become much more familiar with Linux and will probably use the command line to do many tasks, as I now do with Windows. But please try not to deliberately alienate good users from Linux by refusing to make Linux easier to use whenever possible. I am very gratefull to the people who improved the Linux initial installation process to the degree where it is now easier to install Linux that it is to install Windows. That is the kind of spirit that we (yes, I would like to include myself) in the free and open-sorce software arena should cultivate.
04/03/06 @ 11:22
mauro
Comment from: mauro [Visitor]
I am completely new to the linux philosophy but i am a computer programmer and i believe in the open-source software. From what i always thought about it, the whole idea is not to let the other people use your code to make a better code for themself, there won't be any progress in that. The philosophy is and has to be make code so that people will add their part to it to make it a better code. And the question is: a better code for who? In py opinion the answer is the same to the question "when is a government good?" and the answer is when it makes the best for the most people. This should be linux for me. Say that linux doesn't want windows users is like say that u can have a government that just help rich people cause the poor people are so stupid that they won't even see the difference. Does it sounds better this way? If u say that you don't want windows users so that people will keep making viruses and spyware for windows instead of focusing on linux i agree with you perfectly. But you can't say that we don't have to work forward a better OS that is as user friendly as Windows without windows difects. I personally use kubuntu and i really appreaciate their effort to make it the easiest linux ditruibution for linux starters
04/13/06 @ 00:33
Markus P.
Comment from: Markus P. [Visitor]
A good read. I won't comment on arguments, the whole discussion is tireing enough to observe. There's as many different kinds of people using Linux as there are flavours of distros. While the author may not speak for everyone, you should just appreciate his effort to get the point of view of an old-school linux user across, escpecially since things like these are often enough the points of argument.

But yea, times seem to have changed, less people want to get into the mechanics of the OS and much rather just get the job done. Just as the article says, if you want that, and Linux can't deliver to your need, stick with Windows, or wait till Linux becomes "friendly" enough, and rich enough with apps, so you can.

For average Joes who'd much rather not get into it at all, and just want a working environment for home, work, office and the net, there are distros well tailored to that. And a plethora of information on the net, should one ever run into problems.
04/14/06 @ 06:09
Jesse
Comment from: Jesse [Visitor] · http://www.resiny.org
You sir, are freaking brilliant
04/21/06 @ 09:58
JoeSnow
Comment from: JoeSnow [Visitor]
i just have to say in regard to your article's content, i'm glad there are at least 2 of us out there who think exactly the same way. ;-p
04/26/06 @ 14:26
Joe Stagner
Comment from: Joe Stagner [Visitor] · http://www.JoeOn.net
Great post.

I work at Microsoft and use Windows, Linux, and MacOS every day.

Thanks for a great set of insights !!

Joe
05/01/06 @ 14:45
pavlo_7
Comment from: pavlo_7 [Visitor]
I agree with every single word in this article. Thank you !!!
05/01/06 @ 23:41
Jibran Ilyas
Comment from: Jibran Ilyas [Visitor] · http://t00ls.blogspot.com
Bravo ! Nicely put

"Linux wants users who want Linux. And that doesn't mean just the name. It means everything: The free, open-source software; the ability to tinker with your software; the position of being in the driver's seat, in total control."

Thats precisely what its about. Thanks for being loud and clear.
05/02/06 @ 12:01
Pravin
Comment from: Pravin [Visitor]
Best article I have ever read on Windows vs Linux topic... Thanks a lot.. It cleared lot of misconceptions....
05/06/06 @ 06:57
sanjeev
Comment from: sanjeev [Visitor]
Fantastic way of presenting.
upto the point, and clear so that any normal windows user would be able to understand.

thanx for this brilliant effort.
05/08/06 @ 01:01
Eric Gruber
Comment from: Eric Gruber [Visitor] · http://www.lonephoenix.us
Excellent article.

I have grown from what is considered the linux newbie to the linux . . . I've been told Guru, of my local area. I found many people talk to me over and over about virii on their machines, and I've seen so many horrid cases where Windows computers have been given to people who don't need to place their fingers up on a keyboard.

However, your entire point is very well taken, and I believe is a very potent point. Windows actually does what is created to do very well. It has some of the greatest hardware compatabilities in all the world, which is something I have to hand to Microsoft. Granted, I will readily debate that GNU/Linux can be done just as easily on many machines, easy is something that people would much rather have.

I do, however, debate one of your points. You state that Linux is free, as in free beer. GNU, I know for a fact, does not believe in "free, as in free beer" but more so: "Free, as in free speech."
This is because they believe that software isn't meant to be something to be sold properitarily. You can check the book:
05/08/06 @ 15:35
Philipek
Comment from: Philipek [Visitor]
Hey guys, I have a fridge... want to hear how it works? No. I have a computer and I do don’t want to know how it works either, couldn’t care less. I just want it to work. End of story. No hassle, no grief, no pain. I am for open source software, wonderful idea, but I can't be arsed to sit down and spend 4 years of my life working out how to use it. It doesn't make me stupid, lazy, a leecher or anything else. It makes me the end user, and wake up, I'm your target market. Ever wondered why Bill Gates and Steve Jobs are sitting around on a beach drinking Champagne and you’re sat there in your bedroom like a pubeless fourteen year old boy writing pithy and condescending trite?

Actually, your attitude reminds me a lot of sixties Beatniks writing ghastly poetry that no one understands and then going around telling the rest of us we're heathens. 99.9% of us feel the same. If you want to have your own little hobby OS, go ahead, but please don't label the rest of us as lazy or cretinous whilst at the same time shilling your product as our saviour. There's a word for that and it starts with a big capital H. We each have a specialty in life, if yours is the lonely world of computing, then fair enough. Personally I had enough of a steep learning curve at university thank you very much.

I get such mixed messages from this whole Linux community. If you want people to use Linux, don't make it into such a ball ache. If you want to preserve it as your hobby then don't go round preaching to the masses and then getting angry when they balls it up go around running to a help forum to find answers. Decision time, what do you want? If having your own special little OS dedicated only to those who have 20 hours a day to spend with an overheated plastic box on a cheap IKEA desk is what you want, then you're very sad. I prefer to come home from work, shower, go out and have sex with random girls in bars instead. But each to their own. Enjoy your Kernel; I have a date with a 20 year old called Magda.
05/09/06 @ 18:36
Nathan
Comment from: Nathan [Visitor] · http://nathankayhan@gmail.com
I've been using linux (ubuntu which I know is just a small step behind a linspire or xandros) for only about two months and in the first week, had some problems that weren't very fun (and that people on irc help couldn't realy help with)like wlan cards (which I ultemently got a new card which works much better for) and audio codecs and such. But I eventualy had everything set up (I ALMOST SAID "FIXED) and has been working without a hitch from then on. Frankly, I still don't "like" the command line, and enjoy graphical frontends just 'cause it feels good. I think that the important thing is that linux realy is learning somthing new, but that at the same time there are some things that make sense to put as questions like "are you an experianced, or inexperianced linux user" then if they selected inexperianced, perhaps on big distrobution pages asking things like: "what country do you like in" (to get laws about multimedia codecs) and "give specs of your computer" (to give correct programs (abiword/openoffice, or other). If they select experianced ask if they would like certain programs preinstalled. This would if nothing else add some "ease of use" without truely getting rid of functionality as you can change such and such later. The point is, there is nothing wrong with making a windows REPLACEMENT if that's what that petecular user wants, and make a no fluf speed deamon for a freaky linux geek who gets an hour os sun per week (I fall in the middle, closer to the fluffy side a little, but still learning)
--another oober lang comment on a thought provoking article (email back please!:-))
05/11/06 @ 19:53
Michael Rothstein
Comment from: Michael Rothstein [Visitor]
I am a long time Unix/Linux user; I actually taught a course on using Linux this semester :), I liked some of the comments in the article, was taken aback by some others. Yes, Linux is NOT like Windows; still, a lot of people do want to make Linux as usable as Windows for most people. For some people, this has already happened; I write my papers and publications using Linux without any problems; in fact, I can navigate my tools better because I know them. Probably, Linux allows me better freedom of movement, but the important thing is to get to know your tools. Actually, for me, migrating to Windows would be difficult at this point, for very similar reasons.
I have three points to add:
1)vi might be a nice editor, but many folks use other editors. This is an issue of personal preference.
2) They made Unix propietary, and it seems like Unix is having difficulties now, since many people are migrating to Linux. Could be that propietary software is a bad idea? After all, Unix grew most when it was open.
3) If you thought OS X (Tigger) was virus-free, you have another think coming; there is no such thing as a virus-free operating system, and we are learning that the hard way.
05/17/06 @ 21:45
Bad Syntax
Comment from: Bad Syntax [Visitor]
Good article, except for 1 point.

I'm a windows admin with over 10 yrs experience (I have a few yrs of *nix in there too) and saying its completely GUI based isn't correct at all. I do probably 90% of my administration through command lines and scripts. Granted, this is with 2003 which added a lot of support for that. There isn't much I can't do with a script you can do in the GUI tho, and if I'm doing something more than once I usually have a script :) I know I am not normal in this tho, most windows admins don't know crap about cmd, command, or any scripting language. Still tho, you *can* do much of th workd with the command line.
05/19/06 @ 14:24
Stephen A. Cullum
Comment from: Stephen A. Cullum [Visitor]
I first started to use Linux about two years ago. My brother in law talked me in to building my first computer. When choosing my OS , I read Window's License , and about puke . I had toyed with trying Linux so I installed Suse Linux. It was easy to install and I found Linux unlike Windows was well documented and started learning how to use and hack my computers. I tried Slackware on my old windows computer and in about six weeks through researching and problem solving had gotten my system like I wanted it. That was why I chose Slackware , as a learning experience. I am running Ubuntu at the moment. I have found Linux much more powerful than Windows . But as the author of the article says there is a learning curve , but the documentation is in books, the web and in Linux user groups to get through the learning curve. I plan on staying with Linux , really love this operating system and the culture that goes with it.
05/20/06 @ 22:13
Geoff
Comment from: Geoff [Visitor] · http://spacevs.com
WOW, this article is excellent. I have so often been encountered with people asking me why I use linux.

I am a software developer, primaraly for windows, and your right, being such a windows poweruser made learning linux very hard at times... but I persisted and now run a small network at home, of pure linux machines.

I have been pretty lazy with learning my vi commands, will remember those "d5" and "p" commands though. But even with my VERY limited knowleadge of vi, when I go to work and I am forced to use Windows, I miss having such a great editor (notepad sucks!)

The only thing I miss in Linux is the documentation on the CLI tools, yes, the manpages have a lot of info in them.. but trying to figure out how to use transcode or iptables from them is very hard unless you have some 3rd source of information (ie, a website), and if your playing with something such as iptables, ppp, or whatever, you probarbly don't have a net conenction to get help with. Can make things a nightmare to fix in some cases.
05/21/06 @ 10:03
F.J.Greer
Comment from: F.J.Greer [Visitor]
This was a very good article, I appreciate it very much. It is what I send people when they give me any lip about linux' lack of "easy-ness." Having had a computer programming background/general tech ability I didn't find the linux learning curve all that hard.

I do appreciate the fine folks that make Xandros and Linspire because I started using linux after my Win98 PC crashed on me for the LAST time, and the WinXP Pro EULA was longer than the Cardholders agreement I signed for my VISA card--not a good sign for an OS. I however started out using RedHat Linux 7.2 and it was quite a change--even though I must admit my first impression was "Ooooh Pretty!" and not "What is this? HELP!" A Windows-y Linux is a good thing for people like my Mom, who hate windows like there is now tommorow, and want free as in beer.

I really wish that the "You dont use OS. You are stupid." crowd would take a pill. I use three different OS's on a daily basis (WinXP--I have to, FreeBSD, Linux) and I am certainly not stupid. Sorry for the mini-rant. FJ
05/22/06 @ 02:55
Jura
Comment from: Jura [Visitor]
The great job, thank you very much for the article! About the comments, since the first one it's appeared to be a paintful to read. How come - they complain about lack of tech education, when it's certain they didn't pass logic lessons, as I english ;). No one of those guys ever took a look at what the FSF seriously is, how and with what idea the GNU/Linux itself was created, how the things go... Nowadays few of the new developers (usually making little things) and majority of those living in forums - all their acquaintance with linux community is about flamewars with the same newbies as they are at forums. Those representers of linux are just flaunting around that learnt smth quick for CLI and nothing more. They didn't get into FSF and GNU meaning, they think here comes some dividing of Linux for hackers or desktop users. No sheet!^^ Till it's all about the same kernel - it's the same idea.

The real linux-people are making a contribution to it, and have no time for flaming or hating the Windows, cause they do smth more important(they are united not by hating Windows and by the negation of smth, they are united by the creation and positive cooperation). Coming back to the idea of Linux - it's for free, that's it! If you want it to be better - pay money! You are not satisfied and can't send a picture to your Mom, smth wrong? Did you pay your money to be?? THIS is rediculous! They are just so impudent to set any claims! (but still it makes me smile a lot, thank you)

I can't place their behavior in my mind, the one explanation they really need an alternative to give up Windows, but they can't accept the rules of the game, they can't spend the time for reading - it's all junk, too long to get their work done. Please look up. Eventually check the idea of GNU/Linux, FSF and see that your work is not the point here, PLEASE! In the last sentence of the my paragraph - it won't be.

Or mayby, these people "feel" that Linux is really close to be comfortable for them, it seems to be almost ready! and they push the community or smth to get it ready? Please! It's not for you, Windows is for you, You like it. It works, so what you are doing flameworking around Linux? The article had no aim to offend anyone, but just to show you are wrong at what you expect to get from Linux. If you feel its elitest, perhaps you need to look inside of yours, find some inferiority complex or smth related to your feeling ignorance. Or is that these cheeky people demanding free and made for end user product?? But it's not a product, cause it's not for sale, it's for the Linuxoids. And it definitely will suck working as Windows, cause it's another way, despite on efforts doing it more user-friendly. But that's what the same people make(GNU/People ;)), for whom, for their friends, for family, whatever. Most of them don't get a profit, so please, imho, still it's a good organisation of work to proceed making such a big thing for a long period of time, running on 40% servers on the planet, without such a marketing strategy used by Microsoft. Flamers are still only talks.

Eyal Rozenberg specially for you. Don't mix up the Author's thoughts logic, about "experienced Windows users are not experienced PC users". It's obvious that it's a logical mistake to say that experienced PC user can't enjoy Windows, sure they can, but all of the experienced Linux users surely ARE, because they need to know the nature of process and programming to be so and get into HW. Sure here is coming the commercialised distros, which don't demand this, and you should be more accurate what you are talking about. Because when you set claims, it's all about free distro's, when it comes to commercialised versions, you didn't try it, or just there is an appropriate price for your needs, with stipulated limitations, so you understand there is no AutoCAD, you didn't pay for that... Wanna get easy of use with tech support, buy Suse, for the defined range of tasks it will do the best of your $$$. But still Linux about enthusiastic, when it's all based on the same kernel, so don't split it.

Internet makes people think it's all for everybody. Whipe your glasses, FSF was born in a university community of people related to IT. It's the same you find the mathematic theory and complaining it's too complicated to get into, because you didn't graduate the university. But the theory has it's own audience - you are just outsider, calm down, or do smth serious... graduate mb?

Metaphorics were made good for the everybody, especially for kids and those nag at it. Stop bragging you're smart one ofcourse! ;) Refere to the FSF again. As my fellow says:"smoke the docs, smoke the damn docs." So please read it peeps, please, read the damn agreement before silly pushing next, read the books, to understand the nature of the things. Good luck.
05/22/06 @ 09:05
YanQian
Comment from: YanQian [Visitor]
http://linux.oneandoneis2.org/LNW1.htm

The Chinese Translations URL is changed to:
http://wiki.ubuntu.org.cn/Linux%E4%B8%8D%E6%98%AFWindows
06/13/06 @ 02:58
paola
Comment from: paola [Visitor]
Would you like to have the page translated into Italian too? Let me know :)

paola
06/14/06 @ 08:24
asdf
Comment from: asdf [Visitor]
Good article. Linux is not free though.
It's been said a million times, but;
"Linux is only free if your time is worthless"
06/14/06 @ 18:18
Ze_dach
Comment from: Ze_dach [Visitor] · http://www.libertysoft.tn.refer.org
Hi!
"A good article and a good point"! I want to share this article with my friends. Iam member of libertySoft. Can I translate youre article in french?
best regards
06/23/06 @ 07:30
Short is beautiful
Comment from: Short is beautiful [Visitor]
I think you missed one or two points regarding the CLI:

The CLI _can_ be used for human interaction. But one major benefit is, it can be used perfectly well from within a script or from another program with no change to the call. And, more important, the results of one program can be piped into another (like in ps aux | grep firefox).

This automated scripting makes GNU-Linux perfectly suited for routine operation and more professional use. But it does not appear as a benefit to the user, who just came from Windows.

Scripting is. where I have to jump through loops, if I only have a GUI. Another thing, that makes scripting comfortable, is the UNIX-philosophy of "no news is good news". There is no need for half a dozen of dialogs "Do you really want to do, what you just said?" "I have finished my work, I just want to inform you, what great tool I am" - your script (in this case a macro) would only have click away stupendous messages, if all you need is the exit code.
06/25/06 @ 03:21
A good article, some thing about the GNU/Linux Windows relation are very well explained, but there is only one thing I cannot agree (perhaps an error while editing the article?)

"Linux is free, as in beer."

Neither Linux nor GNU/Linux are free, as in free beer, they are free as in freedom.

Regards
Pablo
07/02/06 @ 19:25
Bill
Comment from: Bill [Visitor]
Linux is probably a great OS, sadly even though I am not a beginner I have been unable to load it therefore as far as I am concerned it is useless. I need an operating system to access programs I want to use nothing more. By the way I am both a car and motorcyclist....
07/17/06 @ 13:32
Boovarahan
Comment from: Boovarahan [Visitor]
Nice write up enlightening the basic differences between Windows and Linux.

One point I would like to stress as per your example:

All people can not be good drivers and they need Chauffers to drive.

Linux is becoming more popular after the use of GUIs like KDE/GNOME (at least for the average desktop user level).

And you can not expect everybody to have the time and patience to "learn" linux. That means everybody has to be a student staring the black screen. And what about people like me who are "forgetful"? How can we "always remember" the commands?

All said and done, I am a hobbyist having a minimum of four linux distros at a time apart from Windows in my PC. I love linux and use it as my primary OS.

My red salutes to those countless linux programmers who have burnt their midnight oil for no monetary gain.
07/25/06 @ 06:52
Grey Tiger
Comment from: Grey Tiger [Visitor]
Very logical and simpathatic train of thought. Thanks for the article.

I am one of the 'wrong' Linux users: switched 2 years ago (after 20 years of DOS & Windows), because I hate monopolists. And sure enough: Grrr*@!!! you, Linux! Being over 65, it is a dayly struggle to learn this new language.

Twice I traveled thru Russia from west to east, speaking very little Russian. I will never speak it sufficiently to travel at ease, but I will continue to go back there. Simply out of love.

Same with Linux. No, I don't dream of writing my own software, nor is my use of the command line a smooth affair. Thus I'm sure I miss a thing or 2, once in a while. Yet, I will never use anything else.
Being such a useless Linux-consumer bothers me: except for a donation I cannot contribute anything to the Free Software Society.
Therefor I keep telling everyone: Linux has the future.
07/31/06 @ 06:23
David
Comment from: David [Visitor]
Thanks for the article.
I have been using Linux for about 9 months. I moaned the loss of DOS when Win 3.1 came on the scene. I still use Win XP for a few things, most recently to burn a DVD that K3b (SuSE 10.1) messed up and rejected. I'm 99% Linux and love the learning process and challenge.
As a note to the article though, I've installed Linux on three other people's PCs. My Mom's PC, she's a novice user that is enjoying the games on Linux and is a happy user. My Church's PC where the secretary uses OOo 2.0 and nothing else, another happy user. The third is my wife's PC, a very capable Windows user that sees Linux only as a failure for a Windows replacement. No surprise, eh? But she does use it to surf the web.
08/04/06 @ 20:39
Mr Thrills
Comment from: Mr Thrills [Visitor]
That's what Linux is. That's what it's all about. People migrate to Linux because they're sick of viruses, sick of BSODs, sick of spyware. That's understandable. But those people don't want Linux. They really just want Windows without the flaws. They don't really want Linux. So why should Linux want them?
But if they give Linux a try because of viruses and spyware, and then decide that they love the idea of an OS that they control. . . That's when they want Linux for its own sake. And that's when Linux wants them.
Before you decide you want to switch to Linux, ask yourself "Why do I want to switch?"
If the answer is "I want an OS that puts all the power in the hands of the user and expects him to know how to use it": Get Linux. You'll have to invest a substantial amount of time and effort before you get it to where you want it, but you'll eventually be rewarded with a computer that works exactly the way you want it to.
BUT. . .
If the answer is "I want Windows without the problems": Do a clean install of Windows XP SP2; set up a good firewall; install a good anti-virus; never use IE for browsing the web; update regularly; reboot after each software install; and read about good security practices. I myself have used Windows from 3.1 through 95, 98, NT, and XP, and I have never once had a virus, suffered from spyware, or been cracked. Windows can be a safe and stable OS, but it relies on you keeping it that way.
If the answer is "I want a replacement for Windows without the problems": Buy an Apple Mac. I've heard wonderful things about the Tiger release of OS X, and they've got some lovely-looking hardware. It'll cost you a new computer, but it'll get you what you want.
In either case, don't switch to Linux. You'll be disappointed with both the software and the community. Linux is not Windows.

All this slightly misses the point. Replace this line: I want an OS that puts all the power in the hands of the user and expects him to know how to use it" with this: I want an OS that puts all the power in the hands of the user and is also easy to use. Or this one: I want a replacement for Windows without the problems with this: I want a replacement for Windows without the problems that is also easy to use. I'm an old fart. Memory is getting progressively worse. I simply cannot remember the thousands of tags and command line options that Linux requires you to know. I would prefer to use something other than Windows but it needs to be fairly easy to use. Searching the net for hours trying to figure out how to install something sucks. The OS should be able to find the download site itself, or make a source.list file itself, when you are looking for something. Make the files themselves look like something other than jibberish. Make repositories that explain what each file is. Surely there is a way to make Linux easier to use while still retaining its CLI abilities. What is wrong with that idea?
08/07/06 @ 11:44
peter weismann
Comment from: peter weismann [Visitor]
How often did I start to write things to others to explain them, why I am so rigorous in the use of Free Operating Systems and what this means for me. All of my addressees are fond to Microsoft Windows and they allmost ever cannot understand what I am talking about, meaning Freedom. Your article, that I found in the German translation by Felix Schwarz, is a great help for me and will safe me lot of writings in future. Thanks for that. One hint should be added in my eyes, or it is not in your mind, but most important for me. GNU/Linux Systems can be found in the web in our days, that are composed in a way, that even inexperienced users can install and use a Free Operating System. And why not? I find it better to have inexperienced users, who never like to hack or do anything on their systems, using Free Software, instead delivering them as slaves to proprietary systems. As larger the number of Windows users, the easier they can do weired things that could harm the development of Free Software. Insofar, I believe, better to have thumb users with a free born intelligent OS than vice versa. Its not what I would name a vision for our culture, but it is at least a starting point to change into the right direction. To give an example: I have one friend, who has lots of interests for what he also wants to use the possibilities of internet and e-mail. Same as me, he likes to live free in more ways as only with software and thus, working on PC is never ever a hobby for him, nor for me. There is no time for us to be wasted with PC, having so much work to do around. But no question, we wanted to support Free Operating Systems because this fits our ideas and thus, both of us using this systems. My friend did not even the installation, just took what I set up for him and uses this as I had told him and never since that had a need for a change or any complaints. Why should he be forced to Windows? He is never a hacker, but a good example of one who can get along with Free Software and can be proud of using this Free Systems. That is a group of users you did not mention. No hackers, not even interested in PC stuff, but aware of their Freedom and therefore interested in using Free Software. I see, that this group is not of interest regarding your article, because this group is not arguing with GNU, just using it. But I miss this group to be named at all. In my eyes, Free Operating Systems are not only for hackers, they are also good for people, wanting to be Free in their choices. And they are even the better solution for people, not even thinking about Freedom at all. Many of that hackers I read about do only think Freedom in aspects of software, than they order a pizza and have it delivered from a service, not even thinking on preparing their meal themself, in Freedom and with the own choices. Live is so full with opportunities, where one has to decide, wether he wants Freedom or takes what others did. Nobody can be totally Free, but one might decide to better use the time to hunt or do a garden or build an house instead of hacking programs. Not only hackers have an idea of Freedom. Who thinks about Freedom, may want to use Free Operating Systems without being a hacker himself or without the wish for deeper knowledge of software. Hackers build it in Freedom, Free Men should use it! My thanks to you and all this hackers, who build my PC- Operating Systems. I gratefully use them, what else! Pit.
08/25/06 @ 16:51
Chris
Comment from: Chris [Visitor]
I am a Linux newbie myself, an I have to admit that I encountered the situation several times, whishing Linux would be as easy to use as Windows, but I have learned and managed to have Linux work the way I want, and it is true (the LEGO example), if you finally managed the programm to work, you are happy and proud of yourself. It is just like LEGO, I am 19 and last week I rebuild one of my old LEGO Tech models (THE classic yellow crane) and I was so hyped about that and showed to all my friends, not feeling to be childish or anything. Reading your article brought me to comparing the feelings after finishing that model and after finally hearing my mp3s, they are very similar. I think I will work some more on Linux.

Thsnk You, Chris
09/06/06 @ 08:19
Paul
Comment from: Paul [Visitor]
Nice article. Now after having read it I am motivated and ready to learn to use linux. I'm all fired up to switch to linux the right way--by taking the time to understand how linux works............But I don't know where to start.

I would appreciate if you closed the article with a link to a reccomended lesson plan for newbies to linux, people that still want to switch after reading your article. This could be a compilation of links to other existing resources, but having something assembled by someone who cares as much as you obviously do about linux would lend the resource some real authority.

I think that my request is motivated by a desire to pursue my education in the most efficient way possible, but then again maybe it is fueled by a typical Windows additude of desiring the solutions to my problems to be spoon-fed to me.
10/09/06 @ 06:29
Marcelo de Matos Soeiro
Comment from: Marcelo de Matos Soeiro [Visitor]
I've read your article and I see some failures on it I'd like to comment, basically two comments made:

1 - Linux is an alternative, not a replacement.

Have you already used Windows on your personal desktop?!?! Do you use only Linux today?!?! If so, then you should reconsider a dual-boot, because Linux is not for replacement. But, if you don't intend to do so, then you now have discovered that the only thing an alternative do is to replace something... always. If you have a toothpaste and chooses another (a simply alternative), it's perfectly normal you won't use the other one.

1 - Linux = motos
Windows = car.

This is wrong. The correct is:

Linux = car.
Windows = car.

Why?!?! Very simple: OS do exactly the same things (basically). Access disks, show us beautiful colors on screen... so, they are the same thing (generically, as I said), to do the same things, but, in different ways. Just like cars. What are they for?!?! For travels, for example. But, some may have the gearbox no the driverwheel and others on your right side or even on your left. It doesn't matter. But, you'll have to learn how to drive each one, if necessary. What must not be done is doing this task more difficult than it should be. I think it's not a goot idea to put the gearbox on the top of the car, so Linux shouldn't do the same, do you agree?!?!
I would say that embedded systems are more like motorbikes...
God bless you.
10/16/06 @ 16:20
gocin
Comment from: gocin [Visitor]
Ok, youre right, Win != Linux But! Your conclusion is not right! I Guess, Linux should be used not only by specialists - ok, every PC - user needs to improve his / her skills to be able to do the work needed. But the advantage of Linux is that it's free and everyone can use it. Ans everyone should be able to use it - look at Ubuntu - what is the success of Ubuntu? It is simple to use, simple to install - and it is free of charge. After installing and using a distribution - which shouzld be easy - the skills will increase and then an individuum can give his / her power back to the community! It's the chance of doing something together, notz just for money! And having fun doing such things, doing things, you like! It's like a win win situation. To keep Linux just for specialists will isolate Linux!
10/24/06 @ 15:21
truthy
Comment from: truthy [Visitor]
The article is sophistic bloviating that provides little in the way of evidence or example, and instead attempts to protray Linux's weaknesses as its strengths. vi has been around for decades, and was designed to the limitations of the hardware and communications speeds of the time. Much much more functional /and/ user-friendly editors exist. And the idea that the UI of a program is the best the programmer could make it is dumb; most programmers aren't good UI designers, and FOSS programmers are constantly coming up with new designs because they don't like the UI's of existing programs.

It's possible to build user-friendly Linux systems; the folks at Xandros have demonstrated that.
12/11/06 @ 06:35
DAn P.
Comment from: DAn P. [Visitor]
Great artictle; I understand. Thanks for taking the time to write that out.

Couple questions:
Which distro would you suggest for people that would like to learn how to use linux?
What virus protection and firewall do you use? (AVG is about to drop it's free version and I haven't found any other free substitutes.)
And finally: I use Firefox (with noscript), Thunderbird, GAIM, AVG, Ad-Aware, Spybot, RegCleaner, Process Explorer, Autoruns, and I keep the Windows Firewall up all the time, but I'm starting to think that's not enough. Is there a list anywhere of 'good security practices? Or... should I just find a smart person and make friends with them?

Email me, Facebook me (Tulsa), IM me (RenagadeBlue16: AIM, YIM, MSN[@hotmail.com]), whatever's easiest. I'd love to hear from you.

Thanks a bunch,
~Dan
12/19/06 @ 10:16
dog_bones
Comment from: dog_bones [Visitor]
OK, I use computers for a hobby. I'm intrigued by and appreciate all of the time and effort that these people have put forth in creating this OS. The idea that I can boot from a CD and have a complete OS just blows me away. I am referring to puppy Linux. Yes, I admit that I am one of those people that wish that it ran more like windows. I have a terrible time getting downloaded programs to run. Your attitude towards newbie complaints really suck because not everyone can not write codes. I think that I understand the message that you are trying to get across but your method and attitude is wrong. You're sorta acting like you are a member of an elite members only snobbish country club. I think that's not only a shame but wrong. I'm trying to learn this OS but the help topics sometimes don't even cover the simplest things. Yes I know it's a free OS and open source etc. I sincerely appreciate all of the efforts that have made this project possible. I like windows and will continue to use windows because of it's ease of use. I also will continue to try and learn Linux because even though I may never learn how to write code, I can still see the quality that Linux offers. At least add a help topic on downloading and installing programs or write a down loader / installer program that includes a ready to use desktop icon where one click will run the program. Thank you for your time and please change your attitude towards newbies. We're not all bad and lazy but I am challenged when it comes to writing code. I can build computers, and figure out why computers crash and resolve most of the problems but I can't write a string of code that makes sense. At least not yet.

Bob
12/24/06 @ 01:17
dog_bones
Comment from: dog_bones [Visitor]
OK, I use computers for a hobby. I'm intrigued by and appreciate all of the time and effort that these people have put forth in creating this OS. The idea that I can boot from a CD and have a complete OS just blows me away. I am referring to puppy Linux. Yes, I admit that I am one of those people that wish that it ran more like windows. I have a terrible time getting downloaded programs to run. Your attitude towards newbie complaints really suck because not everyone can write codes. I think that I understand the message that you are trying to get across but your method and attitude is wrong. You're sorta acting like you are a member of an elite members only snobbish country club. I think that's not only a shame but wrong. I'm trying to learn this OS but the help topics sometimes don't even cover the simplest things. Yes I know it's a free OS and open source etc. I sincerely appreciate all of the efforts that have made this project possible. I like windows and will continue to use windows because of it's ease of use. I also will continue to try and learn Linux because even though I may never learn how to write code, I can still see the quality that Linux offers. At least add a help topic on downloading and installing programs or write a down loader / installer program that includes a ready to use desktop icon where one click will run the program. Thank you for your time and please change your attitude towards newbies. We're not all bad and lazy but I am challenged when it comes to writing code. I can build computers, and figure out why computers crash and resolve most of the problems but I can't write a string of code that makes sense. At least not yet.

Bob
12/24/06 @ 01:33
Erich
Comment from: Erich "4No1AfR8" [Visitor]
As my nick name suggest, i am not afraid.
So now after 15yrs of windows, reading your article, and heard all good of linux, ill step over to linux.
Not because i am not afraid, because finally i want to have the full control, the will to learn driving all over again, the bumps and holes in the road with it. So, with no fear, open eyes and a clear fresh mind, ill take the dive.
01/06/07 @ 21:08
Tyler
Comment from: Tyler [Visitor]
Absolutely typical that the most negative comments completely miss the point. "target market"? What the heck are we supposed to be selling, to whom?
01/10/07 @ 22:37
Tyler
Comment from: Tyler [Visitor]
> Yes, I admit that I am one of those people that wish
> that it ran more like windows. I have a terrible
> time getting downloaded programs to run.

That's probably because, drumroll, Linux doesn't work that way. Windows can get away with people downloading and installing random programs because all Windows everywhere is mostly the same, but different Linux distributions install programs in different ways, hence you cannot expect to download some random Linux program and expect it to work on your linux.

That, and it's pretty hard to install programs onto a boot CD.
01/10/07 @ 22:51
francesco
Comment from: francesco [Visitor] Email
il mio punto di vista non condivide ciò che è stato detto, sono utente Linux dal 1998, e posso dire a riguardo che il tempo ha mogliorato Linux portandolo alla pari, se non migliore, di altri SO per desktop, mi dovresti spiegare cosa è che non si fa con Linux che invece fai su Win, sono davvero curioso di saperlo, e il paragone dell'auto con la moto lo trovo davvero inappropriato. Chi ha scritto questo è sicuramente un utente Win altrimenti non si spiega, questo è comunque il suo punto di vista che, come ripeto, non condivido affatto!
03/20/08 @ 16:26
Massimo
Comment from: Massimo [Visitor] Email
uhm... un troiaio di articolo. Il solito fanatico.

"Linux non privilegia la forma alla sostanza."
Linux è un Sistema Operativo General Purpose. Incredibile, vero? Esattamente come Windows. Ancora più incredibile!!
Sappiamo tutti che lo scopo di un SO GP NON è essere usato. Sono gli idioti vogliono contentrarsi sugli scopi, mentre linux per anni ha privilegiato il sentire "l33t" i suoi utenti con vie oscure.

...Passare da uno all'altro dovrebbe essere come cambiare auto, perchè lo scopo, la tipologia e l'obiettivo sono gli stessi.

La nostra distro 'speciale' x VM uscirà con le icone già sullo schermo, per semplificare l'accesso e il riconoscimento agli utenti windows. Perchè?
Perchè lo scopo di un OS è essere usato. Dalla più larga base di utenti possibile.
Incomprensibile, lo capisco.
09/03/08 @ 22:40
Jakub
Comment from: Jakub [Visitor]
The best what I ever read. Really good! Maybe my stupid friend will start understand why I like my Ubuntu!
12/07/08 @ 22:59
simone
Comment from: simone [Visitor]
Bell'articolo, ma trascura secondo me un'importante considerazione. E' vero che lo sviluppo libero dell' os foss ha come obiettivo primario il miglioramento dell'os stesso ma è anche vero che il miglioramento parte dalla sua più ampia diffusione, dal suo essere per il mercato (non solo quello senza fini di lucro) un punto di riferimento su cui doversi per forza confrontare. Se un os come linux fosse soltanto qualcosa di elitario, un trastullo per pochi, avrebbe nel tempo sempre meno chances di sopravvivere (e il fatto che persino le distro storiche si orientino sempre più verso un utilizzo più "intuitivo" possibile, come l'ultima slackware, è un dato molto indicativo). Se si comprende questo si lascia la porta aperta per comprendere e sviluppare a propria volta le finalità "nobili" dell'open-source, dal contenimento della spesa pubblica (quanti milioni spende la PA italiana per le licenze windows?) fino a offire un sistema amichevole all'utente windows che non può permettersi di aggiornare il proprio hardware per ospitare l'ultima versione di windows. Poi chi usa, si sa, finisce sempre per migliorare ciò che usa.
06/18/10 @ 14:51
Cheap GHD
Comment from: Cheap GHD [Visitor] · http://www.cheapghdsales.com
Thanks for this site very helpful.
09/11/10 @ 03:07
Knut
Comment from: Knut [Visitor] · http://doxanthropos.bplaced.com
caution! this may sound a little to leftist for the average techie:
I liked your article very much. Apart what other commenters say about not having the "user" in mind, your arguments make it relatively clear that there is no Linux-"user" in the common sense of the word.
"users" are what you get, when you produce software to sell it to other people. Passive individuals that have only very few options to deal with the world: like it or not, buy it or not, suggest it to others or not.
The user is the people in a purely capitalist society. Its choices are pure market choices and can not be called political or aesthetical or moral in any reasonable sense, even their "political" choices, when it comes to elections.
Other than that, the Linux "user"-equivalent is more like a member of a community. Maybe she doesn't do much different things than the "user" of some capitalist product, but the whole time her possible choices are much more infinite than the limited number of dualistic oppositions of the "user". She is not confined to be passive even if she may chose to do so. She can assume every position in the producion cycle that she likes and even invent new ones, without being restricted by market structures.
With this other type of user, userfriendlyness becomes something other, than to make a product that fits into the preexisting mindset of a potential buyer. Instead it has to center around open commnication and flexible, democratic structures which allow the communitymember to exert her creativity in most possible ways.
In this sense open and free, the central words of this type of software get a much broader meaning through a broader praxis.
So if your text doesn't have the "user"-perspective like some commentors think, it only adds to its accuracy in describing the differences between a capitalist system(MS Windows) and something completely different.
In other words: It's not a bug, it's a feature.
09/24/10 @ 17:27
Susie N. Patterson
Comment from: Susie N. Patterson [Visitor]
Linux is really th best OS I've tried and will always be using. I really wanted to be more advance rather than being typical and trendy.
03/11/11 @ 09:11
Robyn
Comment from: Robyn [Visitor] Email
I'd say that generally speaking - reading as much of the posts above as I could manage - non-tech people / consumersOfWindows / non-FOSS-minded simply won't "get it" because they can't: no receptor sites. Get what? The key concepts that were presented in your article.

To me, that key concept that NO one seems to get is: Linux (which is FOSS/OS/the whole bundle) doesn't care. Not trying for a market share, not trying to appeal to everyone, not trying to replace / displace something already established... consumers cannot *get* that. It's all about competition. Someone has to win. And in order for there to be a competition, there has to be a game.

The game here is: using a computer effectively.

I have three computers. One runs Win7 64-bit for Poser Pro 2012 and associated software. No internet browsing. Nothing but Poser.
My laptop: Ubuntu 10.10 with the Cinnamon desktop, dual-boot with Win7 64-bit which I never go into. Netbook: Ubuntu 10.10 with the macBuntu desktop, dual-boot with Win7 64-bit which I never go into.

I'm using my computers effectively.
03/04/12 @ 01:34
 

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