[TriLUG] Where is Linux today?
william at trilug.org
Wed Jun 18 12:06:39 EDT 2008
I've been a Linux user since way back in the Red Hat 4.1 days (my mentor
was the great Mark Spencer). I've used Red Hat 4.x, 5.x, 6.x, 7.x, 9, ES
2.x, ES 3.x, Gentoo, Debian Etch, and made a passing stab at Mandrake. I
cut my teeth on Solaris, and have decent familiarity with AIX and HP-UX as
well. I've used Windows 3.1, 95/98, 2000, XP, NT 3.1, and NT 4. I've
used Mac OSX. I expect my experience is fairly common with other people
on this list, but I wanted to give a little background anyhow.
On the *NIX UI side, I've used olwm (ick), fvwm2 (not so bad, but not eye
candy), KDE 1.x and 2.x, Gnome (and the later Sawfish extended variants),
and Enlightenment. I'm presently an E .16 user.
On the Windows side, I usually install Cygwin, Virtual Dimension, and
TweakUI so I don't feel completely powerless.
I've been a web developer, part-time systems administrator, and
professional Perl programmer (UNIX when possible, Windows when necessary).
My wife (accounting by trade, Windows by experience) is picking up E .16,
although my screen edge desktop flip annoys her.
I refuse to support Windows for family members other than her. I don't
have the time or desire to mess with the broken morass that is Windows in
any flavor. I've also come to the point where I don't much want to
support Linux for myself when I get home in the evenings (it's too much
like work, and work belongs at the office). When people ask for my
recommendation, I tell them to get an Apple (I recently purchased a
MacBook Pro for myself).
*NIX support for major software packages is better than it was when I
started out 10 years ago (OpenOffice has been a godsend), and I think that
is due to recognition of Linux as a major player in OS space. I think
it's nifty that Dell is selling Ubuntu preinstalled, and that Ubuntu (and
derivatives) are making a case for a consumer-ready Linux PC.
Microsoft is helping as well by releasing Vista and killing XP support.
Nobody I know who has OS knowledge is buying Vista systems because it is so
horribly broken. A co-worker of mine who let his wife get a Vista PC
despite his knowledge that it was broken told me that much of the slowness
comes from Vista DRM that encrypts and decrypts data as it passes through
the various OS layers. Combine this with the fact that one cannot run XP
on most of the new Vista hardware due to driver issues, and choosing
Microsoft looks like an even worse idea than at first glance.
Given the Apple price points for hardware (expensive), and the Microsoft
brokenness, I see great opportunities for a consumer-ready Linux PC. That
said, I'm sticking with my MacBook :-)
On Wed, 18 Jun 2008, Owen wrote:
> On Tue, Jun 17, 2008 at 12:56:16PM -0400, Maxwell Spangler wrote:
>> I don't recommend Linux. Why would I recommend Linux to a typical user
>> who wants to do simple tasks that OS X and Vista both do so well and
>> require no specialized training or support with? I especially don't
>> want everybody's brother calling *me* personally to support their Linux
>> system when it can't get on the net or "runs really slow" (as every
>> computer seems to do over time.)
> I know this is different to installing Linux as a primary OS for a
> novice user, but for the past few years when family come to visit for
> extended periods, I set them up to login to my Linux box rather than
> dual booting into Windows, and they have had 0 (as in zero) problems so
> far. And that is a Gentoo box, not your super friendly latest Ubuntu or
> Fedora release. It started because I had no time to sit and install
> updates for Windows and all the little bits of related software that get
> installed to make it useful, rebooting countless times along the way ...
> I just setup my desktop to log them automatically, started a browser,
> pointed them to the computer and ran out the door to work. No questions,
> no problems. Seems like progress from a few years ago to me.
>> If you put your personal politics and preferences aside, you have to
>> admit that Linux, Mac OS X and Vista are all very powerful and capable
>> operating systems.
> Hmmm ... that must be why my wife is almost begging me to replace Vista
> with XP on her new Dell laptop. And I get the feeling that her Vista
> laptop with a more powerful processor, more memory and newer components
> runs noticeably slower than my older laptop running XP. Seems like
> progress to me. :-)
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