Why Windows Isn’t Hell Or Why Linux Isn’t Bliss, Part II

Misinterpreted. I think that is about the best word around to describe the reactions to my previous article. Whether it has been misinterpreted due to people only reading what they want to read, due to an unclear choice of words on my behalf, or other factors, I am going to try it again. I will try to explain my position, again. Now, more stable, the code has been rewritten from scratch!

Editorial Notice: All opinions are those of the author and not necessarily those of osnews.com
General Note: Please forgive any grammar mistakes as the author is not a native english speaker.

Why The Comments Weren’t Hell…

Some people said I was unexperienced, some said I did not try enough distributions, some said I was favouring Windows over Linux, some even accused the editors of OSNews.com of pro-Microsoft propaganda. What have I written to upset you so much?

I never imagined so many people would not get the idea of that article. I never had the intention to diss Linux in any way; I said it in the article itself, I said it many times in the comments area, but I am going to say it again (and again, and again…): I like Linux! But just because I like Linux, it does not automatically mean I totally loose touch with reality. Linux is not perfect. Just like Window has, it has its flaws, it has its downsides, just like Windows has (and to keep it simple, and straight, I do not prefer one over the other). But that goes for everything in life, from girls, to cars, to politicians (although I cannot seem to find a bright side when it comes to that kind of people).

I wrote the first part of the article to clarify and address the fact that some of the die-hard Linux fans tend to deny the fact that Linux is not bliss (again, “bliss”, I like that word). Some people just cannot seem to look at Linux (and of course I mean the different flavors/distributions etc. of “Linux”, but you get the point) without their pink goggles on (Dutch saying, meaning you only look at the bright side).

How strange it may seem, I can understand that. If you have never experienced any problems with your OS, it has been stable like Mount Everest, fast as Micheal Schumacher’s F1 2003, and you never had to do a reboot, then it is natural to think that way. It’s like being in love; the girl cannot do anything wrong (although I do not state that your OS is as important as your girl 😉 ).

But for some (or a lot, I do not know) people, Linux has not been all that good. And to dismiss those people by saying “They should read a manual”, “They will learn it, over time” and so on, is just, with all due respect, kind of stupid. How would you feel if you got told by your driving instructor: “Hey man, driving is easy, figure it out yourself. And if you don’t succeed, here’s the manual. Still not working? Well, buy a bike, for god’s sake!”

And then you have people stating that the problems I mentioned, aren’t problems at all. Well, if I find those things annoying, uneasy, or just plain stupid, then sure as a rock there are people who agree with me (you have to be a little arrogant sometimes). Simply knowing no one who ever got Aids, does not mean Aids does not exist (the movie “Kids”, anyone?).

But the comment that astonished me the most was by Lorm (2003-07-27 05:18:39). He stated:

|””In 2001 I bought my own computer” [note: speaks volumes]”.|

This really pissed me off. I was astonished to see someone write a comment without actually reading the article. Yes, I indeed bought MY OWN computer in 2001. But I have worked with computers since 1991 (my parents then bought a 286, what a beast of a machine that was!). But at the age of seven, in the year 1991, it’s impossible to have your own computer. It was all new, back then. To cut a long story short, he accused me of not being experienced enough. Sure, my friend, and the pope still plays soccer every day. But… that was not all from this post. Next, he stated:

|””I think the major Distributions should all “join hands” to create one version of Linux, with one desktop, a uniform look, with one update system and so on.” [note: thus expressing a fundamental ignorance of the nature of Linux].”|

Anyone who has really read the article also read the last paragraph. I stated there:

|”Of course that [one version of Linux] kind of takes away the essence of the Open-Source concept. Open-Source is all about letting everybody not only use the software, but also letting everybody improve the software. This has led to a diversity in the available software. This is a good thing, if you are an expert willing to put time and effort into your OS, but if you are not, than Linux just isn’t for you, at this moment.”|

I rest my case.

…Or Why The Article Wasn’t Bliss

I made some flaws on my behalf as well. Some people rightfully addressed the apt-get issue. I stated:

|”(…) if we forget the crappy way software is installed (with the exception of apt-get, or so I’ve heard).”|

That was an unlucky choice of words. What I meant was that I haven’t used the apt-get system long enough to make a proper judgment. That’s a matter of statistics. But since a lot of people told me apt-get was good, I added that last remark. You should read it like “(…) or so I’ve heard [from people around the net].” I apologize for the inconvenience.

Another, more important, mistake I made, was about WindowsUpdate. I never experienced any problems with it, no matter what version of Windows, no matter what configuration. After I read some of the comments on my article, stating the dangers of using WindowsUpdate in some cases, I scouted the web, and I indeed found stories about WindowsUpdate delivering major problems. I will drop this issue. WindowsUpdate is not always as easy as I thought it was.

Comparing Linux To Windows (read disclaimer)

Now I will try to compare some parts of our two favorite Operating Systems, the parts most commented about (read the disclaimer at the end of the article first, please).

1. -Windows boots faster than Linux-
I have tried many distributions (Mandrake, Red Hat, Debian, LindowsOS, Lycoris, Morphix, EvelEntity (anyone? ;), … )
and they just boot/booted slower than my Windows install does/did. That is just an observation. And again, the rule I stated before goes: If I am having boot problems, then other people will have them as well. Matter of statistics. And about the Virus Scanners in the background, I do not run a virus scanner (they annoy me). Okay, no comments about me being brave and all.

2. -Windows file system is clearer than Linux’-
To me (and to a newbie) I think it is more logical to have all the files of a certain program in one directory (eg. ~/Program Files/Program X/). The executables, the config files, the documentation, and so on. Of course not all Windows programs follow this standard, since some tend to install with a bit less logic. But good, decent Windows software installs using this standard. I think it is easier to browse to ~/Program Files/Program X/ than trying to find Program X’ binary in /bin, the documentation in /doc, etc. Since so many files are usually stored in these directories, they tend to load very slow. I never used the My Documents either, until some months ago. I started using the My Documents/Downloads/Music etc. folders in Windows and I realized it was kind of easy to use them! Maybe a tip to others: try using them for a while, maybe you will like them…

3. -Windows installation is easier than Linux’-
I know for sure that if I would ask some of my computer-illiterate friends to install both Windows and Linux, they would say that Windows was easier to install. So I am talking about the newbie here. For me, on the other hand, there is no difference between a Windows installation procedure or a Linux installation procedure. They both run smoothly for me, because I have the experience to make them run smooth. But, in Windows I do not have to configure X, I do not have to choose confusing packages (it is another thing whether not being able to do so in Windows is a good thing or not), no boot loader configurations, no mounting options… And remember: look at this from a newbie’s point of view. He would not know what to do, now would he? And the help provided during install isn’t always a great help either.

Why Windows Isn’t Bliss

But, Windows is not perfect either (surprise!). A thing that especially bothers me about Windows are its shortcomings when it comes to themeing/skinning/eye candy etc. Might be a non-issue to the most of us, but for me it’s quite important. The advanced skinning features provided by for example KDE and Gnome are far beyond superior to Windows’ standard offerings. Oh, you can theme Windows, but you will have to pay quite a lot for 3rd party programs. Open-Source alternatives such as LiteStep suffer from the lack of a standard (doesn’t that ring a bell?).

Another, well-known Windows specific problem is its vulnerabilty when it comes to virii, worms and so on. Although I never experienced a single virus in my life (and I do not run a virus scanner, isn’t that a miracle?), it is of course unquestionably true. We all know that Linux is a million times less sensitive to this problem.

But the most important drawback of all are the, in my eyes, absurd high prices for Windows and Office. I am sorry, but I just do not buy the “research costs money” or “Bill Gates’ children need to eat too” nonsense. Would people buy a car for 200,000 USD without bothering the lack of brakes? No. Then why accept the high prices for Windows? Well, economically speaking, people will only buy a different product if the costs of the alternative are lower without giving in on quality ((very) simply put, that is). Makes you think, doesn’t it?

I hope I clarified my view with this response. If not, I did my best.

1. I do not favor Windows over Linux.
2. I know comparing Linux to Windows is kind of silly, but right now I think it is the only way of telling you my difficulties with Linux, since the more freestyle method I used in version 1.0 did not really get through.
3a. As stated in one of my posts (in the comments area): The fact that I find parts A and B of an OS not good, does not mean the same goes for parts C through Z.
3b. Also stated in one of my posts: When reading reviews/editorials etc, don’t read more than the author has written.
3c. Also stated in one of my posts: When reading reviews/editorials etc, read the entire article, not just what you want to read.
4. I do not favor Windows over Linux.


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