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Re: Reasons to Switch to Linux

__/ [ The Ghost In The Machine ] on Friday 24 February 2006 22:00 \__

> In comp.os.linux.advocacy, Roy Schestowitz
> <newsgroups@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
>  wrote
> on Fri, 24 Feb 2006 17:26:15 +0000
> <dtnfmk$20j2$1@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>:
>> http://www.whylinuxisbetter.net/
> Bad start: site is slow.  It has yet to respond and I've been waiting
> for at least 30 seconds.  I'll admit I like its simplicity.

It's been (self-?)Dugg, which explain its slowness. It also contains plenty
of images, which ain't helping. I don't think it has hit the front page yet,
but it may have (I'll soon find out). It was only 1-hour-old when I posted
it and is still under construction. Perhaps the developer got prematurely
excited and posted before the site was ripe for acceptance or was prepared
for the 'Digg effect'.

> [1] Don't pay $300 for your OS.  Uh...that payment is
>     (a) invisible and (b) overstated.  Most systems
>     nowadays have XP presupplied (unfortunately).  XP Home
>     Edition probably costs $199 retail (full license)
>     at most.  Of course, Windows has many variants,
>     from the diminutive WinCE for embedded devices to
>     the full-fledged Windows 2003 Server Edition for
>     1U rackmounts.  (Not that Linux doesn't have more,
>     of course -- there are over 300 distributions, and
>     one can tweak and tailor their own, and mix and match.)
> [2] Forget about viruses.  Not if one wants to keep a
>     sane system; rootkits are rare but not unknown and the
>     only reason Windows has so many viruses is because
>     they're not viruses; the vast majority are rather
>     stupid, braindead Trojans.  Of course Linux has far
>     fewer because it's better protected -- but also because
>     fewer people try to infect it.  But they are out there.
>     Don't use dumb, easily-guessable passwords like
>     'fido'. :-)
> [3] Is your system unstable?  A well-maintained Windows
>     system is not nearly as stable as Linux, but a
>     desktop doesn't need to be up for 3 years, does it?
>     Admittedly, it's nice that it can be, and a crashing
>     Windows system is very annoying if one cannot restore
>     the state of the system -- windows, files, etc. --
>     prior to said crash.  And some people confuse an
>     OS failure -- either a kernel OOPS or a panic --
>     with an application failure.  Linux also introduces
>     an X server crash, which are fortunately very rare
>     (except on bad hardware), but which makes everything
>     disappear back to the console.  Again, simplistic.
>     The good news: X session managers have some facilities
>     for saving one's window positions, and applications
>     are still running even if the X server goes down
>     (the apps connect to the server through a socket) --
>     which means they can detect the event, if they or their
>     underlying widget systems are well-enough programmed,
>     and restore themsevles.  The bad news: it's not very
>     consistently done yet, at least as far as I can tell.
> [4] Linux protects your computer.  At best, this is an
>     oversimplification, though the multilayered cardboard
>     of Linux is better than the filmy, flimsy paper of
>     Windows.  But neither one will stop the determined
>     hacker for long, once he's got his actual, physical
>     hands (plus Torx head screwdriver) on your system,
>     and a properly-secured Windows desktop won't have any
>     openings to expose, as I understand it.  But it's hard
>     to tell how many bother; I only can see the ones that
>     don't bother in my firewall logs, plus the occasional
>     idiot who wants to try to remotely log in through SSH
>     (TCP 22).  (See also [2].)
> [5] When the system has installed, why would you *still*
>     need to install stuff?  Define "has installed".
>     Debian in particular installs a part of itself --
>     just enough -- then downloads the rest of the first
>     part of itself from the Network, reboots, and installs
>     the rest.  To be sure, the circumstances are different
>     from an XP preinstall, which tends to fall over before
>     it can even properly get started as the viruses find
>     the open ports thereon and infect it, but at best this
>     is again simplistic.
>     Gentoo installs almost all of itself -- the part it
>     needs to, anyway -- while the user is booted using
>     the livedisk, or, in my case, running an entirely
>     different distribution (since some of my machines don't
>     have bootable CD-ROMs, I have to resort to alternate
>     methods, like loading enough of Debian to compile
>     Gentoo first; this was before their current liveCDs
>     so it is a lot easier now).
>     And no ports open during the install -- except
>     maybe the one that has to be open because of TCP/IP
>     requirements, a random number between 4096 and 32768
>     for outgoing fetch requests.
> [6] Update all our software with a single click.  Erm...a *single*
>     click?  In my case I use 'emerge', which takes a fair number of
>     keystrokes -- not that I'm afraid of the CLI, and Gentoo is not a
>     distro for newbies.  But this is again simplistic.
> [7] Why copy software illegaly when you can have it
>     for free?  A good selling point, that.  A note here,
>     of course, is that the free stuff may very well be
>     higher-quality than the payware, though the notion of
>     "better" is probably up to the eventual user.
> [8] Save some energy: let your computer sleep or hibernate.
>     Again, simplistic, though I'd have to check to see how well XP
>     manages power.  95 was *horrid*, since it didn't know
>     about the HLT instruction, but I've not looked lately
>     at modern laptops.  It's worth noting that Gentoo's
>     X server knows all about EnergySave on monitors, and
>     I suspect most other distros have similar capabilities.
>     (That monitor can consume some serious power.  Ever looked
>     at the back?)
> [9] Need new software?  Don't search the web, Linux is getting it for
>     you.  Again, simplistic, though Gentoo in particular and most
>     distros in general do a reasonably good job of keeping their
>     download areas fresh.
> [10] Choose what your desktop looks like.  I can do that now with
>      Windows, though I don't bother, and Linux is more flexible in that
>      regard, as I understand it.  Another oversimplification.
> [11] Why does your Windows get slower day after day?  I'm not sure mine
>      does, actually -- not that it gets any faster.
> [12] Use MSN, AIM, ICQ, Jabber, with a single program.  OK, but this is
>      yet another oversimplification; everything on Windows, at least as
>      far as the desktop is concerned, is controlled by SHELL.EXE.
>      That's a single program which subinvokes other programs.
> [13] Too many windows?  Use workspaces.  Agreed here!  Of course Windows
>      has a third-party product for this; we'll see what Vista provides.
>      But Linux desktops have had this for a very long time, and
>      probably even predating Linux; olvwm in partiular was on Sun
>      systems in the early 1990's.
> [14] Don't wait years for bugs to be solved, report and track them down.
>      It's a tradeoff, admittedly, and from the looks of things OSS
>      performs better in this area, but Windows fixes bugs.  Eventually.
> [15] Are you tired of restarting your computer all the time?  This
>      is a restatement of [3], after a fashion.
> [16] Does your digital life seem fragmented?  Actually, filesystem
>      fragmentation is a very complex question -- it's not only a
>      question of individual files, but clusters of files (not
>      necessarily directories, either), archives (many bigger games
>      provide their own archive formats), and usage patterns.  No system
>      in the world will be able to handle an application that keeps a log
>      file open while creating, moving, and deleting other files, and not
>      fragment -- of course the worst offender here is probably Visual
>      Studio.
> [17] Get a great music player.  Define "great", though chances are the
>      Linux variants are indeed pretty good.  Also, video players on
>      Linux are also good.
> [18] Keep an eye on the weather.  Erm...can't this be done on Windows as
>      well?  Color me slightly confused here.
> * * *
> [1] There are proprietary software you can't live without (noose).
>     I'm not sure how good a reason this is, but it is a reaxon.
> [2] You're a hardcore gamer.  OK...but Linux can run UT2004, nexuiz,
>     Doom 3, Quake 3, Quake 4, and a *lot* of freeware stuff such
>     as Ceferino (a cowboy shoots at balls), Tomatoes (a tomato farts
>     bombs), Pachi (an unfortunate alien crashes into a cemetary/2-D
>     platform game), koules (a ball with eyes tries to destroy other
>     balls), cube (an interesting 3D shoot-em-up based solely on cubes,
>     and very playable), and stardork (an X chases an at sign through
>     a bunch of periods).  Definitely a mixed bag -- probably just as
>     mixed as the shareware stuff for Windows at this point.  The only
>     thing really missing is Director, and that's only because some
>     people seem to like to use it for such online games as RobotRage
>     (www.miniclip.com).  Fortunately, Flash is far more popular.
> [3] You work in the book/printing industry.  I'm not in that industry
>     and I'm surprised this is an issue; presumably they use PDFs, which
>     are readily generated by Linux and may even be higher quality.  It
>     may depend on the publisher.
> [4] Your hardware is not yet supported.  Emphasis on "yet". :-)
> * * *
> [1] Livedisks.  A good option for the newbie who isn't quite ready.
> [2] Installation.  I should note that ntfsresize either has a built-in
>     defragmentation step or doesn't need defragmentation prior to
>     operation.  Of course it helps to have some free disk space.
>> http://www.techdebates.com/people/william/
>> The first among the two is a powerful brand-new 'tool' for convincing
>> peers and friends. It is concise and very visual.
> I'll agree on its conciseness but have some minor questions
> as to its accuracy.  Take the above as constructive
> criticism and a reminder that it's not always a
> black-and-white penguin out there, but shades of gray, with an
> occasional flash of yellow insight.

Some of the inaccuracies work to Linux's advantage, so I'd still take it.
Some such inaccuracies can be described as lacking points, which actually
leave place for intensifying the validity of arguments.

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