The idea for Linux to Win, Windows has to lose

I am a very open guy, I read many things technology related. I am not boxed in as many would seem to think. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Today I came across this article about ‘The Advantages of using Linux’, the open source operating system. Here is one of the authors points:

* Price
You may already know that you can use Linux free of charge, but since this is one of the most important advantages of using Linux, allow me to explain or should I say convince you further. Using a free operating system means not having to spend for even a dime whenever you do a major upgrade or install a new version of your OS. In addition, most major Linux distributions are pre-loaded with essential applications that are also free such as
office suite, graphics editor, DVD-ripper, and more, so that means you can keep your savings intact. You can also fire up your software or package manager anytime and get more free applications that you want. I’ve been using Linux for several years now, and not having to worry about paying for software is priceless.

Read the entire article HERE

Typically the way a Linux or Open Source user "sells" Linux ironically enough. Read the entire article, because, my responses here are based on this four main 4 main points: Price, Stability, Ease of Use and Efficiency:

Price

Yes its free, but try getting support for it when you do encounter a problem. You either encounter a bunch of elitist, 1999 type persons who either think you should figure it out yourself or should not be using Linux. Linux is not free based on the top 3 commercial distributions, if you want to solve a problem implementing or deploying Linux in your work environment, then you are gonna need to pay for technical support. Ask Redhat or Novell how they make money off their variants of Linux. As for the free apps, usually unsupported and are mediocre in comparison to the commercial counterparts, lacking common features too many to count. When you pay for a commercial OS like Windows, you are paying for technical support and backing behind a proven product, whether from Microsoft or the OEM. The community of Windows users who are more compassionate and willing to help guide a user in the right direction are more willing and eager to help based on my personal experiences. Consumer versions of Windows are supported for up to 5 years, business versions get 10 years of support in addition to extended support which can go up to 14 years. Yes, you pay for it, but it works for you in the long run, look at Windows XP. Is Ubuntu still supporting past releases from 2004, 2005 or 2007, or even 2008? Nope! Look at Fedora, I was so surprised to find out that Fedora 10 which I had running in a VM last year is not supported. Do you honestly believe consumers are interested in hearing, sorry, upgrade to a more recent release? Even if its free, its not something they are interested in "every" 6 months. Yes, Microsoft releases new versions of Windows every 3 years (5 in the case of XP to Vista because of planning, technical and architectural changes – this is an exception for which Windows 7 users are continuing to benefit from.ย ย 

Security

Well, when you are on 1.4 billion computers in comparison to less than 1% of the market, then authors of malicious code are more likely to target the largest market share. I personally have never had any viruses on my machine of course, prior to upgrading to Windows Vista in late 2006, I ran Windows XP from March 2004 to November 2006 on my main desktop as a full Administrator and I never got a virus or any malicious software (broad connection, constantly connected). Of course I kept Windows Automatic Updates enabled and always install the latest available updates (hands off), have a security utility installed and kept the automatic updates turned on. To say Windows is insecure is saying human nature is imperfect. It was designed by man, which OS does not have flaws? Its just that those in Linux are pointed out less. With the recent visibility of OS X people are starting to show more issues in that OS which is based on UNIX of which Linux is a derivative.

Ease-of-use

Maybe that’s because your wife has been exposed to Linux for many years. Linux is easy to use in the sense that Windows NT 3.1 or Windows 3.0 were in the early 90’s. The interface remains illogical and lacks a lot of consistency and professionalism. The layers of toolbars in Gnome provides a clunky experience, KDE’s widget based UI searching for something or trying to be different UI has seemed to turn away many users, in addition to the fact that users have to choose something proves that the ease of use theory of Linux remains up in the air. Windows on the other hand has been very consistent UI wise for the past 15 years, you could even say it has been since Windows 3.0, the philosophy is there. Take a user from 1996 trained on Windows 95 and put him or her in front of a Windows 7 or Vista computer and they would be immediately productive. The new features of course in either Vista or 7 would further enhance their productivity: Instant Search, Jump List, Aero Peek, Live Thumbnails, reliability of NT codebase, media improvements, HomeGroups networking etc.

Efficiency

Well, I have Windows 7 Ultimate 32 bit running on a AMD Sempron 1.6 GHz and 512 MBs of RAM I built back in February 2006. This is around the same specs required by the latest Ubuntu 10.04 to use efficiently. The performance of Windows 7 on that desktop is satisfactory, I can do web browsing, run office applications, listen music, watch YouTube, browse my photo library, import pictures without any problems, its not suitable for Media Center or 64 bit computing, but anybody who is gonna be needing those capabilities are likely to be running the latest and greatest. I am also running Windows 7 Professional 32 bit on my Dell Dimension 8300 I purchased by back in March of 2004. Of course, I had upgraded the factory installed RAM from 512 MBs to 2.6 GBs back in February 2006 when Vista hit beta 2. Hey RAM is cheap, and often that’s what you will need, although Windows 7 works just fine on 1 GBs of RAM. My brother running Windows 7 Professional on his Dell Inspiron 15xx 1.6 GHz Core Duo with 1.2 GBs of RAM, runs it just great, download videos, music, surf the web all the normal media stuff you would expect the average user to do, he does on that laptop he purchased in June 2006. Features I notice in Windows 7 that provide efficient performance include the trigger starting of services, parallelism. Those are just some highlights, so Windows is definitely better than ever. If your idea of ancient is something from 2000 or 2001, well good for you.

Conclusion

The problem Linux still faces and feeling I keep getting from most Linux articles, to sell itself it must bash Windows. It does not sell itself on its own merits. I think its probably also turned away a lot of users who would be willing to try it. Linux has been trumpeting the end of Windows since 1999, yet it has been unable for an OS that has been around commercially since 1995 to make a dent. Excuses used, Microsoft forces OEMs to bundle Windows and Windows is technically inferior. Two of the top OEM’s HP and Dell don’t seem to have a problem preloading Linux, yet the demand for Linux based systems remains anemically low. The idea for Linux to win, Windows has to lose is seriously old now.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “The idea for Linux to Win, Windows has to lose

  1. HVennekate

    “I am a very open guy.” — That is pretty bold a statement considering the very subjective argument given. There seems to be a lot of prejudice you want to sell here:
    Regarding point no. 1: the notion that Windows users were more compassionate than Linux users: Not very convincing. This may be your very personal impression. My impression of Windows users (as someone who primarily uses Linux) is that many of them do not really help but give poor advice. But I know that that’s superficial and probably due to my lack of contact to their community. You try to sell the inverse as a fact.
    No. 2: The issue you are missing is the long history of Microsoft treating security rather poorly. It has taken them quite a while to establish true multi-user support, for instance, including all the security related issues. Meanwhile, it has to be admitted that they got more sensitive regarding those issues.
    No. 3: To disprove your theory: I used Office until the late nineties. While I find little change in, e.g., Word, the UI has grossly degenerated and really keeps me from being productive at times. There is no consistency whatsoever. Same (even worse) goes for Windows: A new strategy to hide the important settings from the users seems to appear with every new major version. Plus, things get other names in Windows than what the industry calls them. Microsoft does not exhibit a great liking of standards.
    Ease of use to me also means documentation. That is vital to any open project. Microsoft does not do a good job here either.
    No. 4: It really helps nobody to know what type computers you and people you know use and how content they are with the performance. Of course, adding two numbers will take the same amount of time, no matter what OS you take (ok, most operations are not this basic, but you know what I mean: Some things take one day one way and 24 hours the other). What I regard as efficiency is the capability to turn off undesired features (the graphical interface, for instance) and, in a broader sense, to use scripts and so on. Microsoft has meanwhile realized that these things can be useful and they are trying to server their customers. But, trust me, at the end of the day, the windows shell is still a pain in the butt.

    Best wishes!

  2. HVennekate

    To add a few more remarks (to the yet incomplete list):
    Think of the many issues you have with the 64bit Windows and imagine you could run both 32 and 64 bit versions (meaning libraries and so on) simultaneously. Microsoft (again) did a rather poor job there. Although I’m not so sure whether it’s their problem or just the way things are if you sell software, meaning that everything has to be precompiled and code is all proprietary.
    I agree with you that the notion of one system losing and one winning is probably not very helpful. I think it’s more a matter of philosophy and personal preference. If you want your home to be all set for a lot of money, fine. But you’ll have to live with any screw-ups and botches the plumbers, carpenters and so on produced. If you prefer to do it the DIY-way, equally fine. But then you have to bear a bit more responsibility and you can’t blame any company.

    Best regards again!

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