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Re: Why do I hate Windows...

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On 2006-03-05, Roy Schestowitz spake thusly:
> __/ [ Kelsey Bjarnason ] on Saturday 04 March 2006 18:03 \__
>> [snips]
>> On Sat, 04 Mar 2006 05:49:07 -0800, Larry Qualig wrote:
>>> Thanks Roy. COLA would be better IMO if there were less hyperbole and
>>> more discussion of the facts. I don't like these sorts of posts any
>>> more than the flatfish style "I installed Linux and it burned down my
>>> house" crap. There are occasional moments of realism here but
>>> unfortunately many people have extreme bias towards one OS or the
>>> other. For many (but certainly not all) it's either Linux is perfect
>>> and Windows "burnded down my house" or the opposite. The reality is
>>> nowhere near this extreme and both OS's could benefit with lessons
>>> learned from the other yet manage to keep their own unique identity.
>> The reality is, nothing is perfect.  Not Linux, not Windows, not OSX.  The
>> real issue becomes not which is perfect, nor even better, but, rather,
>> which is better for a given use or user.
>> Take desktop use for Joe Sixpack.  Ignoring pricing considerations, Macs
>> are, on the whole, probably easier to use than Windows boxes.  Now that
>> OSX is moving to x86, if it becomes a commodity OS like Windows, I fully
>> expect it to take a *huge* chunk of the Windows market over the next
>> several years.
>> That said, for Joe Sixpack, Linux is actually pretty freakin' easy to use
>> as well.  It is not identical, to be sure, but set him up with a stock KDE
>> system, he should be almost as at home with it as with Windows in very
>> short time - and face it, he did, at some point, have to learn Windows,
>> and Windows keeps changing the bloody interface every other week in any
>> case, simply adding to the confusion.
>> For servers, Linux beats Windows hands down, between cost of deployment,
>> ease of doing things such as cloning servers and the like.
>> What really irks me about Windows, especially in the all-too-frequent
>> "ease of use" discussions, is that the Windows folks persist in comparing
>> apples to apples.  Is Windows easy to use?  Compare something _equivalent_
>> if you want the comparison to be meaningful.
>> For example, I run my Linux desktop as a non-privileged user.  So set up
>> Joe Sixpack in an equivalent configuration.  Now let's compare.  He wants
>> to install, oh, say, mIRC.  He has to find it, first.  Then download it.
>> Then run it.  The installer launches and... hrm.  On most of the systems
>> here at work, which are locked down, he'd simply get an error message, to
>> the effect that he's not allowed to do this, contact the administrator.
>> Except Joe Sixpack *is* the administrator.  He's just not running as an
>> admin.  So, let's compare his experience, in a locked-down machine, to
>> mine.  We'll go from a bare-bones GUI system to a "usable" system.  We'll
>> install a few odds and ends, shall we?
>> - MS Office and, on the Linux box, Open Office.
>> - mIRC and, say, xchat.
>> - Yahoo messenger and, say, Kopete.
>> - Winamp and xmms.
>> - Nero and K3B.
>> For MS Office and Nero, we can assume he has CDs.  The others need to be
>> downloaded.  Which means finding them.  So let's compare, shall we?
>> He pops in the Office CD, the installer launches and... and what?  As I
>> said, here he'd just get an error message.  Does the Office installer he's
>> running prompt him for the administrator password?  Does he even remember
>> it?  Or does he have to figure out how to run the installer as admin?
>> Of course, once he's got the installer running, he now has to wade through
>> the wizards.  Having watched Gramps, among others, do this, this is a very
>> painful procedure.  They end up reading *every* line on *every* dialog.
>> Takes forever, for one thing, and it adds nothing whatsoever to the
>> experience.
>> Of course, the installer is quite likely to also ask questions such as
>> where to install.  Does it offer a default?  Sure.  Does he know whether
>> this is a correct choice?  No.  He simply guesses that this is the right
>> thing to do, since it's the default, so he does it.
>> About this point, chances are he'll get a list of components to install.
>> Does he want X and Y and Z?  Or just X?  Again, chances are he hasn't got
>> a clue, so he'll likely stick with the defaults... which means offering
>> him the dialog has not, in actuality, offered him *any* benefit.
>> Click, read, click, read.  Major wasted time and effort, for no particular
>> benefit to the user.
>> Repeat for Nero.  And mIRC.  And Yaoo.  And Winamp.
>> Contrast that to a typical Linux desktop.  Run the installer - the package
>> manager.  It asks for the admin password (or, in Ubuntu, the actual user's
>> password - one less thing for him to remember).  He enters it, selects the
>> applications from the list, clicks "install", clicks a button to confirm
>> the action, then walk away, have a coffee, come back in 10 or 15 minutes,
>> voila, all done.
>> One password.  Clicking check boxes.  Clicking two buttons.  Walking away.
>> This is, according to the trolls, *harder* to do?
>> Of course, we've completely ignored other important issues.  AV, for
>> example.  Simply not necessary in Linux, but for Windows, you have to go
>> through the hoops again.
>> 'Course, updating is also fun.  How does the user get updated versions of
>> his software?  Bug fixes, security updates, etc?
>> Right.  Except for Windows itself, and a few apps (av tools, notably)
>> which self-update, he has to go through the whole process of finding the
>> app, downloading it, running the installer - as admin - possibly manually
>> uninstalling the previous version, then wading through more pointless
>> steps and wasted effort.
>> On the Linux box, he goes back to the package manager - synaptic,
>> say - enters the admin pass (or his own, in Ubuntu), clicks "reload" (a
>> poor choice of name, IMO, but it does have balloon help which tells you
>> what it does), clicks "installed (upgradeable)" to see what's available to
>> be updated, marks the ones he wants, then click, click, walk away and it's
>> done.
>> Two packages?  Twenty?  Two hundred?  Doesn't matter.  It's one consistent
>> interface, and requires about a tenth the effort to upgrade them *all* as
>> to upgrade *one* app in Windows.
>> Yet Windows is "easy to use" and Linux isn't.
>> This sort of thing is *really* telling when I get called to client sites
>> to work on their computers.  Almost every one I work on has at least one
>> virus, despite most of them having AV tools installed.  Many of them have
>> other exploits and bits of malware, as a result of security holes in
>> various application which have long since been patched, but *getting* the
>> updates is such a PITA that the user simply can't be arsed to do it - and
>> this despite the fact most of them are running as admin, so don't even
>> have to go through the extra steps of switching contexts.
>> If Windows is so easy to use, why are so many users *not* updating their
>> software when they should be?  Right, because Windows makes doing it a
>> complete and total pain in the proverbials, whereas Linux makes it a
>> simple point-and-click, select-from-a-list operation.
>> Here's another one I ran into not too long back.  Client just bought a new
>> computer.  Came with XP and some version of MS Office.  They got a
>> "Windows-savvy friend" to copy their documents, etc, over for them.
>> So they sit down, go to edit their web sites (they use FrontPage) and...
>> no FP installed.  Huh?  We installed Office, came with the machine.  Sure,
>> but FP wasn't included with their version of Office.
>> So I install the previous version of Office.  IIRC, it detected the
>> existing newer version and refused to install, until I uninstalled the
>> newer version.  In any case, I installed the older version, which did
>> have FP.  Now they can't access their emails, since the message store (pst
>> file) is in the newer version's format.
>> Now I install the newer version of Office, but tell it only to upgrade the
>> selected components, leave the rest alone.  Voila, now they have both FP
>> and a working email setup.
>> No way in hell they'd be able to do that themselves; in fact, the whole
>> reason I was there was precisely because they couldn't do it themselves.
>> And why did the problem arise in the first place?  Because they "bought MS
>> Office", which to them means getting the newer version of FP, which "is
>> part of Office, isn't it?", only to find out that what they paid for had
>> no relevance to what they were trying to buy.
>> Exactly how is this "easy"?  How is it easier than Linux?  Right, it's
>> not.
>> Here's another I ran into.  An XP-based laptop.  Would not boot.  The boot
>> process either locked up or spewed an error, don't recall which.
>> No prob, they have the XP boot CD, which lets you get to a recovery
>> console - which, when you tell it what you're trying to do, merrily tries
>> to read all the configuration data or whatever it does from the
>> non-bootable system, then *fails*.  The recovery console dies, for
>> presumably the same reason that the installed version of XP dies.
>> Since you can't get your data back, can't fix the system, can't do
>> anything but repartition, reformat and reinstall, the recovery CD is
>> functionally a useless concept.
>> I popped in a Knoppix Live CD, booted off it, copied their data off the
>> NTFS drive, over the network, deleted the XP partitions, reinstalled,
>> copied the data back, no problem.
>> Explain to me how Windows was "easier".  It wasn't, it simply *did not
>> work*.  Even in its supposed recovery mode.  Completely useless.  Linux,
>> on the other hand, worked fine, even to recover the *other* OS's files.
>> Try recovering reiserfs data with a Windows box.  Maybe you can do it..
>> but I recovered the NTFS data without having to even hunt for additional
>> tools.
>> There are only three cases offhand I can think of where Windows is
>> "easier" than Linux.
>> The first is when installing new hardware.  The only reason Windows is
>> "easier" here is because the vendors have provided driver disks.  However,
>> note my recent experience setting up an HP Laserjet 2300 printer in the
>> office - in Linux, it was set the ip address, the port, and select the
>> driver; in Windows, it was find the driver, download it, install it on
>> each desktop, *then* set the IP address, port, and printer type.  Even
>> this is often easier in Linux... especially for NICs.  I can't count the
>> number of times I've had to boot Linux in order to download a Windows NIC
>> driver, because Linux *does* support the NIC, Windows doesn't, and until
>> you get the driver, you can't connect to go download the driver - classic
>> catch 22.
>> The second is with playing certain media formats.  Encrypted DVDs, for
>> example.  This is a purely legal issue, not a technological one; some
>> asinine law says, in essence, you can't include the code to access data
>> you've already paid to access, unless you get the code in some closed
>> format, controlled system.  The code is readily available for Linux
>> systems, but you have to jump through a couple extra hoops,  simply
>> because of a stupid law which should never have existed in the first
>> place.  The same sort of thing happens with a few others - the company who
>> licences the player may even provide a Linux version, but you can't bundle
>> it with a non-commercial distro.  Stupid.
>> The third is accessing poorly-designed documentation, whether it's web
>> pages which aren't smart enough to use standard HTML, or compound
>> documents where some goober has embedded a spreadsheet into a word
>> processing document, instead of embedding the *data* in the document.
>> That said, virtually nobody outside an office environment is likely to
>> encounter this sort of document embedding, and even in an office
>> environment, it seems to be a relatively rare thing.  The bogus
>> IE-specific HTML is a little more common, but that, too, is getting
>> better, especially as FireFox and the like gain popularity with Windows
>> users - kinda forces the page writers to to things at least sort of right,
>> for a change.
>> Oh, sorry, a fourth.  Gaming.  Yeah, Windows remains the better gaming
>> platform.  Actually, Linux would be the better choice from a technology
>> standpoint, but there are more Windows boxes, so game developers are going
>> to target it first, and Linux later if at all.  That said, I'd tend to
>> think that getting a console might be the best approach to this, if only
>> because the console is going to do a better job than a Linux or a Windows
>> PC will, unless you're willing to really fork over the dough.
>> So yeah, nothing's perfect.  However, let's compare apples and apples.
>> Let's see how the systems really stack up, when used in *equivalent*
>> configurations - eg user running as a user, not an admin.  When installing
>> or upgrading software.  When installing supported hardware.  When trying
>> to do recovery.
>> There's simply no contest; Linux beats Windows, hands down, in virtually
>> every category, *unless* you go out of your way to tip things in Window's
>> favour - say by picking a device you know is supported in Windows but not
>> in Linux, then saying how wonderful Windows is, how bad Linux is.
> Good post, Kelsey. I'll keep an eye on your future writings. *smile*
> When Larry returns from his skiing tri *rolls eyes*, perhaps he'll have a
> word or two to add. I doubt anyone can confute your argument, which are all
> so familiar to me being a support staff, usually needing to mend Broken
> Windows(C).
> Best wishes,
> Roy

One thing to add: I have found that command line installers tend to
be much more functional and simple than thier GUI counterparts. This
wasn't always the case. I remember the days of "Dependency hell" associated
with RPM's. In my linux infancy I went through one distro after another
like trying on tuxes to see which style had the best fit (no pun intended).
In those days, I was petrified to install software mostly because of
dependency issues.

I settled on fedora core some time ago and love it. It has a very good
GUI interface for notifying the user to available updates and installing

But I have found that I *really* love YUM. For those of you not familiar
(I would guess this is mostly for users of other OS's) YUM is a command
line package manager. It is very easy to use and extremely powerful. 
Give it a name, even a partial name of the program you want, and it 
locates it online, downloads the most recent version, works out any 
dependency issues, downloads and installs any files needed to solve 
dependencies, and installs the requested program, no muss,
no fuss. It even adds the file to the GUI menu.

Got to love it.


Version: GnuPG v1.2.7 (GNU/Linux)


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