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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 article.


Comment from: anil [Visitor]
hehe.. yup I'm the first.. Nice read. I've started off with Ubuntu a few months back. Knew pretty much what you were talking about.. Putting it philosophically ..

"It isnt about the destination.. its about the ride!"

Mail back
id: anilgulecha
mail i use: gmail.com
25/05/06 @ 07:38
Isaac Emesowum
Comment from: Isaac Emesowum [Visitor]
Wonderful. Great read. I will be sending this to the people who want to "Try" linux and want me to hold their hand the whole way.. heh.

Great job :)

The only error i caught:
"...user-friendly interface ever created, *that* that's great."
and in case you want to cut and paste :p
"...user-friendly interface ever created, then that's great."
26/05/06 @ 01:04
Gil Brandao
Comment from: Gil Brandao [Visitor] · http://www.radio.ist.utl.pt
I really liked the article. People that know what Linux is and that are always saying that I should run Windows when I have a configuration problem in my Linux box will sure listen about this page...

NOTE: I read the article using IE 7 :S ... that's a wierd coincidence.
27/05/06 @ 05:39
Ron Nielsen
Comment from: Ron Nielsen [Visitor]
Great reading. Great job. I've tried redhat, dsl, suse, ubuntu, kubuntu, debian, just about everything else and I'm pretty sure I'm staying with Mepis. I've been strictly on Linux for almost a year and love it. Do I have it all figured out. No, but the options and the software availability are so enormous - I don't think you would ever be done setting up. I just got tired of all the protection software that would kill the resources of your computer so you wouldn't get whatever virus, spyware, adware, etc that comes along with windoze
27/05/06 @ 08:35
Emmett Framson
Comment from: Emmett Framson [Visitor]
That was beautiful...hehe. I've been a longtime Windows user, and was curious to see what Linux was all about. I've gone back and forth between various distros of Linux as well as Windows. Unfortunately, because I am a hardcore PC Gamer, I doubt that Linux will ever be my sole OS. However, since I'm going to be taking some classes regarding programming/computer science/etc. I was also trying to install Linux in a way that allowed me to game/do the familar stuff on Windows, yet allowed me to, little-by-little, learn about Linux. I think your article is an excellent primer for anyone who is (like myself) a tremendous n00b to all things Linux. Rock on brother, rock on...
05/06/06 @ 16:31
Comment from: tim [Visitor]
Thanks for that. I love LEGO! just missing the intsructions at the moment. need to know what to do if my system won't install the base system (using ubuntu). any ideas? thanks (feel free to use my e-mail if you wanna - tithij@hotmail.com)
06/06/06 @ 09:59
Brion Swanson
Comment from: Brion Swanson [Visitor] · http://bidea.org
Excellent article. Very well thought-out and articulated. I only caught one error: near the end you write "Linux Torvalds" -- it should be Linus.

P.s. I got here from Atari's forums - I hope many others get a chance to read this well-written work.
07/06/06 @ 06:54
Anthony M Altemara
Comment from: Anthony M Altemara [Visitor]
Thanks for the article, was a great read.

I've enjoyed and mangled my computer(s) with linux now for almost 10 years. I've loved every exasperating minute!
10/06/06 @ 16:22
Comment from: Clay [Visitor]
I ended up here, googling for an explanation on syntax for chmod, specifically how to change folder permissions... and found this rant:
Read it and was just about to sign up and toss in my 2¢... replace laptop with desktop, Suse with Ubuntu, mp3 with MythTv, and ad a zero to all the op's time estimates and you have my story, when I followed the link in your sig.
Your dissertation is a good read but you're preaching to the choir. I went into this (mythtv) project fully understanding the drawbacks (and benifits) of open source software.
Sure, I could have plunked down some $$$, installed XP mce and been running in an hour.
But where's the fun in that? I've been working with PC's for long enough that they're boring to work on any more.
... I would like to get this PVR going before senility sets in though.
Now, what was I googling when I detoured here?
Mind if I link to this? I know some other groups who would benefit from reading it.
11/06/06 @ 03:51
Simon B.
Comment from: Simon B. [Visitor]
Most claims were good, given you are preaching to the choir. Getting more users would probably help getting more volunteers in the different projects, so I digress that user- (yes, actually, newbie-) friendliness is of value to the (probably yes, linux-savvy) majority of the linux community. Just look at the frequency of "How you can help" requests on the FOSS websites.
And for the case of vi, it IS a bad idea to not protect newbies from having to reboot their system when they cannot figure out how to exit an application. Some small patches to vi could enable for instance repeated pressing of Esc, Ctrl-C, Ctrl-Q, (on terminals supporting these keys) or even Ctrl-W or Alt-F4 to close the application. How about F1 to lauch a sub-process showing the man-pages or other newbie-readable help information? There could also be a good idea to collect some common newbie traps in a web course, which could explain how to get of of vi, and that q is usable for escaping several text-applications, while Ctrl-Q or W is used in many of the graphical ones. Also, having the gui-version as the default application could be a good idea.

Say, that most distributions (except maybe gentoo and slackware) would make those more newbie-safe improvements the default, and supply a script that turns all newbie-adjustments back to old-style when a savvy user comes along. It could be as easy as some command line paramenters activated by aliases included in your login scripts! (The only problem is the needed work to maintain the stuff. For mostly "finished" applications like vi I guess the maintenance work would be low enough to be worth it, considering the minority of vi-newbies it would help.)

Similar arguments go for other linux software with steep learning curve. I am truly grateful to all those developers, but I'm also truly unhappy with the apparent stubbornness in refusing non-invasive user-friendliness. I've wasted much time searching for functionality in Emacs that could have been "documented" by putting it even in a sub-sub-menu to avoid cluttering the main menus. Sometimes I discover a feature by tapping some keys by mistake, and it makes me happy -- while mistakes should usually be a nuisance.

To generalize/"analogize":
Distributing the lego as an assembled car makes it quite easier to learn how things fit together, and for the linux-savvy taking it apart (analoguous, I guess, to some editing in /etc and some init-scripts) shouldn't be that much of a hassle.

Your opinion in the article comes through as "by design me and the majority of linux(-savvy) users prefer NOT to have a menu-bar that helps new users find keyboard shortcuts by looking in menus". That said, I do beleive many users stop at that and never learn shortcuts. In my own case, I learn in cycles with a few shortcuts at a time. Unless there would be a tutorial that prioritize what to learn similarly to me (or one I can easily search), the second best is to document features by associating them to a menu where I can 1) find that the feature I wish for exists, 2) learn of possible short-cuts in case I need the same feature again in the near future.

In my generation, probably many computer-users are used to think "graphically" and with current input devices this makes us work slower in deleting/cutting the next five words (the vi example: d5w). The fact that many people also learn graphically would support the case for having menu bars in applications.
If you also happened to criticise menu-bar items for lacking short-cut keys, that is generally solved by letting the user use a "secondary shortcut" like this: Alt-F to reach a File-menu, and then P for Print. I'm amazed at how often I find a document-editing application lacking such basic functionality for keyboard short cuts. I remember the translating application poEdit for one example that seemed (and from screenshots of 1.20, still seems) to be designed for mouse-navigation only. I tried at that time to show the maintainer some easy fixes, and some keyboard shortcuts got added in CVS, but then vanished again a version or two later. Since half my contribution survived, I didn't investigate or bitch. Maybe the lost changes was either a mistake, or someone disliked my suggestions (which I had verified to follow the KDE guidelines) and decided "nothing is better than something".
14/06/06 @ 03:59
Comment from: alma-leena [Visitor]
Should be Linus not Linux Torvalds, as Brion Swanson already pointed out. Other than that, it was good.
20/06/06 @ 10:15
Comment from: Jon [Visitor]
Don't know what everyone is talking about, Windows virus this, Windows virus that. Seems like I've been infected for the last nine years with one big contagious virus called Linux. I caution you all: It's chronic.
20/06/06 @ 10:53
Comment from: Chris [Visitor] · http://22/06/06
yes windows is very different from linux, i used to use windows xp for 4 years got sick of useing it (got bord)
so i got linux at first i had no clue on how to use it
now (2 days later) i still have no clue on how to use
(sep. installing .exe files useing WINE) what you say is very true. my dad is a windows user (he had linux for 10 min before getting rid of it) he just could not use linux(i told him to learn how but he's lazy and used to windows) i on the other hand is trying to learn

i still need to find help if you (or anyone) knowwhere to find a linux help site email me at systemofadownmaster@yahoo.com
22/06/06 @ 20:09
Comment from: IT_Tiger [Visitor] · http://blog.csdn.net/spidertiger
This article is so helpful for me to reply the "newers". Thank you very much. ллÄ㣡
26/06/06 @ 08:37
Wolf Halton
Comment from: Wolf Halton [Visitor] · http://www.networkdefense.biz
I collect OSes. I have 4 OSes on my 2 computers right now, and when I get another PC, I will keep the old ones and put the hottest OS on the new one and add another one to the older ones. I was a mainframe terminal user before GUIs were common (1977) and I like knowing multiple languages, n'est pas? Plainly not the guy to write the lovely Lin is not Win article you have written. Thank you for your lovely defense of the Linux (FOSS) philosophy. I especially like the image of community as opposed to the commercial marketplace. This is rather similar to what is suggested as a starting place for comprehending religious practices cross-culturally.

26/06/06 @ 19:42
Comment from: null [Visitor]
In the document you state:

"As a simple example, consider driver upgrades: one typically upgrades a hardware driver on Windows by going to the manufacturer's website and downloading the new driver; whereas in Linux you upgrade the kernel."

This is not entirely true. In Linux you 'may' have to upgrade the kernel 'if-and-only-if' the driver in question was hard linked. Most hooks for the various hardware drivers provide the option to build the kernel with dynamically loaded modules. If your kernel is so built (and most common distros are), changing a driver is as simple as changing a setting in a configuration file - which does not require a kernel upgrade/rebuild.

For example, I standardized my NICs to Linksys cards which use the Tulip driver. I just had to make a change in one file to enable the new driver. I didn't have to load any software at all - because the driver was already in place from the initial installation (and most are). I would say this is on par, if not better than Windows.
27/06/06 @ 14:57
Robert Heenan
Comment from: Robert Heenan [Visitor] · http://www.cretcheu.co.uk
Loved the article.
I am an IT Manager / Microsoft Systems

Just built a box to take linux for a test ride.
Very impressed, but it showed me how little i know...lol

Mind you, i never expected it to be the same. I had read a bit before taking the pluge.

Many thanks
28/06/06 @ 03:57
Comment from: json [Visitor] · http://www.brokensoapbox.com
Very nice read! Being one who recently made the switch to linux, I can tell you that life was hard until I came to the realizations that you speak of. It takes some time for a user to abandon techniques and assumptions that they've held on to during their relationship with computers. Once you accept that it's GOING TO BE DIFFERENT, it's like a breath of fresh air. It's OK that it's different, and sometimes it's even better. Either way, you're just learning something new and it takes some time.

Thanks so much for the eloquent write-up!

28/06/06 @ 14:18
Comment from: Richard [Visitor]
great work dude,
I enjoyed it and actually read it most of it which is amazing for me :D
Its good to see a linux user trying succeding for the most part to write a pro and con on windows/linux.Im increasingly getting fed up with linux and windows users acting like its some kind of war.(shutup and grow up)
03/07/06 @ 18:10
Comment from: Heikki [Visitor]
Subproblem #3a: There is a culture

As a reminder of what the subproblem deals with:
"The biggest cause of friction tends to be in the online interactions: A "3a" user new to Linux asks for help with a problem he's having. When he doesn't get that help at what he considers an acceptable rate, he starts complaining and demanding more help. Because that's what he's used to doing with paid-for tech support."

The problem here is that anyone who doesn't choose an OS based on ideology will choose it based on what seems to be the superior product for their purposes. If you're not a computer enthusiast, you don't WANT to be part of a community. You want the perks that come with, for example, Windows. You want the tech support, you want the documentation, you want the readily available drivers. You want to be able to boot the computer when you get it, find it pre-installed with some type of Windows and proceed to install your new-found favourite spyware-infested desktop helpers, toolbars and what have you.

You talk about community and patience, most people want their computer to just work now, and if they can't get that in the Linux world, why bother with it when they can use Windows. Your proposed suggestion to the problem is to remember you're not dealing with a party who owes you anything, but the real solution most people will take is simpler: they just won't use Linux.
05/07/06 @ 15:55
Comment from: andrei [Visitor] · http://none
Just a minor point: as far as Boolean logic would go, one and one is one, not two; clearly, you should immediately change your site's name to reflect this. :-) (Yes, I am kidding!)

Thank-you for an article that says a lot that many of us feel but would not be able to put into words or, if we did put it into words, mainstream people would not understand. This is probably the best explanation of a computer nerd (of the free software variety) to people not part of the computer nerd community.

(If you're wondering: Slackware 9.1 and 10.2.)
07/07/06 @ 14:52
Comment from: charlier [Visitor]
Having gotten tired of what I call "WINHELL", I was looking for something a little bit better that I could actually tailor to my needs. A family member recommended I look into Ubuntu linux as a possible "try before you buy" OS (Never mind that it's actually free, but the live cd gives it this flavor). After checking it out and doing a lot of online reading, It is now installed on my machine.

I think you hit the nail on the head with your article. I'm the kind of person that likes to "take it apart and see how it works".

Being a total noob in the Linux world does have it's ad/dis advantages. The learning curve might be steep, but then climbing Mt Everest isn't without it's risks and rewards.

Thank you for a well written (IMHO) look into the world of Win/Lin!

10/07/06 @ 06:53
Comment from: Aaron [Visitor]
Wrong article, I know, but I'm putting it here anyway:

"A swap partition. The same size as your PC's RAM. The old rule of thumb of double is outdated. These days, swap is almost unused, but it's good to have some. It should be the first partition you make, as this puts it in the center of the hard drive where read/write times are fastest."

I'm sure you meant creating the partition first puts it at the edge of the disc (because it does), where read/write speeds are fastest (because they are). Otherwise good article :)
10/07/06 @ 08:01
Comment from: daqing [Visitor] · http://treedreamer.itpub.net

really a very good article,I learned a lot from it !

thanks a thousand,^_^
16/07/06 @ 09:48
Comment from: Chuckk [Visitor]
Well said, this really puts things in perspective. Definitely right about over-zealous Linux users. "Oh, you're still using Windoze" etc. Although I too now find myself wanting to share my new-found knowledge with uninitiated friends.
But I have to say Google has been a pain in this process, 10,000 unrelated hits for one simple question.
Still, I turn to it first, and, after a few days chasing leads, turn to mailing lists.
18/07/06 @ 22:59
Comment from: bharat211 [Visitor]
thanks for writing an excellent article on the dynamics of the windows/linux worlds. I've been using Linux for a long time now and have enjoyed the experience of relearning the linux OS.

There have been several people who have criticized Linux users just because it doesn't hold up to their standards. Finally, there is an article that clears up the misconceptions. I will definitely share this article to those with such misconceptions.

Thanks again for such a articulate description of the situation.:)


"No word is true until it is eaten." - 36 Lessons of Vivec, Sermon 27
21/07/06 @ 11:44
Lowell Tackett
Comment from: Lowell Tackett [Visitor]
This treatise on Linux spoke to my soul! At long last...the logic behind the frustration makes sense. I can move on now and plunge into Linux and know why. Thankyou, thankyou.
22/07/06 @ 12:48
Chris Bertram
Comment from: Chris Bertram [Visitor] · http://blogs.ittoolbox.com/linux/n00b/
I really like this article. I have been promoting Linux for a while now, but when I first tried Linux I found the "Community" really ready to flame anyone who mentioned the word windows in their forums.

Since then, I really feel the community has grown up , and is very willing to help a person get over their windoze addiction. This has lead me to write my own blog on being a Linux n00b, and switch from windows to Mepis.

That being said, I have tried many distos, and find that for me the ones that are an all in one solution (similar to windows), made my transition much easier. And I have found that Google, and the forums for the different distros, almost always has the answer to any issue I may have encountered.

Keep up the good work, but don't try to stop people from switching to Linux because of this article, the more we have change over, the better Linux and FOSS can get.
26/07/06 @ 13:48
F. S.
Comment from: F. S. [Visitor]
Great article. I cannot think about anyone saying about linux that it's bad. I didn't expect that something should be alvays out of box, and i like anyone who is a programmist. I will be programmist too, but it never ends with a program :(.
26/07/06 @ 14:21
Josh C.
Comment from: Josh C. [Visitor] · http://theblog.9212radio.com
Linux Torvalds :O !! Did you mean Linus? I'm critical, what can I say?

26/07/06 @ 21:09
Konrad M
Comment from: Konrad M [Visitor]
Excellent article! You really addressed a lot of the points I think are important for new users to understand, and to avoid possible frustration.
26/07/06 @ 21:13
Comment from: Lavan [Visitor]
Many people point to your article as an argument for the idea that "Linux doesn't need to be exactly like Windows." As you point out, there are people who like the level of control they have with Linux and like the complicated shortcuts of emacs / VI. There should be (and are) Linuxes for them. But there should also be a "Linux" for the long-time Windows users who want only a few things:

1. Slightly more secure than Windows

2. Almost all tasks are performed exactly like windows - I don't include software installation or drivers in this, because those are things that are done only once. What matters is that day-to-day usage requires no change from what the user knows.

3. Free as in beer, legally

Linux is a flexible base for many kinds of operating systems. It can have a gui, or not. It can be a desktop, or a server.
In your conclusion (and in your title), you imply that there can never be a Linux that works almost exactly like windows, so people can use their existing skills without relearning. There are many people who are absolutely unwilling to learn or spend any time learning. There is room in the market for a Windows clone for them, so they can stop being pirates, or so they can survive now that there are no more security patches for Windows 98. Some Linux users may not like it, that is fine. But there is demand in the marketplace for it (people pay money for Windows, that proves that people would enjoy a free clone). And it is technically possible.

You claim it can never happen, but I and the many other people who have no time or desire to learn and no money to buy new versions of Windows desperately hope that it will happen.

Also, if a real Windows-workalike was made, I think you would find it would end up with much more market share than your learning-required Linuxes. Right now Linux appears to be 1-2% of the desktop market or so. About 10% of the Windows users I know have pirated copies, and another 10% have Windows 98 - many of them are in a panic because it has no more security updates. If they could use a legal clone that worked like Windows, I think many of them would switch even if it didn't run games.
30/07/06 @ 12:47
Comment from: oneandoneis2 [Member] · http://geekblog.oneandoneis2.org/
Lavan: If what you want is open-source Windows, don't waste time by trying to pervert Linux into being something it was never intended to be.

Go to the ReactOS website & find out how you can support their sterling work. They intend to make an open-source implementation of the win32 API, and that's exactly what you're after.

Linux is not a Windows clone, it never will be. ReactOS is.

'Nuff said.
31/07/06 @ 03:43
Comment from: airtonix [Visitor] · http://airtonix.ath.cx
yep, the more support ReactOS gets the better for all those win98 people living in purgatory. lol.

Seriously, I havent looked, but if the ReactOS kernel has IPchains or IPtables(which ever is ubuntu)...then it changes my stance....

01/08/06 @ 05:40
Comment from: Anonymous [Visitor]
Heh, I quite enjoyed your article. You made a lot of really good points, and inspired me to stop being so uptight about Linux, and simply ignore it. As I am currently attending university, there is an extremely high amount of pro-free software pressure everywhere. However, I have always found working on Windows to be more productive, for me at least. As a games programmer, Windows simply provides the superior platform, being host to numerous APIs, tools and programs that I am loath to forsake. This has typically earned me a fair amount of flak from the Linux gurus. Anyway, you said it best. Linux ISN'T trying to take over the market, so I really don't need to be constantly defending Windows. I can simply use it, and that can be that. It's about using the best operating system for each user, no?
03/08/06 @ 18:47
Luke Maslany
Comment from: Luke Maslany [Visitor]
A very good article!

While I agree with all of the points you have made I would just say that in my opinion Linux developers do have a vested interest in making it more appealable to a larger audience.

If more people move to Linux then it becomes a more appealing platform to develop on. This results in more developers working with Linux and so the number of developers improving the apps you use and may result in quicker development of new features, better support and may contribute in ways that you are unable to.

Of course I imaging that this is very much a secondary objective of a Linux developer but it may still influence development and adoption of Linux...
05/08/06 @ 09:49
Comment from: Ludwig [Visitor] · http://www.ludweb.net
Just a fast thought about this artical and comments all after.. I didn't get any sleep so far (awake for 17 hours) either so it may be a bit off.

Here's my thought.
If say more and more people turn to linux then more and more comapnies and people make more programs for linux, windows would go under, mac's would go under. Not only them but alot of companies who needs them OS's. Microsoft then be on linux? And Apple's on Linux? If there is soo much open source games and programs then most companies probable will die out after also. The whole world will be then on linux and free software world wide. The only jobs for computers would be only hardware.

Now think of this. Where soooo many people would be loseing their software jobs then the goverment would step in and stop linux growing communities. So in the end who would win? The goverment want people working and making money. Actually the goverment needs people to make money for the goverment to stay alive. humm maybe I said that wrong. The goverment needs your working money from taxes to stay alive to keep control.

This may turn into a world civil war somehow. lol

09/08/06 @ 04:32
Comment from: oneandoneis2 [Member] · http://geekblog.oneandoneis2.org/
"a bit off" may be an understatement, Ludwig. Free Software is not a black hole for money: Linux in particular is a huge cash cow.

Software jobs would still exist, because people would still need software written for them. There are thousands of people paid to develop free software already.

When people say that there's no money to be made from Linux, here's a simple & obvious rebuttal: In 2001, IBM invested one BILLION dollars in Linux.

In less than a year, reports claimed that they'd made their money back, and they confirmed it in 2003.

If IBM can make more than a billion a year in profit, how can Linux be considered anti-corporate, exactly?
09/08/06 @ 07:06
Comment from: Martin [Visitor]
It's been a long time since an article of that length has held my attention (no I'm not ADHD).

It was a great read and very much what I needed to see as someone considering the move.

Thanks for taking the time and making the effort to edjumacate the wanna-be Linux users like me. I'm gonna brave the Linux waters just as soon as I've figured out how to get started :D

As Emmett said "Rock on brother, rock on..."
10/08/06 @ 01:23
Comment from: Simon [Visitor]
A really excellent article that puts the points across very well. Just one question - I'm intrigued by the suggestion that it might be argued that KDE is commercial - it has the same license terms as GNOME and the big commercial Linux efforts (i.e. Redhat/Novell/IBM) all push Gnome so I don't see the argument for KDE being commercial. QT is commercial, but KDE uses QT under GPL and useage of KDE does not imply the selling of more QT licenses (well, perhaps, but only in as much as useage of GNOME might imply more sales of licenses for commercial apps using GTK). I don't have any great agenda here - I've used both KDE and GNOME and have favourite apps in GTK and QT for different things, I'm just interested in what your viewpoint is on this.
14/08/06 @ 02:42
Comment from: oneandoneis2 [Member] · http://geekblog.oneandoneis2.org/
Some might argue that KDE is commercial, but I'm not one of them.

The thinking behind that comment, however: Whilst both KDE and QT are free software by any definition, QT is also a proprietary, commercial product. And KDE is arguably the single biggest showcase of QT's capabilities.

"If KDE didn't exist, it would be necessary for Trolltech to invent it", and all that sort of thing. KDE is not itself a commercial product, but there are certainly vested commercial interests backing it.
14/08/06 @ 08:57
Comment from: navaburo [Visitor] · http://hotwigati.blogspot.com
wow, excellent article; it realy sheds light on the whole OS paradox (particulary the user-friendly section). keep it up man.
14/08/06 @ 21:52
Hi - and thank you for the brilliant article. I came across your article thanks to the tread on Ubuntu Forum. I am a rather "fresh" Linux convert - using exclusively Linux for half a year now.
...my adult son has recommended Ubuntu to me about a year ago - but first thing he asked me before was - "Why do you want to change, mom?"
It was difficult question and I found an answer on your site - for the first: I want to drive "my car", for the second: I like "my car" to do what I want, and last but not least: for the sake of free choice - the only freedom we really have.
Thank you for clarifying my own motives to myself! Keep up writing - it gives a lot to others!
With many friendly regards,
PS. Linux is not more frustrating than other new things you learn - what's wonderful in the case of Ubuntu and other free OS (I tried Kanotix before) is that you are never left alone with your frustration...
16/08/06 @ 02:18
Comment from: zaard [Visitor]
Brilliant article! Subtle, Cynical and to the point! I like it!

Excactly like lego! I like lego...

I came accross your article because I'm about to install suse again... this time on a machine with un-backed-up content that should not be exposed to risks (anything i do on a pc is risky..i'm a forgetful-newby). I think it's an addiction..

someday we'll get there (don't know where?), but we'll know when we get there..

17/08/06 @ 02:02
Comment from: reb [Visitor]
I agree with everyone else, great article. i have now found myself thinking very differently about "what it is i want" from an operating system. and although as you said in your article, "linux is by Geeks for geeks", i believe these "Geeks" are by their very nature, the people who innovate our computerised world. they are "free thinkers" and must accept that where they lead, others (non Geeks) will follow. i am not suggesting that the "Geeks" have to pander to the followers every need, but what the "Geeks" have created is a wonderful alternative to commercial operating systems. interest in linux is growing at an exponential rate. the "Geeks" improve it at an ever increasing rate. result more interest from the followers! linux is evolving, it has a lot of potential. but whatever your view, the future is all about ease of use, and by the "future" i mean in all things, not just computing. getting around your chosen operating system should be as simple as "abc,123", and whether a "Geek" or not! the true holy grail of an operating system is to communicate between the hardware and software applications and the user in a 1,stable 2,reliable and 3,simple and intuitive way. I remember the old dos days, endless typing of commands, one character wrong and nothing happened or some error in syntax argh! hard work. then came gui, and a system of windows and menus. ah ha a step forward! now instead of sitting there typing "c:\games\quake2.exe" and worrying whether i have the syntax correct, i just click a mouse button a few times and i have quake2 running, this is quicker more reliable and easier, ie: progress its evolution, its the future, for all the follower's and "geeks" alike! its happening everywhere you look, in everything you look at! so some purist keyboard fanatics insist its the only way to be (a slave to the keyboard) i vote for the "star trek" vision, of a completely vocal interactive computer system, its the future and its coming, and coming a lot sooner than we currently think, i vote for innovation and creation, thinking of whats to come and not what has passed. i recall the scene from star trek 4, when scotty looks down at the computer screen and says "computer" and gets no response then he spots the keyboard and says "ah a keyboard, how Quaint" support your local "geek" for they are the future! it is the "Geeks" that will bring this future to all of us, and for me it can't come quickly enough! lol
24/08/06 @ 20:16
Comment from: sveinki [Visitor]
Fine thoughts, should be read by the "geeks" also.
Like many others I never made any "conversion" to linux - I merely got into it along with networking/managing/registry-fiddling in Win. I like the robustness of a streamlined Linux server box, controlled via Webmin or similar, at home it's Linux desktop - but workplace desktop applications are mostly Win.
So it can not be called "conversion", it's rather "cohabitation".
"Geeks" on both sides have the same annoying habits; leaving the filesystem cluttered with all kinds of files/folders, the kind that lets you think about a room in a dormitory - after the party...
My wish for linux; a nice cleaning team separating config files, applications, kernel, user data, user files etc, simplifying the structure thus making it easier for the occational maintainer to find/edit/backup files and moving around in the fs-tree. Doing it with the attitude described in the article could do good to both "geeks" and "fiddlers".
And I'd like to see more of balanced, informative writing like in this article, as opposed to any Lin/Mac/Win religious flaming seen on many blogs/mailinglists.
25/08/06 @ 05:01
Comment from: wildm [Visitor]
Nice write up on a few things that did not really occur to me. Being a geek it can be difficult to remember what it was like to *NOT* know how to do things on a computer (Do you remember *NOT* knowing how to read? :)

One thought that occurred to me while reading was that FOSS software is not actually free...it requires *TIME* to learn. For folks with an interest or motivation (read *NO* $$$) FOSS can be a solution when the alternative is no solution. For the folks that would rather just throw money at the problem I'm sure there are folks (Hi Bill, Hi Steve) that are willing to take it.

The best advice IMHO appears at the end of the article. Many times knowing what question to ask is more important than knowing the answer. The question "What do you want out of your OS?" is an *EXCELLENT* question...and one that many folks may not even think to ask.

*BRAVO* Good Sir...your article made it on to my short list of bookmarks. Thank you for your efforts. I, for one, enjoyed my time reading.
25/08/06 @ 17:59
Stephen Keeling
Comment from: Stephen Keeling [Visitor] · http://www.spots.ab.ca/~keeling
I really enjoyed the article. A few nits/comments:

- "Newcomers complain about the existence of what the established users consider to be fundamental features, and resent having the read a manual to get something working."

s/having the/having to/

- "However, there is an important difference between a FOSS programmer and most commercial software writers:"

s/FOSS/Linux/ as you mention at the top "Linux" is the catchall term you will use.

- "So when somebody comes to vi and finds that it's "d" to cut, and "p" to paste, it's not considered friendly: It's not what anybody is used to."

Really!?! Thanks. I've been using Linux since '93, and I thought cut+paste in vi was [n]yy+P. Woohoo!

- "But nobody out there thinks that all bicycles should be sold with training wheels."

Excellent argument.

- "However, sharks evolved from fish, while dolphins evolved from a land-based quadrupedal mammal of some sort. The reason they have very similar overall appearances is that they both evolved to be as efficient as possible at living within a marine environment."


- "Linux is not interested in market share. Linux does not have customers. Linux does not have shareholders, or a responsibility to the bottom line. Linux was not created to make money. Linux does not have the goal of being the most popular and widespread OS on the planet."

"World domination, fast." Sorry. :-)

- "They really don't care if it gets good enough to make it onto your desktop, so long as it stays good enough to remain on theirs."


- "The highly-vocal MS-haters, pro-Linux zealots, and money-making FOSS purveyors might be loud, but they're still minorities."

I offer no apologies for being a MS-hater, and a pro-Free Software zealot. Microsoft sells crappy software, as anyone running a botnet can tell you.

Nice article, thanks.
26/08/06 @ 17:57
Comment from: Leo [Visitor] · http://leojr.blogspot.com

It was very helpfully for me!
28/08/06 @ 12:36
Comment from: Tim [Visitor]
I've pointed quite a few people at this article in the past few months, and just re-read it myself. I understand what's being said, because I've spent the last 3 years running various GNU-Linux OSs.
I still get anti-linux comments from the more vocal members of the Microsoft camps. Both pro, and anti camps seem to have either a fear, or hatred of the unknown. I wonder how many of them realize they sound ignorant. Same goes for the GNU-Linux users who spout vehement anti-Microsoft garbage.
Use whatever you're happy with, and don't worry about what anyone else thinks.
28/08/06 @ 21:23
Comment from: Daniel [Visitor] · http://www.moredhel.co.uk
brilliant, and you covered everything I thought of. I will be showing this to many people ;-)
29/08/06 @ 12:10
Comment from: Chris [Visitor]
I'm a user that this rant might have been directed at had I not stumbled upon it myself. This was excellent for me, as I know if I had tried Linux before reading it I would have expected merely a "better Windows". Thanks so much!
29/08/06 @ 13:45
Comment from: skanchi [Visitor]
This is really an excellent article
Now, iam prepared to debunk many of my friends' comments against Linux
01/09/06 @ 05:38
Comment from: vk [Visitor] · http://vixenk.net
This is a VERY popular article... I've been seeing it posted in new Linux user forums all over the place for a while now.

The attention is well deserved. It is perhaps the best written and most informative "new Linux user" article I've seen yet, and is just as valuable to the regular Linux user.

Great article. :) Keep up the good work.
09/09/06 @ 06:55
Comment from: Raj [Visitor]
Hey that was an awesome read. I'm 15 and grew up with macs and only recently started using windows. Im new to the world of Linux and Im thinking of starting to use it. The article helped put things in perspective for me.
09/09/06 @ 09:15
Comment from: Skatox [Visitor] · http://www.skatox.co.ve
Nice article, i liked.
11/09/06 @ 17:38
Comment from: hkBst [Visitor]
Great read. I did have a few minor comments: in #3a, don't use """A "3a" user""", just use user. in #3b, don't use "group 1" and "group 2", but use "one group", "other group". in #5a: "Familar is friendly" should read "Familiar is friendly". in #6: "An argument people often make when they find that Linux isn't the Windows clone they wanted is to insist that this is what Linux has been (or should have been) attempting to be since it was created, and that people who don't recognise this and help to make Linux more Windows-like are in the wrong." would be clearer by adding a second don't, like so: "An argument people often make when they find that Linux isn't the Windows clone they wanted is to insist that this is what Linux has been (or should have been) attempting to be since it was created, and that people who don't recognise this and don't help to make Linux more Windows-like are in the wrong."
15/09/06 @ 18:13
Comment from: BackwardsDown [Visitor]
Dang, I am using linux fulltime for about 1,5 month now, and this is the best article I have read about it!

Just becouse its sooo true :)
16/09/06 @ 21:57
Comment from: johnlvs2run [Visitor]
I just wasted a lot of time reading a few of the introductory "read this first" threads on linuxforum.org, and the last one about windows vs motorcycles, or basketballs vs oranges, whatever it was. At the bottom it says if I have any feedback to leave it here, and I do.

First of all why have a forum about linux, and then post a bunch of useless (being nice here) "read this first" threads that have absolutely nothing with the use, usefulness or with getting started using linux.

You wasted my time, and everyone else's time to has bothered to read the threads that you posted there to "read first", when you could just as well -- if you had any useful knowledge about it -- posted information about getting started with the use some or at least one of the various linux distributions.

As it takes time to learn how to use linux, and I as everyone has has limited time, I would rather conserve mine thank you very much by reading and/or listening to someone who has something useful to say. I am very disappointed that I bothered to read your threads and won't make that mistake again.

You must have a lot to offer, to those who think exactly the way you do. There are probably a lot of people who agree with you. At least those who see fit to stay on linuxforums. I wonder how many have come there and then not remained, or been turned off to linux because of all the negative whining and complaining.

Of what I have read about linux so far, there are as many ways to use linux as users. Not everyone uses linux the same way, and not everyone fits in the same little box. Not everyone who doesn't use linux is all the same either. I'm probably a lot different from the average windows geek than you are and in fact I guarantee that I am.

I have been attracted from reading the various philosophies (some of them, not yours) about linux. The ones that have attracted me are very much like my own. When I read these, I decided immediately that linux is for me. That is the reason I've decided to use linux. And it is my responsibility to do this. My decision. Which doesn't have anything to do what you or anyone else thinks about it.

There are plenty of people using linux, from what I've seen so far, that like the basic philosophy and that is quite fine with me, as I like it too.

All the best.
17/09/06 @ 04:11
Comment from: Remco [Visitor]
Johnlvs2run, why are you wasting our time? I don't want to know about your opinion about the article. I want you to improve the article and not get paid for it!
21/09/06 @ 17:23
dirk nerkle
Comment from: dirk nerkle [Visitor] · http://none
The newbie article has excellent value for those of us who are quite experienced in the ways of Microsoft. I'm a coder and unlike the challenge placed in the article, I actually DO use Microsoft Word. A lot. I would admit that I certainly don't use more than 10% of the total functionality of the product, but I use it because my customers have it and as a coder, I must be suitably proficient in the tools my customers use. For anyone to knock a product that has such pervasive usefulness across the world only shows ignorance and a bit of NIH syndrome.

I've just completed installing Suse 10.1 several times on various computers just as practice activities, always using the default "no brainer" responses to on-screen questions. I wanted to find out (a) how long it took, (b) how easy it was and (c) whether after a default install, I had functionality that was easily understandable and intuitive. Afterward, and using the same computers, I installed Windows XP Pro as a comparison, again, using the default "no-brainer" responses. In every case Linux took longer, required having to swap CDs manually (less convenient) and less useful from the very start. It was a disappointing experience, to be sure.

But even so, I'm determined to work through the problems -- at least now I know how to install Linux and get a baseline Apache server running.

And to think it took only about 40 hours of my time to do that... Last time I set up a Windows-based web server it took almost 2 whole hours.
25/09/06 @ 23:34
Comment from: DIMA GHEORGHE [Visitor]
A very objective text.
Anyway Linux are more stable,complet,user-friendly ,updated,helpfull,complex,dificult than any other OS.
It is true is hard to learn OS Linux,but how many enjoy when we succed!

Congratulation for the author!

Excuse me for my worse english!
29/09/06 @ 20:27
R. B., G. Enrique M.
Comment from: R. B., G. Enrique M. [Visitor]
Greetings! :)

Thank you so much, really, from my heart!

But, what if one thinks he shares FOSS's philosophical views and is "forced" or "pushed" to migrate because of abusive capitalistic (or other names) behaviours?

Also —humbly—, wouldn't it be nice if something like a "free, open-source version of" Mac OS X (or better) would be created/developed? (Does something like that already exist?)

I would like to say some other things, but my English is (I think so) very limited.

Well, again: Sincerely, thank you, thank you! :)

The best for you!
03/10/06 @ 09:55
Nu Bee
Comment from: Nu Bee [Visitor]
Good article.

Thanks for tuning me in.
05/10/06 @ 18:36
Comment from: BluePop13 [Visitor] · http://www.ericheavilin.com
I must say, this article caught my attention right away and it blew me away. I've been using Windows for the past 6 years and just about a year ago a friend of mine introduced me to Linux. He talked about it and how it wasn't the fact that it was "better", but the idea of it being an alternative to windows and about one having more controll over it, rather than windows, you get what you get, no questions asked. I will probably post something on here more tomorrow about this but I have to say, I tried Ubuntu and it was VERY different for me... Not bad, just different. It's still a challenge that I intend to improve my skills on and learn very much about. It's also an opportunity that I want to take to get myself away from what most of the world is using just because it's so "easy".

The way I see it, why not learn something new and improve it to your likings instead of having someone else say, "Hey, drink this cup of coffee because I want you to and "I" think it's good". With Linux, you can decide if you're thirsty and if you want that cup of coffee or not. It's totally and FREELY up to YOU.
06/10/06 @ 05:08
Comment from: Ghost [Visitor]
It is interesting, but there are some obvious (at least to some) problems and missing concepts. It is a good read and does serve to help people understand the difference. I just have some issues as to how accurate it is.

vi is a good example. vi is what it is because it was designed back in the day of dumb terminals when you did not have a mouse or any other graphical option. Also, I have seen new users have little problems in using it, but that was back when they were not expecting something else. I suspect most people who drive today would have serious issues with driving a Model T. There are many drivers today who can't drive a manual transmission.

Some of the comments regard commercial software is also lacking since it fails to understand that companies produce software and want you to buy their upgrades. It is not perfect and often has many problems (just look at M$ products for many good examples). On the other hand, free software has no expectations or desire to try to get more money out of you and the personal reputation of the developer is on the line. They want to do a good job. Personally I think that Linux has more customer focus than then greed of M$ who seems to only want more and more of your money.

Another item is the lack of understand of where Linux came from. In a time long, long ago, there was an operating system called Unix. This was back in the days before Windoze ever existed. There were two main versions, BSD and SystemV. The creation of Linux came from the desire of Linus to have such an operating system on the PC platform, so he recreated it (so as to avoid copyright issues since BSD is public domain, but the base of which it came was not). The roots of Linux go further into the past than does any M$ product.

Unix was designed for developers, not end users. There has been quite a bit of change in this respect, but that is where it came from. It is designed to be able to put tools together, much like the lego example. You can create a "new" program on the command like by stringing together comands with pipes and conditional commands.

The real problem with switching is due to the differences. What you already know is easier than something different, even if the different item is much better.
07/10/06 @ 21:10
I agree with "ghost" that some history lessons would be in order. I think it's very telling that Windows began life as a GUI for DOS and later developed the undergirding and foundation of a complete OS, whereas Linux began life as a kernel and later added the GUI and applications. Even all these years later, that kind of says it all; I suspect MS is still dealing, to some degree, with the fact that their API's were originally developed to work with the DOS kernel, just as Linux is still dealing with the fact that it was originally developed "by geeks for geeks".

In defense of zealotry and MS-hating: Zeal is a byproduct of discovering something you love, and hate is a byproduct of discovering someone wants to harm or destroy what you love. I would be fine if MS had about 40-50% of the market share and played nice with everyone else in terms of standards compliance and interoperability. But when they go out of their way to put stumbling blocks in the path of people using other software to try to squeeze a few more bucks out of me, I get mad. If I go to a restaruant and get food poisoning, I tell everyone I know not to eat there. With software, it's no different.

Thanks for the article, it's great and I consider it recommended reading for all my linux-using friends.
08/10/06 @ 06:32
Comment from: Shadow [Visitor] · http://shadow.cz/
I'm very angry. On myself, of course. I just finished translating "old version" to Czech, just to find out that there's a "new version" which is, apparently, much better a much more reasonable than the old version. Maybe it would be good to put a notice on the old version, something like "this is old version, current version is here". Translators and visitors from Google might apreciate this very much. And of course, this is very good article.
11/10/06 @ 18:55
Comment from: Meritman [Visitor]
The best explanation I have read on the point of it all. I came looking for a better "Windows". Not here. Windows does what IT does better than linux or macs or ????. Linux does what it does better than todays Windows. When "windows" was the "wild west" it too was more "fun and exciting" but excitement is not what most "users" of a home computer ever wanted. Not bad, not good, not better, just not the same.
Good luck and best wishes to each and everyone. Explore, create have fun....

Meritman (Fred)
15/10/06 @ 12:41
Comment from: apimente.br [Visitor]
I did a brazilian version of this excelent article and put in my personal page http://apimente-br.tripod.com/LNW.htm if anything is wrong with this please complain.
15/10/06 @ 15:32
Comment from: Jonah [Visitor] · http://www.gsyminimoto.org
Thanks, excellent article and a good read. Wish I had that to read before I made the switch to Linux I could have saved myself a lot of embarassment. That was 18 months ago now and I have got a couple of Linux boxes and a Laptop running various distros doing more or less what I want - it has been a strugle but a worthwhile one in the end.

I never did want Linux to replace my Windows installations, I need to get actual work done at some stage, I just like pulling things to bits to see how they work.

Incidently I gave a Suse 10 box to a complete computer novice and his kids, they have never used Windows or anything else for that matter. Within months they are all better with Suse than I am, no preconceived habits and expectations to break.

18/10/06 @ 23:05
David Bruce
Comment from: David Bruce [Visitor]
Thanks for writing that wonderful article. I've never seen specific arguments written so succinctly and with great analogies. I'll plan to use this article as a primer when friends ask me about using Linux on their own.
23/10/06 @ 14:32
Al Williams
Comment from: Al Williams [Visitor]
Dear Mr. Humphries:

Your article is articulate and your arguments cogent. It's also highly elitist to its core.

I've been a software developer for 30+ years, and throughout all of my career, I've considered it a major objective to bring computers to the non-technical community, the make them real tools that can be used as easily as you use your desk diary or typewriter (if anyone actually uses those any more.)

I've used and done development for Linux, Unix, VM/370 (remember that one?), RSX-11M, OS/2, a number of real-time operating systems and, yes, Windows.

Of all of these, Windows has come closest to achieving my objective of making the computer a usable tool to the common man. Whatever I may think about Microsoft's business practices -- and, by the way, I DO feel that there needs to be more than one software company in the world -- Gates's vision of extending the desktop to encompass the world resonates with me.

The article is definitely well done, but it reminds me of a Dilbert cartoon featuring an "old time Unix programmer," replete with beard and suspenders. The OTUP flips Dilbert a coin, and says "Here, kid...go buy yourself a REAL computer." Personally and professionally, that kind of elitism I can do without.

Since we clearly represent opposite poles in this issue, I wish we could discuss it face-to-face over a pint. Since that's probably impossible, please accept my word that I do respect your opinions and find some of your points compelling. It's the "bottom line" that I have no choice but to reject.

A. Williams
25/10/06 @ 15:47
Dave Coleshill
Comment from: Dave Coleshill [Visitor]
I have used and supported Windows and PCs running Windows for a very long time now. I've watched Microsoft evolve into what it is today with slowly mounting horror. it has gotten to the point where I will do or try almost anything if it means I won't have to buy and use Windows Vista. However, if the Linux community is as blatantly and unpleasantly elitist as this article implies, then I want no part of it.

So, can any of you Linux "Zealots" reading this answer this for me please: I dislike Windows as much as you do, but it seems I am unwelcome amongst you. Where would you recommend I go or spend money for an operating system that will allow me to run current games, such as Half Life 2, World of Warcraft, or DEFCON?
27/10/06 @ 20:15
Comment from: Andrew [Visitor]
I've read you "why Linux is not windows" article and I have to disagree with you.

U see, just to pick from you example, not everyone who learns to ride a bike wants or could become a Superbike racer.

Many ones just want a scooter to take them from A to B with ease, comfort and style.

I mean, they don't care about carburettor stoichometrics, tire temps, drivelines and so on!

Don't get me fooled I'm in the car industry and MOST customers are THIS way!
They want something to be easy and efficient and it hasn't to be necessary to know how to tear it down for service in the garage.

Same thing for OS's. Many thanks to Linspire, Freespire and MEPIS! I think it's the way to go! Simple and stylish as it gets.

One last thing: Linux must not copy Win, it must copy the Best: Mac!
Cheers everyone!
30/10/06 @ 23:44
Jim Kelsh
Comment from: Jim Kelsh [Visitor]
Thank you for an excellent article. I agree Linux has a steeper learning curve, but the freedom and choice it gives the user is well worth it. I likened Linux once to an IT person I worked with as: Windows is like a car with an automatic transmission, Linux is like having a manual transmission: more to learn, more control!
I have been using Linux since Jamuary 2006 and have found some excellent resources such as the book Hacking Knoppix by Scott Granneman anf Linux Phrasebook by the same author.
My proudest day was the day I wrote my first successful cron job to run CLam AV anti-virus scanner each day at 6:00 p.m.!
Right now I am running SUSE 10.1 because that is what is run where I work!
Take care, Linux has a great community!
01/11/06 @ 19:28
Kevin B
Comment from: Kevin B [Visitor] · http://none
I Thought it was linux=Motorbike Windows=car, hehe nice article but you lost track here:
Or look at it the other way round:

Linux/cars were designed from the ground up for multiple users/passengers. Windows/motorbikes were designed for one user/passenger. Every Windows user/motorbike driver is used to being in full control of his computer/vehicle at all times. A Linux user/car passenger is used to only being in control of his computer/vehicle when logged in as root/sitting in the driver's seat.

Hope that helps you any... ciao
11/11/06 @ 06:31
Utah Burger
Comment from: Utah Burger [Visitor]
I read your paper and enjoyed it very much. It is true that linux has a steep learning curve. I did not get a computer till 1995. Run win 3.1. Crashed it the first night. Learned how to fix and then found linux. Started with RedHat 4.0 I belive, and spent hours getting it to work on my old 33.
I got it to work and used both os"s for a long time. I use linux only now. I consider myself a newbe and am still learning.
I like the wide variety of os's and software that one can choose from. My hat is off to the community for even making it open to the public. I use Mepis now and like it very well. I just got my adsl modem up and running. I still don't know exactly what I've done, but when I figure it out, not likely to forget.
Thanks to the Linux community and may you keep up the good work: Utah
11/11/06 @ 20:51
Derek Snider
Comment from: Derek Snider [Visitor]
I disagree. There's no reason why effort and direction could (or should) not be put into producing a Linux Desktop OS product that is more compatible with, and "looks and feels" a lot more like Microsoft Windows (legal issues aside).

Microsoft has spent millions on developing the look and feel of their interface (and fighting off law suits from companies they err, borrowed ideas from). There's absolutely no shame in borrowing ideas back from Microsoft.

Both X-Windows/Gnome/KDE/Linux and Microsoft could learn a lot by looking at what Apple did with OS-X.
13/11/06 @ 21:05
Comment from: Mirix [Visitor] · http://galsatia.wordpress.com/
Nice stuff. I really enjoyed reading it. Just one tiny question: Are you (Northern) American or something? Because there are a few 'minorities' you are forgeting about:

- There's quite a few people out there who just cannot afford paying for software (or software updates because the 'almost-free' MSOffice you got from somebody in the street a few years ago is not fully compatible with the Office2003 form you downloaded from the social security website last week).
- There're also guys whose computers are so slow they wouldn't even run Windows95, leave apart Windows Vista (not only individuals also public schools, libraries, etc.).
- There's also people (that's me!) who started to use UNIX/Linux just because they needed to use certain 'technical' software that was only avaliable for such evil systems. They are professionals who don't give a fiddler's fart (excuse my french, if you can) about computers and, in fact, the only chips they are interested in are sold in 50 g bags.

I could go on for hours but I'll save you the suffering of having to go through it. The point is, there's quite a lot of people who really 'need' GNU/Linux and don't necesarily fall into the cathegory of computer's geeks or anything like that (or maybe we are just a different kind of geeks). Linux has become much more than simply hackers' entertaiment. Linux might have deep social implications. I think that's what the whole Ubuntu project is about. GNU/Linux can make technology avaliable to more people. I ignore if you do or do not care about that and, actually, it doesn't really matter. Just keep on doing your stuff and making the code avaliable at no cost. Others will do the rest ;-)
14/11/06 @ 20:59
Comment from: DannyFeola [Visitor] · http://someguy108.googlepages.com/home2
Love your article. Iv been a now long time Linux user. Ditched Windows for a good 3 years now. What you wrote is 99% truth. Very well put together. Its so true that when new Linux users who come over here are looking for Windows, but without the crap Windows does. This is not true. Any new Linux user I meet I make sure I tell them that: "Going to Linux from Windows, or any other OS, is like going from America to a different country." "We may be all humans, and have the same needs, but we all have different traditions and do things differently." Its the same as going from Windows to Linux. They do the same basic computer functions, but they do them differently. Ones about one thing for all (Windows), when the other is about choices and customization(Linux).
15/11/06 @ 02:05
Brian Lawrence
Comment from: Brian Lawrence [Visitor]
Another boring "go RTFM,newby!" rant from one of the Linux (or more correctly: GNU/Linux) Taliban. Need a lot of work on your analogies...read some books. It's that unhelpful attitude that will put many people off trying Linux. A very immature attitude.
20/11/06 @ 11:40
itai alter / AKA Soundwave
Comment from: itai alter / AKA Soundwave [Visitor]
Great reading!
I don't know if you're still reading these comments, but I'd like to thank you for writing this article.

I'm a fairly new Linux user (2-3 months), and after getting involved in the community forums, and contributing to some open source software that I like, I wanted to write this article, but you've done it already, so all I need now is to refer people to this link :)

Thanks again.
20/11/06 @ 15:20
Shekhar Neupane
Comment from: Shekhar Neupane [Visitor] · http://shekharneupane.com
great job!!!
i appreciate from my heart.this article is a good answer for those who compares linux n w!ndows ...
LINUX rocks!!!!
26/11/06 @ 10:35
John English
Comment from: John English [Visitor]
Yea Gods Man!! That article does not pull and punches, but sets the record straight.

I am cheesed off with MS. My PC has crashed, and I have now been told that I cannot install the old h/d into a new machine and carry on using the installed XP Pro OS. With Vista coming out soon, I am not prepared to fork out for the present XP OS, and the upgrade in a few months time.

Okay, I am purely an end user. Machine code is a closed book, I neither have the time, nor the inclination, to learn it. I am prepared to RTFM, and find out how to use software, provided I know that it will allow me to achieve what I want to accomplish. Is a version of linux right for me? I think so. Anyway, having read your excellent articles, and been forced to face the fact that I have been blindly lead by the hand for far too long, I am going to dive into the Linux sea, and pray that I can survive.


29/11/06 @ 13:06
Comment from: Acid1212 [Visitor]
This is one of the most interesting comparison reads that i have read in a long time. the car/motorbike comparison was especially attention-getting. thanks
04/12/06 @ 19:15
Comment from: Oberon [Visitor]
The last bit of the statement: So, to avoid problem #3b: Just remember that what Linux seems to be now is not what Linux was in the past. The largest and most necessary part of the Linux community, the hackers and the developers, like Linux because they can fit it together the way they like; they don't like it in spite of having to do all the assembly before they can use it. Can't possibly be what you want to say. It's not: They DON'T like it IN SPITE of having to... I think you want to state: They DO like it PRECISELY BECAUSE of having to...
05/12/06 @ 12:15
Uran Shushka
Comment from: Uran Shushka [Visitor]
All I can say is .... THANK YOU for a very well written article
05/12/06 @ 22:16
Comment from: Aravinda [Visitor]
Hi Dominic,

Thank you very much for the great article ("Linux is Not Windows")... I'm excatly the sort of person you've written this article for: a typical Windows "Power User"! I've been considering switching to Linux permenantly for quite some time now (for about 5 years), and even "tried" it out a few times. But failed to make the full transition due to many of the reasons you've pointed out.

Anyway, looks like it's back to kindergarten as far as I am concerned... Look forward to the ride! :)

Thanks again!
08/12/06 @ 00:38
Kenneth Newman
Comment from: Kenneth Newman [Visitor]
What's interesting is how everyone, including the author of the article, is entitled to their opinions, and how each of them is entirely correct, though often contradictory or mutually exclusive.

Also interesting is how mooted those opinions are, as many get overtaken by events, most specifically the upcoming release of Vista for the home market, and a general decline in the economy, especially regarding funds for public institutions.

Many people will be switching to Linux, and soon, for the simple reason that they will have no choice.

In my home I have a little LAN for my family that has two XP/Linux (Xandros) dual boot machines with an OS X Mac in between. They all talk together (sometimes all three are required, as for example, saving from Linux to an XP disk, using the OS X box as a bridge), share resources, it all works together nicely.

There is no either/or, no dichotomy, they all work together as a single system, the relationship is synergistic, and would be poorer if any element were missing.

And they are all simple enough that young children, including an autistic, can use them, but also can switch to being as complex as I require them to be.

My hobby is taking older computers and installing Linux and giving them away, keeping the computers out of landfills, and making things possible for people who otherwise could not afford them. Only Linux makes this possible. The recipients are not geeks, nor gurus, yet set up properly, they are able to use the machines to do the things they want and need to do, and an easy interface is essential for this. Happily, Linux can do this, while also keeping the geeks happy. Neither is poorer for this. That's one of the beauties of Linux, IMO.

Another hobby is introducing Linux to people who bought XP machines from Wal-Mart or wherever, when sub $1000 PC's became big and the Internet took off, and incautiously jumped on the net and quickly got bogged down by 17 tool bars, drive-by malware, ad-ware, spy-ware and viruses. Linux enables these people to bring their box back out of the closet where it was gathering dust and get back to their stupid chat-lines, IM/MySpace/YouTube, music stealing and porn, which is all they really want.

So many different realities, so many different truths, and Linux can be a big part.
12/12/06 @ 18:22
Comment from: Somebody [Visitor]
I am Pro-Linux and use Linux as my main OS at home. I find your article to be very informational to those that are planning on switching to Linux or are newbies to Linux.

But I have beef with the statement you make about viruses:

"Linux/motorbikes don't have viruses/doors, so are perfectly safe without you having to install an antivirus/lock any doors."

Linux does have viruses, albeit a heck of a lot less than Windows, but it does have viruses!

16/12/06 @ 17:21
Comment from: seb [Visitor]
Great! Real nice article.
thx, thats exact my experience
19/12/06 @ 11:46
Comment from: Jim [Visitor]
Thank you for enlightening article. I used to use fedora/opensuse/ubuntu and couple of other distros. But now using winxp for daily work and from time to time observing/trying what's going on in linux world. I love linux but I use winxp because I'm brainwashed by MS. First I got DOS, then Win 3.1 Win95, Win98, WinMe, WinXp. Say the truth I didn't try linux until I got winxp. It was some sort of mysterious OS and for hackers only in my perception. I doubt that i'll get winVista for time being I stick to winxp and if linux offers better alternative then I'll switch.
20/12/06 @ 04:28
Comment from: Kwipper [Visitor]
As a windows user attempting to learn Linux, I found this article to be a very good read. My reason for trying out Linux was because I wanted to find an OS that is like Windows, but basically without the bugs, security problems and could play the games that I want to play.

I can see that this isn't the case and that Linux just is not for me. So, I will return back to Windows and do my part to try and make Windows a better OS, while dealing with all of it's problems. It's all I can do as a Windows user.
20/12/06 @ 05:00
Comment from: Blake [Visitor]
The article is wonderful. I'm going to link to it on my site so that all my visitors can see what Linux is really about.

I saw mention of ReactOS in a comment here. It seems awesome, but it doesn't encourage people to become more intelligent in their usage of computers. I'm an IT guy who does mostly Java development, a resource-eating machine with tons of expensive tools is not for me. I love learning and I'm looking for an OS that I can tailor to do exactly what I want and nothing else. I've had Fedora 6 running for about a month now and I love it!
20/12/06 @ 05:36
Comment from: jon [Visitor]
excellent article..

at the risk of sounding like a 'yes man', i thoroughly enjoyed it, even at the couple of points where the user described sounded like an earlier ( or current!!) version of me
20/12/06 @ 05:38
If there were an internet peace prize, I'd nominate you. I don't even have linux, I got this page because it was on the top 5 on delicious; but it was such a well written article that does so well at what it was meant to do: show newbies aroun dthe place and teach them the basic ediquette in a friendly, cards down way.

Thanks on all their behalf.

20/12/06 @ 05:58
Comment from: Michael [Visitor]

A very nice and concise explanation of the differences and similarities of MS and linux.

As a 49 year old who has enjoyed learning about linux and FOSS for about 10 years - this would be great for MS users that are getting that itch to learn about how their boxes work.

We wish you a very happy and prosperous New Year

ps Where's your SpamPoison ??
20/12/06 @ 06:42
Comment from: rubi [Visitor]
Thanks for an informative look at the potential pitfalls involved in OS migration. As a very new Linux user, I too have been exposed to what Linux is not. I believe, however, that for those willing to invest the time and effort learning new ways of thinking, and accomplishing common tasks, that the rewards are inevitable.
20/12/06 @ 09:26
Comment from: deep.tinker [Visitor]
Your article was very well written. I'm a new linux user (1 1/2 months now) and I couldn't agree with you more about the absurd expectations that windows users have when making the switch. Yea, I needed my hand held a little, but after screwing up my system a couple of times and asking around on fourms for a little help, I've learned alot more about linux and I know I'm not going back.
20/12/06 @ 09:28
Kirk Badger
Comment from: Kirk Badger [Visitor] · http://www.adgerlinux.com
I want to commend you on your article "Linux is not Windows".
These Linux people are on planet Zoltar.
Linux out of the box ( if installed and running) may be great if the distro is there to serve the needs of the particular user.
People get computers not to run operating systems . They get computers to run programs - whether it be to communicate on the inernet or run programs.
If the Linux distro has the programs they want - great.
However Linux seems to be for the fun of these computer programmer types who want to tinker endlessly.
These are not the skills or the desires of the ordinary computer users.
Linux proponents keep insisting that Linux is for the mainstream user.
They are clueless that their program is not easy to alter install programs or drivers in any way if you are not a programmer.
It is amazing that they seem to no be able to comprehend in any manner this simple fact.
Just try to install another program or a device such as a wireless card into a Linux distro.
I commend you again for writing such a usefull and well chosen article.
20/12/06 @ 13:49
Comment from: Colla [Visitor]
On vi is: 'x' to cut and 'p' to paste.
20/12/06 @ 15:49
Comment from: eclectoplasm [Visitor]
Very very good reading.
20/12/06 @ 20:58
Comment from: Fabiane [Visitor] · http://designix.wordpress.com

I'm here just to say that I'm translating your article to Prtuguese (Brazil). I think that the passionate community of free software on Brazil need a rational look at that question and you made it the better way I've seen.

I'm linking the reference but if you don't want it, email-me and I will respect you.
21/12/06 @ 22:31
Comment from: Jorgexander [Visitor] · http://poraquillegas.blogspot.com
Your article is very good, I was trying to swith to Linux just to try it and you give very good reasons to do it.
22/12/06 @ 23:23
Bill Thornton
Comment from: Bill Thornton [Visitor]
Thanks Dominic. Canonical would do well to append this to their distro.
23/12/06 @ 12:05
Thiago Mael
Comment from: Thiago Mael [Visitor]
Great article! Congratulations!
I've been reading it for about one week (read one problem/day, had days without reading... running out of time...) and simply found it to be THE BEST article on that Linux X Windows subject! Most of the others just try to defend one of the OSes in a way that's mainly fanatic and nonsense! You achieved the "holy grail" of writing such an article. You just showed the differences and explained them in a "user-friendly" way!
Great Job!!!
26/12/06 @ 03:49
Curtis Tucker
Comment from: Curtis Tucker [Visitor]
Fantastic article. On one hand, I'm glad that I didn't read it a year ago when I got serious about transitioning to Linux. It might have scared me away. On the other hand, I wish I had discovered it sooner. It may have saved me the frustration of reaching many of the same conclusions on my own.

I am a firm believer that the wheel need not be invented twice. I have no problem using the experience of others to my benefit. Likewise, I have no problem sharing what I have learned with others to thier benefit.

Thanks for sharing your experiences with us. In discussing the many flavors of Linux with friends, I often finish with a statement similar to, "Linux is not for everyone".
29/12/06 @ 20:33
Comment from: anonymous [Visitor]
Thanks for your article which I came to from a link at WestNet Discuss. I had a taste of Linux years ago but never followed through with it. Might have a go now in retirement, keeping your comments in mind.

I prefer to advise writers on errors noticed directly rather than in a public forum and hesitated to comment here until I noticed others had. So, for what it's worth:
(1) spelling of "customizeable" in "cusomizeable set of software"
(2) spelling of "familiar" in "Familar is friendly"
31/12/06 @ 06:44
Eric Hammer
Comment from: Eric Hammer [Visitor]
Great read. I happened across this on a newbie site for linux. Yes, I'm a newbie to linux. I dumped MS because I was tired of the system crashing. But I've also been around computers long enough to be able to figure out the details of how to make something work. And I've used mostly open source stuff for Windows, so I'm more familiar with the concept than many Windows converts.

One comment I want to make about your last point, that Linux doesn't want to take over the desktop, etc. No, it doesn't, but there is another strong value in having a larger installed base. If you want software and hardware to be compatible with linux, you have a better chance of that happening when more people are using it.

I know there are lots of FOSS programs that do similar things to paid programs. But then there are the handful of things that Linux stuff can't do. Like my printer: I need to pay for Turboprint because Canon can't be bothered with writing a linux driver for it. Or online backup: I'm probably going to use X-Drive for online backup even though it's less convenient and doesn't offer as unlimited storage like Carbonite because that system works ONLY under Windows.

The more linux users there are, the more likely it is that support will be made available for us. . .

Still, some excellent points and a good (if somewhat harsh) intro for newbies.

Oh, BTW, I'm also one of those guys who had windows since version 3.0 all the way through XP and never had a virus. Just glad I don't need to have the same headaches in linux. . .
14/01/07 @ 06:26
Brian Lawrence
Comment from: Brian Lawrence [Visitor] · http://none
Just to clear up any misunderstanding people might get from my previous posting. I am not anti-Linux. Far from it. I am against the arrogant attitude of a lot of Linux users, their belief that all Windows users are retards who need their hands holding.
I use a lot of open source software on Windows, and dual boot occasionally - at the moment I've got Zenwalk (a great little distro) sharing with XP Pro.
I've had Slackware, Mandriva, and Fedora Core on too.
All good. The only differences are the amount of post-install configuration that needs to be done. And the more the challenge the better, that's why I've got Slackware 11 burned to CD's ready to install. One final comment to some on Linux forums - if someone asks you a dumb question, remember politeness doesn't cost anything.
15/01/07 @ 11:49
Brian Lawrence
Comment from: Brian Lawrence [Visitor] · http://none
Chapter III
And, of course, Windows users can get a taste of GNU/Linux by using:
MSys + MSysDTK + MinGW
MS Windows Services For Unix

Or Live CD-ROM's
I've got:

Variety is the spice of life.
Don't say "Windows OR Linux", say "Windows AND Linux". There's enough intolerance caused by religious fanatics without bringing it into computing.
15/01/07 @ 14:06
Comment from: Ice [Visitor]
Very nice article, clean and objective. Maybe a little too long for some lazy users (you know, those who aren't used to RTFM), but it explains exactly what I am trying to say to my skeptical family and friends.

I would love to make an Italian translation of this read, but I don't have a website. May I give it to you directly?
19/01/07 @ 08:12
Comment from: George [Visitor]
THANK YOU! Your site puts into words the most coherent and intelligent arguments I've ever heard on the subject. I'm an MS addict with Linux zealot friends and have never heard a more compelling case for learning Linux. One of my New Year's resolutions for 2007 was to learn at least one new feature or command in FC6 per week; your websight will make that much easier.
19/01/07 @ 17:22
Comment from: fearnot777 [Visitor]
I've been wrestling with the issue of whether to move to Linux and Joomla to learn to build websites vs. MS XP.
Your article on Linux isn't Windows is the best clarification I have seen or read. Joomla needs to post it on its site as well.

(FYI: I'm a journalist and editor by trade and you column and analogies are among the best I've read.)

I ride in a carpool with an MS IT professional. And he could not seem to capture the difference, at least in a way I could understand. Every IT pro I've talked to has put the fear of Linux above all else... you have to be a coder and programmer and ...

This gives a much clearer picture of the situation, and helps me understand the perspective I need to bring to the table.

Thank you greatly.
29/01/07 @ 01:51
Comment from: night-hawk [Visitor]
I guess I am one of those "windows power users" you described. I had read this guide about a month ago when I started with linux. It has certainly eased the transition for me. My focus shifted from finding a quick windows replacement to taking the time to actually learn about linux, and so far it's been an awesome experience.
11/02/07 @ 04:14
Comment from: Slipk [Visitor] · http://www.slipk-down.blogspot.com
Congratulations .. i linke this !! very very very good !!


16/02/07 @ 13:22
Comment from: Markus [Visitor]

Nice article.

It totally convinced me that the 200$ i spend for my xp pro were well spend, and that i shouldnt look at linux for a OS solution anytime soon.
19/02/07 @ 10:39
Comment from: Fernando [Visitor]
Hi! Great article.
Can I translate it to portuguese?
21/02/07 @ 13:32
M Jensen
Comment from: M Jensen [Visitor]
Loved the article. Seems that most of the comments are from Windows users. As a UNIX/Mac use of 15+ years, I find Windows very difficult to
use. I have to use it at my current job, which has not been fun.

A while ago I applied for a UNIX related job. The employment agency they where using insisted on a word doc, aad would not take pdf like most places. With this I borrowed a friends laptop and attempted to rewrite resume in it. I figured this would be easy, as Word is "user friendly". After 4 hours of trying to figure out how to format the tabular information on the doc, I gave up and found a program that can convert LaTeX to Word. Since then Apple has released their Pages word processor, which supports developing documents in block structures, as well as the more common manual formatting of word processors.

The moral to the story, as it would seem, is "user friendly" hs more to do with what you are used to, then actual design.
23/02/07 @ 16:21
Comment from: OlivierAJ [Visitor] · http://olivieraj.free.fr/

thanks you for this very good article ! This is a great work !
I found it from this french translate ( http://blog-libre.fr/?2007/02/21/59-linux-n-est-pas-windows ).

Best regards,
24/02/07 @ 13:58
Arthur Huillet
Comment from: Arthur Huillet [Visitor] · http://www.agoctrl.org
Typo report:


"Newcomers complain about the existence of what the established users consider to be fundamental features, and resent having the read a manual to get something working."

"having the read a manual" -> "having TO read a manual"

Thanks for this article, I believe it's gonna be useful to a lot of people.
25/02/07 @ 16:29
Comment from: Rita [Visitor]
Procuro um Nuno Pedrosa que fala português, viveu nos Açores e nasceu em Angola...
05/03/07 @ 23:51
Captain GeMo
Comment from: Captain GeMo [Visitor]
A wonderful article! It helped me to switch to Linux. I had very bad experience with Linux because I was trying to use like Windows. But this article helped me to understand, that this had been a wrong way. I will now send the link to this article to all my friends, who are curious about Linux.

Thanks again for the marvellous article!
07/03/07 @ 07:23
Comment from: Webshoe [Visitor]
I am VP Finance at my company and often have to guide/teach people new ways of approaching day to day issues we face at our jobs (which includes some Linux based projects). I have a quote that I said so often that I have hung it in my office for all my employees to see: "Stop holding the hammer by the metal end and complaining it does not work, LEARN HOW TO USE THE TOOL." Seeing this article was refreshing and enjoyable. Thanks for taking the time to write it. I hope to run into more from you.
11/03/07 @ 21:01
edward bartolo
Comment from: edward bartolo [Visitor]
First of all thanks for the simple and clear explanation. Well done and keep it up!

About a year and six months ago, I tried Linux (more exactly, Debian). The first experience for me was a big shock, especially when I had to use the file system. I kept saying to myself that it was unduly complicated and that Microsoft's file system was superior and more user friendly. In fact I uninstalled Debian from my computer and stopped using Linux for a year or so.

However, the thought of Linux, and it offering me the opportunity to fiddle with system, remained in me. I remember, I used to do this with Windows 95, Windows 98 and to a much lesser extent, Windows 2000 Pro. and Windows XP. Other points that attracted my attention, are real-free-software, free programming environments and compilers. All this, was a great motivator so that I could find the courage to look back at what Linux could offer me.

So, at present I am still struggling to learn Linux (Debian). My final ambition is to be able to write programs for Linux. I know that this will not be easy for me though.
12/03/07 @ 12:12
Comment from: Sylvain [Visitor]
This was a hugely informative site, that I thank you for creating. I was considering getting linux to replace WinXP, but this site has convinced me. Linux is a browser that offers a challenge to an (ashamed) lifelong windows user, while being fuctional, mobile and adaptive. In all I have to say the single line in your text that completely swayed me has to have been
"If you want an OS that doesn't chauffeur you around, but hands you the keys, puts you in the driver's seat, and expects you to know what to do: Get Linux. You'll have to devote some time to learning how to use it, but once you've done so, you'll have an OS that you can make sit up and dance."
I realize that converting people to Linux may not have been your goal, but to inform those of us who are considering linux to the differences and similarities. For this I applaud you, as you did what you set out to do effectively, something which is all too rare in today's congested internet world. I would encourage you to keep up the good work, which this most certainly is. Thank you.
13/03/07 @ 03:02
Comment from: Skiro [Visitor]
That was a fantastic article. I have recently dual booted my PC to run Windows and Ubuntu and know what you mean. Linux was not made to be very user friendly, but with a little knowledge and a lot of patience the Linux community offers everything that you want and more.
14/03/07 @ 01:45
From a Newbie. I am very new to this stuff, and would not ever screech at someone who is trying to do something kind for me. Just a writer looking for a better tool. Not sure if I got this right. Just a personal experience.

16/03/07 @ 19:52
Comment from: Kevin [Visitor] · http://www.omgwtfbbq.nl
Very nice read. I've been using Linux for like 5 or 6 years now, but still, interesting read. You hit the nails exactly on the head with this article.
21/03/07 @ 13:22
Comment from: Xstatyk [Visitor]
One Word


PS Your authentication is better than others who try and put difficult text that you yourself can barely read let alone retype
24/03/07 @ 06:33
Comment from: Asa [Visitor]
Brilliant. Thank you very much.
25/03/07 @ 02:57
Comment from: Gawain [Visitor]
I agree that this is an excellent article that made me sit back and analyse my frustrations at using Linux via Ubuntu, having tried Fedora and Mandriva 2007.
But, and it's a reasonable sized but, Linux is being heavily promoted via magazines, web sites, lovely packaging, all leading to an expectation of, dare I say it: User Friendliness.
Had Linux remained under-promoted and with a reputation as an OS for those unkindly labelled "geeks" then my expectations would have been vastly different and more than likely, less.
However, the one aspect that has caused me more frustration than any other, has been my inability to configure my modem so that I can connect with the Internet and do those updates that keep being discussed so frequently and which it's been bruited abroad as a perfectly normal and natural progression once the initial installation has been completed. It didn't happen and I have not been able to figure out how to do it. So many browsed web pages later (at work) I came across this article.
I still don't know how to get my modem to work, but what the heck: I'll put it down to an experience that was interesting and sometimes fun when I installed Ubuntu and found it DID recognise my dear old floppy disk drive, unlike one or two other high profile distros.
Perhaps once I've made Microsoft even wealthier by buying Windows again, I'll find in a few years that Linux will have evolved even further and will allow first timers to have scanners, modems (will we still use them?) and printers recognised most of the time.
Until then, thanks for the fish!

26/03/07 @ 04:15
Comment from: Joods [Visitor]
Very interesting notwithstanding the dubious analogies. I use Windows and it does everything I want it to do when I want it to do it so why bother changing?
27/03/07 @ 17:23
Comment from: Ultragod [Visitor]
U R effin' retarded. What people want is simply a Windows-like interface (as in, simple & intuitive GRAPHICALLY DRIVEN, as in NO CRYPTIC CODING BULLSH*T) but FASTER & more STABLE.

U & your 'it's OK 2 B arcane, cryptic, non-intuitive, overcomplicated bla bla - it's just "different"' line is the typical reason Linux is such a failure among desktop users.

Make it SIMPLE & EASY 2 use 'Linux' & EVERYONE will want this FAST & STABLE free alternative! :) Until U make it EASY 2 use (like windows is easy), nobody gives a sh*t about U. I certainly don't. Do I wanna' sit there fiddling just 2 get an 'effin' graphical interface 'gui' 4 some program? I mean come on - grow some common sense!

Programming is a job. It takes years. People don't wanna' spend years of their life just 2 learn 2 get online or something.

4 all your education, U R still so desperately retarded - no common sense 2 C the obvious reason nobody likes this cryptic code junk. Get real. All we want is something faster, more stable, & KEEP the easy 2 use part of Windows :)


U linux people & your 'strokers club' - U pride yourselves on being 'elites' - makign everything so complicated nobody can reasonably expect 2 use it. Like U have on your front page some INSANE list of code how 2 get some desktop manager program 2 work. In Windows, U would just click a 'setup' file 4 the program U want, & there U go!

I mean come on - get real!

20,000 steps 2 boil an egg - that's Linux! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
29/03/07 @ 10:06
Doug Dixon
Comment from: Doug Dixon [Visitor]
Excellent read - as someone who marvelled at the initial Apple GUI whilst using MSDOS and UNIX at work, I abhor the way that MS conquered via plagiarism. Now bald and retired I have XP on a PC for my wife and games but use a MAC for myself. I was toying with a look at LINUX but now I know that I don't really need it - OSX does all that I require.
29/03/07 @ 16:33
Comment from: letsrock [Visitor]
Very eloquently put! Lately I’ve been wondering why so many people put down Windows if it works for them and the way you described it: “Read up on good security practices; install a good firewall, malware-detector, and anti-virus; replace IE with a more secure browser; and keep yourself up-to-date with security updates.” is exactly what you need to do and it isn’t all the hard! You can do everything you stated with free software too, both open and closed.
However, the continual need to do update all that security-minded software, in addition to all the security holes being continuously found in Windows itself (the new animated cursor vulnerability comes to mind) is what’s pushing me to go to Linux. What was stopping me was I used to think gaming on Linux was going to be difficult. Nevertheless I see that is a myth being shredded by Linux installers for popular games (e.g.: Quake 4/Doom3) and with sites publishing lists like this, http://techgage.com/article/top_10_free_linux_games/.
I like to ride motorcycles and it’s all about the ride. I’m trying out Sabayon LiveDVD 3.3 and the ride is totally different using the same motorcycle (computer). While still on primarily XP at the moment, this will let me learn Linux/Sabayon at my pace, my way. My way is to get comfortable with the command-line for basic tasks with the GUI as backup. Then I’ll be converting my Windows machine into a virtual machine via VMWare Converter, and seeing if I can get by with my “Windows machine” running in VMware Server. If all goes well, I’ll be Windows free within a year.
Thanks again for a great article!
30/03/07 @ 21:25
Comment from: Robynsveil [Visitor] · http://www.tightbytes.com
Brilliantly put. Hope you don't mind if I link to this. I've been trying to get my head around Linux for some time, and Ubuntu 6.10 has helped me - it *is* fairly easy to get up and running, although I did stuff up initially in letting the Install attempt to make all the decisions for me. It was then that Googling came into play: it was time to meet the gurus, Those That Know.

What I find interesting is that at work (I'm a nurse in a Operating Theatre recovery room) I'm considered a bit of a computer geek because I'm the One Who Knows what to do if... in Windows. What do do if Windows starts to slow down, as it inevitably will, because of a cluttered registry, tmp file build-up (particularly if you use rogue programs like MSN Messenger!), and fragmentation. I can make a tidy living *if* I wanted to cleaning up people's Windows systems. And that's not counting the times I've helped clean nasty, sticky spyware off some doctor's home PCs.

All this knowledge has become meaningless to me now. I don't have to worry about spyware or viruses, fragmentation or invalid entries in a registry. I don't have to worry about anything except how this app works, what command to type to get that job done. Learn it once, use it a lot, and it will become a skill. A skill that won't become obsolete because some Big Brother Software Company with a scary EULA is already planning on changing the rules. Linux is not Windows. Good job it ain't!

I wish I was as eloquent as you - you expressed exactly what I've been wanting to tell people about Linux. Linux is not for everyone.

I'm just delighted that there are people happy to create great software and to share it with me - that's wonderful! I'm happy to learn how to use it.
01/04/07 @ 11:54
Comment from: zenofeller [Visitor] · http://www.zenofeller.com
How about cutting five words with a Ctrl-X application?
From the start of the words, Ctrl-Shift-Right

And with vi?



therein lies the problem.

the mind of the user works as such : "now i need to delete some words. some is not five. some is some.

with the windows approach, he has visual feedback on his some. he keeps hitting ctrl-shift-right untill he can clearly see : okay, now two more. click. click. okay. job done.

vi demands that you first think about what it is you wish to do, then bring it to an arbitrary formalization (ie, "5" for "some") and then, and only then act.

the implicit assumption is that it is always better to think before you act. this is false. it is sometimes better to think after you act a little. incidentally, this is the very fundament of the "geek" community.

nobody, at least nobody sane, becomes a geek through reading the manual. nobody says "and i've been hacking since 1963 and then in 1985 i got my first computer". try saying this to people.

first, you dick around on the box. then, you read up on what exactly it is you've been doing. then you start actually outputing useful stuff.

this ridiculous assumption, that "geeks" themselves do not really live up to is what brings the "elitism/idiocy/asperger" accusations, not some presumption on the part of the frustrated user that needs to "check his assumptions".

let us make it perfectly clear : it is not always best to think before you act. it is sometimes better to think before you act. there is no correct way to aprioricaly distinguish the times when it is best to think before you act from the times when it is not best to think before you act. if there were such a way, there would also be a way to know before the fact if a grant application will or will not produce anything useful. think about it.

it just so happens that through practice, "geeks" find themselves at a different point in this entire "think first" battle. they tend to think first about everything, and often enough disproportionately to the needs. this is ocasionally impractical, which just so happens to be the reason geeks can not succeed in many fields of human curiosity, certainly not to the degree they succeed in computer programming. and yet, all those doors aren't soldered shut, they're not even locked. but you can't open a door while you're pushing it shut.

relatedly, the problem of abstractions. why 5 words ? why not 27 pixels ? why not 11 vowels ? it is rotten to assume abstractions your mind is familiar with are necessarily, universally human. it often enough happens that they are not. even if every single friend of yours says they are, that may just mean you're using a statistically bad sample. you know, they're all your friends. it may be that you only make friends with a very narrow, homogenous subset of people.

and this brings us to the second bad assumption that "geeks" tend to make. i can see the answer already, "not 27 pixels because that is not portable".

o really ? make it portable. i appreciate the fact most "geeks", at least most of those at an age where they attempt to write articles in human languages, as opposed to computer programming languages have learned most of what they know, in other words have founded their assumptions, at a time in history when computer processing power was significantly more expensive than human processing power.

back then, you'd hire 20 lanky young men that had no use anywhere else to pamper a single big iron, and it'd still be cheaper than what a halon dump cost. no longer the case.

today, computers and their time is insignificant. what is still significant is people, and their time. every time you ask someone to go out of his way so the computer doesn't have to, you're comitting the equivalent of stopping short on the highway to let ants pass. "was there a crash officer ?" "yea, another one of those damned ant freaks."

so, in between assuming thinking first is always the best strategy, and that people should go out of their way to accomodate computers, "geeks" have earned the general opinion that they are brain damaged and even a special disease invented for them.

this is not unfair, not is it a mistake on the part of the general opinion. it is well earned, by failing at logic. which is something that every "geek" needs to fix, not because of that general opinion, about which nobody cares, itself included, but because it is a sad state of affairs to be in the wrong.

and because, quite frankly, we could all benefit from it.
08/04/07 @ 19:21
Comment from: realmkeeper [Visitor]
Interesting article. Many of the points are fundamentally correct, but factually fall out of the bus. I have a dual boot and my company LAN runs on FC, but and this is the thing that the hardcore Linux geeks never get right is that for Linux to get anywhere there needs to be ONE STANDARD. Linux is appliance software and can only make the move to the desktop when you can actually work on the desktop and not hack at the desktop.

Linux = kernel and not an OS that is the Distro’s job (but lets keep convention)

I own a company to make money and for Linux to replace M$ on the desktop I need a standard for the software, software that works, software with a functional user interface (short cut keys, toolbars and menus, not just a bloody menu or just shortcuts). I don’t pay for software, but I don’t pirate. Here in lies the problem OSS works just as good on M$ and Linux. The other thing is that for Linux to dominate the desktop market Linux as a community has to ditch their lousy attitudes and the perverted erotic fantasy ideas around the OS and listen to the people that want to move to the OS.

I will pay twice as much for a Linux OS than to buy M$, but then I will come hunting with a sham buck if I need to use the command line whatyoumacallitthingy. Start running because hierdie boertjie gaan vir jou bliksem.
Every time I get asked for a recommendation on an OS, every time I recommend M$ for the desktop. Why it works and you don’t need to be a computer geek.

Question (and the other geek problem of Linux): I have fewer cries for help when I helped someone to a PC and OS that never even knew where the power button was using M$ than using Linux.

Linux will stay appliance software, hobbyist software and something for geeks to entertain themselves. If Linux does not want this stigma then we can talk, but LINUX has to move the focus from Hardcore M$ user to people that know nothing from IT, cars, banks, like Vin diesel said “if you can’t find the tool, you don’t belong near a car.”
10/04/07 @ 10:08
Comment from: opus [Visitor]
After reading some of the comments left, such as the few last ones, it seems to me that people still don't *understand* the article. The read it, but didn't *grok* it.

Linux is what it is because of hard work of the developers. These are intelligent people who are not necessarily swayed by corporate concerns to dumb-down interfaces for mass market appeal.

Just as if one wants to use a sophisticated camera, as opposed to a point-and-shoot type, one has to become more educated about what this powerful tool can do. Without reading the "manual", one can still be productive, but just not as productive as when he is educated on the appliance he has.

The same with OS's: some will buy a -point-and-shoot type (Windows) and be very happy with it. It does all that they want, and its limitations are acceptable to the user. Then there are the *nicer* SLR (UNIX/Linux/BSD) types. These allow the same functionality as the lower-end ones, but they allow the user, with a little education and playing around, to produce incredible works of art. I would hasten to guess that the more numerous type is the point-and-shoot one. Even so, I would not like the power taken away from the more sophisticated appliance just so someone can use it, who has no intention of *really* using it.

The user needs to know what he's buying.

It seems that the previous posters' comments are missing the point of the following lines from the article:

If that results in Linux becoming the basis of a multi-billion dollar industry, then that's great.

It's great, but it's not the point. The point is to make Linux the best OS that the community is capable of making. Not for other people: For itself. The oh-so-common threats of "Linux will never take over the desktop unless it does such-and-such" are simply irrelevant: The Linux community isn't trying to take over the desktop.
10/04/07 @ 20:08
Comment from: Jaqui [Visitor]
I have been sending people to the article for a while now, it is such a well written bit on the differences that it deserves a read.

True, as far as that goes, but new users also are needed to give new viewpoints and help Linux grow to be the best it can be. While no-one is primarily focussed on making money off Linux when they are coding on one of the open source projects, we don't have to have a non user friendly user interface for those who want an os to be as simple as windows or macos [ two new-user unfriendly apps spring readily to mind, vi and emacs ]
I personally like my cli tools, and detest any os* that defaults to a gui, but I see where the majority of people are terrified at any real controls, they want the simplified toys. We [ the open source community ] should be willing to create the simplified toy interface for the distros that want to cater to the new users to enable by default. We can continue to use the more powerful user interface version ourselves, on the distros that want those who are not afraid of complex tools and enable that ui setting by default.

I'll continue to use the distro that fits my preferences perfectly, LFS, since I personally have no use for what most people want in a ui.

* This includes any Linux distro that will not allow you to pick a cli only ui during the install.
[ Ubuntu, Xandros, Vector, PCLinuxOS .... ]
13/04/07 @ 19:56
Comment from: haku.spejsr [Visitor]
Hi! Great article. After few swings back and forth from win to linux, since 2 weeks ago my computer has only one OS installed on it: ubuntu. I really enjoy customizing it, though I still have some unresolved issues.

At least now instead of online-gaming I'm lurking though the forums trying to get my soundcard to start giving proper 5.1 hardware coded sound ^^ and localhost is much much more active ever since. linux ftw.
15/04/07 @ 23:26
Comment from: zenofeller [Visitor] · http://www.zenofeller.com
"Just as if one wants to use a sophisticated camera, as opposed to a point-and-shoot type, one has to become more educated about what this powerful tool can do. Without reading the "manual", one can still be productive, but just not as productive as when he is educated on the appliance he has."

false. patently false. try reading those "last few comments" again, mayhap you manage to grok something new for once.
16/04/07 @ 06:13
Comment from: sconzey [Visitor] Email · http://www.jargonjunkie.com

Eloquent, thoughtful, fair.
19/04/07 @ 01:17
Comment from: james.faction [Visitor] Email · http://my.opera.com/james.faction
As someone who has just decided to take the leap away from Windows into open-source OS land, this article was a refreshing reminder to keep an open mind. I've been a Windows user for over a decade and have finally become fed up enough with Microsoft to be really interested in something new (thanks, amongst other things, to Vista).

As you will be able to see from my blog, I'm interested in trying the most "user-friendly" of the implementations, partly because I want to spend a minimum of time getting up and running myself, and also partly with a view to introducing a non-MSWindows OS to other people as well.

I did think part 5 of your article was the most contentious part. You seemed to be taking it from a developers point of view - fair enough, considering the points well made in 4, 6 and 7. But when it comes to user-friendliness. I do believe that expert-useability and "user-friendliness" as you put it are not mutually exclusive.

In fact, I tend to disagree with your definition of "user-friendly". I would consider the definition to be simply "friendly to the user", no matter how beginner or expert the user is. Well-developed software has keyboard shortcuts, AND buttons, AND menus, for when you forget the shortcut - or happen to have your hand on the mouse at the time so it's quicker to click than move to the keyboard! Further to that, well developed software will be properly customiseable. The Opera browser comes to mind here, with drag-and-drop buttons, shortcuts, bookmarklets and menus you can customise and even write yourself, and completely configurable mouse gestures and keyboard shortcuts.

User-friendly is not inefficient if it helps the user, no matter how expert they are, get the job done faster and in a way they choose.

Apart from part 5 though I really enjoyed your article. It will help me keep an open mind as I jump in to trying 6 different live/install CDs of Linux/nix-based operating systems.
19/04/07 @ 05:38
Comment from: james.faction [Visitor] Email · http://my.opera.com/james.faction
Just to add to that, I do agree with other users here about one point you made: you said Linux users are just interested in developing better software.

If there is a bigger user base, then doesn't that mean the opportunity for even better software to be developed?
19/04/07 @ 05:47
You've got it all wrong. Linux is not a car, it's a TANK!

Hacker with bullhorn: "Save your money! Accept one of our free tanks! It is invulnerable, and can drive across rocks and swamps at ninety miles an hour while getting a hundred miles to the gallon!"
Prospective station wagon buyer: "I know what you say is true...but...er...I don't know how to maintain a tank!"
Bullhorn: "You don't know how to maintain a station wagon either!"
Buyer: "But this dealership has mechanics on staff. If something goes wrong with my station wagon, I can take a day off work, bring it here, and pay them to work on it while I sit in the waiting room for hours, listening to elevator music."
Bullhorn: "But if you accept one of our free tanks we will send volunteers to your house to fix it for free while you sleep!"
Buyer: "Stay away from my house, you freak!"
Bullhorn: "But..."
Buyer: "Can't you see that everyone is buying station wagons?"
20/04/07 @ 06:37
Diabolic Preacher
Comment from: Diabolic Preacher [Visitor] Email · http://pintooo15.livejournal.com
lots of points to convince my parents...now to send it as a series of episodes in the mail, rather than getting them bored with the length of the article and letting them miss the later points :)
24/04/07 @ 00:05
Dave Kelsen
Comment from: Dave Kelsen [Visitor] Email
I liked the article; a good read, and I generally agree with the points made.

I have two points of contention with Linux builds. First, one of the first places someone who is not a complete noob will go for help is to the man pages. Ouch! I have never seen a man page that made the first bit of sense to someone who is very familiar with English but not familiar with Unix/Linux. This is the most glaring problem with Linux today, in my opinion.

The second problem I have is with updating and or installing software; even in situations where tyhe process has been somewhat standardized (i.e. RPMs), the process is unclear to any but the advanced user, in my opinion.

Thanks for the article and the work.

Dave Kelsen
Inside every old person is a young person wondering what the hell happened.
26/04/07 @ 16:24
Prakash Jose Kokkattu
Comment from: Prakash Jose Kokkattu [Visitor] Email
Thanks.Your article helps me explaining to New Linux Users(windows converts),the reality.
I'd like You to add to the original article,the simplicity of shell(terminal) and the need of using it for any Linux users,either configuring something or for learning purposes.
I'll quote one of my posts in lq.org:
but its a herculean task to bring a windows user to UNIX* like platforms.MAC OS X essentially conseals it s roots(FreeBSD?) and usage of terminal.

But I think as of with present Linux distros atleast
Windows movers to Linux must be made aware of Terminal and CLI,the power of commands,the UNIX security model(permissions etc)..
Above All,the FOSS movement :-)
I know many of us who moved to Linux from Windows are very much opened to experimentation...and dont left once u faced commands and terminal isnt it?let the win users be known these facts by us,Linux/FOSS evangelists!!!
^ Hope this point get its needed importance. :)
02/05/07 @ 08:50
Comment from: Dryvlyne [Visitor] Email
That's a very good article. That should be mandatory reading for anyone considering making the switch from Windows.

As a new user myself, it has put things into better perspective for me. For example, if I run across something in Ubuntu that works differently than it does in Windows (i.e. the copy and paste example cited in the article) I shouldn't just get frustrated and give up, but realize it's just a different approach to accomplishing the same task.
04/05/07 @ 09:31
David Payne
Comment from: David Payne [Visitor] Email · http://www.payneful.ca/
Humm, interesting read but a lot of the things you suggest are just plain exaggerated.

Your comments on support may be true in some cases but there are a lot of great sites out there that will be willing to help anyone out with almost any problem they have with there OS. In fact, I find you will almost always find someone willing to help you out on #ubuntu or the Ubuntu forums. It still may not be perfect but new user support is getting better all the time.

The idea of the Lego is an interesting one but with the advent of modern distributions it is very easy to get a pre built Lego car. They can be a very stable Lego car and if you feel like tearing apart the car then it is also very possible option. I have installed many different types of operating systems and nowadays installing Linux is just as easy, or easier to install than Windows. And if you a bit woozy about installing your own operating systems then look around for a local Linux Users Group or LUG for short. In my city we have a very small LUG but there is always someone around to help you install the Linux distribution on any computer you want.

Yes, there is a lot of Linux applications out there that is designed for the designer but that is not true for all of them. In fact the Gnome desktop you like to talk about is constantly trying to be improved for the average user as well as the developers. Also take a look at companies like Red Hat. You say that they are just suppliers and not manufacturers but that is not exactly true. They contribute to many open source projects as developers so they can help make there products more usable.

Don't talk about vi like it is the only editor out there. There is many text editors out there where the user friendly Ctrl+X Ctrl-C will work just fine. Look up gedit if you don't believe me or kate if you like KDE.

Many Linux pieces of software are designed without "training wheels" but when it comes down to it the ones that new users really use has lots of training wheels. Take a look at the most popular WYSIWYG word processor example that you used. Open Office has lots of menus like you described and if you want to use a keyboard command they are there to.

As for ripping CDs most Linux distributions come with some sort of training wheel application. you are seriously exaggerating when it comes to this point. I am not sure about the dvd rippers.

I'm tired and going to bed.

17/05/07 @ 04:41
Joseph  Thillen
Comment from: Joseph Thillen [Visitor] Email
I am 80 years old and have been using MS for a long time and am tired of all the hassle
so your article was a great eye opener, I am now using (and learning) Puppy Linux, so far I
love it and am going to keep learning how to use it.
Joe T.
22/05/07 @ 22:39
paul ott
Comment from: paul ott [Visitor] Email · http://cynprowax.com
loved the article. Going to give it everything i have.
Thank you
29/05/07 @ 02:26
Comment from: Parth [Visitor] Email
This document is really good i Like it, but who ever wrote this seems a bit fool to me.
I recently started using Linux from Windows and it's not even 50% user friendly to me. I'm C++ developer but i don't see anything in linux which is better than windows. First problem not many software you can use, 2nd Can't find drivers(i still can't get 1440x900 resolution) and this guy is calling all these better than windows.
I'm not trying to defend windows all i'm saying is that linux is not very user friendly and it's very hard for new person to get on with ....
07/06/07 @ 16:48
Comment from: Dan [Visitor] Email
i agree with most of this i think that simon.b has the idea i am a newb i have been using linux bit by bit working out things like the commands in the terminal/ console downloading pluggins for mozilla and so on i find that with most things there are bugs in them to be fixed like i am an avid gamer esp enemy territory atm i am working on getting my sound working a perhaps putting a fix for it out there im not sure how but thanks to all the guys that know thier stuff im sure there is a way. the most well said peice has got to be the windows uncustomisable bullshit that it is plagued with i have worked with windows all my pc life and have always felt that i should be able to do what i want on a pc why the heck not?!?!?!?! (lol refference to the authors style) would you buy an old American muscle car that you couldnt even change an air filter on? then i was told about linux and i love it changing the pk3 files in games and stuff it fantastic! oh and i would like to bring up the point that not all ppl that hax r the most cleaverest ppl im 18 studying to be a bricklayer with 2 gcses and i built this very pc and run linux and using the full potential of it by the way is anyone interested in making a game for linux esp i have seen the stuff that is possible im not really interested in profit as i beleive in the (fancy word for idea) of linux creaters and their programers man and the synaptic thing is the most ingenious idea something windows couldnt even dream of with so many ideas and minds to make it work it just incredible!

i think the user friendly thing is misconstrued i ubuntu and all i had to do is install my gfx driver and add a few codecs and i was away all it needs is a decent gaming system and it is even more better than windows its free no viruses the rest is all just irrelevent the most frustrating things about windows gone..... for free (i really am tight...... seriously i would walk rather than pay £2 for a bus) when i think of all the time i spend having slow internet then pating for the protection on top of the money for the os its criminal i am going to spread the word about linux fuck windows and its over priced over bearing over rated bullshit

ps i dont know what the rules are on swearing so im sorry if its not allowed but it has to be said
11/06/07 @ 00:54
Comment from: Dan [Visitor] Email
also the guy above me is a retard and probably didnt read any of the article i mean come on surely it should be clear after like 8 chapters lmfao
11/06/07 @ 00:56
Comment from: Liberty [Visitor] Email
Excellent article.
Have you ever thought of making a list of OS function comparables? In other words, to list all the main OS functions indicating how the function is perform in Linux, vs Win, vs Mac ,and so for.
You seem to have a pretty good understanding of both OSes. It definitely would be an easier task for you than for me.
Any way, I love the article. I am passing it around as I speak.
12/06/07 @ 23:04
Comment from: GerryB [Visitor] Email
Fantastic right-to-the-point article! I'm a Ubuntu Feisty Fawn user since April/07. It doesn't take much to make it work and you're right - the fun is in the work and the learning. My kids are getting used to it slowly and are amazed at what it can do.
Also, there is a variety of Linux OS's out there. You could point to that fact if you plan on revising this article in the future. The most striking on Live CD's or DVD's are:
Puppy Linux, Slax Live CD, Damn Small Linux, SimplyMepis, DreamLinux, Sabayon and Ubuntu Studio. People could just Google these and get a feel for them, especially on You Tube. The future looks like a lot of fun in the Linux world. Thanks again for the great explanations. GerryB
16/06/07 @ 13:24
Comment from: Alex [Visitor] Email
I like to throw bits of useless information around, but I thought that you might like this, even though I doubt you'll go back to change your examples.

The Control+{C,V,X} commands are actually iconographic (? derived from icons), based on familiar signs. C = *C*opy. *V* is that sign that you used to make on paper when you wanted to INSERT (paste) a new word/letter. *X* comes from the X mark that you made over words you wanted to "cut" on the piece of paper.

So it's actually familiar, let alone easy to access (XCV keys are placed one next to the other on the US keyboard and many others).
19/06/07 @ 18:34
Comment from: Alex [Visitor] Email
[Sorry, managed to post before I had finished.]

This is how these commands used to be taught to new computer users, but in time, such information got lost and people just memorized them. Nowadays, even that information is getting lost and most people use the mouse because they don't know any better (Press keyboard keys to PASTE something?? You mean... TYPE IT AGAIN?!)

Before Windows (which I believe came up with the Control+XCV convention), the slightly-more-logical Shift+Delete, Shift+Insert and Control+Insert were used. As opposed to simply pressing Delete, the Shift+Delete combination implied a... shift of the selection.

As for the vi commands "dw" used to delete a word that is not so intuitive. I don't want to DELETE anything, I just want to CUT it so that I can PASTE it somewhere else. DELETE WORD is not what I want.

I don't know about anyone else, but I for one don't start counting the words before I decide what part of a phrase I want moved somewhere else. So yes, commands such as "d5w" are "a neat trick", but when you're editing a letter (as opposed to say, a hex dump), Ctrl+Shift+Right 5 times comes more naturally.

All in all, I would much rather use vi as a code editor, because of the mouse-less ability to do everything using one or maybe two hands. But I never use it for writing letters because of the awkwardness.
19/06/07 @ 18:51
hello! this is a very nice read. i'm getting ready for a debate tomorrow. Linux vs. Windows and im sure now that Linux is better (for me. dunno about others). anyway. wat i want is to have LINUX. i'll try to use it. tnx again for a great read. :D
20/06/07 @ 11:11
Comment from: nogoodapproach [Visitor] Email
Oh yeah that's the right approach. Just moaning the mac-way: windows is sooo stupid, mac/linux is sooo much better.
Man, accept that a cursor based interface in a text editor is more user-friendly than having to remember hundreds of keyboard shortcuts!
You should tell people what linux does better, and not that everything is better actually, but nobody knows it.
05/07/07 @ 14:49
Comment from: davecs [Visitor] Email · http://www.pclinuxos.talktalk.net
Linux is not Windows. True. But the Dolphins and the Sharks are looking more and more alike. Actually the Dolphins are looking more like Sharks than the Sharks do.

Take a KDE system. You have a bar across the bottom and an icon at the left of it. This icon takes you through a tree menu to a program which runs. The program runs in a window, with a draggable bar across the top, icons for various functions at the left and right, a menu underneath, possible icons in a line below that... the fact is that sometimes it is hard to tell the difference.

Other than that, one important difference is that Windows is often installed when you buy your computer. Linux isn't, well rarely. I have just built a new computer and tried to install Windows on it. It's a nightmare. I may try to work on it at some point, but don't hold your breath.

On the other hand, PCLinuxOS installed on the same rig in about 20 minutes from a live CD. I had to go into dialogues in the PCLOS Control Centre to select my printer, my monitor, and correct the resolution for my monitor. And in order for my nvidia card to do 3D stuff, I had to go into the software manager (Synaptic) press a couple of buttons, and the nvidia driver was downloaded from the net, fully installed and set up.

All other hardware, from SATA drive, Mobo drivers, scanner, ethernet ports, you name it, was set up with no intervention by me whatever. As opposed to a stack of CDs and numerous reboots with Windows. I was asked questions in a turnkey fashion to set up the system language, keyboard, time, and internet connection.

That single CD was chock full, almost the full 700Mb which expanded to a 2Gb system. Not just a system, but loads of programs included. One of which, Synaptic, just pulls more programs off the net and installs them. And I've only used Graphical User Interface stuff at this point.

The point being that I've installed this system on some relatives' computers. To them, there is little difference in use. I did this because I was not prepared to be at their beck and call every time they got a Virus, Adware, Spyware, BSOD, etc.

So yes, if you want to get into it, as I have, you can have some real fun. But it is possible to install a system which is functionally very similar to Windows. And provided the hardware is supported in Linux (and most is these days), you can install a system from one disk and have a great selection of software to get you started, plus loads more on tap.

This sort of experience is available from User-friendly distros like PCLinuxOS, Mepis, and Mint. If your hardware proves more difficult, there is help and encouragement at their forums.

Under the hood though, things are different. The nice GUIs are often front-ends for command line programs, a case in point being the wonderful CD/DVD burning program, K3B. That's a strength, though. An expert in writing stuff to CDs can write a program to do that. An expert in putting the stuff into a format to write to a CD can do that. And another expert who makes a fine User Interface can link it all together.

Also it means that if you need a computer to switch on and do something, reacting only to a small set of keypresses, maybe even with no display, you can strip all that stuff out and just run the backends. Hence Linux is an ideal system to use in household appliances etc. And in servers and so on.

Or you can use different parts, and different GUI interfaces, maybe for modern fast computers, or for older computers.

Linux is so versatile. And it's great that it's now available in a form for the non-geek on a personal computer.
05/07/07 @ 22:16
Comment from: d3v1us [Visitor]
thanks for writing this article.. it's a great thing that you have done for both sides. I have been using Ubuntu Fiesty for a few months and am really starting to "drive", which, as you've mentioned, is something I'm not quite used to having the pleasure of doing myself. simple and to the point, although it seems that I need to read up on my acronyms..

thank you again
07/07/07 @ 20:06
Sean Swanepoel
Comment from: Sean Swanepoel [Visitor] Email
Brilliant!!! As a Win OS user looking to get out of paying WinTaxes this article reinforced some of my thoughts about Linux and brutally corrected some others.

A great read, well thought out and informative. Currently I'm looking at the "user-friendlier" versions of Linux - Ubuntu and Fedora, and can't quite make up my mind. I want to put in a Web server to do surveys on a pay per click basis. Any ideas???

I need something I can get up and running SECURELY and QUICKLY. I'm not afraid to tinker, or to learn new tricks, although for us old dogs it can be a bit of a stretch ;)

Cheers from Sunny South Africa!!!
09/07/07 @ 16:01
Comment from: adonis [Visitor] Email
this way of thinking is quite idiotic.
it's ignorance, its selfish and it's a disaster for a linux user to write something like that.

let me repeat Stallman's words from the Revolution OS documentary:

"I looked for another alternative. I was an operating system developer. If I were to develop another operating system, and than encourage everyone to use it and form a new community...everybody would have a way out of that moral dilema..."

he clearly said EVERYBODY. not every fucking nerd and geek, but EVERYBODY.

by writing this, you are betraying basic principles of GPL, you are betraying philosophy that makes FOSS what it is.
people like you are helping microsoft to hold their desktop monopoly.
12/07/07 @ 00:42
Comment from: oneandoneis2 [Member] · http://geekblog.oneandoneis2.org/
You seem to be responding to an article that I've neither written nor read. Unless RMS went on to say something about developing a free operating system that was a perfect clone of Windows, which I somehow doubt.
12/07/07 @ 10:06
Michal Manas
Comment from: Michal Manas [Visitor] Email · http://mollusca.cz
I think that sharks DID NOT evolve from fishes!
14/07/07 @ 01:02
Comment from: Rich [Visitor] Email
Good article.

It's ashame we find ourselves placed into one or two schools of thought about this issue of computer software, i.e.

(1) Software for Profit and (2) software for 'free' unrestrictive use by 'Everyone' without licensing infringement and intellectual property rights.

Computers are tools. Without software they are useless.

A library without books is useless.

I'm only interested in reading the books and the knowledge contained in them to help me further my intellectual objectives and to work more effectively and efficiently at whatever task I may need to accomplish.

I'm not interested in claiming ownership or intellectual authorship either. I am only interested in how it may benefit me in the way
it can accomplish tasks only a computer can do.

I not trying to claim 'intellectual rights' and
demand money for their continual usage.

This may sound 'Utopian' or even 'Socialistic' but
what the hell good is a computer if everything is just about the All-Mighty-Buck?

Anyways I have found Linux. I'm not a Geek but do
relish the fact that something good can be made of this new experience provided people aren't turned away or turned off because elitist attitudes and 'Geek' domination.
15/07/07 @ 19:54
Richard BACH
Comment from: Richard BACH [Visitor] Email · http://www.valneandre.eu
"If you want an OS that you can make sit and dance... get Linux"
I used to have such an OS, before Windows, that was MSDOS. I knew it by heart, all the existing commands and properties, and when something I wanted was missing, I could produce it with some assembly language. I loved the console mode, the batch procedures, and proceeding with nice .COM, .EXE and . BAT all around...
Times have changed. I am used to windows (without a capital W) now, and it comes that I have found a way to do, in a windowed environnment, most of the things I used to do in a console environment... most, but not all.
Just as Linux does. Some nice windows, but when it comes to the essential, get back to the console, and type in some text commands. Well. Why not ?
Richard (France)
17/07/07 @ 15:14
Comment from: Jason [Visitor] Email
Win-Linux user myself. I started out with PCLinuxOS2007, have been using it for about a week. To all of you who put in the "preaching to the choir" bit:

I was pretty much of the same mindset when I decided to try Linux. I'd been a Win user for several years, but I was getting tired of all the idiosynchasies associated with MS.

Love or hate MS, that is your choice. I hate MS, and wanted something different. I'm poor, so I couldn't afford a MAC. On the other side, I had my expectations of Linux, and of course, I was wrong. Even so, Linux managed to impress me enough to stick with it this long (considering my ADHD), and now that I've read this article, I feel like I have a better grasp of what Linux is SUPPOSED to be about.

Look, I'm nothing more than a geek wannabe. I've spent too many years in digging around pre-designed GUI's that eventually frustrated me. I really like KDE, and GNOME isn't bad, but now that I better understand the premise of Linux, I feel less intimidated about getting into the terminal (notice that I no longer call it a "command line"? Huh, maybe I have learned something).


I thought that Linux was going to replace Windows on a global scale. But now, I'm more worried that too many of the distro's are starting to sell out to MS. Shows you how far an ex-Win user's come in a week.

Don't down the man for stating the facts. I would love to see Linux become the defacto standard, but I'm just as fine with what it is now, and I hope that it stays that way.

I don't know how to ride a Harley, but I drove an eighteen wheeler for several years... a much more complicated piece of machinery. So... learning to ride a Linux shouldn't be that big a stretch.

Anyway... Loved the article... found it insightful.
19/07/07 @ 10:04
Mathew Rock
Comment from: Mathew Rock [Visitor] Email
Maybe, just maybe, Mac OS can be a better option then this two we are talking about, i mean, its simple, secure, and very easy for new users.

I bouth my macbook pro 5 weeks ago, and i can say that i am really sure that i will not use windows again, i really don´t need now.
19/07/07 @ 23:06
Led Enjes
Comment from: Led Enjes [Visitor] Email
Beautiful article!
I truly enjoyed reading it.

I've been a Windows user for years (I started off with Windows 3.1). To my opinion, Microsoft started failing when it issued Windows '95. To my opinion, from that moment on, the Windows user was no longer allowed to be in control on their own operating system. Therefore, since about 1996 I've been trying to leave Windows and trade it in for Linux. I never truly succeeded. Every time I tried to switch to Linux, there always would be some device I could not get to function, even when using all the manuals and help there were, at the time. Ubuntu, however, changed all of this. It did not function perfectly at start (for instance my wireless lan did not function), but I could get it up and running completely because of the outstanding quality of the many manuals, forums and help on the internet! So this time, I am going to stick with Linux. So I say, Windows, farewell!
29/07/07 @ 19:22
Comment from: Amy [Visitor] Email
As a noob that just wanted to try Linux because I saw some cool things my coworker could do with his desktop, I must admit some points in the article had me utter an audible "ouch". But I guess what they say is true..the truth hurts. Thanks for changing my expectations!
Great anologies.
02/08/07 @ 02:08
Dr. Choc
Comment from: Dr. Choc [Visitor] Email · http://Lest.us
Simply loved it
03/08/07 @ 08:13
Comment from: Sean [Visitor] Email
Read/skimmed your insightful article…would have read every word but looking for solutions to a Linux problem is eating up my time.

I certainly agree with all you say, yet feel you are missing a couple of ideas in your justifications. One is that you are not grasping / appreciating importance of new Linux users who are not geeks, computer nerds by nature and or are from the Windows world originally. The other is a dismissing or excusing of the lack of clarity and intuitiveness in Linux that new users experience. Since Linux and open source began as a revolt against arcanely complex Unix code it sounds hypocritical to blame ‘outsiders’ for finding Linux a similarly difficult and frustrating experience.

To the first issue, ask, Why are these people, some of whom give grief to the The Community as you describe, so important? Why are they important enough for you to write about, rather than simply ignore? The answer is that these outsiders are the force that keeps open source alive and growing.

The corollary is to say to the Linux geek community, “Grow up!” .

Whether one believes it or not, open source would have stalled ages ago if The Community consisted only of the hard core volunteer code hacks. But human societies evolve and grow more complex and Surprise!, someone opened a Linux door and in slipped a few people, and then a few people more, and then money got involved and suddenly we have iPods and phones being hacked and Red Hat and corporate monsters running Linux, and lots and lots of people making various amounts of money and Linux is growing!
The point is that it was inevitable that the cozy world of early Linux would end, with variously debatable consequences.

The baby grew up and moved out of the house.

Give your selves a pat on the back, which is about all the thanks a good parent will get.

As to the issues of clarity and intuitiveness there is much to say.

Part of my point can be illustrated by the maxim “The operation was a success but the patient died.” This is what happens when a beautiful piece of coding can’t be used by anyone, or worse, screws up an already functioning system.

Similarly the non-geek Linux user asks, after a something fails, Why did they say that it would work when clearly it does not?

The clarity part of this is in how much effort The Community puts into stating ‘upfront’ what the software is known to do and is definitely not known to do, whether all the setup information is included (and for which Linux distributions), and other useful declarations. This has little to do with being an insider in The Community, and everything to do with putting the effort into being ‘open’ and ‘clear’ in documentation and comments about your work [whether to insiders or not]. Clearly its getting better all the time, and for good reason.

Lastly keep in mind that there are other viable ways of thinking which are needed to move open source ahead. Not everyone thinks like a code writer, and code writers do not have an absolute ownership on good code design or what code should accomplish. [And as you note, this is where friction happens, when intelligent people who think differently don’t find Linux intuitive.]

Its like saying that only writers have the ideas that are worthy to write down, or only people who can compose music can write lyrics or concepts. Writing code is a special skill but does not have a monopoly on what open source end-products or functions should do or look like.

The point is that it pays for code writers to be clear about what their code does. Not only is it part of clear thinking and showing respect to users, it is also part of the future where the ideas will come from that make your code writing important and viable.
07/08/07 @ 21:33
Dr Small
Comment from: Dr Small [Visitor] Email · http://php.8ez.com/drsmall/blog
Great article. I skimmed over some of it, but it's still great. I'm an Ubuntu user, and found the link to the article from a member's signature :)

Keep up the good work.

Dr Small
08/08/07 @ 03:40
Comment from: BooCzech [Visitor] Email
Great one;)
10/08/07 @ 20:44
Comment from: Cu [Visitor] Email
Meu, tu é um nerd bizarro viu...
20/08/07 @ 03:12
Comment from: Nikesh [Visitor] Email · http://linuxpoison.wordpress.com/
Good one :)
20/08/07 @ 13:31
Comment from: TangoMikeMIke [Visitor] Email
Excellent article for first time Linux users that manage their expectations....

My first car was an old, FREE one given to me by my neighbor with a leaking oil problem...grateful, I went to the library and borrowed a Chilton Manual for the vehicle and read up on how to fix the leak (before Google) and replaced the gasket...

Kinda reminds me of what I have to do for solutions for Linux. I end up doing the same for Windows issues except I ahd to pay for it. I am now a 100% Mandriva Linux and loving it.
21/08/07 @ 13:31
Comment from: Dave [Visitor] Email
Nice article, but one point is missing. One problem is the attitude of Linux developers / supporters. Some insist blockheadedly to do it a particular way, which for sure works, but is absolutely not intuitive and not easy. Dare I write it, yes, ease of use is important.
For example, Windows fdisk can rewrite the MBR by fdisk /mbr or one can use on W2k/XP systems the recovery console and issue fixmbr or fixboot. Easy, isn't it? The same for GRUB on Linux fills at least three or four lines and is discussed in excessive lengths in bazillion user forums - and yet I just can't get it do what it is supposed to do. I asked for peer support and basically was told two things: a) you are an idiot and b) you are stupid.
Sure if I'd know it all I wouldn't have even gotten into the problem in the first place. And not only that, would make a better boot loader. Point being, the vast majority of Linux users today isn't as skilled as most Linux developers and supporters think they should be. Just taking that into account and make easier tools that work just as well is key. And then quite a few problems described in the article just fall off the table.

Also, CTRL+X doesn't exactly delete text, it moves it to the system's clipboard. Not that this changes anything about the example, but replacing the CTRL+X with Del would have made for an absolutely undisputable example.
23/08/07 @ 02:06
Comment from: Lessax [Visitor] Email
Very good read. I wonder though, why some Linux users try so hard to convert windows users to Linux. Maybe, at my age, I'm being selfish but if they like that bug-infested software so be it. I'll stick with Linux.
I have been using Mepis for a couple of years and it is a very good distro but lately have been trying PCLinusOS. Another good distro... choices...choices..choices...
29/08/07 @ 17:00
Comment from: vin [Visitor] Email
Thanks a lot for the great over view. I've never coded a thing in my life and don't really know where to start with linux. BUT, I do know I hate vista with a fireie passion and I will be switching to a flavor of linux, any suggestions? I was thinking of pclinuxos, seems like a nice simple gui, but from there where do I go?
thanks again
30/08/07 @ 06:07
Comment from: Mohd [Visitor] Email · http://www.lord-mohd.com
This an amazing article! Specially for beginners.
31/08/07 @ 19:10
Comment from: R. [Visitor]
If this article is still maintained it would be good if the FOSS acronym was expanded at first use. I am not sure that I agree with everything you write but you definitely have some very good points.
02/09/07 @ 10:16
Comment from: ACN [Visitor] Email
I did start with computers somewhere in 1984, Had a 4Mhz intel cpu and one alu with a few 41256 memory chips making 640 KB of ram well at the time I learned Unix operation and word Processing on a MINI,Think that was an IBM make, Then around 1990 My Dad bought me a 386, used to run Dos-4 and wordstar, Dbase and Lotus-1-2-3, It had a seagate hard-drive 20Mb, well my first HDD, I had continued with dos and never required windows, Then in the year 1999, I think I got a cd of Red-Hat linux 5.2 (Appolo), I installed it on a 2GB hdd , it had Kernel-2.0.x if I remember right, and some Xfree86 It was good , fast O.S, coming from CLI age I never relished Win-95 and we in India had to get the cds etc from some friend or relative coming from U.S or Europe who did not seem to understand what is it on those cds, We have always envied those guys who talked about ISDN etc. fast downloads and so on, Well I thought I was at home with linux and continued till today, Now I am writing this from My HP-NX7400 Core2 Duo T7200 laptop with 2GB of ram and connected with a broadband connect, Well how times changed, Who would have thought I will one day use Firefox and Thunderbird instead of lynx and elinks and mail, Well I can tell you one thing , I have now three computers Two run Fedora and one runs windows vista ultimate , They all have their uses and problems , It's useless discussing which is better, If you need something to just get your work done with lot of telephone support etc. you are better off with windows at least for now, But I feel that OS never gives you any sense of owning somethings, Linux is like your own O,S, Just get ACPI suspend working on this new laptop makes you feel you did something for yourself , With commercial stuff , well you just get what you pay for, FOSS is different and please let it remain the same
06/09/07 @ 20:10
Aditya Shevade
Comment from: Aditya Shevade [Visitor] Email · http://adityashevade.blogspot.com
Great article here. Currently on top of my list, where I tell my friends to switch to Linux. This is an article that I tell them to read.

Very very good.
10/09/07 @ 14:09
Bill Cromwell
Comment from: Bill Cromwell [Visitor] Email
I am getting in line late here. This is going to be very helpful when I stumble into new people interested in Linux and coming from Windows. I'm not really interested in making converts but I do point out 'options' when folks complain about Windows. Some have made the switch. Others gave up - oh well.

I started playing at Linux some time in the 90s..not documented just when..first half of the decade. Of course...I'm on Linux exclusively with DSL, Fedora Core6, RH 7.2 and 9, and Ubuntu all living around here somewhere. I always take the time to help people who know less than me and this is going straight into my toolbox.

I'm sure glad other people helped me when I knew less than they did. Come to think of it... I still don't know very much.

11/09/07 @ 21:31
Comment from: varaahan [Visitor] Email
Beautiful article ! Very impartial approach ! Keep it up!
12/09/07 @ 16:46
Comment from: Eric [Visitor] Email · http://www.artus-fh.co.uk
Fascinating read. Written with insight. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Many thanks.
13/09/07 @ 21:35
Comment from: Sammy [Visitor] Email
Great article. I first installed linux in 1994 (Slackware) mainly for programming. It was great back then. For the last 10 years have not used it at all, however recently got a broadband connection and all the nasties that come with such a connection while browsing the interenet have made me come to the conclusion that windows is just to high maintenance. Redmond need to get their act togther with regards to security. So Ive come back to linux and Im now using Slackware 12. Its great to be back.
27/09/07 @ 07:35
Thiago de Vasconcelos
Comment from: Thiago de Vasconcelos [Visitor] Email
Pra mim você está enganado em muito do seu artigo sobre Linux.

O que importa é que mais de 90% do globo usa windows. O linux é um bom sistema, porém, há anos-luz atrás do windows, pois ainda precisa deixar de ser um "mito" para ser funcional e acessível aos mais leigos. Operar Linux não é pra qualquer um. Diria que o linux "pronto e configurado" quebra o galho dos leigos, porém, vá arrumar e configurar um até adequar ao seu uso (como usar o Windows).

Desculpe, mas Linux nunca vai pegar. Infelizmente o Windows terá vida longa, senão infinita.

Você usa Linux? Ótimo, continue.

Vivemos em democracia e devemos respeitar a classe, cultura e credo de cada um, sem distinção.

Só acho que Linux é apenas para quem não consegue "Bancar" um Windows, que é pago.

Caso contrário, usam a pirataria. Piratas são fracos.

Viva meu Windows Vista! (original)
20/10/07 @ 14:57
Old Dog
Comment from: Old Dog [Visitor] Email · http://none
Great article. I went from DOS in 1992 direct to OS/2 with no experience in Windows, well maybe a bit of Win3.1... Got a laptop in 1999 with Windows 98. That was terribly frustrating because Windows didn't act like a *real* os (OS/2). Found the migration from OS/2 to Linux very easy. Windows is still a complete mystery to me. Faverite distributions are Vector Linux and now Slackware. Tried Ubantu (Breezy Badger) and did not like it. Lots of buzz about Ubantu - are they trying to make it easy for Windows users to migrate? New Linux users should make sure they install Midnight Commander, I found that very useful. Also found experience programming in Rexx gave me a leg up in Python. I have one computer ThinkPad T22 dual boots Windows 2000 and Slackware 12.0 ... One the Windows side the virus protection, adware, spyware, etc eats up all resources.
25/10/07 @ 18:04
Comment from: michael [Visitor] Email
one word...thanks
27/10/07 @ 01:53
Comment from: hiflyr [Visitor] Email
Comente a: Thiago de Vasconcelos

Eu não podia discordar com você mais. A única coisa que eu achei em Windows que eu não posso fazer em Linux é onda de jogo de jogos de choque. Na mesma máquina, PCLinuxOS 2007 faz tudo mais rápido que em Windows Vista. Cada nova versão de Windows desde que 2000 Profissional mais foi inchado, e mais lento. Eu não acho isto ser como óbvio em Linux. Achei que as únicas pessoas incapaz de fazer a transição de Windows a Linux tende a ser demais preguiçoso investir tempo em aprende um "novo" sistema operacional. O Linux não é Windows, e você deve estar disposto a aprender tudo que você pensou que você soube sobre outra vez.
30/10/07 @ 04:22
Felix the Cat
Comment from: Felix the Cat [Visitor] Email
Nice text! I'll recommend it to my students. Being a hardcore Windows user, I was looking for a text which would summarize the most important facts about Windows and Linux, since I don't have time to experiment with both.

I'll have to object to some statements from the text, though:
CTRL-X for "Cut" in Windows IS in fact intuitive, if you think of "X" as of scissors. Then CTRL-C follows naturally as it reminds of "Copy" and, well, CTRL-V, um, "V" is next to "C" and it looks like an arrowhead pointing down. Maybe "V" is not too intuitive after all.

Speaking of how MS Word is burdened with icons and useful options buried in menus, I use Word every day and I'll say that it is VERY easy and fast to use, once you invest some time in it. For example, if you want to format a character, press "ALT", then "O" (for Format menu) and then "F" (for Font). And Word has many customizable keyboard shortcuts, which you can adjust to your preference. I've been Atari ST user for years before I switched to Windows, and computer mice were expensive then. So when my Atari mouse broke, I had to use the computer without one for a couple of weeks. Atari's GUI had NO shortcuts whatsoever, so I had to press and hold ALT+arrow keys in order to move the mouse pointer, then press ALT+Insert to emulate left click and so on. It was so frustrating, I switched to Windows as soon as I got my hands on it. In Windows, you can do almost EVERYTHING, short of drawing, by keyboard: open menus, switch tasks, move and resize windows etc.

You compare Word to vi and emacs, but, let's be honest, this should have been UltraEdit, not Word. I agree that CODERS should not use Word, but WRITERS should not use vi and emacs, either.

I might be a bit difficult to follow, but is't 2AM as I write this :) Anyway, thanks for a great text.
31/10/07 @ 02:00
Comment from: Bill [Visitor] Email
It is a very good article! It shows how Linux geeks think.

Some reflections:
Lego does come with a detailed instruction leaflet. Linux does NOT come with ANY instruction at all. The little help available is written in gobele-geek by geeks for geeks.

Now this is fine, as it was said Linux is by geeks for geeks. But then Linux developers MUST NOT POSE AS WORLD SAVIOURS AND HEROS IN THE FIGHT AGAINS WINDOWS!!! Also do not say it is a free operating system. It is not true. Linux is a free TOY.
Also do not say that they are doing it out of their heart and kindness. This is NOT the case at all! They are PLAYING WITH THEIR TOY AND POSE AS IF THEY WERE HELPING OTHERS!

If Linux developers want to be seen as real heroes they must listen to the world of users: GUI and mouse is everything. It is because the GUI reminds the user of the available actions/instructions. The user does not need to remember thousands of abbreviated keywords and at least twenty abbreviated, illogical options for each keywords. Have you ever seen a printed Unix manual? I used to have one; the books were letter size, 1.5 meters long! The GUI shortcuts this.
But then - horror!- they can't say on a party, 'i am into Linux' - and watch as jaws drop, breath is held then someone whispers with owe in the voice: 'you understand THAT stuff?' Yes. There is an enormous amount of pride being a 'geek'. It's an ego trip for them.

... aaammm ... I am a sysadmin. Fedora, centos, ubuntu, an xt3 (yes, its a cray) and programing in C. Currently working on a 3d visualisation project using Flatland. (The homuculus project - for the sake of the not-so educated.) Why do I use Linux? 'Cause I have to; been told, no reason given. It is much easier to program with Visual Studio than anything else.

So, take it to heart; there is no pride being a geek and playing with complex toys. Not, unless you make it useful for the not-so-geeks as well.
Just be aware, whatever you do you are making a choice. Even in-activity is a choice!

31/10/07 @ 03:57
Comment from: Aditya [Visitor] · http://blog.adityashevade.com
Great article there. Really helped me my first time. Now I am referring this to all of my friends who have been asking me questions based on similar aspects.
01/11/07 @ 18:30
Comment from: km [Visitor] Email
Great article! Many thanks for writing such a nice article. I can now explain much better to those asking for explanations with such powerful analogies that you've presented.
Even I have been a Windows user and used it without any issues, but since I've 'upgraded' to Linux I never wanted to look back.
Asking me to use the OS just because it has loads of games and applications (loads of crap ;) available on it does not qualify as a valid reason. I can't enjoy the game if you let me play only on the condition that you'll tie me up in chains first! I want to be free before I enjoy the game.
06/11/07 @ 23:36
Comment from: Sneighke [Visitor] Email
Wow, um, well... After first assuming this was another "Linux rulz, M$ sux" thing, I must admit the following:

Yes, I've been forced to "go mainstream Windows" after owning a non-win OS (Amiga... RIP. [which ironically has 'nix roots]), after promising myself, since the mid 80's to "NEVER own a Windows box, but was forced to learn Win 3.1 following DOS in the work environment.

After the demise of Amiga, I had little choice at the time but to go with what I now had learned... Windows... I wasn't jumping for joy, but I had a system I was "familiar with".

Now enter Linux. I'm aware of it's roots, and frankly, obscure at that... That's fine. But now, I find myself EXACTLY within this article's intended audience! Younger, I had much more "dead time" to screw with the AmigaOS, with NO documentation, NO software, and yet, was intoxicating just picking it apart until it worked. Now, older and I guess, with a family and less total dead time, I find myself right in the middle of the "comfy, familiar Windoze" vs. "much more capable and less restraining realm of Linux.

Yes, it's a huge culture shock to just jump into, but for those who are inquisitive and can tinker, it's a great OS with great roots...

Bottom line: I've always admired (after AmigaOS) Unix, and more importantly, the Linux OSS derivatives.

I simply need the open mind to jump in, read a lot, and learn the new paradigm.

Great article and sums it up perfectly...

Thank you!

16/11/07 @ 05:37
Comment from: Johnny [Visitor] Email
Loved the article! Finally somewhere to refer some of the unbelievers.
27/11/07 @ 23:27
Comment from: Joe [Visitor] Email
Good article. Scratch that, great article. A 'condensed' version would be nice for those with short attention spans. (Something along the lines of 'you really should look into Linux if the following are true...') with links back to this one for the whys and what-nots.

Windows developer, Linux newbie.
28/11/07 @ 17:00
Comment from: Bunny [Visitor] Email
Wow, that article was brilliant!

I'm new to Linux, and enjoy the freedom to set up my computer in such a way that *I* want it to be. This article helps to discern the differences between Windows and Linux, and how each is "better" for certain users or reasons.

Again, magnificent article! Thanks!!!!
05/12/07 @ 06:10
Comment from: billy [Visitor]
Hey, I didn't read your whole guide, but it frustrates me immensely when computer gurus use technical jargon when it's not appropriate.

You say yourself that this page is for newbies. Then why do you use a logical operator in the page title? Most people don't know squat about programming, especially those who have zero experience with *nix. It doesn't make you look smart.

that is all.
08/12/07 @ 04:04
Vagn Sorensen
Comment from: Vagn Sorensen [Visitor] Email
Wow! What a wonderful read.

This rings true for me. I started out as a novice user back in '99. It was just as cool back then to say you were a Linux user as it is today. The only difference is that there was a greater learning curve back then. Just about anyone can set up a Linux distro today with minimal tweaking.

When I help new Linux users today, they are amazed at what I can do at the CLI/terminal. I say, "Hey, that's the way we had to do it back-in-the-day."

People will ask me what anti-virus software I use. I reply, "I don't use/need any. I run Linux."

Thank you for a great article.

Vagn Sorensen
19/12/07 @ 22:28
Comment from: kellogs [Visitor] Email
that was a pretty deffensive article. No wonder with all the newcomers ...there, lemme ask some rethorical questions

did linuxers have to develop the beryl/compiz ? I am myself a new linux user, and I am considering wether sticking with it or not ... I mean, besides my windows XP - I cant get rid of windows because I still usee some windows only applications. I gues the eye candy is totally greater than windows offers and this is an enormous mistake from linux community. There, now forums get roamed by "ignorants"

"Linux is not interested in market share. Linux does not have customers. Linux does not have shareholders, or a responsibility to the bottom line. Linux was not created to make money." - hell, it isnt, and that is why I will get my linux application wriiten as fast as possible (for school) and then revert to symbian/windows. I mean, the idea of free software is very noble, but what next ? free hardware, free clothing and food ? You gotta invest a lot (of time) to make up a good programmer of yourself, and when you are finally good, you are just gonna code for free ? Well, if I can get free housing, clothin and everything else for free it would be no problem. Although this makes the future sound so communist-oriented. Face it coders, we need to get paid for our coding. open source community is only leading capitalism reign to an end... and then what ? U dont start a revolution if u dont really know what u'll put in place of the current system.

happy new year!
21/12/07 @ 08:23
M. Ronald Smith
Comment from: M. Ronald Smith [Visitor] Email · http://www.DigitalRelayGeologix.com
First-Class I must say.

I’m impressed with your expository skills. The article employs very unbiased viewpoints for very biased viewers.

Well written and easy for the average Joe seeking an alternative OS. Your analogies are simple yet they effectively paint the necessary pictures in the reader’s mind.

Congratulations Sir, we could use a few more of your caliber in the world today.
22/12/07 @ 06:42
manmath sahu
Comment from: manmath sahu [Visitor] Email · http://pclinuxos2007.blogspot.com
Good reading!

But I would like to make some additions to it.

1. Linux is still rough around the corners. The other day I was using PC-BSD. It seemed more disciplined and designed. But Linux seems to have grown anarchically. You said upgrading drivers in Linux is just upgrading the kernel. But dear it is not as straight as that. There are some other things you have to do alongwith it.

2. I have been using Linux for last 5 years. But sometimes I have to use Windows out of compulsion. For example, to edit video I have to use Premiere or Finalcut on windows, Linux counterparts are not just that productive.

3. Installing software in Linux is still a tedious task. You have today so many frontends like apt-get, pirut, yum,etc. in Linux. But if you are not connected to web, you are in a hell. In windows it's just point and click, whether online or offline. I would like to remind you that still there are so people in third world that can't afford windows.

Of course, some day it will a user-centric OS. But long way to go.
25/12/07 @ 07:34
Faisal P
Comment from: Faisal P [Visitor] Email
A really nice read. I enjoyed it immensely. :)
28/12/07 @ 06:26
Comment from: Greg [Visitor] Email
This was a very well written page, the analogies were absolutely phenomenal at describing what they were meant to - such as the car vs motorbike, dolphin vs shark, and the engine vs. interior.

Very well written, I'm kinda new to Linux, but not new enough that I didn't know that stuff, but I found it, VERY, VERY interesting to read.

That article gets a double thumbs up from me !!
02/01/08 @ 18:36
Comment from: Thomas [Visitor] Email
Great Article, I started reading thinking that it was just going to be some hard-core linux user having a big rant about how windows users that move to linux should p**s off back to windows if they don't like it.

Obviously it's not, it's just a concise guide to the physical differences between the OS's (oxymoron?) and the differences between the thinking behind the development of each OS.

I used to be a bit of a geek, with windows that is. I realised that no matter how well I looked after my windows installation it would fall to pieces after a year or 2. So I tried to jump to linux, having heard it was much more robust. I was so used to windows that I just felt like a complete idiot, couldn't do half the things I wanted to do, and didn't have the patience to figure it out.

I've just bought an Asus eee pc and it's clear that this xandros based distro is designed to look and fell as much like windows as possible, but I'm not saying linux is imitating windows, just that I think Asus made a push to make this feel like a windows machine so it would sell to the gen pop easier.

I'm aware XP can be installed on one of these but I'm determined to stick with the OS that is currently on it, since I have come to a point of completely loathing windows. So it's back to basics for me :( I learned windows by trial and error over years since I was maybe 7 or 8 years old, but I'm wanting to pick this up a little quicker, does anyone have any good basic tutorial sites I can start with?

Thanks for the article :)
04/01/08 @ 21:58
Comment from: Darrell [Visitor] Email
This is my manifesto!!! Having been a Slackware user since '95 (Remember the original Linux Bible?) at the height of the 32 bit OS wars ('95 and OS/2 Warp). Linux is a lifestyle as is FOSS in general. You get from FOSS what you could not get from the apple world and definitely not from the M$ world!! Thanx!!
06/01/08 @ 23:12
Comment from: Xavieran [Visitor] Email · http://www.iteamgame.org/wiki
That was a good read!

I was first introduced to linux a year ago...I was very bored and decided to pick up a certain book off of my fathers bookcase...Under the Radar by Bob Young...After reading it I made up my mind to use Linux...So I conned my dad (not really) into giving me one of the old crappy computers from our (now closed) internet cafe and installed Ubuntu Linux on it...It installed perfectly and over this year I have learned more about computers than in my whole life!

I am now involved in an open-source project as a writer and am learning python and BASH ...

Thankyou Linux
11/01/08 @ 01:53
Comment from: tdr [Visitor]
I love this article - it's well-written and informative.

I do have one suggestion, however. I believe you may have reversed the elitist/non-elitist phrasing in the following paragraph:

>But quite often, it's not: It's elitist to say "Everybody
>ought to know this". It's not elitist to say "Everybody
>knows this" - quite the opposite."

In other words, it seems more elitist and arrogant to assume that everyone interested in Topic X already knows what you're trying to say. Just my $0.02.

Thanks for reading. :)
15/01/08 @ 14:26
Comment from: Jay [Visitor] Email
Great! I liked your article. I'm a "power MS" user and I'm trying to wrap my head around linux, I have tried many distros, and hear all the this linux is better than that, I'm feeling left out. I just read your article and realize, Linux is not "just" it's what I want and need it to be. Thanks, I will pass this on to all the "Noobs"
16/01/08 @ 05:51
Comment from: Keith [Visitor] Email
Loved it! Gave me some things to think about, put some things in perspective for me. I am a full-time Ubuntu user now. Used Windows since oh, before 3.0. Ben lovin MS products for years, for just the reasons u said. It's focus is user need, customer satisfaction. For a lot of years I knew it wasn't the best, but it allowed me to do what I needed, and I know I was a valued customer. I'm on Ubuntu now, and only have a virtual machine of XP MCE because it was on my laptop when i bought it, and it allows me to support my family with Remote Assistance, until I can find a native Linux solution.
I'm on Ubuntu because MS has stopped caring about customers. They now care more about the commercial partnerships they can forge with the likes of the RIAA, and about getting money from me for things I used to get for "free" in other products of theirs. Specifically, their voice recognition product. It was built into Office 2003, so any OS that would run Office 2003 had voice recognition too. Very cool perk for a geek such as I. As of Vista, voice recognition is part of the OS. So, if u run XP and Office 203, you also have voice recognition. Go buy Office 2007 Enterprise ($700) and install it on XP, you lose voice recognition. No warning, no explanation, just gone. Want it back? Two choices. Go back to Office 2003, of go to Vista. Vista, as we all know by now, is not worthy of the hard drive space it takes to install it, Vista isn't a solution. I *want* to use their newest Office suite. I *like* it. But I have to downgrade to no voice recognition to use it? No. And I have sent a dozen emails to as many people asking for some kind of solution to this stupid move. No replys. Not a one. No, "We are sorry". Not a "Run what we command and your wish is granted". Not "Get over it". Nothing.
So when u said that commercial software wants me as a user, well, not so much it seems. As a drone maybe.
So I was left with a tough choice. Windows, OS X, or some flavor of GNU/Linux.
Windows is clearly out. They want my money and can't provide a value for it.
OS X is out too for similar reasons. The iPhone did it for me. They knew their first update would brick unlocked phones. These phones were bought legitimately. For a hefty sum. Some ppl wanted an iPhone but not AT&T. No problem. Buy it, unlock it and use it as u wish. Well, we all know now that Apple doesn't sell phones. Those people who have iPhones have only bought the right to use the product, not to own it. Apple did nothing to prevent the bricking update except tell the unlockers that if they dont lock it before they apply the patch, their phone will be a very pretty paper weight. Do with the iPhone as Apple commands or lose the right to use it. So Apple is out.
That letf me with Linux. Not too bad of a choice. It is much more comfortable now that in 2000 when I last gave it a serious try. There are still things that irk me. Things that I just go hmmmm over. But, for all the transition pains, I know where I stand with Linux. I can make it work for me, of rely on others to help. And if some developer strips a feature I just gotta have, I have tha option of making their app suit My needs! Ah freedom!
Bye Billy Boy and company. Monetize every little piece of code u like. I have spent thousands on your products, and you thank my loyalty with "More. Now"
Try this. "No More. None. Not Ever"

Hi Linus and friends.
Thanks for the options.
17/01/08 @ 15:16
Comment from: zhangxvpp [Visitor] Email · http://blog.csdn.net/zhangxvpp/
hi guy! I am sorry I don't konw your name ,so call you guy!I translate your a paper from your blog whos title is "Linux is not windows", I find I have like linux deeply through translate this article, so I wanna share it with programmers from China, I deem that they will come to linux when they read it!There are huge numbers of developers in this country, and so many software developers want to use linux and understand what's realy linux!

I hope you don't angry when you konw I translate your article without your agreement!
18/01/08 @ 14:52
Comment from: LinuxWannabe [Visitor]
Wonderful !!

just what i was needed.

i've been trying linux the last two months
and you have just made "A LOT" of things
much more clearer for me and also what to expect
from linux.

i had a smile on my face the whole time...

Great job!
18/01/08 @ 14:57
New to Linux
Comment from: New to Linux [Visitor] Email

I have red the german translation of your work about Linux != Windows. And i have to say, i am very impressed. I found many arguments for people who say "Mhh, Windoof, i don't like it. But Linux can't compete with Windows, so i won't try it." or people that say "i don't can do with linux what i can do with Windows" also many things are much clearer now for me. I only use Linux since a few days (openSUSE 10.3 Desktop: GNOME) And is see it is often hard for me to work with the cli to install programms or compile it self, cause i' m a beginner. And i will be a beginner for a long time.

thx for your great article

best wishes,
18/01/08 @ 18:47
Comment from: Randy [Visitor] Email
Excellent article -- gave me more down-to-earth unbiased information in the 15 minutes I spent reading it than in the full day of research I did.

22/01/08 @ 02:27
Comment from: Zexy [Visitor] Email
ROFL! EXCELLENT read and some hilarious comparisons. I'm still a linux newbie and prob will be for quite some time but I look forward to it.

22/01/08 @ 14:49
Comment from: Jacques [Visitor] Email

interesting read, though I don't understand it all.
The Lego story nicely pictures the point of Linux, but it seems to miss the point of Windows and the like (of course why should the author care!)
For example, it is implicitly said that one cannot use Windows efficiently without the mouse - contrary I guess to Linux, though I don't know if this is still true. OK, but isn't that the very point of windows? Just like one should not start playing Lego if one doesn't wish to build things from scratch, one should not even consider using windows without a mouse. And it is quite clear to me that the comparison between Ctrl-X and dw becomes obsolete when one considers that Crtl-X is designed to be used with a mouse. (By the way, the letters X and V are perfectly straightforward for those with a little editing background)

I don't know what people willing to try Linux really want, appart perhaps having fun learning a new system - and a very appealing one, as said, because of the freedom and freeness it gives to its adepts. There are things I would like to see some day though, like a system with the same kind of design as windows but truly multi-task (I don't think Mac can be claimed as a solution).

Concerning the virus issue I don't see it as well posed. We do have to avoid nasty programs that will crash one's computer. I also admit it will be great when the inflation of spy and other-ware that plagues any windows system connected to internet after a while, can be avoided. But I don't see the point of loosing hours removing programs that will only spend a few kb of memory or milliseconds of CPU time. On a more fundamental level, there is no way to hold full control of one's system all the time (thus no way to avoid a fair amount of viruses and spythings) if one wishes to benefit from the liberty given by the internet, a liberty far wider and deeper in my view than the liberty of putting all the pieces of one's OS together (but I acknowledge I am not a geek).

The point then, is surely not to avoid viruses completely; but to design the right tools allowing to recognize harmful viruses from harmless ones, and to control the amount of load allowed to the spys. Plainly, we need a true in silico immune system!

So long, so good

24/01/08 @ 20:20
Comment from: mario [Visitor] Email
very nice article!!!!
31/01/08 @ 00:07
Comment from: ariadne [Visitor] Email
Hi - I'd just like to add my comment in appreciation of a really thoughtful and to my mind well-balanced article.
I'm just starting an interaction design course as part of a degree in computing, and would like to point some of my fellow-students at your article, because several of the points you make (about 'user-friendliness' in particular!) are very relevant to the subject. I hope that's OK?
Lastly, thanks again - it's so refreshing to find a balanced assessment like yours after wading through so many rabid and mostly irrational 'discussions' of the relative merits of Linux/Windows/Mac OSes!
31/01/08 @ 14:56
Comment from: Blues [Visitor]
Quote: If you really just want Windows without the malware and security issues: Read up on good security practices; install a good firewall, malware-detector, and anti-virus; replace IE with a more secure browser; and keep yourself up-to-date with security updates. There are people out there (myself included) who've used Windows since 3.1 days right through to XP without ever being infected with a virus or malware: you can do it too. Don't get Linux: It will fail miserably at being what you want it to be.
Without ever being infected != Infection never found
Nowadays Windows is just too vulnerable for going online. Hi-tech malicious soft is injected regardless what browser is used, one of it's main features is to run unnoticed. Ever-growing malware and virus blacklists fill your RAM and they still are effective only fighting known threats. Believing Windows can be secured is deceiving yourself and your readers.
02/02/08 @ 04:31
Comment from: Edwin [Visitor] Email
Great article. I use both WindowsXP and PCLinuxOS 2007 in my old notebook. Each has its own use to me. XP mostly for my gaming need, and PCLinuxOS for everything else. Not a true Linux user? A traitor to Windows community (what community? ha-ha-ha)? Fine. It works for me. I made the choice which is up to me because I'm the one who have to live with it.

Use Windows if you want, use Linux if you want. It's that simple.
02/02/08 @ 08:38
Comment from: Kayte [Visitor] Email
This is a great article. I just installed Ubuntu 7.10 a couple of days ago and although I have a headache ( from bashing head against wall) I hope to be able to stick with it. The article puts things in perspective a bit :)
04/02/08 @ 00:46
Comment from: pnik [Visitor] Email
Linux is great as a server and development platform and that's all. For any other job or field you have to use Windows(or MAC) not because is better but because all the serious professional applications are for Windows. Not a lot of professionals can make money using Linux :(. I am using Linux because I am an ITC person, but I still use also Win :( because sometimes Linux is far behind MAC OS X and Windows.

Security-Stability-Performance is great for Linux but...Windows is far more professional

Ask some civil or mechanical engineers or statisticians or econometricians...or..or.. if they can stop using Windows, they will reply NO.

Linux is different and nice but it must not be only for web servers and development..

## I am using Debian(7 years) and VirtualBox with WinXP ##
## I wish one day to use only Linux...
07/02/08 @ 20:09
jacob fox
Comment from: jacob fox [Visitor] Email
thanks, that really helped me. however, there are a couple of issues i want to ask you about:
1) is it easy enough to install beryl and compiz etc without no prior knowledge to linux?

2) is it easy enough to set up a wireless router on linux? is it as easy as it is on windows?

please email me with any information you have. it will be much appreciated.
12/02/08 @ 16:28
Comment from: James [Visitor] · http://verydodgy.com
This article misses the point. I'm a seasoned IT professional and windows system admin, but I still have trouble understanding the way things work in Linux. I would never deploy Linux to the desktop, the applications are inferior, the learning curve (from windows to linux) is too steep and what benefits would it give me? I may pay for windows but its great value for money.
17/02/08 @ 14:21
Peter Frampton
Comment from: Peter Frampton [Visitor] Email
James wrote strange things.
Being windows sysadmin does not need very much intelligence.
The applications in GNU/Linux are far better than for Windo$$, for instance Open Office.

Vista demands at least 1 GB Ram & delivers zero, nada, niente.
M$ sucks.

How comes the Gendarmerie of France is converting to Linux?
How comes the city of Munic is converting to Linux?
How comes Google is running under GNU/Linux?

James wrote:
"I'm a seasoned IT professional and windows system admin, but I still have trouble understanding the way things work in Linux [just stupid or too lazy to learn or both, dear Jamie?]. I would never deploy Linux to the desktop, the applications are inferior [Bullshit. Look at Open Office.], the learning curve (from windows to linux) is too steep [Yeap Jamie. For you. Poor creature.] and what benefits would it give me? [Liberty. Freedom. Stability. Security. Independence.] I may pay for windows but its great value [that one makes my day: "Great value". You must be kidding.] for money."
17/02/08 @ 20:03
Jim D
Comment from: Jim D [Visitor]
This is a great article, especially the beginning about understanding the Windows vs. Linux community in their takes on asking for help and their expectations. I feel everyone should read that part, if they plan on using Linux or not.

A couple things that drive me nuts about Linux though is tat a lot of people that use it, such as the pretentious jackass Peter Frampton above this post, get this pretentious sense of superiority, especially when they use lame catch-phrases like "M$" or "Window$$" as if they are some part of elite club.

The thing is Windows users don't insult Linux users for their choices to use Linux. For the vast majority of people Windows is enough anyway, why would they want to learn a new O/S all over again when all they want to do is check e-mail and see pictures of their grandkids? It's not that these people are unintelligent or dense, they simply have something that works and see no need to go with anything else.

For as much as Windows users don't understand Linux users, I think the reverse holds true also. As a Windows AND Linux user I'm able to see the benefits and pitfalls of both systems and each definitely do some things better than the other, and nobody should be insulted for what they use.

And to people like Peter Frampton, for the love of god, grow up.
27/02/08 @ 20:08
Comment from: Jerod [Visitor] Email
I'd like to say I thought that was a wonderful article. I was introduced to Linux by one of my friends who is a geek like me. Before then I never knew about Linux or that it even existed. Now I'm glad that I know about it and now I use it everyday. I was never a die hard MS Windows user because I always looked at things from both sides. However now that I've learned more about Linux I've leaned more towards it. Also lately with some bad experiences with Windows, I had good reasons to switch to Linux. You could say I've thrown windows out the window for good now. The quality of any OS or Distribution relies on the needs and also the degree of an open mind of the user. So as far as I'm concerned to the creators of Linux, you got my good comments, my gratitude, my appreciation, and my admiration. You guys are the gods of the desktop world.
02/03/08 @ 18:07
Comment from: Legace [Visitor] Email
This is exactly what I needed for my friends who always say "Linux is shit. I can't find Messenger".

Thanks you for this.
02/03/08 @ 21:08
Comment from: Alien [Visitor] Email
Nice article, thanks a lot !
But if you'll get hacked your windows (even with latest protection) you will seriously think about something else...
04/03/08 @ 16:37
Doug Whitfield
Comment from: Doug Whitfield [Visitor] Email
I think this article is outdated. I didn't read through all the comments, but projects like Ubuntu totally cater to the end user. I've never used Linux Mint, but I've heard it's even easier to use that Ubuntu (it is based on Ubuntu).

As to all the arguments about OSes, the big three all have their pluses and minuses, but I'd go with Linux then OS X then Window$. Putting a dollar sign in the name isn't a downgrade of people that use it, it's a downgrade to a company that is continually found guilty of anti-trust...aka, acting illegally? Aside from telecoms, what other company is allowed to act in such a manor with essentially no backlash? I do think Win is an inferior OS, but it is Micro$oft that really makes me want to stay away. I do support Win at work and OS X...and in fact, in my office I've got all three sitting her, so I feel as though I can speak at least with moderate intelligence about all three.
17/03/08 @ 21:49
Thomas Culhane
Comment from: Thomas Culhane [Visitor] Email · http://solarcities.blogspot.com
I really enjoyed your clear and wisdom filled explanation of Linux. I wasn't thinking of becoming a Linux user, but after reading what you wrote I am really intrigued. Thanks for this great introduction to the world of FOSS!
17/03/08 @ 23:28
o linux e o melhor de todos
usar linux e viver livre.
30/03/08 @ 00:22
Comment from: BE [Visitor] Email
How right you are about VI. When I switched from *nix (VT100 based) to a desktop Mac OS 6 or 7 - I'd call my mentor in GUI every single day - "why doesn't :wq work?" "what about dd?" "o or O?" Why no built in compilers? "Why clicking on all those bloody folders? Wouldn't ls and cd be faster for a simple look?"

All that seems ancient now. I use *nix, Mac and Dose with equal enjoyment and frustration.

You show multiple perspectives very well.
02/04/08 @ 21:17
Thabo Mosenthal
Comment from: Thabo Mosenthal [Visitor] Email
Nice ready, very helpful. This just puts things clearly for me. I started using Ubuntu about six months ago because our department decided they want to stop paying the Microsoft Licenses. Everyone is not happy because of that "familiarity not be user friendly" thing you were talking about. Its been a painful switch for most people. I think everyone in my department should read this. But it is also disappointing that you say this a "very selfish development method where people only work on what they want to on" because our department is not doing enough to develop anything for our needs on things we struggle with. Never the less, I love Linux myself and I am enjoying it so much, I enjoy it better than my colleagues, but I still from time to time I use Windows because other applications I can't use on Linux or find a Linux software that works better than it, like Flash CS3. I love Linux because I need to improve on my development skills and Linux has so much to offer for me when it comes to learning. I am constantly configuring my laptop to suit my needs.
03/04/08 @ 10:35
Dr. Nikolaus Klepp
Comment from: Dr. Nikolaus Klepp [Visitor] Email · http://klepp.biz
The original article is still online, you find it at http://linux.oneandoneis2.org/LNW.htm
09/04/08 @ 22:21
Bruce Richardson
Comment from: Bruce Richardson [Visitor] Email · http://www.richroots.com
Accolades on your perceptive article. I have recently been introduced to Linux through the OLPC and enjoy the learning curve. I appreciate the Linux philosophy and efficacy to the point where I'm teetering on the edge of wiping out my XP desktop and loading a Linux distro exclusively. Your article, indeed, helps me get a better perspective. Thanks.
11/04/08 @ 02:56
There are so many releases of Linux that are directed specifically at being friendly to the Windows faithful that no one now has a reason to avoid Linux. The learning curve does still exist, but it is not as big a curve as it once was.
Yes, it's still different, but that's the point for many of us. Linux runs with less resources than Windows, and that can be a point of concern as well. Antivirus programs are available to keep the Windows computers on the same network safe.
The best part? It's all available for free if you want it. There's no excuse for piracy in the Linux world, because there is a free program available to do everything from viewing DVDs to doing office "paperwork."
I use PCLinuxOS 2008. It runs flawlessly on my old AMD Athlon XP 2100+ desktop PC with 512mb of ddr ram. Windows Vista Home Basic crawls on that same setup. Add in the programs to keep Windows spyware, and virus free, and it's pitifully slow.
If you're using older hardware and can't really afford to upgrade, you won't be disappointed with either PCLinuxOS 2007, or 2008.
12/04/08 @ 19:52
Comment from: Seth [Visitor] Email
This is a fantastic article and right on the money. Like a lot of other Linux geeks, I don't get depressed when my OS doesn't work exactly the way I want it to, I get a little excited because I have to figure out how to fix it.

I must admit that I do have a little antipathy towards Windoze but I generally keep that to myself (well I tell my wife sometimes).
15/04/08 @ 20:30
Kevin Fleischer
Comment from: Kevin Fleischer [Visitor] Email · http://kevin-fleischer.de
I don't find this article so glorious. I is not a good sign, if only advances users could use a software. It just shows, that the programmers have no idea what usability is about - and, mostly thats it. I've seen so many business software that is exactly coded that way. It does its job,but it's a pain in the a*s to learn it. Thats not good software!!

Good software MUST be:
- functional (it has to do what it was made for)
- robust (it has to tolerate a monkey hammering on the keybord)
- easy to learn (if you have no clue how the SW works, you can get it just by following your stomach)
- appropriate to the function (means, you find what you need at the place you need it)

CLIs are a nice thing, especially on a server (the only real thing for a server), but for a end user interface a GUI with shortcuts is a better way. (If you want to automate a application, CLI is better again.)

If you do not whant users (people who just use) - ok. But don't call bad usabillity a virtue.
21/04/08 @ 23:57
Issac Cheriyathu
Comment from: Issac Cheriyathu [Visitor] Email · http://domesticavalanche.blogspot.com/
"Typically, the most vehement "Linux is not ready for the desktop yet" arguments come from ingrained Windows users who reason that if they couldn't make the switch, a less-experienced user has no chance. But this is the exact opposite of the truth"

Absolutely, I install linux on many people's systems, started out with a three CD mandrake... and now a days on ubuntu... the people who complain the most are the ones who has the most experience on windows.

But if I install it for an old uncle, or aunt or neighbor, most of the time they do not even notice the change. They are not tuned to windows and hence they find it really easy to get their work done. Sure, they call up at all odd times with queries like how would I do this or that, but they do the same with windows too.

So, my point is, the best way to propagate linux is to spread it to more light users of computers, who are willing to learn and are not shaped by thousands of hours windows usage.
22/04/08 @ 17:57
Kevin Fleischer
Comment from: Kevin Fleischer [Visitor] Email · http://kevin-fleischer.de

I'm with you. But to give those "non technical users" (NTU) a working operation system, it should be usable (in the meaning of usability). But as long as installing software means typing commands and changing config files, those NTU will mostly fail.

The OS or UI is not good when only programmers can use them. A OS or UI is good when unexperienced user can use them without becoming a programmer.
23/04/08 @ 18:41
justin r
Comment from: justin r [Visitor] Email
Wow this truly was the perfect thing for a new user like myself 2 read. today is my first day using linux as is with most im sure i have heard great things about linux seems 2 b the greatest ui out there.i dont want 2 start rambling on and what not so i will cut right 2 the chase.... thank you soooo much for laying it down this is the first time i have really heard both sides of the linux story. so again thanks 2 all of u for making the available 2 persons like me =D
25/04/08 @ 08:37
Ludger Roecker
Comment from: Ludger Roecker [Visitor] Email
i am using damnsmalllinux (http://www.damnsmalllinux.org) for about three years now.it is a real LEGO - like Linux that builds itself together like a "transformer" on every boot on almost every x86-machine on this planet.it is not only "PortableApps" but also a portable OS with your own portable Desktop.i have never been more satisfied with an operating system since i saw DOS3.3 about 20 years ago.everything that i read the last 15 min is absolutely true and should be added as "readme.first.really.i.mean.it" to every linux distro.
28/04/08 @ 18:31
Comment from: carnivorum [Visitor] Email

With the introduction of Ubuntu, which is more user friendly than XP, this article is basically outdated.
Every layman can now use Ubuntu Linux, with only minimal learning, and maximum advantages, being given all the advantages of Linux, and basically none of the disadvantages.
05/05/08 @ 06:01
No, it's not. I use Ubuntu myself and I like it, but the Article is still true, especially with Hardy Heron. Searching Hours just to get the damn sound working in Wine and other applications (where it worked flawlessly before the upgrade) is not "more user friendly" than XP is, where the damn sound just works. Also, since I upgraded to Hardy, after every boot I have to restart X (ctrl-alt-backspace) because if I don't do it, the system freezes. Nobody knows why or how to fix it.
07/05/08 @ 07:35
Comment from: saphire [Visitor] Email · http://none
First of all I think this was a commendable piece that phrased views that I have long held without an adequate argument to express.

There was a user that recommended Slackware/Gentoo implement shortcut keys to vi for the noob user, this would be contridictory. If you are a noob user you should use something lik3 ubuntu or fedora core which is well documented and has a tremendous amount of community support.
I would never recommend Gentoo or slackware for a new user because to even get them running you need to be a competant user. For those that want to transition, there are more generic flavors like UBUNUTU. or Fedora core. They are like windows in that they have a graphical install, and that once you go through that install you have a working system. Careful google searches can reveal how to accomplish most things in it. It is not windows. It never will be. It will always maintain the room for customization. Also the common flavors like fedora or ubuntu have nano rather than vi for their default editor (a default I actually change back). The more obscure flavors of linux, and more obscure FOSS projects have smaller userbases and will be harder to find information about. This is friendly advice to noobs.

i would also caution users against propreitary linux's like Xandros, or linspire. They are designed to be as "windowsy" as possible, and while I haven't followed up on them in a while, used to be very different from the more standardized linuxes, so it was very difficult to find information pertaining to them.
09/05/08 @ 20:22
Comment from: Jitka [Visitor] Email
I liked the article. it's witty and displays a flawless logical argument. However :
Besides the fact that I can see where it's comming from, i think it sounds quite harsh to many people who genuinly want to learn the new thing.
Computers are a part of everyday life now whether we are even aware of it or not. And unfortunately Microsoft is very good at exploiting that.
I don't like being exploited , so I have to learn some skills. We've locked ourselves in with all this remarkable technology and yet how many of us really understand it. Everybody is a user of something.
The choice is clear , you either pay for the maintenance or learn to do it yourself. And the latter is getting harder all the time with the ascent of technology. Just like with the example of cars.Can you service yours?
So I don't like the analogy with lego building because that is not why most people get computers. Not to play but to work. Or being able to communicate with families etc. And I'm not particularly fond of semantics either. User friendly simply respresents an interface that you can work out yourself. Of course there always will be better ways of doing things but ..come on! Lets don't be petty minded.

In the last couple of months that I've been learning about Mandriva I've had nothing but superb and often immediate help. And I admire the dedication of the Linux 'geeks'
Do they ever sleep ? Without them I wouldn't be able to figure a lot of things out.

So i find it great that there are people who want to be inclusive of newbies and want to help to make things easier.
Microsoft exludes those who don't have money.
Are you excluding those who are not like you?
11/05/08 @ 03:22
Comment from: Gustavo [Visitor] Email · http://dagda.cc
Great Article.

I remember looking at Linux since a long time ago, may ten years ago or more. But always stopped me the fact that I had to learn these commands lines.
Although I did for DOS, but I have suffered so much the fraud that software companies like microsoft perform on us the ignorants that I said enough is enough.
I will learn the essential and try to navigate applications that could save me some writing.
But, Linux, in my opinion does represent something else of the human spirit, its profound social potential.
The capability of collaborate, on doing things for the love of it and those creations are available to anyone.these creations are good, excellent quality and performance and when it is not, soon it will be because someone of us will take the challenge.
I envision Linux being the OS for the next generation interface on computing full 3D desktops and data manipulation. I hope my eyes will resist until then. I have burned them looking at 2D desktops.
Thanks for the article.

14/05/08 @ 22:22
Comment from: Jamie [Visitor] Email
Jitka, must have read some other article? I missed the aggressive newb bashing he/she implies? It was a good read and though I have some slightly different views in some areas that you discussed I found your rational quite reasonable (note: the rational NOT logic, as it is not a yes or no, true or false condition being evaluated, most people say logical when they really mean rational :). Yeah I am a a software developer/hacker (not cracker).)

I am old school GNU/Linux from way back (1998). I have used many distros. I moved to GNU/Linux to avoid spending a fortune on development tools for DOS and Windows. As I did not have a fortune this worked out nicely, as I got the most complete development environment I have seen anywhere.

I for one though have taken the time to always try to keep a level of friendliness toward GNU/Linux newbs, as more users means more work for me as I sell the service of my programming, rather than the programs themselves. Let's me sleep better at night as I truly believe knowledge is meant to be shared not hidden.

I think a lot of developers for GNU/Linux feel the same though I haven't done or looked for any poles :). Today unlike when I started using GNU/Linux in 1998 there are tons of books that cover a wealth of information about GNU/Linux from every aspect of Developing for it to Configuring and using a wide array of servers available on it, and a ton of newb guides as well. As my desktop (literally, not the one on my computer screen :) ) and book case will attest to. A new user has a wealth of information today at there finger tips including well written tutorials on the internet, to forums that where very sparse years again. Even full books also released in electronic format for free. GNU/Linux is truthfully becoming a lot easier to install and use for even the newest computer users, and even Windows power users :) (which by the way to me has always seemed like an oxymoron :) smile it was a joke if you want to do anything serious in Windows, it will take you just as much study time as GNU/Linux most users are just happy managing to learn the least they can to accomplish the task they have at hand, even if two hours of study would save them countless hours of work in the future, the two hours now seems not to be worth the effort to them? Sorry that is just my perception of common computer users ethics of usage today.).

Welcome newbs to GNU/Linux if you are thinking about writing a negative response to this article as Jitka did, please consider this. The author was trying to let you know what pit falls to avoid when asking for help from the community, and suggesting that maybe GNU/Linux wasn't for you in some cases. In any case I certainly read no intent of bashing newbs in the article more a less a survival guide for newbs to have a positive feed back from the community rather than get sneered or laughed at.

note: VI (which in modern distros will be VIM VImproved) was designed a very long time ago when commands like ls, rm, ln, all seemed to make perfect sense and didn't seem encryptic at all :). It would have probably been dropped from many distros years ago if it wasn't for us developers being so in love with this little yet powerful editor. Most newbs will not make it to a shell (command line in DOS or Windows Parle) and if they do it is bound to be a X terminal emulator shell, not runlevel 3, and I bet they can figure out how to click that X on the window to close the terminal even if they can't figure how to exit VI, hence removing having to restart there computer to get out of VI. So adding user friendly features to the console version is not something any developer is going to spend any time on. As we like it as it is, and newbs are not likely to run into it unless they are going through a GNU/Linux Manual which will have instructions on how to exit VI :), and the GUI frontend has menus and so called user friendly bells and whistles :). Besides even if I was to add extensions that would help a newbie from getting stuck in VI on a true console terminal, how many distros would actually package and distribute my package verses the the ones already in there distro? Not many I would warrant. A compelling reason for and developer not to waste there time on such a project, they don't need it, and it isn't likely to get to anyone that might.

Have A Great Day!
15/05/08 @ 09:00
Comment from: Ross [Visitor] Email
Nicely done.

1. From ZX Spectrum, to Commodore64 to Apple II to AppleMacintosh to MS-DOS, to Windows 3.11, 95, 95SE, ME, XP to SuSE, Mandrake, Red Hat, (X)(K)Ubuntu, Debian, LinuxMint, PuppyLinux and a few in between... I can say the only UI I have found to be intuitive is Linux.

2. Also, tho only game I have returned to with any regularity over the past 25 years is Moria/Angband/Tome/Hack/Rogue. Born and bred in the *nix world. It still has the best gameplay available!

Two important points to consider!
15/05/08 @ 10:36
Comment from: Dv02 [Visitor] Email
For that message, I thank you.

Epic win.
16/05/08 @ 14:52
Comment from: Ashley [Visitor] Email
Great article! I know you already know this (I didn't read every comment, but the ones I did read were also very positive), but I still wanted to agree with them.

I'm going to forward this article to my dad, who dual boots with xp and ubuntu, but almost never uses ubuntu... I think he could learn something from you :)

Thank you!
17/05/08 @ 15:21
Comment from: Anyon [Visitor] Email
Some good stuff but some other stuff is just weird.
Subproblem 5a:
The windows keys are at best misleading, at worst wrong. ctrl-Shift is held while pressing the left/right buttons. And what if you don't know how many words you want to cut? Are you going to run a VI command to count the words you want, and then use "d__w"? Or are you going to run your fingers along the screen to count?

OR... just use the mouse??

And "no using the mouse" is a key point. It's kind of like saying drive that car, but no using both hands. For many tasks, the mouse is plainly superior.

Overall, some good points. I use and develop linux for work, and for me that's where it stays, especially when every little thing is "work" on Linux.
18/05/08 @ 05:20
John Pullen
Comment from: John Pullen [Visitor]
Good read , helped a lot. I am a Xp user and recently put UBUNTU on my second machine, so very much a newbie. I have found it to be great fun, not difficult,and a pleasure to find my way around. Its all free, Thank you for your article.
18/05/08 @ 23:22
Eu gostei muito do seu texto...EU sempre me neguei a usar o linux porque não me atraia em nada e um amigo meu sempre me dizia uma frase"Nai, não é você que escolhe o Linux, mais sim ele que te escolhe" E depois de 1 ano percebi que não tinha mais como evitar ele,pois estou em uma empresa onde tenho que implatar soluções de seguraça,compatilhamentos e outras coisas que vcs bem sabem...e hoje não tenho mais como evitar apens tenho que aprender a usar meu briquedo novo da melhor forma possivel.

Parabens pelo texto que vc desenvolveu...rsrsr
19/05/08 @ 15:33
Comment from: mike [Visitor] Email · http://tuxhunter.net/~alienhunter
This is the most clear, well thought out, and concise explanation of the nature and purpose of linux and opensource software that I have ever read.
22/05/08 @ 17:52
Comment from: Dan [Visitor] Email
WOW....... Love that piece!!! Nothing like telling it like it is. I'm new to Linux and I'm looking forward to the new learning expierence. Didn't know when I started that it was going to be so different though. I thought I knew a bit about computers, I now realize just how little I do know. But I'm willing to learn. I've installed Mandriva 2008.1 on my desktop and my laptop. I've gone to the community with a few questions and everyone has been great. Thanks for the article!!!
22/05/08 @ 20:50
Comment from: Seabee9 [Visitor] Email
Just a few lines, Dominic,
To tell you I enjoyed your article "Linux is Not Windows." Especially nice to see something not titled "Linux vs Windows" (or vice versa). It certainly gave me an insight to the real philosophy of Linux. I'm looking forward to becoming part of the active participants.

23/05/08 @ 01:20
Comment from: Aaron [Visitor]
"Linux does not have the goal of being the most popular and widespread OS on the planet"

With what I have read and heard from many Linux enthusiasts, I would have to respectfully disagree with your comment. :)
23/05/08 @ 05:01
Comment from: chris [Visitor] Email
Wow! Great Article!

I'm a long-time computer user/professional (developer) who is just starting to get in to Linux. I'm glad somebody on a forum pointed me to this article now (in my early hours of Linux toying). Some of my perceptions were wrong and it opened my eyes to viewing Linux from the right perspective.

Thank you!
23/05/08 @ 21:46
J. Angamarca
Comment from: J. Angamarca [Visitor] · http://jpangamarca.wordpress.com
Now I see that what I should have bought is a Mac. I'm using Ubuntu for more than a year ago but it fails laughably to do some things that Windows and Mac OS X do well. And I'm not talking about the so-called 'ease of use' or the 'this-is-so-different-I-expected-it-to-be-Windows' thing. Damn.
26/05/08 @ 14:10
Brett Dreher
Comment from: Brett Dreher [Visitor] Email
I would just like to thank you for this wonderfully written article, I am a proud user of many different flavors of Linux and this has helped explain the reasons why I enjoy the experience and has helped in converting a few friends over :)

Thank you again.
01/06/08 @ 18:56
Chris Berg
Comment from: Chris Berg [Visitor] Email
I was actually redirected here from the Ubuntu forum. I am thinking about getting Linux and your article was a great read on what I needed to know before jumping in. Now if only I could decide what distro to get...
02/06/08 @ 11:35
Comment from: rich [Visitor] Email
i would like to start by thanking you for such a great article, im new to using linux. i recently installed a duel boot system with both linux and windows on 2 hard drives and at first i was a bit discouraged at the difference and time took to learn how to use linux. but after 2 days i am cionvinced that windows is thge worse thing ever created and linux is a god send. im using ubuntu and its the best OS ive eever seen. the terminal commands are no biggie i like to learn new things and it keeps me thinking. i can do things i could never do on windows and my computer purrs like a kitten. i dont know how many times i had to format and reinstall windows because of serious issues."My utmost thanks and respect for all who have perservered to make linux what is is today" and for those who are too lazy to experience linux then its your loss.
07/06/08 @ 08:02
Good job Thanks
11/06/08 @ 01:33
Comment from: Sanousy [Visitor] Email · http://n/a
I think Linux is something cool, but...

it is enough to say that I need to rebuild,compile, link, follow up with compilation errors to get some driver works, do you think this makes me a productive guy?

I guess if some creative guy could find some way to manage the way some driver needs to be installed ( may be as a start up daemon with some shared objects) there will be a big difference!

The fact is: Linux is very stuck to some past operating system architecture, and all the trials were just to add more programs to Linux, and try making them similar to windows and Mac ones, this is good, we do not need to reinvent the wheel, but the major defect is having the drivers to be linked to the kernel, so I cannot add any "Plug and Play" to my PC without struggling the old Man "Linux", so tell me how to connect to the internet and the operating system does not allow adding some commercial fax modem card, no... Linux required a special type, and a very expensive one, and extenal modem.

Several articles were writing about Linux and the lovers of it were trying to show it the Paradise of operating systems, where you do not have to worry about any thing, I prefer to remove all of those so optimistic articles, and replace them with something more realistic, let's take an example, 5 years ago, a read some article about re-use my old PC with a different music or some thing like this, so I was running windows 98 then, I formatted my pc and tried several week and kept awake for a looooong time after midnight just trying to find out what makes this operating system work on my pc, finally, I got it, by following up the boot alerts, there were some memory problem, a pc runs windows 98 cannot run linux, although it's been described as a powerful scalable operating system, which can run over a very limited hardware and even on 386, all of those were non reality, do I really need to waste all of my time just to make it run, and purchase a higher hardware specification and external modem and a DSL instead of dial up connection?

I think linux is not so realistic to be a PC operating system, and I propose to send it back to the server shelf side.

additional point, MP3,jpg are commercial audio, video file formats, and because they do not comply with the GPL they've been excluded from linux tools.

** Actually I wish all to take the disadvantages I've just mentioned as a quality check report, I wish like all others to have a linux running on my pc instead of windows, but, on one condition, to be simple to manage like windows, and other commercial systems, there must be a way, and there will be somebody that has enough inspiration to see the new way, away from the machine restrictions and OS predefined architecture.
12/06/08 @ 00:55
Comment from: Sanousy [Visitor] Email · http://n/a
If we all could remember that the GUI was basically written to run independent from core, so, if GUI crashes, this does not mean linux will crash, this is the first lesson in linux book!!
12/06/08 @ 01:05
Comment from: Levi [Visitor] Email
You were doing great until I read this:

However, this has to be put into perspective: Firstly, the practicalities: having menus and toolbars and shortcuts and all would mean a lot of coding, and it's not like Linux developers all get paid for their time. Secondly, it still doesn't really take into account serious power-users: Very few professional wordsmiths use MS Word. Ever meet a coder who used MS Word? Compare that to how many use emacs & vi

First, coders don't use msword because it is not a development application - see Visual Basic Studio Express, etc.

Second, vi and emacs are comparable to another little program I know - see notepad.exe or if you must notepad++.

Third, It is convoluted statements such as this that ruin an entire piece if you don't know or understand the facts dont write as if you do. Unfortunately for me I was happily reading along thinking, wow an article that has shown no bias, is clearly and intelligently written, and has yet to begin the normal psycho babble 10yr old bashing - unfortunately you lost me here.

Other than the above a fairly well written piece.


12/06/08 @ 15:51
Comment from: JS [Visitor] Email
I enjoyed the overall article, but you might want to reconsider this metaphor: "Linux/motorbikes don't have viruses/doors, so are perfectly safe without you having to install an antivirus/lock any doors."

Viruses are like doors? Or something without doors is safer than something with doors? I know you're not trying to say "nobody would bother stealing the motorbike/putting a virus into Linux," but that's the only positive spin I can put on the comparison right now...
14/06/08 @ 21:58
Comment from: Nathaniel [Visitor] Email · http://lostinephotography.blogspot.com
Whoa... nice article. Haven't read it all, but I really am liking it. Thanks!
15/06/08 @ 05:55
Comment from: tourist.tam [Visitor] Email
Nice article. Thanks,

Perhaps you should delve a bit into the technical side of both OSes; how organized are files and what ways exist to run softwares between the two. I still believe that is the main issue using either for a total newcomer.


17/06/08 @ 15:48
Comment from: chessgames56 [Visitor] Email
Yes, Windows users find out very quickly that Linux is not Windows, and doing the simplest thing with Linux often becomes a major frustration, like installing a simple program. What is needed, if Linux wants to recruit more Windows users, is for Linux users to drop their air of superiority, saying such things like, "Linux has been around from longer than Windows," "Linux is superior to Windows," "Windows users are lazy or stupid," etc. and do some comparative tasking, going back and forth between Windows and Linux, showing how to perform simple tasks, or solving common problems, like translating a different language. I'm waiting for a step by step book, going back an forth between the two operating systems. Now that would be the bomb. :D
18/06/08 @ 16:04
patricio sanchez
Comment from: patricio sanchez [Visitor] Email
very helpful article ;thanks for sharing your knowledge ; I am a car mechanic and I just started using computers 4 years ago ....1 year later I have built my own buying parts from a computer fair , technology and computers are fascinating , however knowing how they work is even more , so, despite of being a beginner , I love to try something else ...
I have heard about Linux , but was scared to try because I do not know enough .To the end of last year I bought my first Linux magazine and now I am using PC Linux OS for almost everything , still a lot to learn but this is worth a try , I could not install Ubuntu in another hard drive, but very soon I will give a try to Mandriva ....
the only trouble I had is, I still can not use the web camera with skype ... thankfully there are sites like this one where to find information ,
any help will be welcome , thanks Linux users !!
19/06/08 @ 21:38
Comment from: faetzminator [Visitor] Email · http://faetzminator.ch
great article, guy!
but maybe you should add that novell don't get money with SuSe - I think it's only for the DVD's, the manual, support etc.
19/06/08 @ 22:40
Comment from: I.M. [Visitor]
Great article. I've tried out several distributions and finally sticked to debian, but I'm currently using Windows XP, because I simply need my work done and don't have that much time to spend on my system.

By the way - in 2006 Honda introduced the first airbag for motorcycles, it is available since the end of the year and crashtests showed that it could minder the risk of bad or even deadly injuries in motorcycle accidents for up to 30%. Just to avoid comments like "Motorcycle airbags make sense, so why not take this-or-that 'advantage' from Windows and use it for Linux..."
20/06/08 @ 18:06
Comment from: Schop [Visitor] Email
Sweet arcticle, truly worth reading for ppl who want to make the change but don't know what to expect.

Guess i'll pass the link to some family and friends who are doing so. It's just so perfectly descriptive and understandable...
"...thanks Linux users !!" - patricio sanchez
You get the spirit, ppl love to hear that sentence :)
29/06/08 @ 23:44
Dhiman Karmakar
Comment from: Dhiman Karmakar [Visitor] Email
This is the most lucid comparison of Linux Vs Windows I ever had.Prior using any OS user must go through this article.
It would be nice if you focus on different versions of Linux ,Difference between Unix and Linux.. in some later article.
Thanks a lot...
30/06/08 @ 09:49
Daniel Cabral
Comment from: Daniel Cabral [Visitor] Email
Fantastic. Excellent article. I'm new user but can see the difference between Linux end Windows. Congratulations.
30/06/08 @ 15:06
Rob Thornton
Comment from: Rob Thornton [Visitor] Email
Excellent article. It explains the exact troubles (and many attempts *I* made at switching to Linux) until one day, once I was much older, I said to myself, "I need more. I want more control and I want to be a part of something I can contribute to without someone profiting from it." My answer was Linux. I've never looked back.
06/07/08 @ 15:55
Sherlock X
Comment from: Sherlock X [Visitor] Email
I've used PC's since the days of Dos, and all
versions of Windows up to XP. With Windows I've never
had any difficulties to figure out how to make the
system do the basic things I wanted. If I wanted to
know more, I could learn little by little from manuals
or trial and error. I've also tried to use several different "distros" of Linux, but did not understand
what to do, not a damned thing. And reading thick
manuals and learning a lot of obscure commands before
starting to move was not my idea of "user friendly".
For me it was useless. I threw all the "distros" in
the garbage. I've been a dedicated hater of Linux
since. Now I know why, and I feel better, thanks to
your illuminating comparison of Widows vs. Linux.
Windows, with all its shortcomings, is the right OS
for me. Because it is simple, has restricted
functionality and not that many possibilities. Linux
is not what I need, and that's all I need to know
about Linux. There's so many things in life I can live
well without. Linux is just one of them, and I can
leave it alone.
07/07/08 @ 15:02
Comment from: Chris [Visitor]
Thanks! This text is important. I will put a link into "my" linux forum when the next beginner complains "if you want linux to displace windows....".

You really made the point.. I bookmarked your site....
09/07/08 @ 23:32
suresh Jakkampudi
Comment from: suresh Jakkampudi [Visitor] Email
Excellent article!!!
16/07/08 @ 17:20
Comment from: Ashutosh [Visitor] Email
This was great. I just installed ubuntu LTS 8.01 and still in the phase of figuring out most of the things on Linux. But, I am definitely bored of Windows and its licensing issues. I also have the green signal from my IT head to see if we can switch all the 200 computers in our company to Linux.
19/07/08 @ 05:46
Comment from: Dan [Visitor] Email
Great article, funny and well written, but I still think that it's a bit too confrontational. I'm not a geek I run Windows as my primary OS and my linux skills are few and far between, but I still don't think that people like myself should be excluded from linux simply because they lack the geek skills and culture.

When I do use Linux, it's not because I want to tweak it, but because I need to use programs that I can't get on windows and/or because I need an operating system that can run modern programs with a lower overhead than XP.

Each time I've had to use it I've found linux to be similar enough to Windows to get what I need done and friendly, helpful, volunteers to assist me when I run afoul.

As far as 'user friendliness' goes, I think we need to recognize that for different uses we need different user interfaces. When I first started up Blender 3d it looked like the most intimidating ui that I'd ever seen. In the case of Blender 3d it was worth the time and effort to learn this 'more difficult' and more complicated ui because I would gain in the long run from its increased effecieny over the length of time that I would need to be using it.
But when I simply needed to encode my project into another video format, the first encoder I used showed me a ui that (at that time of night) was almost as intimidating as blender 3ds! For me it wouldn't be worthwhile to learn all of the workings of this new ui, simply to encode one video, so I tried WinFF and utilized it's much simpler, much easier to use and no doubt much less powerful ui to finish off my project.

I view this as similar to the objections my old high school teachers raised over students useing sites like easybib.com to format their bibliographies without having to remember all of the mindless formatting. "That's cheating" they said, to which my retort was, "I'm sure that you use your computer entirely through the command line, and I'm sure that when you read Gilgamesh, you did it in the original cuneiform, because otherwise that's cheating!"

Of course, that's silly. Not everyone who uses a computer needs to go about it through the command line, not everyone who reads Beowulf has to learn Cuneiform, not everyone should need to memorize the correct placement of periods when citing sources, and by the same token not everyone who wishes to use Linux needs to be a hacker or a geek intent upon modding or programing.

Just my 2cents, I still enjoyed your paper--loved the motorbike comparison.

(oh, and I'd much rather interact with slower but honest Linux techies than with proprietary tech support any day of the week)
20/07/08 @ 21:08
Pat Clark
Comment from: Pat Clark [Visitor] Email
Thank you for your most eloquent description of the "paradigm shift" needed for a successful switch from MS Windows products to Linux & FOSS software. The philosophy, ideology or 'culture' as you described it, are a big part of the attraction.

A reluctant & disgruntled MS user since before "Windows", I cannot believe that I took this long to make the change. My goal is to remove every bit of MS "%#J&*' stuff, but it's slow, because I am trying to do it right by learning what I'm doing.

Thanks again for a great article!
28/07/08 @ 01:00
Comment from: irlandes [Visitor]
I love it. A lot of nonsense from computer 'pros' who admit they can't make it work; it's too hard; etc.

Then, the 80 year old man is happily using Puppy Linux.

Hee, hee.

He makes me feel like a kid. I am only 66, and started using Linux when I retired at age 55.

Do NOT compare Linux to Windows unless you buy it pre-installed. If Windows had to be owner installed, we would still be using TRS-80's.
28/07/08 @ 05:53
Comment from: isaiah [Visitor] Email
I loved this article. I have been one of those over-zealous Linux users, trying to convert the world. I even still find myself sometimes lamenting that a certain business is "still using Windows", when it's clear to me that they'd benefit from using Linux, and being able to customize how their computers operate. However, I have grown up to realize -- as one prior poster noted -- that it is NOT a war between Windows and Linux. It's especially not a war between 'good and evil'.

I am not a MS hater, but I am very much a proponent of choice. Where MS abridges that freedom of choice, I criticize. But, I still CHOOSE to use MS products for various practical reasons. After all, the home computing world is MS-centric.


Side note: I prefer distros (like openSuSE) that do a lot for you initially in terms of setup, but offer a ton of customization options.
28/07/08 @ 23:56
Comment from: Caprajack [Visitor] Email
Without a doubt this is one of the best, most informative, and useful articles I have ever read about the Windows/Linux argument.
The information presented in this document should be a MUST READ for anyone contemplating the move from MSWindows to GNU/Linux. Understanding the differences between the two platforms, and the philosophy driving the developers could save a lot of frustration and heartache for those looking to make the transition.
30/07/08 @ 01:41
Comment from: Fernando [Visitor] Email · http://www.directart.com.br

The best article that I read about it already.

08/08/08 @ 06:18
Comment from: trip [Visitor] Email
Nice article even though you kind of fall on the
elitist area, and not very neutral, which would have
been better. Example on the user interface. "Is it superior? Well, actually, yes." Well my opinion would say no,
it's not. But you see that my opinion. Linux (I'm
new) is VASTLY improved over the early days, but for
the zealots that are out there trashing Mac and PC
users saying Linux will be the primary desktop are
the ones giving Linux a bad name. It still has a ways
to go to get there. And Vi is a good example.

13/08/08 @ 11:24
Steve Rudolph
Comment from: Steve Rudolph [Visitor] Email
Very helpful article. I learned a lot from it.
I'm an XP user who wanted to better understand
what Linux is. I sometimes get tired of proprietary
software. I like generic PC's and freeware reviews.
Sure, I enjoy XP, but I see great potential in
Open Source software. It's been a pleasure reading
your article on Linux.
20/08/08 @ 08:07
Mr. Taylor
Comment from: Mr. Taylor [Visitor] Email
Great read, since I don't have internet access at the moment, I'll definitely copy&paste this on my desktop for re-reads.

This article's really an eye-opener and clarified several points in the Linus/Win choice.

28/08/08 @ 09:02
Jake Meza
Comment from: Jake Meza [Visitor] Email · http://none
Dude, you did take your time on this one, hehe, but I completely agree, and as a programmer I sometimes feel there's nothing I can't accomplish with linux, yes, I could state the same for windows, but of course I don't want to pay for it.
nice article and fun examples, your writing is "reader friendly" :-)
28/08/08 @ 10:18
Comment from: monte [Visitor] Email · http://nitrobus.xf.cz/
Clanek je oporavdu pekny,
ale nekde ke konci me snad od Linuxu odpuzuje...
Linux, zatim velmi kartce používam proto,
že chci objevit neco noveho, co bude ač s vynaložením nejake snahy fungovat.. a za co nebudu muset platit.

Trpelivost doufam nestratim,
ale je pravda ze od nej ocekavam jiststy standart ktery mam u Windows, nebudu tvrdit ze ten stadard je u Linuxu na nizsi urovni, zkratka je jiny....

Snad to chpu spravne :)
31/08/08 @ 10:57
Dave Roche
Comment from: Dave Roche [Visitor] Email · http://www.fatboycombatwinng.com
When I start computing most computers didn't have OSs. They weren't very useful and got boring really fast. DOS and other 80s OSs gave everyone a go at writing useful stuff and MS wouldn't have got anywhere if it didn't have geeks in tow. Linux has to be able to support useful software or it will go the way of the other toys.

Confucius may have said "a man who only makes chisels and doesn't carve wood will always sit on floor".

If you created a better thing than MS Windows you will see the 'users only people' looking to you for help. What will happen? Maybe Linux can be both the Lego and the toy.

Loved your words.


04/09/08 @ 13:42
Comment from: Sridhar [Visitor] Email · http://www.whysiteurl.net
Wonderfully written article, great job! I was considering switching over to linux with no prior knowledge at all. After reading your article I have prepared my mind to "ride a bike" and not to expect "driving a car". I don't know if I will be successful in installing and using Linux, I will certainly give it a try knowing very well that shark and dolphins belong to different species.
07/09/08 @ 17:14
Philip A
Comment from: Philip A [Visitor] Email
Great article, explains the tech issues really well. However there is a place for a new user who just wants to click toolbars & icons a la windows, and that is because (imho of course) you shouldn't have to be a geek in order to get rid of illegal software. Fortunately, with only a little bit of reading, it's possible to put all that ---- in the bin, burn an iso and get an os up and running- after all, if you need internet, email, office, and a cdplayer, the Ubuntu family runs straight out of the box. If that hadn't been possible, lots of us would have given up. OK, I'm on the fringes of the geek world now, but if I hadn't been fairly sure that I could do my stuff without windows, I'd still be feeding software cd's to the computer and giving the 3 finger salute when it goes wrong.
08/09/08 @ 01:32
Comment from: Milly [Visitor] Email
I am from the punch-card age, and a Windows user from the beginning (1.0) Fed up with the growing bunch of programs that need to be upgraded because of new Win-versions, and/or the unusable upgrades of satelite programs because I refused to upgrade from Win2000 (Pro), I've shifted focus to Linux. With an open mind; accepting and expecting that you can't drive a car without proper training and getting a licence, and that getting a new means of transport (i.e. a plane) will require new training/licence. And then I stumbled upon your article, and I love it. It explains my annoyance with users and comments on the forums. I try to read the "how" items, not the "why" ones.
For me: if you think volunteer-work is stupid, stay with commercial OS's, if not: appreciate what is done without you paying for it, and put in your share, if you can.
Mother Theresa never wanted to be famous; she just wanted to help!
08/09/08 @ 03:05
John R
Comment from: John R [Visitor] Email · http://ccgi.maxpower.plus.com
Great article.

I just happened to follow a link and found myself enjoying your article.

I made the switch from Windows a couple of years ago. I'm still learning now. I'm sure I will be for years to come.

As much as I love to, I never force Linux on people. I work on Windows systems for many clients and it definitely has its place, as does a Linux O/S. I would never recommend that my clients switch to Linux as their needs are based in Windows-based software. One day maybe :)

One point I'd like to make (although it's a given pretty much), is that not all software vendors offer the support that is expected. Once the sale is made - that's enough for them. Why bother continuing support? New version of Windows - then buy our new version. Thank God that with Linux - there's a degree of getting a direct line to the developers on current projects, and having some incredibly useful and talented people help you when you're in trouble.

Viva la difference!
14/09/08 @ 21:06
Comment from: Meekaay [Visitor] Email
Hey Great Article,
By the way, i also had to reboot because i couldn't get out of vi. :)
15/09/08 @ 11:53
Comment from: Surya [Visitor] Email
I think the following statistics is enough to imagine who will dominate in the future :
As of November 2007, Linux powered 85% of the world's most powerful supercomputers, compared to Windows' 1.4%. In February 2008, Linux powered five of the ten most reliable Internet hosting companies, compared to Windows' two. (the statement published on many IT magazines and can also find at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_Windows_and_Linux )

Thank you friends.
16/09/08 @ 15:00
Robert A Zanol (RAZ)
Comment from: Robert A Zanol (RAZ) [Visitor] Email
I am new to Linux, have been using Ubuntu 8.04 for about 8 weeks now. The reason I made the switch is I didn't like Windows for a lot of reasons such as instability, security and the fact that after I paid for an OS I wasn't free to use it as I wish or on as many machines as I wish. In my case I was not looking for a "better" version of windows, I was looking for something different that works well. The community here is awesome beyond description and has made my transition sooo very easy. I want to thank you all for that. Anything I need to know is available to me, if I just be patient. I have been able to find what I need from the documentation and the forums. I have a desktop that is light years ahead of what I was able to get with windows. Just from an article on the forums as a newbie I installed awn and compiz fusion successfully on my first try and was able to get it set up to my liking. I even figured out to save commands to a text file for future reference until I become more familiar with the command line. Good old copy and paste works well. Thanks everyone for sharing your knowledge and experience for it sure helps me get things done and teaches me what I need to know. And I do have a lot to learn...RAZ
18/09/08 @ 00:11
gina tan
Comment from: gina tan [Visitor]
dude... seriously, you're my new idol.
because of you, im going to use the terminal more. That part of user friendly=familiar really had an impact on me.
And I never knew about Windows not innovating the start button.
22/09/08 @ 18:27
Comment from: flacvest [Visitor] Email · http://amot.wordpress.com
I switched to Linux after READING UP about it for YEARS. I finally, through Vista and then XP's irritations (compared to a slow but predictable NT/Win2K behaviour) got fed up with the yoke.

Besides that... I really fell in <3 with *NIX when I met NeXTSTEP. It was a brilliant, smooth, luminous clay look that still has my mind; though my current tastes tend to more metallic or silvery shades, I like a consistency that is provided by sticking to a set of building blocks that work together for me. For the most part, but that's where the options come in.

GNU/Linux or Gentoo Linux, or Whatever/Linux or Whatever/Kernel in the *NIX arena all offer options.

At the core it's got the UNIX ethic, the commandline aether, and whatever aesthetic desktop or window manager or environment you'd like to slap on it.

At the core there is a shell, and tools. That some brilliant individual had the brainstorm to |pipe| together to each other and create the UNIX and its derivatives toolchain concept.

Now things have advanced to the point where we can get enough people interested in adding pretty faces to those toolchains or toolchains that have yet to be invented.

The point is these widget sets or toolkits talk to the toolchains and via a shell or GUI talk to the user and let the user talk to the hardware. Interactive.

That's what the *NIX community is as well. People who volunteer to help people do things they just learned how to do or have learned how to do a while a go sharing knowledge interactively.

Sharing is caring, so please, keep that in mind when you speak to your neighbors.

I promise not to shout.

Best to you all.
23/09/08 @ 05:38
Comment from: flacvest [Visitor] Email · http://amot.wordpress.com
By the way, for preferences... I like Gentoo's 'buildability' a la it's Linux From Scratch heritage, with the Portage toolset.

For pretty faces, I like Balou, cuz he told me. "Xfce ...and everything goes faster!" It's also a very nice looking environment when you get to know it, and the people are great once you get to know them. Same goes for Gentoo.

That's a winning combination for ME. I hope you find yours.
23/09/08 @ 05:42
Tino Kremer
Comment from: Tino Kremer [Visitor] Email · http://www.almerefriends.net/tino
Great article. It illustrates the misconceptions and fuss around Linux for some ppl. I have been both a Windows and Linux user for a while (though I consider myself a real Linux user for about 2 years only).

I find it funny a lot of people try to compare Linux to Windows all the time. While in essence it makes no sense. It does not need to be compared, you should use whatever you like in my opinion. I use Linux most of the time because I like to have a system where all software on it is free and legal and I like to be in control. In Linux I can shape things to my need.

At work we use Windows, so that's what I use at home when I'm doing work, though I find myself using Linux tools more often over time.

Once you get used to Linux it will all blend in and you get addicted to it's simplicity and usablity.
23/09/08 @ 11:46
gary duel
Comment from: gary duel [Visitor] Email
Hello boffins
First let me say , that article certainly puts all new linux users in there place me being one of them, unfortunately i would still be using windows if my profession didnt require me to work to great pressures hence a spinning hard drive is not an option(the acer aspire one 8gig solid state sorts this, unfortunately as mentioned for people like me it only comes in LINPUS not ubunto or wine or redhat etc but bloody LINPUS which when you ask on forums "how to ?" get "well i use this on my linux" and "i just cluick here" which is great but doesnt work for this bloody platform.
If i could get hold of a book and read about it even better but floating arounf off Vung Tau in 4 mtr seas and 40 knot winds with a download speed od 5kbs/s has the options of zippo for the actual LINPUS download disk......
So i apologise to all you boffins outr there for a non user having to waste your time with queries on this new platform, when windows comes back out with a solid state hard drive , I'll take "my car" and never bother with your "lego's" again


gary d (linux newboy but hopefully not 4 much longer)
26/09/08 @ 02:58
Comment from: Har [Visitor] Email
Well, I have to say that your article is very well written and makes many good points. I am a relative new Linux user but I am currently using it full time on both of my computers. I have no plans on ever not using it.

I have actually been on both sides of the fence on a few of the points you made. In particular, trying to get more MS users to switch over to Linux. I now realize that is the wrong approach. I had already begun to realize this but your article really made me see it clearly.

I love using Linux for what it can do for me and as your article says, as long as it keeps doing that I will be happy. Thanks again for the great article.

05/10/08 @ 18:00
Jimmy Green
Comment from: Jimmy Green [Visitor] · http://www.justinhawthorne.ca
Wow, this was a really well done article. I'm what you could call a "geek" but I learned it mostly on windows. When I desided to try linux (ubuntu but thinking of upgrading to fedora) I was faced with a new chalenge. It was pretty exciting, and I leared a lot, but most importantly, i learned how much power microsoft has, and how much windows sucks :)
07/10/08 @ 05:06
Comment from: Mike [Visitor]
GNU/Linux is, at it's core, an ad hoc "Community OS". This being the case, many of the points in your article are well-received.

I think it bears pointing out the lack of solidarity many people seem to feel is probably simply their perception of Linux having no singular focused "cause" or "market". Frankly, trying to herd the F/OSS developer community is a bit like trying to herd cats, except without the cute faces and cuddly fur. *thinks for a sec* On the other hand...

As time passes and certain major needs are expressed, the "community" produces from it's ranks groups who do focus on specific needs, such as GUIs, GUI redesign, multimedia device support (iPods, for instance) and so on. And just like a community, it takes a while for some things to happen, but when they do, we all have the benefit of each others' work or contributions. This is how, at a very fundamental level, communities traditionally function; and just like our real-world society looking for pre-packaged, "instant gratification" solutions, many in the computer community have become like this.

Only a few years ago (it seems, though in the digital time this is at least a couple eras) we all decried the "stupid AOL user", and for a surprisingly-parallel set of reasons. "Hey," they'd say, "I pay my monthly $20. Why doesn't your web site work?" And as Windows passed into the level of ubiquity it now enjoys, there with it have likewise followed brain-on-auto-pilot users who just expect the world handed to them on a silver platter.

The Linux community is a community of technology enthusiasts, hobbyist tinkerers and philosophers. For those who refuse to RTFM, the rebuff is less a segregation of users than it is akin to the blood/brain barrier, filtering out those who don't really belong here.

Keep rockin' em, Dominic!
13/10/08 @ 07:36
Comment from: Barbara [Visitor]
Really great article, it's wonderfull.

I've been using Linux (Ubuntu(no more, but I usually recommend it to absolute newbies), Debian and CentOS) for some years now, having actually learned to do most stuff terminal based (partly since I had to ssh to a linux machine from a windows machine using putty) This resulted in the situation that when one of my friends started to use linux and asked me how to do something graphically, I was at a complete loss :)

Unfortunately, I was never (and probably will never be) able to make the full switch, some people still force me to use windows. And on the thing in your article about linux copying windows, have you ever taken a good look at MS Vista? It made me laugh: I believe windows actually did a very bad job in 'copying' linux considering security issues such as ownership of files etc. (and hasn't anybody seen how much IE nowadays looks and behaves like all the other (FOSS) browsers?)

But hey, I don't care. The only thing I hate is that die-hard windows users still try to convince me that its stupid to use linux, when I do not do it the other way around...

I love linux, since it gives me the possibility to get things done properly and does not leave me mystified on many occasions, for instance why I sometimes CAN delete a file in cmod, but NOT in the graphical UI, even in XP... (I thought cmod was a shell on top of the graphical shell???) Or when I sometimes have to perform the exact same actions 3 (or more, for some obscure reason) times in a row to get the wireless internet working...
14/10/08 @ 16:18
Comment from: Pril [Visitor]
Great reading abut bad example with ctrl-x. Usually you can do this with one hand and visually (shift+ctrl+right) and with other and ctrl-x. I believe it takes less time then typing d5w because you have move fingers to different keys. Of course you can modify ms word shortcuts (in the way that linux users prefer - do it by your self) that d5w will works same as within VI. Anyway, this is very interesting reading and I have enjoyed very much.
30/10/08 @ 20:38
Comment from: Pril [Visitor]
You did forget one of the main advantage of windows OS. Microsoft always pamper developers, even novice. Now with visuals studio, at first steps with visual basics etc. With this approach even novice programmers can develop software very fast for commercial use. This is what people do for living. So there is always a lot of programs for win os only. End-users do not care much about OS but more about programs they are using. If there is not so much "user friendly" (usually commercial) programs they will not use the os.
30/10/08 @ 20:56
Bill H.
Comment from: Bill H. [Visitor] Email
I object to the 'geek vs. newbie' false dichotomy. For example I've been programming on Linux systems for 10 years -- it's much better than Windows for my kind of development -- but I really couldn't care less about tinkering with the OS, etc. I just want it to work. To me, there couldn't be anything more frustrating than wasting time on IT when I could be doing development instead.

The article makes it clear that FOSS contributors are not there to serve newbies, and by extension people like me presumably, but what about other FOSS contributors??? I'm curious how the developers of popular Linux applications feel about the need to tinker with frustrating details on *other* parts of the system. I can just imagine the authors of Gimp being told "if you don't enjoy tracking down errors in your networking config files maybe you should go back to Windows"!

Maybe anyone who's done anything significant in the Linux community buys into the 'tinkering is fun' mindset. Let me just suggest that you could be missing out on valuable contributions from people who *don't* think tinkering is fun (at least not tinkering outside their field), and that that is one reason each of you might want to make *your* contributions more accessible to people who don't enjoy the tinkering.
08/11/08 @ 22:57
Larry L
Comment from: Larry L [Visitor] · http://www.lairdslair.com/
Very well written and concise. I use a variety of OS and Linux may just be my favorite. Must be, I'm in it almost all the time.

I shall refer friends to your missive from now on when they come asking about that terrific new "free" operating software.
18/11/08 @ 21:02
Nathan Shaw
Comment from: Nathan Shaw [Visitor]
Awesome article. I used to be a die-hard Windows fan, but was recently "turned" when I started using Linux a couple of years ago. Your commentary is extremely relative to the things I experienced when making the switch. I will recommend this article to friends who are trying to understand the differences or evaluate their OS options. I just hope they'll have the patience to read the entire thing! :)
21/11/08 @ 19:21
Comment from: JR [Visitor] · http://www.sadho.com
An excellent and a well written guide on some basics - for a person like me... non-technical, long-time windows user, wanting quick user-friendly solutions :-)

After years of using windows-based software, I am of course having some difficulty in shifting to Linux based applications (and my team is having even more problems with me)...
most of work is textual - in fact my friends joke that I know more about MS Word than even those who developed it. But I have not touched MS Word in months despite the incovenience of shifiting (or shall I say - graduating to FOSS)

AND am committed to shifting all my work to linux simply because...
I love the democracy of the mind that linux is based on.
Linux's spirit will keep the virtual earth livable!

thanx. peace, joy, beauty & good health to all linux geek-gods!
26/11/08 @ 21:41
Don McCormick
Comment from: Don McCormick [Visitor]
In your article "Linux is Not Windows" (enjoyable read by the way) there is a typo when discussing "vi" verses other editors. You have "d5w" for delete_word. Please change this to "5dw" since someone is likely to try the previous and complain it does not work. My editor of choice is vi, vim or gvim however I can just as easily use emacs and other text editors.

From experience I have found that it is almost impossible to teach a rabid MS Windows user Linux/Unix, however most people I have found are very open to learning something that is different especially when they realise that by learning they are in control and actually start to have fun.

The last comment in the article was great.
02/12/08 @ 12:06
Don McCormick
Comment from: Don McCormick [Visitor]
Re my last post, in Linux "d5w" works the same as "5dw" although I am not sure about Unix. That will teach me to test before posting, however when discussing vi commands it makes more sense to type "dw" for delete word and "5dw" or "8dw" to delete 5 or 8 words respectively. Nitpicking I know but I have found that vi is a very logically designed editor.
02/12/08 @ 12:17
Comment from: Kromonos [Visitor] · http://kromonos.net
Nice .. very nice .. great work
02/12/08 @ 18:41
Comment from: Carml [Visitor]
Me too love Lego.I hope a day I'll build something to payback all volunteers that help the new users.
I've been for any years a quite self-experienced Windows user,always attracted and curious about Linux.
I receved the final pull to transit to a Linux Distro recently bored by Windows Vista,and I'm not repentant of my choice,because I have firmly in mind the nature of Linux: it's not Windows.
Linux seems not to funtion?Be patient and calm the solution esists:this is what I carry on mind;I think every new user should remember this concept among the others you esamined on your article.
Thanks for the article,and consider me as one of those users entusiastic to be part of the community,whose same users who try to contribute apporting their experience,even if little,to payback all the volunteer's help received.
03/12/08 @ 15:51
Comment from: Lukas [Visitor]
to je šit.. mě to přide jako sračky o řízení.. ne každej aby mohl používat linux musí přejít z oken- mám oboje. a problémy co tam popsaný jsou jsem nepocítil. ale jinak pěknej článek myslím že jsem skončil u druhého odstavce s pocitem zbytečně ztraceného času :-)

Sorry I dont english speak..
10/12/08 @ 07:47
Comment from: Tom [Visitor] · http://techservant.wordpress.com
Great read! Nice to see someone put in words the difference in mindset.
20/12/08 @ 06:13
Comment from: FabianSwinger [Visitor] · http://www.metroflog.com/fabianswinger
I really liked one of the las phrases of your article , something like "if you want something as secure as UNIX but very user friendly BUY A MAC"

Well...it would be the ideal, to be able to afford a Mac

Currently I have an old PC,and am trying to make do with Xubuntu, and have tried many distros, however, even if they are better than Windows, I would really choose a Mac...buut they are too expensiv

so, for now, I will continue to use and experiment a light and friendly distro, maybe I will check eLive, DSL, or Sam, and many others

greetings from Montevideo,Uruguay,Southamerica
27/12/08 @ 20:10
Comment from: sergio [Visitor] Email
windows is linux becs its codeing is acc and it ues a gui boot just like linux but and some ways is not becs win-com add codeing to make it there own
27/12/08 @ 22:09
Comment from: BlueM937 [Visitor] · http://bluem937.wordpress.com
I like this article, it doesn't take the fanatical Linux evangelist that, as you mention, are all too vocal all over the internet. Instead, you write sensibly about the differences. I am a Windows user, and have no intention to use Linux any time soon, but still enjoyed the article. As you mentioned, OS choice is about what each person is comfortable and happy using.
The things that I enjoy about Windows are the coherent style, paradigms etc. as well as the very broad range of support for all things. Windows is very much just a turn-on-and-go system. The only tinkering you really need to do is down to appearance.
I like some open-source applications, such as Pidgin, The GIMP etc., but they are not the same experience as a commercial application. Sure, they are very powerful, but the power is not always easy to access as the UI is not consistent. Like you said, Linux applications are generally designed for people who already know how to use them, and it is much easier to use an application with a consistent UI, good support.
28/12/08 @ 12:18
Jose Ramon B.
Comment from: Jose Ramon B. [Visitor]
Hi, first at all, sorry by my English.

Second, I know that you wrote this article some time ago and there were a lot of new stuff that occurred in this period. But I liked your article and I'd like to give you some impressions.

Well, I'm not a geek and I'm not a heavy user. Five or six years ago I tried Mandrake and I gave up mainly because of the dificulties of installing new packages. It was really difficult to me and when I needed more disk space I decided to erase Mandrake and to give its partition to Windows.

Now, I decided to try again and I installed Ubuntu 8.10 one month ago. I'm liking it very much and I'm thinking it really useful and "friendly". But, if I've read your article before installing Ubuntu probably I wouldn't install it (...just kidding...).

I think your article is really good and you address many important points. The first one is summarized in the title: "Linux is not Windows". This is the main issue.

But I think you give a lot of emphasis in the "geek" side of Linux. Your comparison between "vi" and Word and mainly your example of the Lego box can drive people to thing that a Linux user must be capable of assemble his Linux solution from a lot of small bricks.

I installed Ubuntu inside my Vista through Wubi. And I did it simply following a few instructions that I've read in a Brazilian magazine that I bought in a newstand. Afterwards I learnt the basics in the same magazine and in a few forums for beginners (always in portuguese, if I wanted). So, one month later I'm using Ubuntu 90% of my computer time and I'm going to my Windows only to maintain some things that I haven't find in Linux (for instance, a MediaMonkey package - much better than any other CD and MP3 catalog and player that I've found in Ubuntu, like Rhythmbox, Amarok, or Banshee). And this is only because I'm not feeling safe to try some Windows running inside Linux, like Wine or similar (remember: I'm a "regular" user, not a geek.)

So, some distros (like Ubuntu) don't need a geek to use it successfully. It's really easy to install it, there are a lot of software solutions in the repository and they all are really easy to install. For instance, in one month I used the console solution only once to install the Brazilian version of Open Office and I entered 3 or 4 commands exactly as the OO Brazilian page told me to do. I didn't have any idea what I was doing, only repeating the commands as they told me to do (a kind of a well trained monkey. *he-he-he*). And it worked very fine and just now I'm using my Brazilian Open Office solution. All other stuff that I have in Ubuntu was installed without one single command line.

Another point is the comparison thay you do between "vi" and Word. I understood the reasons that drove you to that comparison but when you compare "vi" with Word it seems that you don't have anything like Word in Linux world and you have to use "vi". Actually, I know what "vi" is because some guys that I know used it but I never saw it, nor now nor in my "Mandrake era". And you have a lot of tools and software in Linux very similar to Windows (and in some cases better than the Windows counterpart). And they are really easy to use. For instance, my wife doesn't know anything but Microsoft Office and Internet Explorer nor anything about computing. But she used Open Office in my eeePC Asus notebook (with Windows XP) without any problem at the very first time (of course, she complained abouth some "difficult stuff" but she used it without problems). So, the same can be done in Linux solutions - like the same Open Office or Firefox or many others programs.

You also talk about the technical support in products like Windows and Mac and you say you can pay for them and you compare this situation with Linux, where one depends of people on forums or FAQ's or other similar solutions. In fact, 99% of Windows users depend on the same solutions of Linux users. This is because only a few Windows users pay for technical support. So, the problems for people who need support are exactly the same, on Linux or on Windows. The difference here is that anyone have a lot of friends who know Windows and these friends can help him to find a solution. Of course, there are only few friends who know Linux. In my opinion, this is the only difference between Linux and Windows users in the side of technical support.

Of course that anyone who goes to Linux the first time will have difficulties. These difficulties will be similar for people that don't know Windows and go to Windows the first time. These people will need to learn how to have access to the programs, how to install a new program, how to customize their menus, and so on. The same occurs in Linux because, as you told, they're different (and it's very good that they're different). But, as I told when I talked about my installation experience, it isn't difficult to install and start using a good Linux distro. And in the case of Ubuntu inside Windows through Wubi it's easier (and, of course, without worries of loosing your Windows stuff).

Well, I wrote more than I expected at the beginning. I really liked your article but I tried to show you that may be it could be reviewed reducing the emphasis on the apparent complexity of Linux. It's possible to use it without knowing almost anything of this complexity, just like Windows. And also it's important to people to know that one can use Linux without beeing a geek or liking to go inside the source code or needing to learn a lot of command lines (or assemble a huge amount of small Lego bricks).

Thank you.

José Ramon B.
Salvador, BA, Brazil
03/01/09 @ 16:49
Comment from: Aussieartist [Visitor]
Thank you for a very informative and refreshing introduction. As a former systems admin for a large school, exclusively using XP/Novell, Linux has always intrigued me.
I've made the switch and am loving it. I just wish I'd read your blog earlier. This essay should be the splash page whenever anyone downloads any Linux distro. It would save a lot of pain for many... and help keep the forums from choking up with questions, the answers to which should never be sought! I know, I've asked some of those questions!!!
03/01/09 @ 17:19
Comment from: ToeNi [Visitor]
I just print this document.
I'm using ubuntu intrepid now.
I got lots of question from my friends.
This really is great topic
Thank you!
09/01/09 @ 08:42
Comment from: macadavy [Visitor]
Great article (and one I needed to read)! ;-)
14/01/09 @ 03:00
Comment from: NigelH [Visitor]
Linux != Windows was a refreshing and stimulaing read.
The motor vehicle analogy works well for users, however, when starting to program for Linux, I felt there is more a parallel with being sent to a destination with only directions and no GPS or maps.
I have just recently thrown myself into the Linux world with a goal to build a control and data aquisition system to improve some mechanical/electrical test equipment. Using my rusty knowledge of C it is proving difficult getting to my destination. Looking at all the signs on the road is not alway helpful, but asking the right strangers on the street is usually more fruitful (it's just recognising the right ones!!)
14/01/09 @ 18:07
Gerry K
Comment from: Gerry K [Visitor] Email
Thank you so much. I am now trying my 11th distro of LINUX. I was down to using XUBUNTU because the interface was exactly what I was looking for, but I saw the LINUX MINT 5 and just had to try it. My machine(s) are running a dual boot setup, and I generally spend 90% of my time on the LINUX partition. I came to LINUX in search of an OS that hadn't become bloated and allowed one to change any part of it to suit their own tastes. I am not a geek neither do I write code, but LINUX has given me hope that there is hope for a stable efficient editable and fun OS. Your message was really a great job of putting things in perspective for me. Great Job
15/01/09 @ 22:06
Comment from: Doug "Smiley" Hood [Visitor] Email · http://my.opera.com/PMAco/blog/
Thank you. I've been toying with the idea of launching a LUG in my newly adopted farming community in Northwest Oregon. If I do, I'm going to make your article required reading for the initiation. :-)

I know only too well how much energy you put into creating it and want you to get my gratitude as an attempt at incremental remuneration. Another way of saying that is "I'll be forever in your debt because I'll never pay you!" AHAHHAHahahhahahhahahaaaaa

17/01/09 @ 19:04
Comment from: Unknown [Visitor]
I can't see why not to get linux (ubuntu for isntance) instead of Mac, firstly mac is a big a change from Windows as Ubuntu, secondly many of it's seccurity issues are worse than Windows! so why not go with the saffest paths, when they both take time to learn?? I have experienced many good things with gnome desktop, and are more comfortable with that than Windows.. Of course theres an issue for gamers, but thats all possible to fix..
18/01/09 @ 15:54
seif sallam
Comment from: seif sallam [Visitor] Email
thats really great article and opened my mind to so many things.

when i first started to use Linux i was making propaganda about how great is Linux and every one should use it, and its the perfect operating system....etc

but after i read this article, i realized that's not true, Linux is not for every one, the Linux user must must LEARN & LEARN & LEARN , also a user that have the ability to adapt to different software like transforming from MS office to OO.org ....etc
19/01/09 @ 18:17
Arto Teräs
Comment from: Arto Teräs [Visitor] · http://ajt.iki.fi
Nice article, especially the analogues between cars and motorcycles, toy cars and legos. However, in some ways the article itself is an example of the Linux approach: the reader is expected to suffer through a long text without any pictures. :)

In the FOSS and Internet paragraph, the ordering in the last pair of words (tech-support/e-commerce) should be reversed to match the previous pairs.

03/02/09 @ 17:16
Comment from: Bauer [Visitor]
I use Linux now for nearly 16 Years for some special applications.
But for home use it is not the problem that it does not work like Windows, but that it partly does not work well.
The picture prcessing is not as good as even entry level programs under Windows. The same is valid for media players and streaming video.
Maybe the reason is that many developers of linux are paid from some Server companies for let them phase out their UNIX systems to reduce own development costs.
Maybe the problem is that some money should charged by the users to support the development for the advantage to get a polished application if they are not able for different reasons to support the development by themself, but it would be the problem to reduce marketing and profit greed.
22/02/09 @ 16:58
V.W. Singer
Comment from: V.W. Singer [Visitor] · http://www.vwsinger.com
Your analogies are not quite there. I am an artist and writer, and I've found that there are two kinds of artists. One lot claim to create their art only for themselves and don't care of others have difficulty understanding it. The other kind want to share their creations with the world, and to communicate with the world.

From your article one gathers that Linux programers come only from the former school. If so, then stop promoting Linux as an OS that can be used by all and sundry. Stop with the live disks and stuff like WUBI, as all you are doing is creating frustration. Go back to being a geek toy.

The real problem with Windows is not the viruses and instability. It is that it has grown from an OS to into a monster. A lot of Win users are looking for an OS that just serves as the interface with the PC like it did at the beginning, but just more efficiently and reliably. No DRM, built in applications, unhelpful help, etc.

As for painting windows software as user oriented only because it is commercial as opposed to Linux FOSS, it should not be forgotten that there is a huge amount of Windows based freeware that does their jobs very well like Irfanview (and including Openoffice and Firefox) but are easy to use and have good user support, often through voluntary support forums manned by people who accept that many users are totally clueless.

If your article holds true as representative of the general attitude of Linux programers and developers, then every Linux website should be made members only and registrants asked to read a TOS/FAQ that tells them that they are joining a closed fraternity that does not welcome anyone who just wants an alternative OS that works easily, reliably,in the background, and without needing more time to learn than needed to learn than the application software that is the primary reason for having a computer in the first place.
27/02/09 @ 17:57
Comment from: Ernie [Visitor]
As a newbie to linux and to learning how to set up everything for my self and not already having it done for me this article has been the simplest i've found so far have been through most of the forums try to find answer in search b-4 posting but sometimes can't

04/03/09 @ 02:16
Comment from: Mike [Visitor]
I love the concept of Linux, I really do. I have installed and setup Redhat, DSL, Ubuntu and recently Mint. But until the day comes where I can stick in a disk marked with "PC CD" (or PC DVD) and just run the software without all the messing about with things like Wine, then Linux is always going to play second fiddle.

Yes, there are alternatives for some software out there, but with 10 years of experience of Photoshop (for example) on both MAC and PC, Gimp just doesn't cut the mustard. Many of the filters and add-ons are simply not supported. From a working point of view, Gimp's interface is just horrible. No, not 'different', just horrible..

I am actively trying to get newbie computer users to try Linux, but it doesn't welcome anyone who has any experience of any software bought on the highstreet.

"Hey, this is slick.." they say about linux.. "Why can't I play the latest version of Call of Duty on here?", "err, you just can't" I have to reply.

When will the mainstream software market catch up to Linux?

When "PC" software bought from the highstreet, Amazon, ebay, wherever can be installed and used on a linux distro, then Uncle Bill's coffin nails will be properly ready.

Will that day ever come? I bloody hope so..
06/03/09 @ 01:26
Comment from: hafsi [Visitor] · http://hafsionline.com
Excellent article !
As a hobbyist programmer I must admit GNU/Linux has given me the power of the Computer !! You really feel that you OWN that peace of hardware , I think that's the most amazing thing of it .
11/03/09 @ 20:31
Comment from: nivas [Visitor] Email
An excellent piece of writing; very enlightening.
iam a window user for couple of years...and i never knew all along
what an OS really is... until recently.

this article is an eye opener...
Greetings and good wishes to all those people at the heart of this
impressive no-profit endeavor.

iam going to, shall in say learn Linux?
13/03/09 @ 19:08
Comment from: vasu [Visitor]
Article is very nice. every example you used is really good
26/03/09 @ 17:52
Comment from: Nina [Visitor]
support for zenofeller's words.
28/03/09 @ 15:24
Comment from: Sakhawat [Visitor]
KILLER! KILLER! I just installed Linux, and was thinking why on earth i did it. I had to search for 5 mins to find out how to shut it down. Then i read this....

and, GOTCHA! i m in love with Linux. Thanx bro...
11/04/09 @ 16:43
Comment from: felinoel [Visitor] Email
Actually, to my disappointment, I recently had the urge to play with Legos, so I went to the store to buy some, I looked at what was there and saw 10 pieces where most were custom made blocks designed ONLY to be used for a particular model, of course you can use those custom mad blocks for something else, but just not for anything good, so yea, you can't buy a car set of Legos and then go and build something else out of them anymore, its saddening, when I was a kid I had this massive box filled to the brim with random lego blocks, all of course were not custom made to be used for only one thing because thats the point of legos!
17/04/09 @ 10:07
Comment from: Björn [Visitor]
Really nice article! Interesting reading. Thumbs up!
17/04/09 @ 10:49
Comment from: Nobody [Visitor]
This helped to me actually to understand something. In linux community, i described a problem, and then i complained how nobody helps, but this helped me to understand that community is a group of people, not a company where they need to solve my problem.

I can't just come there and say that everyone need to answer to my question, they decide will they answer, or leave me alone. I didn't pay them to help me.

Thank you!
16/05/09 @ 14:28
Comment from: Eric [Visitor]
Wonderful this text is a completely fact. Using 11 years linux now, every minute spended to lern the terms and funcionality was worth it. Every problem was worth examining to understand it. Today i use ubuntu on all my computers, with gui but i know what's behind the coloured windows.

22/05/09 @ 16:17
Windows power user, linux convert
Comment from: Windows power user, linux convert [Visitor]
I understand some points of your conversation, but I have found the linux community very inviting. I use Ubuntu, and Puppy. Both have their advantages, and disadvantages, just like windows. But whenever I look up a problem that I encounter there is always somebody who responds with an answer that works, not a snide comment. But then again, I was never able to get help when I had a problem with windows, i always had to have a person come and do it for me. (we might be pirates...) So maybe my patience with having a hacker fix things helps me use a system designed by hackers.
05/06/09 @ 05:13
Shantanu Tushar
Comment from: Shantanu Tushar [Visitor] · http://www.shantanutushar.com
Refer to the following text-
"Desktop software: Well, you might be able to make a case for KDE being commercial, since it's Qt-based"

Qt is no longer only commercial its also under LGPL now, please update the statement. And yes, thanks for such a super article. :)
08/06/09 @ 22:31
Victor Anguera
Comment from: Victor Anguera [Visitor]
Man your post about Linux != Windows its simple amazing, I want to ask for your permission to copy and translate it to spanish, and post it on a forum we r making, of course the credits will be for you :)
09/06/09 @ 04:56
Comment from: Ram [Visitor] Email
I have to say it is a well-written article but I must also point out that it is a little scary to a Windows user who would like to switch for its lack of virus and no-cost. If I had seen your article last month, I do not think I would have switched to Ubuntu. I have been using Ubuntu and I love it for its simplicity, virus-free nature and the support from community. I probably spent a few hours learning the basics of working with the interface and requested help from the community a few times. That's it. Ubntu serves most of my needs already.

I know that you have written this article to help Windows users figure out what Linux is all about but IMO an average Windows user might get discouraged by it to try Linux.
24/06/09 @ 01:49
Tim David
Comment from: Tim David [Visitor]
Not sure about the security analogy, just because a motorbike has no doors doesn't mean you can't steal it, or break into the topbox.
Also the copy-paste argument is pretty spurious, yes purely keyboard text selection might be pretty long winded, who but who wouldn't use the mouse? (excepting people with problems with using mice)

and felinoel, you need this set http://creator.lego.com/en-us/Products/Vehicles/6743.aspx Plenty of generic parts but its still a car
30/06/09 @ 12:12
Graham B
Comment from: Graham B [Visitor]
Really good reading - lots of useful info when used in conjunction with other web articles re switching o/s. I'm gonna give it a go this winter on my old low spec laptop (small L2 cache) which takes forever to fire up and keep up with ever-expanding XP. My desktop is still fine with XP!
02/07/09 @ 14:17
Comment from: user [Visitor]
I have been curious about Linux for a while. Undeniably, as it becomes easier to transition from Windows, it will grow.

I suggest installing a complete distro (i.e. Ubuntu) on your OLD computer and running it alongside your Windows box. Then you'll never be in a panic because you can't do something on Linux; you can use your Windows machine as you research how to do it with Linux. It is REALLY beneficial to have side-by-side the 2 machines, and gradually use the Linux machine more.

You can start by using the Linux box to download pirate Windows wares and porn, as it's nearly impervious to all the malware your Windows box will get from torrent sites that host this garbage. As you start juggling all the files, you'll gradually start learning/doing other things on the Linux machine. How's that for motivation?
07/07/09 @ 01:32
Comment from: Chance [Visitor]
I see Linux as more of an alien spaceship with telepathic powers, you just know what to do when you see something, and if you don't, then you can just RTFM!
16/07/09 @ 20:05
Comment from: Raven [Visitor]
Very well written and even for one who's been @ Linux for more than 7 years, your article is still illuminating nevertheless. Kudos
20/07/09 @ 15:10
Comment from: Tony [Visitor]
What a superb document. Well written, unbiased, factual and something every prospective Linux convert should read. Well done.
25/07/09 @ 00:30
Comment from: Roger [Visitor]
Definitely a great and insightful read. As a Windows user, it has given me much to ponder and consider in terms of the value and work of the craftsman practicing his craft versus the merchant who peddles the trades of others.

Thank you for this piece; I will definitely be sharing it with others for many days to come.
26/07/09 @ 14:41
Comment from: Zach49 [Visitor]
Serendipity - expecting one thing, and finding five different / better ones. I'm used Windoze for quite a while, but have also done my own sysadmin on AIX, Solaris, and HP-UX. Linux was viewed by me as just a way to get some FOSS apps I want to try out. Working out some issues (wireless networking) got me to LQ (Linux Questions), and in the course of things, to reading your post. Really enjoyed it, and found multiple new perspectives in it, and would recommend it to anyone, newbie or not-newbie, to focus their attention on the points you cover. Very cool post. Thanks.
28/07/09 @ 22:43
Comment from: Errol [Visitor] · http://tacoz.jimdo.com/
geezz... these post go back a few years but this article certainly isn't dated! I concur with the author wholeheartedly. As a MCSE+I in the workplace I have to be comfortable with both environments. My transition wasn't easy... but many distros later, I did it and I'm still learning and lovin' the experience!
17/08/09 @ 08:18
Comment from: Leif [Visitor] · http://unforgettability.net
That was a great article, old as it may be it explains things even as they are today quite well.

I'm a Linux user and I do want to see Linux take over the desktop but I don't think that makes me a zealot.

I want my parents to switch because they will never learn how to avoid adware on Windows. Every time I visit a good portion of the trip is spent fixing their computers.

I want my workplace to switch because I love the people I work for and with and will not leave for that reason. It's a Microsoft shop though and I long to be programming in a Linux environment.

I want the general population to switch because that means hardware vendors will write better drivers. This has been improving a lot over the years but still has a way to go.

I'd like to see more of the general population develop an interest in choice and being able to take their OS apart and make other things as you so elegantly described with Legos. Maybe then the cellphone carriers would have to give in and sell me a phone I can customize in this way. (Yes I'm aware of those guys who made a cellphone using gumstix but I'm kind of stuck w/ Verizon which is CDMA and those things are bulky anyway)
20/08/09 @ 20:47
Comment from: Andoo [Visitor]
Good post, if all Linux fans would be so open we would have much less confusion :).

One objection though:
- there have been attempts and arguments to switch public administrations of entire countries to F(L)OSS. And if you are true saying Linux is geeks for geeks, then this is kind of misleading.

And one note:
- Windows is designed to be a learning tool in itself, Linux focuses on other things. So Windows needs (and has) an antivirus just like Linux needs (but does NOT have) a learning solution.
23/08/09 @ 22:24
Comment from: Ubuntwo [Visitor] · http://nowebsiteyet.com
I wanted to comment here that this post was awsome! I started using Linux a few years back in college with Red Hat, dabbled here and there with old red hat versions, then jumped back full fold with Ubuntu 6x. Man have things changed! I used to be able to setup Red Hat as a sudo domain controller / authentication server very easily back then, now I don't even know where to begin. These days I used Ubuntu 9x, IDKY Ubuntu its like a drug no matter what distro i wonder off to I come back to Ubuntu.

But I wanted to say, even though they all do it because they love it, freely with no money, and even though they hit some really big noobs who asked questions without the proper manners. I've found the community to be awsome, and helpful!
28/08/09 @ 17:09
Comment from: Ubuntwo [Visitor] · http://stillnowebsiteyet.com
I noticed a few questions above people looking for help setting up stuff for the first time. If your installing linux for the first time and need a "proverbial hand holding" try out www.howtoforge.com

its a bit trendy but it will get you started. Look for "The Perfect Desktop" or you can just google, The Perfect Desktop (name and verison of your distor) and you might find one.
28/08/09 @ 17:17
james Blanchette
Comment from: james Blanchette [Visitor] Email · http://knowmecalgary.com
That was an excellent read. I have been in and out of the Linux/unix world for quite a few years now. I remember how much I had to know to get an instalation up and running. Recently I have noticed a trend towards it just installs right the first time , complete with most if not all of the hardware working as well. There are a few purist that think that is wrong but I like it. The Linux community has grown in leaps and bounds over the last few years. It was nice to have someone point out the values without they Hype

29/08/09 @ 00:16
John Flanders
Comment from: John Flanders [Visitor] Email
This is a great article!! It says exactly what I
have tried to tell everyone I talk to about linux -
it is different, better, but different!

Well written - still relevant after these years with


31/08/09 @ 19:18
Jimmy Addison
Comment from: Jimmy Addison [Visitor]
mmm, you, are a guru. i did not finish reading all the site, but read enough to know that. i would spen a lot of space telling you what i look for, so, would like to ask, if it would be possible to communicat with you by email, to get some sort of 1 on 1 help on what i was doing? in all my searches for me, just to TRY Linux, makes me feel as if i am in a 400 acre field of wheat, and i am there to pick apples. sorry, if this is not procedure, but i do need help. thanks, Jimmy
05/09/09 @ 21:09
Kamila Souckova
Comment from: Kamila Souckova [Visitor] · http://anotherpersonalwebsite.awardspace.info/
Great article! I completely agree. I've always tried to express these things, but it's not that simple - nobody could understand, while this is absolutely clear and cool. Nice!
14/09/09 @ 18:33
Daniel Campbell
Comment from: Daniel Campbell [Visitor] · http://sporkbox.us
I just wanted to say that I've read your article many times. Each time I read it I can't help but mentally cheer at the truths you repeatedly drive home. It's an issue that doesn't get discussed enough. If more Windows and Linux users felt similarly, there would be a lot less arguing over the operating systems and people would have a better idea of what's right for them instead of what's right for /all/ desktops.
16/09/09 @ 07:43
Comment from: Isaac [Visitor]
Excellent read. I'm a windows expert tipping my toes in the Linux waters and found your examples/imagery very helpful. Thank you for taking the time to put these thoughts together. Well done.
18/09/09 @ 05:21
Comment from: Neil [Visitor]
No you didn't pay for tech support but that does that really give linux users license to be snarky, sarcastic, unhelpful and juvenile when asked a civil question? Personally I'm sick of being told to "google it" whenever I ask anything. Chances are I already did and didn't find anything helpful, or didn't understand what I found. I think it's at this point that a lot of people reformat and reinstall Windows, never looking back.
As big a hindrance to the spread of linux as the learning curve, is the snotty, sneering, superior attitude of much of the user base. Behavior like this only serves to reinforce every negative "nerd" stereotype we've ever heard.
23/09/09 @ 00:03
Sergei Mattus
Comment from: Sergei Mattus [Visitor]

vielen Dank für die sehr aufklärenden Text. Erfreulicherweise hat der Text meine Entscheidung sogar noch gestärkt. Ich möchte ein Programm, wo das Programm vor Profit steht und wo der Benutzer die Macht darüber hat und nicht ein dickes Machtkonkonzern. Die Beispiele in deinem Text sind noch das Beste, was es zu bieten hat. Sie stellen sehr gut dar, was Linux ist und was Windows ist.

Nochmals Danke dafür :-)

23/09/09 @ 21:33
Comment from: Brian [Visitor]
You forgot the best image:

Windows is like having a staff of household servants who speak the same language as the master and just do as they're told most of the time.

Linux is like having a staff of servants who speak every language under the sun - including all of the dialects, who all have their own ideas about how the household should be run, and who must be given explicit, detailed, cryptic instructions on how to do the simplest of chores.
30/09/09 @ 17:19
graduate student
Comment from: graduate student [Visitor]
This is a great article.
17/10/09 @ 01:49
Comment from: Xenu [Visitor]
As someone who's struggled with adopting Linux in the past, your article was a nice read. Luckily, Ubuntu makes the basics easy enough that I'm not too frustrated to deal with the process of learning.
24/10/09 @ 01:59
Comment from: Deepak [Visitor]
Great article! I love Linux because it is about scalability and freedom and uses all my horsepower efficiently
26/10/09 @ 20:24
Charlie Tame
Comment from: Charlie Tame [Visitor]
Excellent article indeed, enjoyable reading. I don't think anyone can argue that MS were the major players in bringing computing to the masses and promoting it to the extent that sales of machines brought the price down to within reach of the ordinary person. The fact that they were able to make high profits which in a way were fed back into persuading more and more people to get computers is inextricably linked to the growth of the industry in general. No, I am not trying to claim that Microsoft "Created" the whole industry, or that they helped to create "Linux", but they contributed heavily to the growth of the industry and clearly the bigger the industry became the more useful other operating systems would become.

However MS's initial philosophy of making things like networking easy and intuitive has come back to bite us all in a way with the arrival of the Internet, because it was ease at the expense of security - and being honest there are dangers out there now that MS could not have imagined back then - so the evolutionary paths you mentioned have to converge.

For example I think the Windows 7 design, which leaves out "Live Essentials" unless you actually want to install them is taking the right path. Media software and things like that are applications, not part of an operating system. This is the good thing Linux began with instead of being a good thing to aim for :) However it is true to say that the "Average" consumer sees the product with most features as the most desirable one, even if there is more cost and they will never use many of the features.

Personal experience here is that when we've had an older machine here at work go bad and the original CDs are lost we can throw in a new drive and a copy of Ubuntu and as soon as the user knows where Firefox and whatever else they need for work is they can get right back and use it.

We can't stay that way because proprietary software is needed, but my point is that except for things they can't do because of the proprietary software the newcomers get comfortable real quick.

So it's an interesting chicken and egg situation. The industry certainly "Needed" Microsoft to get the volume of users, and Linux "Needed" the volume of users to be there in order to grow as it has done, so should they be enemies, no, but "Rivals" certainly.
27/10/09 @ 00:15
Comment from: Rafael64 [Visitor]
I'm Windows user but I want ... "something more, something... better for me." ... this article finally opened my eyes. Thanks. ;)
04/11/09 @ 16:37
Comment from: Trinity [Visitor] Email
Bravo. I left mac and windows behind because this comes from passion--from people who care. It inspired me and is the change I want to see in the world. Linux offers something other OS' lack--freedom. If you want to be replugged into the matrix--go ahead. Just stop complaining and look for solutions. Like the people who create the systems in the first place. Take ownership and join in.
05/12/09 @ 16:26
Comment from: shiv [Visitor] Email
This is a really nice blog to read and gives us bunch
of valuble information. I liked your analogies which
you used to explain the differences. And the use of
history knowledge of tools are quit impressive.
Thanks a lot for creating this king of knowledgeable
and interactive doc.
09/12/09 @ 12:42
Comment from: Virus-Inc. [Visitor] · http://www.yboots.com
I found your story very interesting.
I personally liked the Lego Car section.
I would suggest Linux to anyone who is wanting change.
Yeah theres issues, but thats why people (not companies) fix them. It may be harder for users, but keep this in mind...
Would you rather some company who doesn't give a Sh*t about the user coding your programs, or a "User" of the program coding the program you use? So to end this comment.... LONG LIVE LINUX!!!

Desktop uses VectorLinux 6.0 Final
Server uses Mandrake 10.1
16/12/09 @ 06:29
Rajiv Ramaratnam
Comment from: Rajiv Ramaratnam [Visitor] · http://rajivram.blogspot.com
Great article. A week with Linux will make almost anyone a believer. It is mind blowing how much one gets for free. Office applications, Media centers, Internet apps, etc. on Linux. I think as one spends time with Linux and with a bit of due diligence, she can discover almost all she has been missing in Windows. Any Linux user would attest to the fact that the due diligence is worth the effort.
23/12/09 @ 02:13
John Kallinikos
Comment from: John Kallinikos [Visitor]
That's just great.It helped me a lot when I was a newbie.Great work!
19/01/10 @ 13:18
Comment from: wizarddrummer [Visitor]
Authentication is required to install software packages.


This is way down on the list so it probably will never be seen.

A great read...

Having been involved with computers for many years I heard of the birth of UNIX (I was a junior in High School when my Dad who worked at ATT. We lived about 20 miles from Bell Labs ... it was as he said it "some new fangled multi user operating system that allows us to have a terminal on our desks.")

Years later I entered hands on realm with System III. And experienced the birth of DOS, NeXT Workstations (Best OS I have ever used. I also had OPENSTEP installed on a $5,500.00 DEC 486DX100 in the early 90's), World Wide Web (for me it was circa Nov 1991), Linux, Windows, and others.

Ah vi ... how my heart jumps at the sheer elegance of that editor.

There's also a little known DOS editor called Mulit-Edit, that once you got used to it was nearly as productive as vi.

I have only one fault with what you wrote...

I am assuming that your article is specifically about Linux and not Ubuntu regarding "Linux is not interested in market share. Linux does not have customers. Linux does not have shareholders, or a responsibility to the bottom line. Linux was not created to make money. Linux does not have the goal of being the most popular and widespread OS on the planet."

If that is completely true then there should be a huge disclaimer in huge, giant, bold print that says "We're not interested in attracting Windows users to Linux based programs that are not willing to get their geeky hands dirty!"

It seems to me that Ubuntu is in a big time promotion to attract Windows users.

There's a lot of glitz and glitter here: http://www.ubuntu.com/products/whatisubuntu/910features

Anyway, I loved your dissertation.

24/01/10 @ 20:48
Comment from: wizarddrummer [Visitor]
sorry about the erroneous info at the top of my last comment.
24/01/10 @ 20:50
Bruno Campello de Souza
Comment from: Bruno Campello de Souza [Visitor]
Take the following definitions:

User-friendliness: How quick/easy it is for an average user to discover how to something he/she wants without any specific prior training;

Usability: How few are the steps necessary to be taken by the user in order to execute a given task.

How do you think "Linux" fares against "Windows"?

Remember that, as a rule, mouse clicks are essentially MUCH "easier" than command lines or even keyboard shortcuts. Also, Windows culture is infinitely more widespread than Linux, therefore, the vast majority of users have great familiarity with it.

Oh, yeah, above all, it is also important to keep in mind what Clint Eastwood said in the movie "Unforgiven":

'Fair' ain't got nothing to do with it.
27/01/10 @ 22:13
Comment from: Dominic [Visitor] · http://geekblog.oneandoneis2.org
Well, firstly, your definition of user-friendly is pretty much the opposite of usability. Vi would be considered exceptionally usable but hideosuly unfriendly by your examples, for instance.

As for how they fare.. well, it's obvious: Linux wins hands-down.

Windows users who dismiss Linux always seem to miss the point that just about every Linux user has extensive familiarity with Windows, and still prefers to use Linux. It's very rare to encounter anybody with great familiarity with Linux and prefers Windows.

So Linux is logically the best, as people who know how to use both invariably choose Linux. Only people who don't know better use Windows.
27/01/10 @ 22:41
Comment from: Ivanb [Visitor] Email
Great article!! I consider myself a windows power user with exposure to linux over the years. Mostly in embedded systems. I recently made the switch to linux because I got tired of supporting Bill Gates and have been very pleased if not frustrated at times.
01/02/10 @ 13:48
John Oisterwijk
Comment from: John Oisterwijk [Visitor]
I wish I could write an article people would enjoy reading for so long a time...
But you did, and I enjoyed it! Great read, and still valid IMO.
07/02/10 @ 21:03
Comment from: Bruno [Visitor]
You dont unsderstand what fuck this coments idiots make for the open source systems, you are a win user or you are like others geeks that want the linux just for you?what fuck are you with this ridiculous website? lol I think you are a idiot using windows trying to make more people to use this shit, and yes linux is more faster and more better than windows "garbage" that consume half of your HD.
use Linux this is the future, Mac Os X is other alternative. windows = garbage man
08/02/10 @ 00:48
Comment from: A.P. [Visitor]
Nice article, but I don't fully agree. I like Unix, and I use Linux for that. It's not that I like Lego much, I just prefer to do my work in the most suitable way.
08/02/10 @ 18:58
Silver Knight
Comment from: Silver Knight [Visitor]
Positively brilliant post. Crystal clear and right to the point. Old post, but still perfectly relevant today. 'Nuff said. Thanks much for this. :)
Signed: A long-time Linux user who just happens to be quite familiar with all flavors of Windows and Mac OS also. ;)
13/02/10 @ 18:14
Comment from: dennis [Visitor]
Firefox wasn't an imitation if IE, it is an imitation Opera.

Opera poured the millions into getting the most usable browser and FF cribs the form.

With every Opera innovation, FF usually copies within weeks, with some extension.

The success of FF is due to millions spent by a PR firm. Once you reach critical mass with a good product, the rest is smooth sailing.

I won't go into where FF might be better or worse than Opera. My point is the success was 2 fold: not too proud for taking best design (even of another) , and some good money backing.

15/02/10 @ 16:30
Comment from: Toni [Visitor] · http://tertl.blogspot.com
Considering this was written in '05, it's interesting to read.

I first began seriously trying distros in '04 (with Mandrake) and have been going on and off with pretty much all the common distros (and some less common) ever since.

The comments on convergence are particularly interesting, since increasingly control is being found in menus as well as at the command line. This is a good thing, because although one may know aspects of an OS and the software you run in great detail, relatively few know commands to do everything, and a menu system is a much more rational way of enabling someone to navigate unfamiliar areas: certainly far more so than asking a user group.

Related top this, many Linux flavours actually DO want 'ordinary' users to come on board. Why? Because without Linux becoming more mainstream it will stagnate and shrivel, eventually withering down to a bitter core of hardened geeks, holding to the 'true way' of computing.

One further observation is that there was a bit of a wobble for a couple of years when everyone got caught up in the Toys R Us desktop mentality, trying to make everything too pretty. This missed the efficiency point that really kept Windows a winner. If you turned off the animations, cartoon icons and gaudy colours, underneath was a crisp, sharp and clean environment for work. Linux was making do with smudgy fonts and messy graphics that were anything but effective. Ubuntu still has this problem, even in version 9.10, though it is better than the 8.X versions. Several other distros seem to have more-or-less sewn this aspect up now (Sabayon 5 is outstanding). OSX is not great in this respect either (I'm writing this from my macbook) so it's not just Linux. The font issue appears down to graphics drivers and implementation, rather than the fonts themselves.

But overall, great article. At the end of the day the OSs are all just tools, and it's good to assess them according to their functionality and usefulness to us, rather than from a tribal perspective.
16/02/10 @ 11:23
Comment from: Gorja [Visitor] · http://www.gorja.de
Am I allowed to copy the german translation on my site?
Want to spread this message around the world!
10/03/10 @ 11:10
Comment from: Gustaf [Visitor]
A really great article
30/03/10 @ 14:40
Robert Massaioli
Comment from: Robert Massaioli [Visitor] · http://massaioli.homelinux.com/wordpress
Wow that was a really good article and thankyou for writing it. It explains the situation perfectly and I think that I will comment on it more in my blog.

But I nearly died of laughter when I read the lines: "And so we come to the biggest problem of all when it comes to new users and Linux: ... They find out they're not wanted."

06/04/10 @ 05:00
Comment from: GNU DWELLER [Visitor] · http://faithfreedom.org

Thank You!
11/04/10 @ 09:51
Comment from: m4tic [Visitor] · http://techm4.blogspot.com
What is there to update, it's still relevant
12/04/10 @ 11:51
Comment from: Grail [Visitor] Email
Possibly one of the best articles I have read for quite some time. I have since forwarded to a number of friends who are in the "When will Linux be more like Windows?" basket.
My only bit of extra add that I might have put in was in the last section on FOSS. You mention how companies like Red Hat and so on "sell" Linux, but I thought maybe you could have highlighted that in fact what they sell is "support".
Just my 2 cents :)

Again, thanks for the great read
15/04/10 @ 06:45
I like this article & only just started reading it. If Windows is a car then linux is not a motorbike, it would be a not-a-car & would include trains, 18-wheeler transporters trucks, vans, buses, yes-motorbikes-too, pushbikes, skateboards, roller-skates, feet, surf-boards, ships, aeroplanes and space-stations. Not all are suitable for driving to the shops! Not all would be good for a 100mile journey!

A distro made for a hand-held would not be great as a server! Ok, bad example. A distro made for a router box would not be great for watching movies & playing games on a desktop.

Regards from
Tom :)

PS ok, DW is not MY site & Wolvix is not the distro i use most often but it is an excellent one well worth exploring & is used in marker buoys at sea near Norway apparently errr, but it does play movies & games too.
15/04/10 @ 19:06
@ Gorja
Yes, you can adapt it according to the Creative Commons licence

but i think you have to include a link to the orginal posted here and have to menion the original authors name and also protect the work by placing a Creative Commons licence on it.

Regards from
Tom :)
15/04/10 @ 19:16
The Tech
Comment from: The Tech [Visitor]
The data at the bottom of this post tells how true this is. I went in a year from not knowing how to use a command line, to being able to recover my system to full previous splendor with a cmdl using Linux. The few people coming from windows, wanting more, not knowing how, but with a open mind for Linux actually succeed in the community often, since they actually need it, something better. Great Post, 5 years of comments proves a point.
09/05/10 @ 22:56
Comment from: Somebody [Visitor]
I would like to make a comment about the commercial nature (or lack thereof) of Linux.

The point you made is that organizations like REDHAT *sell* linux and don't contribute to the software development -- that the software is developed by people who WANT to do so *for fun* or for their own personal use.

This is simply NOT TRUE.

First off, REDHAT does not *sell* Linux... they sell SUPPORT for Linux. REDHAT ENTERPRISE LINUX is open source and available for free as long as you are willing to forego the RH branding -- look up CENTOS.

SECOND (and far more important), a HUGE part of Linux development (most of it actually) is COMMERCIAL. VERY commercial. Linux developers ***ARE PAID*** for their work. How? Take any organization that benefits in some manner from the advancement of Linux -- like AMD for example, or REDHAT. If it is in the interests of that organization for Linux to advance, then they PAY DEVELOPERS to build/advance Linux. AMD (in partnership with REDHAT) is in the middle of a major project to build fully open source GRAPHICS DRIVERS for Linux. These drivers are submitted UPSTREAM to projects like MESA. There are MANY MANY projects that are done like this. Most of the major/core projects. Openoffice is another one. HUGELY commercial with HUGE financial incentives. So where does the money come from? Simple: people who want to use Linux buy AMD graphics cards. AMD takes some of that money and pays driver developers to build the drivers that support their graphics cards.

How about MySQL? Commercial support, open source database. That would be ORACLE now.

IBM? Nokia? Intel?
SO MANY companies PAY developers to advance Linux!

Even MICROSOFT has paid developers to contribute to Linux (although as a result of a blunder related to the THEFT OF GPL CODE).

This is another big commercial LINUX project, though not presently known for mass upstream contributions, it still counts. Google wants to sell advertising. So they pay developers to build Android/Linux. Hardware vendors want to use it and have a high degree of support from Google, including the right to use Google branding on their devices, they PAY Google for that right and Google in turn pays developers to advance the platform!
11/05/10 @ 14:51
Comment from: Mike [Visitor]
Fantastic article (http://linux.oneandoneis2.org/LNW.htm).

I switched over to Ubuntu today (this morning was hell... this evening is heaven!). I have been using OSX and XP for years, I have also used Ubuntu a few times before and had experience of Linux back in the late 90's.

The great advantage of me switching between OSX and XP so frequently is that I used the same cross-platform applications and programming languages on both (PHP, Java), and (jEdit, Firefox, GIMP, Netbeans, Doxygen, OpenOffice.org). I also started using web services such as GMail and Netvibes etc... which means the switch has been easy for me :)

Good riddance to rubbish windows... I am running my own IT based business (well just starting out actually) and I'm so excited to have no more stupid "Spyware / Virus" downtime... I used to run Spybot and antivirus all the time, and they were annoying. Also firewall was hideous.

The other "downtime" with XP was the way it's badly designed. Hurray that I've finally escaped.

I have converted so many people to either Linux or OSX. I always say to them:

1) You only need antivirus on Windows because it's security system is designed badly, and you've been brainwashed in to thinking that that is acceptable... If you bought a safe but then immediately had to go out and buy a large padlock for it because the door kept coming open would you accept it?
2) This is a dig at PC's over Mac hardware (sorry Linux users):
a) Noisy fan.
b) Looks crap
c) By the time you get the same specification including power, quietness, and less downtime using OSX, you get the money back from the extra cost of a Mac. In the long run Macs save you far more money than stupid PC's.

I bought a cheap PC (you get what you pay for). I've heard quieter vacuum cleaners! I am now going to have to pay to silence it... guess what... it will end up costing the same as a Mac!!!!!!! ;)

Oh well I live and learn. Still I NEED a PC to run the amazing Ubuntu! :) :) So it's worth it. I love OSX and Ubuntu equally... they are both amazing for different reasons.

Windows is like Smallpox... i.e. I hope it gets eradicated. Education will do that.

I spoke to a group of 10 people, and they didn't even know there was a choice of different operating systems lol. The conversion has begun and it's all out war.
16/05/10 @ 20:13
Joe 1
Comment from: Joe 1 [Visitor]
Your article is the very best I've read. Thank you.

I know Windows XP very well, but with Microsoft's push for Windows 7 I decided to walk away. I cannot thank M$ enough-- I've been using Ubuntu ever since and I'm literally and truly HAPPIER everyday. I do stuff on a mediocre netbook that makes Windows 7 [l]users jaws drop with envy.
17/05/10 @ 06:07
Srinath Madhavan
Comment from: Srinath Madhavan [Visitor]
It has been so so so long since I actually found someone who has taken the time to think everything through before writing such an article. A very enjoyable read. Thanks for taking the time and effort to do this.
18/05/10 @ 23:09
Comment from: Shareana [Visitor]
Why did you made this article in Microsoft® Word™ application? vi[m?] is too good for that?
20/05/10 @ 09:47
Mike B
Comment from: Mike B [Visitor] Email
I read this excellent written work and I've read the high-quality posts that were posted in reply.

I tried Ubuntu Linux and spent about three weeks working on it, using a spare computer that I had on hand. About one week ago I gave up in disgust. The nature of my disappointment in Linux isn't my point here... actually, I plan to TRY AGAIN in a little while. Why will I try again? Well, my first sentence above answers that question.

Thank you for your well-written article!

Mike B
25/05/10 @ 12:51
Comment from: Sönke [Visitor]
Well, i have found almost agreements to this text but I do not understand why. This text is deprecated, obsolete and wrong in nearly all aspects. Editors are not bounded to an OS like the author try to tell us. Everybody can use vi on Windows if he wish. There exists no special linux or windows way to solve some problems.

The main differences between Linux and Windows are the availability of software and the price. That's all!

I write this as a Linux-User since 1995 so WTF this pamphlet is for?
26/05/10 @ 07:57
Comment from: sirkit77 [Visitor] Email
Great article! I arrived here from the Peppermint OS distro forum in search of answers and you provided them. Btw, everyone should check out Peppermint, super-fast, easy to use and elegant. Tiny system footprint. (699mb)
29/05/10 @ 22:48
Comment from: RANC [Visitor]
just new to Linux...but...super-good...I can see a great and
powerful future for this OS.
I want to THANKS personally to ALL persons that have been working on this and to ALL that keep working for better.
30/05/10 @ 19:44
Comment from: buRn [Visitor]
Damn, u made ur statemant and u are compleatly right.
04/06/10 @ 03:08
Comment from: david [Visitor] · http://compus1.com
I guess as an IT cosultant..advanced in windows, and intermediate in apple... Linux sounds like the next step in diversifying..I guess I'm just looking for an alternative, without the conditions, but I don't want to get stock with bad support...or programming an incomplete software.
I don't mind learning, but I do mind if the solutions is going to take me forever to learn
I do bilieve there should be some standards, to make learning easier...but I guess linux wants different.
I'm not a programmer, so code is not my cup of coffee, and I don't expect to be on the prgramming side of things.
I can contribute with opinions, or showing others how to use their computers more efficiently, but I need the programs to work, if I'm going to distribute it.
05/06/10 @ 15:14
Baldemar Huerta
Comment from: Baldemar Huerta [Visitor]
I love Ubuntu! (now that I made it look and act just like windows 7). It's the best looking operating system out there.
17/06/10 @ 07:27
Comment from: lourencool [Visitor]
linux = no virus and small suport to programs and games
windows = virus and suport to all programs

we would all like an operating system that supports all programs.
why Windows is better.
Linux may be interesting for those who work only with Internet, edit text, or even likes to tinker with photography, but for video editing, audio, and above all, have the best experience in computing and can use all the software available, Windows is unbeatable.
Just ask for a linux user how many programs he wanted to have on your machine but can not, simply because they used linux, and therefore had no proper support. I would also have a operating system for free, but if you can not just add some money and buy a legal copy, which costs on average less than a memory or video card in your PC
13/07/10 @ 22:56
Comment from: apial [Visitor]

thank you for this wonderful articel! I work as systemengineer and have a new job in a company with linux based enviroment.
Now i understand what i have too do to work correctly with Linux.

Best regards
apial from Germany!
15/07/10 @ 10:28
Comment from: alexibad [Visitor] · http://alexibad.wordpress.com
Well, linux should be like windows. If you wanna get new users - you have to give them faster, better and stronger OS than what they are used to.
So Ubuntu 10.04 LTS is wrong where it could be good. The Minimize,Maximize and close buttons - are the start of the problem. Start Menu in opposite where people are used to. I don't say it's a bad thing but this is why people love Mint instead of UBUNTU.
Another problem is the attitude of geek linux guru - who complain that both Ubuntu and Mint are for newbies. But let's be honest, if 25% of mint users are very experienced linux users, what about other 75 %? All I'm saying is that linux should get the attention that it deserved, it should be easy to use as it is now.
Let's face it, with all this software manager, it's simple and efficient. Why should I search for line commands, stress people on forums and give up in the end when now it's out of the box, ready to go.

I'm new to linux, but in two months I installed and use :
Sabayon 5.2; Sabayon 5.3 ; LUPU (Linux puppy); Ubuntu 10.04 and now I'm writing this on Linux Mint 9.
From this experience I can tell that Mint is :
a) Simple
b) Clear menus
c) Very good interface and buttons (minimize / maximize / close)
d) Start menu - smart and organized.
e) Codecs, essential applications and utilities installed.

But LINUX is not Windows - I'm not completely agree with that. When you use same applications on both OS - Open Office Org, Mozilla Firefox, VLC media player, and so on, you understand that is the same feeling.

Of course - goodbye games, winamp, photoshop but there is always a linux version for everything (play games with wine, winamp ~ audacious, photoshop ~ gimp, Corel ~ Inkscape).

As a new user, I recommend to take your time, get used to linux, it crashes sometimes like any other software - but there is no blue screen , just hit Force quit.

After getting into linux, all your programs installed and ready to use, you will look at windows and say :
" There are so many people who didn't even know about Linux. So ... don't waste your time reinstalling windows. Try Mint !!!!
18/07/10 @ 01:06
Comment from: Windy [Visitor] Email · http://twitter.com/windybd
Great, insightful article! I'm going to retweet this. Because there's every chance people who love Windows and try Linux just for an experiment experience the exact problems you mentioned. Thanks again!
20/07/10 @ 11:09
Baldemar Huerta
Comment from: Baldemar Huerta [Visitor]
"The Gimp was built by people who use it to manipulate graphics files"

They must suck at graphic design as well. Jesus H Christ, what a muddled up crappy UI.
29/07/10 @ 06:34
Henry Huggins
Comment from: Henry Huggins [Visitor]
"Well, linux should be like windows. "

THIS. I'm waiting for a distro that uses Win 2-7 pack as the UI out of the box.
29/07/10 @ 06:38
Louigi Verona
Comment from: Louigi Verona [Visitor] · http://www.louigiverona.ru
@alexibad: seems like you missed the point of the article completely, no offence meant.
25/09/10 @ 06:11
Comment from: Michel [Visitor]
Amigão, muito bom o artigo, porém: a relação entre carros e motocicletas tem diversas falhas e, por isso, não é válida. Uso o windows, o debian e uma motocicleta. Ainda me falta o carro, mas quem precisa de carro? Além disso, do jeito que você comparou o bloco de notas e o vi, parece que o bloco de notas não serve pra nada. Você não levou em consideração que o cara que arrasta o mouse pra copiar (ou recortar) não precisa contar as palavras. Em compensação, no vi, você recorta 5 palavras e percebe que eram 6, e não 5. E agora? Ah, é só digitar mais um comandos. Fácil, né? Nem tanto. Não é assim que as coisas funcionam. As comparações que tu fez foram extremamente tendensiosas. Melhor seria se tu tivesse mantido o nível do início do artigo. De qualquer forma, parabéns.
26/09/10 @ 23:43
Sayantan Ghosh
Comment from: Sayantan Ghosh [Visitor] Email
Good work!!!!!! Congos. I have been using Linux since FC1 and I love it. No point in migrating to something that looks like a lot of buttons and drop-down menus. You are right, too much of a hassle to use windows (my mom still uses windows and I find it painful whenever I have to trouble shoot something there).
26/10/10 @ 08:35
Comment from: thras0 [Visitor] Email
I loved your article.Although I'm a novice to Linux I found it very easy to work around with the new GUI they supply.Sure its a bit treaky to install new software, but once you get the hang of it,its really a fun process.Forces you to think about what you are doing, and that its a plus in my opinion.I was a Windows user for 6 years and had little to no problems,regardless of the distribution.But I just needed a fresh start.I wanted to try new things,and switching to Linux was a smart move.
11/11/10 @ 15:50
Comment from: Jason [Visitor]
"they don't like it in spite of having to do all the assembly before they can use it"

I'm not sure i quite get the meaning of this statement? Are you able to explain it a bit further.

29/11/10 @ 22:40
Mike McLaughlin
Comment from: Mike McLaughlin [Visitor] · http://www.johnnyslastresort.com
Thanks for the eye opening article, I think I need to examine what's available and see what I can work best with.
05/12/10 @ 17:35
Comment from: HappyPenguin [Visitor]
@@lourencool [Visitor:
You said "but for video editing, audio, and above all, have the best experience in computing and can use all the software available, Windows is unbeatable"

Try telling that to people who do Video Editing professionally. There is a reason why Pixar, for example, uses Linux.

I have been using Linux for 6 years and I do all the things you suggest are better on windows. Only in fact they are better on Linux.
06/12/10 @ 21:00
Comment from: Dev [Visitor] Email
This article is 15 years old and certainly does not represent some facts about the present day linux distributions. There are distros which are as good as windows in terms of GUI and at the same time can be used from xterm. Gedit is much better than window editer. Kile is probably the best text editer. Burn your CDs/DVDs with k3b/Nero. Openoffice is there by default...list is endless....
07/12/10 @ 21:41
Comment from: David [Visitor]
I loved your Lego analogy.
01/01/11 @ 17:10
Comment from: nirmalh [Visitor] · http://tuxboss.info
The Blog is wonderful. Lemme congratulate you for the wonderful Blog. I have been following Linux the day when it entered my ears in 1993. And have completed my passion by testing 110 distros of Linux and its varients. Explaining newbies regarding linux at the sametime.

Visit mywebsite http://tuxboss.info

03/01/11 @ 14:45
Comment from: william [Visitor]
Dear Author of Linux != Windows, != clever I suppose you write command or terminal scripts....impressive. I'm a Windows tech and a home users of Ubuntu my server is running OpenSuSe, you know what the real problem is? The problems is people try it and expected to be the same so they don't have to try to learn something new, the fact is without the use of proprietary software(witch I know Canonical has started sell some in Software Center) and the brain power to lean something new it blows any Windows install out of the water. Not to mention Mothers, College student and more who can't afford to spend thousands on software can have a changes to edit videos/audio tracks make dvds use full office and much more with a high speed OS. So heres a if statment for you if youdon'tknow = true then shutup.
27/01/11 @ 05:09
Comment from: John [Visitor]
Just another Linux user (with Windows-using friends) who appreciated the article.
27/01/11 @ 08:06
Comment from: Renato [Visitor]
Cara tu não sabe nada sobre LINUX.
01/02/11 @ 17:47
Comment from: vk6fun [Visitor] Email
fyi the difference is this.

windows, like all microsoft products, is a commercial brand and is the result of market research and the paid efforts of professional engineers who work for the company towards a common goal. it's success is due to microsoft's aggressive protection of market share and it's copyright. hardware companies understand the commercial importance of windows support. their financial viability depends on it.

linux, on the other hand, is a toy produced by amateurs in their spare time. every now and then someone comes up with something really good but for the most part it is an unco-ordinated mess of un sorted building blocks and half-finished code. this makes it a truly fabulous playground for wankers who think that sitting in front of a computer for two days trying to get a printer to work constitutes some kind of meaningful life.
if you think this is harsh i must remind you of the words of linus torvalds himself when he introduced linux to the world:
"remember the good old days.... ...when men were men, and wrote their own device drivers"
02/02/11 @ 09:03
Roman H.
Comment from: Roman H. [Visitor]
Absolutely fantastic guide, to which I'll be pointing a great deal of my friends. Years ago, I made the switch from MS Windows to Ubuntu, to Mint, to Debian, to Arch, and finally to Gentoo. Linux software has come a long way concerning "noob-friendliness," especially in distros centered on it, but there are plenty others which can't be bothered by it. My grandma uses Kubuntu, and I stuck with a CLI-based Arch install, and we can both do what we need. And vi ftw!
06/02/11 @ 06:59
Comment from: Derrick [Visitor]
Excellent read! That was the most straight forward and honest look at the various OSes i have ever read. I'm looking to get more into Linux but having a hardtime choosing a platform. I came across your article while searching "linux platform for windows users" LOL. Glad i found it.
14/02/11 @ 15:53
Gypsy Chief
Comment from: Gypsy Chief [Visitor] Email · http://kakoluri.com/turning-to-slackware/
Great article Dominic. I also like what's wrong with Windows that you wrote and I linked to. I've tried many distros and Slackware is the one I like the best. I've had so much trouble with Win XP I can't imagine why anybody would be satisfied using it. My city of 140,000 has a decision to make. The city govt owns roughly 2,000 computers. They all run XP, Microsoft has announced end of life. I'm working to get my city govt to stop supporting the monopoly operating system. I want them to use Linux not necessarily Slackware. I think Ubuntu is bloated vs Slack and part of the saving will be in longer hardware use. Maybe Vector Linux would be a good choice.
08/03/11 @ 08:32
dragon queen
Comment from: dragon queen [Visitor]
Is there anything available to help direct me to locating Linux functions? Windows has books for dummies is there something comperable for Linux?
18/03/11 @ 16:32
Comment from: Cames [Visitor]
Great article. Wish I had seen this when I started using Linux half a year ago or so. It was still helpful, though.
24/03/11 @ 03:55
Comment from: JW [Visitor]
Eye opening, thanks. I think I was one of those Linux is the open source of Windows types. Even as I've learned a little bit in the short time I've been using Ubuntu, I still get frustrated because it doesn't work like it "should." Now I can shake off that should and see Linux as itself.
17/04/11 @ 00:00
James Kilty
Comment from: James Kilty [Visitor] Email · http://www.kilty.demon.co.uk
Great article. I will link to it.
25/04/11 @ 21:57
Comment from: ipnox [Visitor]
I read your article published in Italian, is very interesting and deep, well done

18/05/11 @ 05:21
Comment from: SpatryX [Visitor]
I read through your article with great interest and I would have to agree with it's content.

I used MS products since the DOS days up until Win7. One month ago I decided to give Linux another try after getting hit with another virus (AGAIN). Over the years I have tested live distros but I was unwilling to take the necessary time to assimilate it.

I decided to use Zorin OS as DistroWatch mentioned it was for people accustomed to Windows. I was completely SOLD on it when I launched the Live USB and was treated with Compiz eye candy... AND it automatically set up all of my hardware on my new laptop! I have never seen a distribution do that before!

I was overwhelmed by it's stability, security and functionality. I was also impressed by the online support in Ubuntu forums. Through tutorials I have figured out how to upgrade my kernel and customise MY system to behave exactly how I WANT IT TO, which is something I could NEVER do with Windows!

I feel that Linux is much easier to learn for the newcomer than it was about 10 years ago. I love the fact that there are many choices in terms of software, all of which are free. I am happy that I finally made the move to Linux. I have fallen in love with my computer again!

Each day I am learning new things. I am nothing short of impressed with what Linux has to offer. I would rather use my money to support FOSS than to give it to greedy corporations who bloat your system resources with activation technologies, poor security and inferior support for their product! I will take GPL over EULA any day!

30/05/11 @ 04:45
Anoop KB
Comment from: Anoop KB [Visitor]

This article was very much informative :-)
30/05/11 @ 11:10
Comment from: chris_r [Visitor]
Useful, thanks for posting. My vista keeps me teetering on the edge, and I know how much legacy code probably is still the core of w7, which imho should have been a patch or service pack. I have maybe just enough dos experience to get linux-adventurous someday. I would like to read more of the comments, but two thoughts, 1.5 of them appear not yet covered:
1. Ctrl-X always seemed intuitive to me as eXcise or eXtract, though I like that scissors idea better. Ctrl-V anyway I always understood as a down arrow pointing like "paste here." Trivium.
2. "New users come to Linux after spending their lives using an OS where the end-user's needs are paramount, and "user friendly" and "customer focus" are considered veritable Holy Grails."
BWAhahahaha! Well, that's the theory anyway. I guess to the extent, and maybe only to the extent these days, that that overlaps with maximized profit -- but the two can also diverge, even widely ;-)
01/06/11 @ 06:31
Ursu Dumitru
Comment from: Ursu Dumitru [Visitor] · http://dimaursu16@blogspot.com
Great article. It revealed me a lot of aspects of this question( as a linux user, I was asked many times by my university colleagues why should they want linux?) now, I will have a good starting point to explain them will should they want it or not.

btw. can I tanslate your article in romanian ( my native language ) for posting it on my blog and on a website (a LUG from Moldova) ?
01/06/11 @ 23:55
Felix Palmen
Comment from: Felix Palmen [Visitor]
As a long-term linux user and professional software developer, I'm really sorry that I have to disagree with the better part of your article. As i agree with your thoughts on VI, i completely disagree with the idea that everything is "different" for a reason.

Let me tell you this: In my experience as a software developer, >50% of the project time is spent on the user interface. And this sucks, of course. It's boring stuff, repetitive ... it SHOULD be automated. Frameworks evolve to leverage this problem, especially on Windows. Linux still needs such a consistent and easy-to-use (for the developer) framework.

So, my theory is: most of the developers publishing free software in der spare time just don't want to be bothered with boring tasks like UI. VI is a different thing, because it's something I call a "power tool": it is specially tailored for a power-user task and it has it's very own and specialized UI. I'm sure THAT kind of UI wasn't easy to develop :) It's not quite intuitive, but that would be counter-productive for a tool like that. BUT: anything that's considered "standard software" (and this comprises browsers, simple text editors, office software like simple databases, publishing software, calculations ..., web browsers, mail clients) should try to optimize the UI in an "intuitive" way, so you don't have to read any [fucking :D] manual just to use it...

Oh, and, after all .. this is NOT a linux issue, it's an OSS issue (and OSS exists on windows as well, fortunately)
11/06/11 @ 19:51
Comment from: Neil [Visitor]
For me, the line that made the article worth reading was towards the end;

'The oh-so-common threats of "Linux will never take over the desktop unless it does such-and-such" are simply irrelevant:'

Right on.

How you experience Linux is up to you.

It is what you make it.

I like that.
12/06/11 @ 16:03
Comment from: Stephen [Visitor]
I must say, I love this. I forgot the name of the Winclone, ReactOS, that I wanted to post about, since win8 looks horrid, so I did a google search for "Opensource windows replacement" and this was the third down. Read through it all. A great read. I was a "pro" windows user, having messed with them since I was 10, but changed to Linux 2 years. Everything you said is still true, though I do see Linux as becoming much more mainstream then it was, and I would bet that it will become even more mainstream once 8 comes out.

I think that every disto needs to have a link to this in on their front page, cause all new users need to read. I know I am going to send all the converts I see here.
14/07/11 @ 08:03
Comment from: chico [Visitor] Email · http://www.cristian-herrera.se
Love your article, it makes lot of sence and I really hope that both windows migrants AND experienced LINUX users reads it, mayb we can coexist ;-)

I've been using Slackware since the late 90's and now I am using archlinux.
Anyways, I have converted some of my friends to linux, by just helping them with the install and then pointing them to the man pages.
however if uou want to learn computing and take a good look under the hood, Linux is for you, especially slackware, arch, LFS and gentoo.
but if you just want it to work, use Ubuntu.
I think that the first thing a new user should learn is to use the terminal.

And one last thing, a good tip for Windows users:
If you decide to use Linux, you will have to accept that you must lear somethings, and lesson nr 1 is to alwaus be polite to the community and adopt a "search first, ask later" filosofy, Most experienced Linux users are helpful, but it tends to get tidious to answer the same question over and over again.

However most of my frinds that have tried Linux never looked back at windows again (except for gaming)
02/08/11 @ 20:30
Comment from: D [Visitor]
Just a note: I've tried many Linux distributions
and liked quite a few.
The only almost unsurmountable difficulty is the language used.
For instance......you see in my American hand an ORANGE. An Apelsin, in some places and a Lemoen or
Jingga in others. So then we use the common acronym
O....or maybe L or perhaps J....and we all mean the same thing.
This is like many sciences and trades that exist today and for thousands of years. The "lingo" is designed so that even fairly intelligent human beings would be confused yet at the root of it all, the common sense concepts, functions etc are fairly simple. A question I have asked many "authorities in different fields who as in this simply shrug..... Hey you need to study for years to understand this or that, after all, I studied....see my paper saying so.
My opinion of this may be to simple to understand.
I think it's what they commonly call a bunch of KRAP.....purposely put in place to keep the mystical to the mystics who then parade around acting and saying that they are mystic's possessing something mystical that only a few have the power to cypher.
So if Linux were ever explained in plain language....be it English, French, Russian or Yiddish......with at least a commonality that would allow one to know that a JTG was just the same as a OFM it would be perhaps less interesting but maybe easier to understand.
After all are we not still dealing with huge amounts of 0's and 1's.
Like millions of mini on and off switches.
Perhaps not as that might just further confuse.

03/08/11 @ 13:54
Comment from: Derelikt [Visitor] · http://www.tech2logic.com
I say teh hell with all the windows users, if you don't like change don't come here. Of course I'm a windows user with enough common sense to understand that all new things take time, and no linux is not "better" then windows, then again windows is not better then linux. They are functionally the same, each one having different problems and each one throwing different curve balls at us. I switched to linux for the pure love of something new to figure out, of course I'm neurotic that way. But who cares, this post is as meaningless as a windows user saying linux sucks, or a make person, true story, telling me that the reason why he used macs was because it printed color better (Yes, he's delusional) anyways, again if you can understand what I'm talking about your as crazy as I am =P
21/08/11 @ 07:00
Comment from: Darkstar [Visitor]
I just wanted to say, thanks for a good article. I love Linux and am tired of people telling me its too hard or its a poor product because it doesn't run Windows (some say Microsoft because they dunno what the hell they saying) programs. I get sick of Linux users being called zealots or that they use the OS because of some kinda "religious type" of belief or some crap like that. Your article shows the average PC user that Linux is simply something different. It does not make us zealots, its not that "hard" (granted Gentoo is tough, I have yet to master that one). To me this helps debunk a lot of the crap and helps to calm the bad rap that Linux gets. So I highly appreciate what you wrote. I believe everyone should use what they want to without being name-called or picked on, or having people run their mouths and spouting off a bunch of crap when in reality they dont know what they are talking about. My whole thing is, if you like Windows and its "your thing" WONDERFUL!!! You spent your money on your PC and should be able to use it how you want, with whatever software you want without anyone saying anything to knock that. User friendly as you said all comes down to the user and whats best for that particular user. Point being, to each his own. Some people need to realize that this whole Linux vs. Windows vs. Mac OSX (we'll include Unix in that as Mac is a type of Unix system) has no implication whatsoever and all it is is a bunch of people spouting off as I said before, crap. You like what your using, your entitled. Use what ya want, that is reality.
22/08/11 @ 16:28
Comment from: DAY [Visitor]
Nice article to aware Drivers but not applicable for techies ...
23/08/11 @ 09:45
Comment from: Andi [Visitor]
thank you for this nice and intresting article.It reflects my own past as a Windows User who always tried to compare both systems.It took me some time to understand the advantage of Linux for me personally.
Nowadays i don't want to miss my terminal,the instructions and the community behind linux but i will still use both systems, only for different aims.

07/09/11 @ 21:18
Comment from: henry [Visitor]
Actually, i differ with the key minds of the article. In my eyes you can use linux exactly like windows, you just have to use other programs (openOffice instead of MS Word etc.).

I've helped some of my friends migrating to linux, and now they get around with it like they got around with windows in the past.

So I think Linux can fully replace windows AND has some more better and powerful options.
02/10/11 @ 07:39
Comment from: PepeLePeu [Visitor] Email
Yes, it's very illustrative article if you see it from people having a little geeky knowledge as a base. But I think it doesn't help to get Linux (any kind, any version) to be popular, standardized, massively used OS.
I'm 47 years old, next years I will be involved with computers already...30 years, as a hobby-profession.
I did learn from cassete-loaded software and a 8080 CPU keyboard connected to a huge TV with before 8 inches single side floppy disk was invented, assembly language, cobol, DOS and others kind of command line way to make a computer do something. This is hard-to-believe or laughing-about-it to do for 100% of this generation people where everything is made by software just clicking around.
What's my point? I tried playing using different versions of Linux for the only 2 reasons: love Linux high definition graphic interface (compare with the shitty windows one) and mostly I HATE TO PAY expensively for software and every time I sneeze. Yes, I can pay $40/$50 for a whole office software, yes.
Yes, I can voluntarily, gladly DONATE as much as my own gratitude to whomever break his head doing an OUTSTANDING software (I did it many times).
So, that's why I try Linux mainly, if Linux can INVADE the whole planet, I'm its soldier and I'm enroll myself to help in whatever way I can do to, flat shit-cheap everybody else (competition basic rule) for Windows and Mac. Like happens with all Cell Phone Companies theses days. I hate monopoly as you can see, they suck your blood unmercifully.
However, it is a long way so far I can see yet, even for me it is TOO HARD TO LEARN Linux YET. Hate whatever I have to put a single word in command line way, that looks prehistoric for me theses days. That's my main point. Yes, you might be right to thing I had my brain washed by windows age fixing that shit so long (I'm an IT self-employed) that hard to thing out-of-the-windows. Probably, but Linux still not becoming popular, NOT BECAUSE IT'S FREE, it is because still not adapted good enough for average people to migrate from one platform to other. No problem with being-different stuff. Different is GREAT, I can learn Mac, but personally I don't like it, too much 'not brain' environment, no open-source possibility.
Yes, always will be poor and rich people, people who will stay in Mac, and some others in Windows, who cares. As far as it is a CHOICE.
Still praying for Linux to be an EASY standard to live in.
God bless Linux people.
05/10/11 @ 17:56
Comment from: Russel [Visitor]
Nice one.
13/10/11 @ 13:26
Comment from: Anti-widescreen [Visitor]
Good article!

Which is better, Windows or Linux? It depends entirely upon what you are doing; thus neither is exclusively superior to the other.
17/10/11 @ 05:53
Comment from: Manfred [Visitor]
Somehow I knew all of this, but it's nice to see it all crisp clear written out.

After two decades of trying various linux distro's I finally switched. Still have my WinXP VM at hand for program x,y,z and just taking the time to move over.

In the end a company cares only for their money.

03/11/11 @ 18:06
My Herero is Bill Gates
Comment from: My Herero is Bill Gates [Visitor]
Microsoft use to develop a UNIX OS called XENIX, without the innovation,PR and funding from Microsoft, Unix would not be what it is today.

Essentially, Linus only replicated all major design decisions that MICROSOFT put into XENIX for PC but using an independent codebase.

The second important fact that is often overlooked by naive or crooked Linux zealots is that Microsoft was essentially a software company that controls and extends the PC hardware standard. Without huge Microsoft investments in PC hardware standard there can be no any substantial base for Linux at all because price of hardware is discounted due to the volume of Microsoft software sells.

In this sense Linux is a side effect of Microsoft dominance, a bastard child of DOS and Windows and no number of Linus Torvalds interviews can change the fact that he just replicated Microsoft's abandoned effort with Xenix. Paradoxically with less innovation and quality: Linux kernel was first and foremost about "premature optimization", not so much about new architectural features which can expand the Unix capabilities envelope.
05/12/11 @ 20:54
Soren Bjornstad
Comment from: Soren Bjornstad [Visitor]
Excellent article. Talks about things I've been wanting to say to a number of people for a really long time, and echoes exactly why I switched to Linux a couple of years ago. When I first tried it, I didn't get any of this--I just thought it was a really crappy Windows replacement, because nobody ever *told* me this. I wish I had found this article earlier--it would have saved me a year or two of using Windows. But now I wouldn't go back to Windows for anything.
18/12/11 @ 04:33
Comment from: Steve [Visitor]
You must be kidding ! Why even bother with linux ! Its far more knowledge demanding os ! With linux is like having mercedes without turbocharger - one can drive but can not speed due on every step one is slowed down its no productivity desktop/workstation solution and for common user with that kind of politics unusable ! 1. lack of 32 bit collor support for gpu drivers 2. no unified standarized installer for software (all the new app are in binary) im spoiled and i want to solve the problem with few mouseclicks and not making phd for customizing linux and install software in cmd - one can must be almost developer/programmer with some deep knowledge to do that ! I almost forgot the number one thing that should be workin 1000% all the time reliable is bootloader that with major linuk distros still cosing trouble. Who of common laic peoples with some average knowledge can master botloader that is cooky ? No one !!! Not to mention that criples the mbr and win bootloader and now you have it ! Not to mention for installed programs that updates frequently you have huge problem due to always compile upgrades or even new install ! And now compare work to do with win, got idea yet ! Bad luck user losses win also ! One more question ! Why is win so popular despite is crippled oversized no performance half way multitasking and no ending story problem OS ! Win have one huge advantage over all other os-ses and that is ease of use ! Beside Win only MAC have such quality but is far more expensive ! Linux for the masses maybe some future century on MARS or even in another galaksy ! Linux is as developed in this manner/way strong special task solution os and as that will newer be mass desktop os and newer easy to use due of lack of standarized unified installer ! Belive me i have try many distros but always the same problems ! Until ease of use is achived in maner how software is installed/maintained and upgraded full support for graphic/sound like in MAC and Win until no go for Linux ! Stable yes, secure yes, eye cactch yes yes yes - ease of use absolute none !!! I must admit i have give up Linux despite trying to learn ! Its simply to much and to many ! Its simple mathematics. Why will someone bother with energy and time waist to do something much harder as in win with few mouse clicks ???
30/12/11 @ 02:01
Comment from: Alan [Visitor]
Thanks for the warnings, I'll stick with windows
17/01/12 @ 19:06
Comment from: Andrew [Visitor]
I really enjoyed your article here: linux.oneandoneis2.org/LNW.htm.

You make some fantastic analogies, especially the part about Lego.
26/01/12 @ 17:56
Emil Lundberg
Comment from: Emil Lundberg [Visitor]
Very good read! It's both enjoyable and informative even for a (somewhat) experienced Linux user. Nice point out about the differences in developer-user relations, I hadn't really thought about it that concretely before.

@Steve: (if you ever return to read this) RTFA.
03/02/12 @ 00:16
Comment from: Bolt [Visitor] Email
Quite a different approach than the normal linux vs. windows debates(or in this case a monologue). Balanced and perfectly logical. Kudos for this great article!
15/02/12 @ 17:28
Anonymous Coward
Comment from: Anonymous Coward [Visitor]
I do not believe that Steve from about 5 comments up has ever actually used Linux.

And if he has, it was 10 years ago.
01/03/12 @ 17:13
Comment from: KC117MX [Visitor]
What I find most interesting is that this article rings just as true today as it did six years ago when it was written. I have understood for a long time the inherrent differences between the many operating systems and their perspective users, but I don't think that I could have put it on paper like Dominic Humphries has. Excellent blog. Definitely worth recommending to both Linux and Windows users (Not Mac though; they have tunnelvision glasses on:)
01/04/12 @ 19:09
Liqun Li
Comment from: Liqun Li [Visitor]
I've been googling for articles comparing Linux vs. windows for quite a while. I'm a windows user for 10 years, but, now using Opensuse while still sometimes thinking about moving back to windows. After reading this article, I begin to understand more. I think I will keep using linux to get the feeling of free to choose. Thanks.
09/04/12 @ 05:41
bacabab dab
Comment from: bacabab dab [Visitor]
One thing I can surely tell.
Windows is like wife. Only husband (Microsoft) will handle it. Linux is like Prostitue, Several people all over the world will handle it. Obviously Windows will be healthy where as Linux will be effected from severe diseases like AIDS.
11/04/12 @ 10:38
Comment from: whocares [Visitor] · http://whocares.com
so much retardation, that last comment was pretty funny though. what a load of bull. i want source code to make shit better and I don't want to be locked out of my system. have playing with your toys tards.
13/04/12 @ 04:00
Comment from: fijinix [Visitor]
Great article. I hope to make use of this while introducing and promoting *nix. Hope that all right with you. I will link back and make reference to your site accordingly.
Many thanks
14/05/12 @ 05:01
Comment from: jkrider [Visitor]
Interesting blog and well written. I have been a Linux admin for a few years now and much of your article rings true if you look at the plain truth of things. But I feel what always seems to be left out of such articles is the actual freedom part of using Linux. Meaning "Free" as in Free speech not price. Maybe it's just the Open source camp eclipsing the original Free software stance, but I feel the original philosophy behind GNU/Linux cannot be understated and is what provides the foundation for the broader aspects of Linux and Open source software. In addition this philosophy and the overall development process of open source is what truly separates Linux from Windows/Mac not the software itself. The fight is really between Open source and proprietary regardless of the OS or software being utilized by either. Linux just happens to be the pinnacle of Open source as we know it right now.
17/07/12 @ 12:17
Comment from: blowfish [Visitor] Email
Fantastic and very informative read, as an old Windows user (raised on DOS); I can totally identify with so much in your comparisons of Windows users finding Linux a difficult transition. But a transition that is very worth the effort if you give it time. No more worries about virus's, no more (or very little constant crashing or system freeze. The current distros out there today are light years ahead of anything MS has produced and long may it continue.
26/07/12 @ 04:13
Comment from: BSDWhore [Visitor]
This is one of the most superior explanations I've read about Linux vs. Windows or Linux & Windows articles...
Shared it with a lot of my friends who always annoyed me saying Windows is better than linux for this reason and that reason.. I hope they read it and understand it well :) .. TBH, this does not only convince a person about the point that Linux != Windows but also has some real life facts on how average humans think... How "new" is not easily accepted quickly.. I wish there are more people who are geeks :)
13/08/12 @ 22:29
Comment from: Manticore [Visitor] · http://manticore.freehosting.com
I dumped Micro$soft when Windows 95 came out and started using baby names like 'My Computer' and calling directories 'Folders'.
Had to fix a Windows 7 box yesterday - first thing I notice is that it's a dismal attempt at copying a 10 year old XWindows interface. Then all I could say was 'How the hell do you ever get anything *done* with this pile of $%#$'. (3200 viruses in 10 days).
03/09/12 @ 08:09
Comment from: g [Visitor]
Great article, thanks for writing it. I think you may have mixed up your windows/car linux/motorbike analogy in the second use of it.

"Linux/cars were designed from the ground up for multiple users/passengers. Windows/motorbikes were designed for one user/passenger. Every Windows user/motorbike driver is used to being in full control of his computer/vehicle at all times. A Linux user/car passenger is used to only being in control of his computer/vehicle when logged in as root/sitting in the driver's seat."
17/09/12 @ 22:42
Brijin Sasankan
Comment from: Brijin Sasankan [Visitor] Email · http://brijin.info

I read this article few years ago, in 06 i think,dont remember exactly. I started my GNU/Linux journey only in 2003,had struggeled a lot during those days, to get started with the operating system. Poeple like you helped users like me a lot by writing inspirational article like this. This is an excellent writing I have ever seen!!. I am commenting now using my custom compiled distro,buid by myself.. I don'nt know what to say, you are great man!

Take care!
18/09/12 @ 22:08
Comment from: adminx [Visitor] · http://bitclub.eu
Linux is a tough and quiet OS . He does only what you ask him to do . But if you want to take him out of his tracks , he strongly opposes . I feel like I'm driving a train . Pure Power .

Windows is like a motorcycle , one moment of inattention and you are thrown in the bush .
07/10/12 @ 23:20
Comment from: Luciano [Visitor] · http://www.feanorelf.com
your article is interesting and I found the car/motorbike metaphor quite appropriate. Yet I believe you are to much in a hurry to dismiss the "User Friendly" concept: but it would be enough to read some Alan Cooper or Krugs or Norman to understand that it is more than a chimera (and actually the fact that the strongest criticism to the Inmates are Running the Asylum comes from Computer Geeks is enlightening). By the way, when you compare MS Word with vi, why in the hell should anyone ever use a Word Processor to code? To make bold statements?
You see, I am a Windows user and I love Lego to the point so much that I have been using Linux almost one year using no distro, intrigued bu Linux from Scratch: I have had lots fun with it, but at the end of the day there are lots of things I like to do with my PC other than tuning my OS.
14/10/12 @ 09:00
Comment from: Zen [Visitor] Email
Good general idea, but one point where I strongly disagree: there is NO MANUAL and NO HELP (at least for newbies).

The books I consulted in bookshops explain options of ls and how to use Firefox/OpenOffice, but do not explain how to launch Firefox with some options from the terminal. Internet? Deprecated.

I believed the last good manual was Microsoft Basic (1981?). I was wrong: Python. Why is nothing similar available for Ubuntu? On the official page, next to Download the latest version.

If commercial distributors provided some competent free help, too, the community would grow. Maybe we would see graphic cards with the stick "Designed for LINUX". More or less expensive than reverse engineering?
26/11/12 @ 16:44
John H
Comment from: John H [Visitor]
Thanks a lot for this article. I'm a new user who doesn't want to put any more money in Bill's pockets so I'm off to Ubuntu land. Seems to me it works very well for a newbie. Also have Lubuntu on my netbook and actually use it now. Very well thought out to explain some things I hadn't thought about.
16/04/13 @ 00:15
William Pickering
Comment from: William Pickering [Visitor]
I enjoyed this read. I've been a "swinger" with Windows and Linux, since I purchased a copy of SuSE 9.1 Personal from Hastings. I can relate to getting the boot, as I was trying to replace a crashed Windows 98SE install. Not that I didn't have a usable Windows, after all, XP was out.

I fell into the most noob cat you could describe, and almost killed my interest in Linux. But over time, with virtual software, I was able to learn. Now, it is the main OS of all but one PC, fiancee' laptop. Kids PC have that old copy of SuSE, which has large desktop icons (perfect for them).

All-in-all, it's been a very bumpy road, but I take great pride in making the journey.

73's, and God bless!
16/04/13 @ 03:29
Comment from: Manoj [Visitor]
Wow... what a explanation.. awesome awesome... great great examples..
24/05/13 @ 19:44
Spencer Young
Comment from: Spencer Young [Visitor] Email
You totally got the point of the facts regarding users who change from Windows to Linux. Your article definitely has the required objectivity to inform about all facts you need to know about if you want to change to Linux. It’s not to convince anybody and it’s not even slightly offending.


05/06/13 @ 12:40
Comment from: Bachti [Visitor]
Thank you for this instructive and detailed article.

There is one thing where I disagree with you: I find Ctrl+X, Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V quite easy to remember (and "intuitive", if you want to say so), because C is in "copy", X looks like something crossed off and V like the sign for inserting something. And then all three letters are side by side on the keyboard which may have been the main reason for choosing them.
05/06/13 @ 14:39
Comment from: Rajeev [Visitor] Email
I recently installed Ubuntu after reading a lot about Linux & this is my third re-install. I really liked the article. I am a computer guy at heart and have also written programs. But i am not geek, i don't have the brains for it. But i am very much in love with Linux & i am going to use it from now on. What i would like is that the developers think about non-technical & non-geeks like me to be able to install & use Linux without much help.
19/07/13 @ 12:54
Comment from: Raco [Visitor] Email
Great article. Now someone should write "Ubuntu is not Linux".
02/08/13 @ 12:57

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