Linked by Eugenia Loli on Wed 23rd Jan 2008 22:07 UTC
Linux With Linux on the desktop going from a slow crawl to verging on an explosion, many have toiled with the question: How do we make this happen faster? A well-known Austin-based Linux Advocate thinks he has the answer.
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"I'm serious. Tell me one compelling reason to switch. Is it much faster? Is it much easier to use? Does it help everyone work much better? Does it have visual appeal? No. It's just cheaper than Windows and OSX.

Linux has the following advantages over Windows:
(1) Many eyes make bugs shallow
(2) You cannot hide malware in open source
(4) No single vendor lock-in, and so no monopoly prices
(5) No forced upgrades (after all, you do have the source for whatever version you are using)
(6) 1.5 million developers worldwide (equivalent full-time)
(7) guaranteed no call-home spyware
(8) you can remove anything you don't like, such as DRM
(9) developed in a meritocracy ... so it does what the people want, not what big business wants
(10) You have control over your own hardware

Most of your arguments are only interesting for geeks. It's also not true that businesses don't do what users want. If that were the case then people wouldn't be buying the products and new businesses would quickly replace the old ones. Also, Windows doesn't enforce upgrades, either. So that's not an argument.

(3) No DRM or WGA

While I think music should have no DRM lock the video-on-demand market depends on it. Lack of DRM is actually a disadvantage. It's a technology that creates new opportunities. The problem is that music-DRM left a bad impression in all of us, but DRM can and will be used positively and if Linux won't support DRM then it's just another reason to not use it.

"But it also has a cost: you must learn how to use it and you risk wasting time on it in case you don't like it (let's just ignore missing software and hardware support). Before you can even decide whether Linux is worth the discount when buying a computer you have to use it, which costs time that not everyone is willing to invest.

Myths. Linux is no harder to use and learn than Windows.

Where did I claim the opposite? I only said that if you already know Windows then you have to invest time to play with Linux before you can judge whether you want to use it. That's something not everybody wants to do.

"Seriously, from a user-experience point of view, Linux doesn't add any value to my life and work (maybe you like exploring geeky stuff, but many people don't).

So don't explore it, just use it. Enjoy.

I'd love to use it, but currently hardware support sucks. Hibernation and standby don't work. Sane crashes after scanning and I had to install my scanner driver on the command line. My color printer doesn't work correctly with Linux and my laser printer doesn't print images except if I hack some printer settings with GIMP (all other apps don't work). My WiFi connection doesn't always work. I hate the fsck that pops up much too often on boot-up and takes *ages* (>15min) to finish (some people reported >40min on their bigger HDDs). The list goes on, but I've forgotten the other problems. So, you want to tell me to enjoy Linux? Hah! ;)

OK, those problems can be fixed, but even then, compared to Windows I still don't see a real advantage apart from cost savings. Which is my whole point: go beyond cost savings.

" What's the goal of Linux? Bringing *computer* open-source and *computer* freedom and *computer* choice to the masses? Who cares about that apart from a few geeks? You don't become a free person with political and personal freedom of choice. Stop fooling us with those bold statements. Many people get frightened when they have to choose something they don't know anything about (and actually don't want to learn anything about). You want to make Linux successful? Then create a paralyzing and real alternative. Really improve the way we use computers. Get rid of the applications concept and unlock our data from functionality [1]. Get rid of the folders and files concept and use semantic technologies [2] or whatever works better. Make software significantly faster and more responsive. Do something that really makes a difference! Stop copying others. Firefox innovates on its own and it makes a difference. People love it. Do the same for Linux.

What brought all that on?

Do yourself a favour ... pretend you had never seen Windows before. You are an utter newbie. Sit yourself down with two ASUS EEEPCs ... one with the default Linux install, and the other with Windows XP.

I guarantee you that you would get miles and miles further in a shorter time with the Linux variant than you would with the Windows XP one. You aren't going to be able to do all that much with Notepad, Calc and Paint, are you? And you are left a bit vulnerable without your extra security programs for Windows, aren't you?

Someone else could as well argue that Linux is overloaded with software and he'd rather choose what he needs manually. You have to put the same software on both systems to make a real comparison.

Also, Linux would have the same security problems as Windows if it were equally popular. It does absolutely nothing that prevents people from being stupid. Linux's advantage is just that it's not (yet?) a popular spyware platform.

To get anywhere near what you can do with the Linux EEEPC, you would have to spend on software two or three times the cost of the bare hardware for the Windows XP version of the EEEPC ... or you could run Firefox, GIMP and OpenOffice etc for a more reasonable outlay ... oh, wait. Those are in the Linux variant anyway.

I could also run Firefox and GIMP and OpenOffice on Windows. That's not a reason to switch to Linux.

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