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  the anti-linux args (from AWT thread)  (Read 15651 times)
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Offline JasonB

Junior Devvie





« Posted 2004-02-10 21:00:16 »

This is an attempt to pull the discussion about Linux out of Cas' AWT discussion and into a thread of its own, since I can't bear to go through all those messages more than once.

Apologies if I've missed the topic somewhere else.

To pick up on a couple of comments:

Quote
Well, I hate to fan the flames, but I have to agree with Cas 100% on the Linux issue.  Linux HAS come a long way.. but it is still entirely not practical to actually use on a daily basis by anyone other than a linux expert.


Not true.  Maybe Windoze users find it difficult, but there's evidence the same isn't true for computer newbies (just one reference I've read):

http://www.linuxinsider.com/perl/story/32110.html

Quote
I have a degree in computer engineering, and in general have no problems with computers.  Except for Linux.  I find the failure rate for ALL applications in the linux space extremely high.  This is both a fault of the applications themselves - in that it seems the bulk of linux apps have an unusually large number of bugs, and in the fact that configuring a linux system to do what you want is next to impossible most of the time.


I'd like to know what distributions of Linux you've tried and how old.  I've been using Redhat (ages ago), Mandrake (up until recently) and Gentoo (now).  I have never found the failure rate that high, I also haven't seen as many bugs as you claim, and nor do I agree that configuring a Linux system is that difficult.  Redhat was a headache, I admit, but I was running Mandrake on a laptop without ever having configuration problems (and laptops are usually the difficult area for linux).  Of course, Gentoo, being a system for more experienced users, does require more knowledge, but that's something I accept for its other advantages.

There was another response to that comment:

Quote

That's exactly what I feel about Windows. Configuring a Linux system to fit your needs is really a strength of Linux, especially for experts (full scripting support and tons of usuful tools).


I couldn't agree more.  I estimate my productivity has gone up about threefold since getting away from Windows.  Plus less system crashes are also helpful.  That said, reading the AWT thread has sent my productivity back down again.....  Tongue


Quote
In black and white, for me, I could totally have ignored Linux, and I'd have lost <1% of my profits.

Assuming your porting costs to linux are $0 (because the work has already been done), and your profits are $1 million, would you still be happy to lost 1% of your profits (i.e. $10000)? Personally despite the fact I had a million in profits, I'd still be keen to see the extra 10 grand.

Quote
One of the biggest problems, as I see it, is that the user interface to Linux is basically appalling. It's not even a patch on Windows 3.11 in terms of consistency and usability.


Bollocks.  Balderdash.  Rubbish.  Pick your simile.  Windows XP is a hideous monstrosity compared with KDE.  And if I had to use Win3.1 again I'd go nuts in about 2 seconds flat.  It's all a matter of opinion isn't it?

Quote
How do you install an application on Linux?

Depends on the distribution -- which I admit is one of the flaws if consistency is your goal (and it should be to attract the end user)

Quote
Where do the icons go when you've installed the application?

Into the menu structure, in most cases.  In a few cases, not.  

Quote
Why do windows not pop to the front when I click on them?

Works for me.

Quote
Why is it that when I go to try and use someone else's Linux machine it behaves so radically differently that it's like another operating system?

Because you can tweak the desktop/gui so it behaves exactly as you want.  Why is it so important that everyone -must- use their computer the exact same way.  In a corp, I'd say this is important -- in which case most of that can be locked down.

Quote
What I would like to see is the Linux community abandoning X and Gnome completely and moving towards a proper client desktop that behaves in a single, consistent fashion, and this needs to go in the very core of the kernel.

You cannot be serious.  While we're doing that, let's make Linux less secure as well, so that it's as flawed as Windows.  The kernel should (and will) remain its own separate component at the core of the OS, as it should be.  I can't see why this is a bad thing.
Offline blahblahblahh

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« Reply #1 - Posted 2004-02-11 01:10:24 »

Quote
This is an attempt to pull the discussion about Linux out


Good move; I wrote a response there and then thought better of it, because it would just have strengthened the thread-jacking Smiley.

Just some thoughts and observations: ...

Quote

Not true.  Maybe Windoze users find it difficult, but there's evidence the same isn't true for computer newbies (just one reference I've read):


Windows is either trivial or impossible to install, depending on your hardware. I say this having done sys-admin for windows professionally - you really are at the mercy of your hardware manufacturers and/or their relationship with MS. I've seen brand new PC's even as recently as running @ 1.6Ghz that literally would not install windows OK Sad.

Linux is typically either trivial to install but then damned hard to keep working, or a PITA to install but then easy to keep working. This accounts for much of the arguments and counter-arguments in the thread, that made it seem like people were coming from two different worlds (usually they are, since your distro usually does on or the other of these!). This is almost entirely due to the lack of standards on e.g. where the config info for linux is stored; every distro that moves closer to adopting the work of the linux standardization project (can't recall name or URL off top of my head) is helping to fix this.

Once that's done, unfortunately it's only been designed as a really small step (because the warring distros etc wouldn't tolerate a big step), and the same will need to be done for e.g. X. No matter whether you use KDE, Gnome, or neither, applications cannot perfectly install themselves into e.g. the start-menu - again because of the lack of a standard definition even of what this menu is, let alone where it's stored on disk, or what it's hierarchy is. E.g. last time I looked, Mandrake continues to break each successive version of KDE by altering KDE's own standards on where these files are located, wasting lots of KDE.org's time with frustrated users who upgrade then find they've just lost their desktop, and complain to KDE.org, and then have to manually wade through undocumented configuration info (because the folks at KDE used not to have any idea what the heck Mandrake had done...) to try and fix things again Sad.

Quote

I couldn't agree more.  I estimate my productivity has gone up about threefold since getting away from Windows.  Plus less system crashes are also helpful.


I have, on average, more crashes with linux on the desktop than with windows (OTOH linux servers - especially with no X installed! - are arbitrarily stable IME, unless you run a piece of crud like Samba; nb: I can crash anyone's linux samba client connection in 30 seconds + however long it takes them to get around to browsing the samba file shares, using just notepad and a windows PC, forcing all connected linux clients to REBOOT before they can carry on using their samba FS; depending on mount point, they may be forced to reboot immediately Sad)

Also, linux has an annoying problem that you can't always kill processes. When a process ignores "kill -9" what do you do next? I'm still looking for a solution to that (FS problems, and whenevre Mozilla gets into an infinite fast-memory-leaking while loop are the main times I need this...). I never found an NT/2k/etc process I couldn't kill when I needed to - usually the worst you need do is kill the entire desktop, and nowadays that restarts automatically after a few seconds.

Note that I never used win9x (because it was too abominable), and have got NT-4 and 2k tuning down to a fine art ( 35Mb - 45Mb RAM usage on startup, quick startup times, and very few crashes). These days I use linux as my main desktop, and mozilla alone (stable versions only!) will crash linux completely on average once every 3 days, unless you're careful e.g. not to visit too many websites (!). In comparison, OpenOffice has never crashed my linux PC in years.

Linux being more stable than windows is partially true, but partly a myth; windows instability is mostly due to flakey hardware and/or hardware drivers (and the same problem causes linux to crash too - I've seen it often enough Sad - although the linux drivers tend to be of a higher quality). Linux stability is only guaranteed if you don't run any X stuff, no fancy multimedia, games, etc. If you stick to IP tools (firewalling, apache, etc) it'll be rock solid. Use it as a full-fat desktop and you're suddenly back at the mercy of hardware drivers and bad applications...

Quote
Windows XP is a hideous monstrosity compared with KDE.  And if I had to use Win3.1 again I'd go nuts in about 2 seconds flat.  It's all a matter of opinion isn't it?


I think many people suffer problems with linux's GUI's that they feel are a GUI problem but linux people feel are a system problem. E.g. the lack of integration between the desktop and the video drivers - something Cas takes for granted from Windows, but is practically non-existent (yes, I know how to get it to work, but it's not standard/default yet) on linux.

I agree heartily that there are some great GUI's on linux. Even the basic window managers have incredibly cool features that make windows XP feel clunky, like when you alt-tab on my desktop, and as you cycle through windows, they are highlighted on screen, so you don't need to look at the icons / read the window titles, you can actually SEE the app you're about to jump to.

Personally, I fall into the "Gnome people should wake up and smell the roses, and get behind KDE" Grin camp, FWVLIW. KDE is good, but the killer-feature here is doing the standardization and integration (e.g. right click on desktop to configure your graphics driver etc).

Quote

You cannot be serious.  While we're doing that, let's make Linux less secure as well, so that it's as flawed as Windows.  The kernel should (and will) remain its own separate component at the core of the OS, as it should be.  I can't see why this is a bad thing.


Linux is not any more inherently secure than windows. They are both similar kernel architectures. IIRC neither (yet) is a full micro-kernel architecture (which definitely would be something to crow about...). Certainly neither of them (yet) use the secure OS architectures that have been in existence for 20 years...

Some linux people seem ignorant that you can replace your windows kernel - if you're a windows sys admin, you may well do it quite often, but on different PC's each time. There are actually a few MS kernels to choose from (the windows install program - much like many distros - tends to build a custom one for you, IIRC, based on one of a range of common cores).

If linux were something else entirely, e.g. Nemesis, or possibly HURD/HERD (although the last I recall that project had lost most of its sparkle Sad ), then things would be different. As it is, linux was a quick hack to get a working unix-clone system, that is only in recent years starting to be evolved into something decent in it's own right (e.g. kernel moving towards being entirely modular...).

malloc will be first against the wall when the revolution comes...
Offline JasonB

Junior Devvie





« Reply #2 - Posted 2004-02-11 03:54:03 »

Quote

I have, on average, more crashes with linux on the desktop than with windows...

...Also, linux has an annoying problem that you can't always kill processes. When a process ignores "kill -9" what do you do next? I'm still looking for a solution to that (FS problems, and whenevre Mozilla gets into an infinite fast-memory-leaking while loop are the main times I need this...). I never found an NT/2k/etc process I couldn't kill when I needed to.

Weird. I've had the exact opposite experience.  I used to work on WinNT while at an investment bank in London.  Standard hardware (Compaq or HP or something like that), standard corporate administration where you have bugger all access to the admin of the OS.  And I had crashes at least once a day, sometimes more.  Everyone on the team had crashes at least once a week.  While I had less problems with Win2K, I still had crashes.
Contrast with the team I'm managing now -- all running various distros (well actually I standardised on Mandrake, and then changed to Gentoo myself, when my sys. eng. introduced me to it) none with crashing problems.  The main issue I've got at the moment is I can't figure out how to get Chinese working properly for one of my developers.  A pain in the arse compared to Windows.

I have -never- had a problem killing a process.  Ever.  I've been running Linux  solidly (at home and at work) for almost 2 years and I've never seen that.  I've seen mozilla processes hang and had to either killall or kill one by one, but never been unable to kill a process.

Quote
Linux is not any more inherently secure than windows.

That flies in the face of everything I've heard and read about Linux. Just look at user permissions for one basic example --of course maybe XP added that sort of stuff.  I refuse to touch it, so I don't know.
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Offline kevglass

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« Reply #3 - Posted 2004-02-11 04:13:18 »

Just to prevent another flame war (which was my first reaction to seeing the title of this thread) could you change it?

No one said Linux sucks generically, maybe "The Linux Desktop/Gaming Argument" or something. Normally I wouldn't worry, but there seem to be pationate 'believes' on this argument which were getting out of hand before.

Kev

Offline aldacron

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« Reply #4 - Posted 2004-02-11 04:30:54 »

Regardless of what the strengths and weaknesses of Linux are in the eyes of those who are tech savvy, the utlimate concern for most of us (as in people who hope to make some cash as an indie game dev) is that the conversion rate in the Linux market is negligible. The only way it will become viable is when its share of the desktop market reaches a point where Joe Gamer is comfortable running it.

All of these complaints about installation & maintenance problems and GUI issues are very relevant when you consider that Joe Gamer is using Windows now, and has been for quite some time. If Linux cannot be installed, booted, updated, and maintained with the same ease as Windows, then the market share will not grow. That in turn means the viability of the Linux games market will not grow much as well.

I so want to use Linux at home, but it has given me more headaches than I have patience for. I don't want to spend hours reading man pages, learning the difference between the dozens of config files, or rebuilding the kernel just because I don't have the proper version for my graphics card driver. And I'm not Joe Gamer. By contrast, I have never in 10 years had an installation issue with any versio of Windows. Blue Screen of Death, yes. Freezes, yes. But nothing a hard reboot doesn't fix. Installing drivers is a point-and-click deal these days.

One of these days, I'll try to get another version of Linux installed and make another attempt to get used to it (last time I tried Lilo corrupted my MBR). But until Linux becomes point-and-click simple, it will be very difficult to convince Joe Gamer and his parents to use it. That's the perspective Cas' original argument was coming from, as I see it.
Offline JasonB

Junior Devvie





« Reply #5 - Posted 2004-02-11 05:12:51 »

Quote
But until Linux becomes point-and-click simple, it will be very difficult to convince Joe Gamer and his parents to use it. That's the perspective Cas' original argument was coming from, as I see it.

Exactly.  Which is why I put this in off-topic.
Offline DrBizzar0

Junior Devvie




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« Reply #6 - Posted 2004-02-11 05:40:10 »

A little note on the windowsismucheasiertousethanlinux-issue. My experience is that most people don't know how to even install programs on windows. I've lost count on all times I've had to help relatives and friends with trivial things, so please give up the myth of the easy to use windows. My point is that if you would install a window system on linux that looked and behaved the same as windows the average user would be able to use it as much as he/she would be able to use windows. (start a webbrowser, use a mailprogram, play a small preinstalld game and do some occational writing in a wordprocessor)
Offline Bombadil

Senior Devvie





« Reply #7 - Posted 2004-02-11 05:56:57 »

Quote
A little note on the windowsismucheasiertousethanlinux-issue. My experience is that most people don't know how to even install programs on windows. I've lost count on all times I've had to help relatives and friends with trivial things, so please give up the myth of the easy to use windows.

Most people I know using Windows2000 run with Admin rights all day because otherwise they can't install drivers and games and many applications (and they don't know there's a security difference between different users). Lovely for viri and other not-well-programed programs which trash the system...

It's not that easy, though: I too (on Win2000) can't always use that "run within a different user" option for programs to install or run - somehow the registry is not the same then and I have to logout and login as Admin just to install or run that single program...

WindowsXP users I don't know too many (does the WinXP home edition differentiate between admin user and normal user?).
Offline princec

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« Reply #8 - Posted 2004-02-11 07:28:00 »

I personally abhor the concept of having to log in as an administrator in order to install things. I am the administrator. It's my personal computer I'm sat at. What joker decided I had to log out and log in again as someone else when it's still me? Whatever your take on the security issue it's a usability nightmare on both Windows and Linux. I have a feeling MacOS might be similar.

The problem has been very neatly circumvented in Java Webstart where you actually grant permissions to programs and code as they ask for them. In other words all programs installed have to ask you, the user, for permission to do things. This is how it should be.

The key issues as I see it with Linux are with basic usability. One of the cornerstones of basic usability is standardisation. If all cars had different controls, nobody would be able to drive them well, and we'd see a lot of accidents. The often-used car/computer analogy is often-used precisely because it is so eerily accurate.

If we started to really think about how computers should be to work in a true mass market the very first thing we'd do is decide how they all have to behave, more or less, in their basic interface. Before you stutter in apoplexy: this has already occurred several times in the past and you didn't complain then. Let me point you at a few examples:

1. The Mouse Pointer. We now have a device that is universally used across operating systems to point at things. The left button universally selects whatever is under the pointer on the screen. Unfortunately standardisation ends there; MacOS persists in thinking I've got a hoof and not fingers, and Linux persists in thinking that I want to use the middle button differently everywhere I point it. But gradually most OSs are coming down to the concept that left selects and right brings up a context menu. This is a Good Thing. That's why we universally know the right pedal makes the car go faster, and there is a pedal to the left that makes it slower, but there may not be a clutch in the car.

2. The backspace key moves the cursor to the left and deletes the previous character, and the Delete key sucks characters from the right. The backspace key used to do some strange things. Sometimes it just moved the cursor but didn't delete. On Unix it until very recently almost universally printed the totally unexpected ^H out in a terminal (duh!). But we are seeing some progress on keyboards and how they are used. Even in Windows nowadays you no longer have to use DOSKEY to get a command history in your cmdline prompt to work.

3. Windows. That applications run in their own bit of screen space is taken for granted now, and that the user can move the windows around and resize them is also established. There is a little awkwardness in that the controls to manipulate windows are frequently in funny places and rarely visually standardized. Why a red blob on OSX and a cross on Win32 and Linux? What would the world be like if STOP signs at junctions said STOP in some countries and had a picture of a smiley face in other countries? What would it be like if green traffic lights meant stop in Asia and red meant go? Can you see a normal society thinking that would be a good idea?

4. In some countries they drive on the left; in some countries they drive on the right. This is the Way It Is and there's no correct side of the road to drive on and you just have to get used to the local custom. It's too bad that there are several ways of describing filesystems. The only thing it does is confuse end users. Fortunately we have a common standard now born of the Internet, the URI. It uses forward slashes and colons and ?'s and squiggles. Whoever decided a web URL should begin with "http://" was clearly inhuman. Why not... "web "?

5. The user interface on Windows is excellent. Not perfect in many ways but it's been reliable and consistent for about 9 years now. Consistency and ubiquity are the key. The problem with Linux afficionados is their insistence on doing things deliberately differently despite their tiny minority status. When 95% of all computers work like Windows does, how can you expect that 95% to think your strange ways of doing things are more usable!? To an ordinary user, trying to use Linux for the first (and even many subsequent) times is like getting a car driver out of his car and putting him on a sportsbike. "The controls still do basically the same thing, they're just in different places and behave a bit more sensitively. No, you can't change into any gear you like you have to do it one at a time. Don't touch that! etc." The car driver is typically terrified after 2 minutes riding a bike and gets back into the comforting, familiar world of 4 wheels again. The same thing happens when someone attempts the transition to Windows.

If the Linux desktop does not make very significant movement to behaving not only consistently with itself but also consistently with the de facto standard that the Windows GUI has become then it will never catch on. When the Linux desktop has got everything working as familiarly as Windows, then it can start to try and make things better but not by altering the basic use-cases that users find familiar. Highlighting windows as you alt-tab is a great example of what can be done to improve the user interface without breaking any usability paradigms learned from Windows. Allowing users to skin their desktop so that the close button is in the bottom right of a window is not a good idea. (It might seem cool but it's as stupid as allowing a motorcyclist to swap the brakes levers around on his bike).

Let me now draw you again to the car/bike analogy. Years ago when I didn't drive and only had a bike, I'd tell everyone that bikes were the best etc. etc. and everyone should have one. Now I can drive. Driving is tedious and banal and I rarely actually drive except out of necessity to carry cargo. But nowadays there is a fundamental shift in my attitude to bikes now that I understand the car perspective. Bikes are great but I now know they are weird, scary, dangerous, irritating, and no cheaper than driving cars.

What's interesting is that the motorcycle industry has noticed too, finally. How are you going to sell more bikes if you keep trying to sell bikes that are weird, scary, dangerous and irritating compared to cars? Here's a few of the things that have happened in recent years:

Big Scooters have arrived. If you actually sit in a Big Scooter (and I mean in!) you will be first astonished that the dash layout and proportions look uncannily like a car's.  You will then notice the huge, plush seat, rather like a car. And then you will notice the huge luggage space and enormous pillion seat. And somewhere to put your crashhelmet so you don't have to lug the bugger around with you when you go shopping.

BMW produce bikes with a kevlar belt drive or shaft drive (they make 1 bike, I think, with a chain). For years, bikers have extolled the virtues of chains because they make a bike slightly lighter and more responsive and can take a lot of power and have no adverse side effects. No adverse side effects, that is, until you ride off one day and it snaps because you haven't oiled it in 15,000 miles. Why would a car driver stop to think about oiling a chain every week? They don't, they're used to just getting in and driving, every day, without thinking about this. BMW know this. Kevlar belts and shafts don't need adjusting or oiling.

What has happened here is that the industry has realised that there is already a defacto standard for personal transport that anyone considering alternatives to will be used as the benchmark.

It's about time Desktop Linuxen woke up and had a long think about the existing benchmark of usability and where Linux compares - objectively, not subjectively.

Cas Smiley

Offline Jens

Senior Devvie




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« Reply #9 - Posted 2004-02-11 08:04:47 »

It's hard to sort the arguments mentioned here. I think much of them are a matter of personal experience. I have used Windows and Linux for some time now (Windows even longer than Linux). I think, regardless if Linux is easier to install and use, it opens you a whole new world of possibilites, makes you more productive and saves you a lot of money.

One of the main problems is probably that most people here seem to think that Linux is ready for the desktop, if it becomes almost indistinguishable similar to Windows. This should not be the primary goal, because it's much better to mix the strengths of both (and other) systems. One of the philosophies of Linux is to have programs, which fulfill exactly one task (almost) perfectly. A second one is to have the freedom to choose what software fits your needs best. These are reasons why you can't simply say: "Put all desktops in one and make all GUIs look the same." One of the main reasons, that some distros try to be Windows-like is that there are millions of users with several years of experience, who can be attracted by a Windows-like desktop. While this is often good for experienced Windows users without Linux experience, it often has its drawbacks (for instance trying to hide as much as possible from the user) and doesn't emphasize the stengths of Linux. A very valid point mentioned above is that is that Linux and Windows is about similar difficult for people with no experience in both worlds (study).

The Linux market is currently dominated by companies. This has disadvantages. Every company tries to put the latest and greatest packages together and tend to focus on the most popular packages. However the difficult thing when creating a distribution is not to have the latest packages in it or a pre-release-kernel with several hundred patches. It's making a consistent distribution, which behaves exactly as a user expects it to do. That's why I personally prefer distributions, which are driven by the community instead of a company. For those who don't know: Debian has voluntary maintainers for each package. Each maintainer typically uses his own package and cares a lot about painless user installations and fixing bugs in it. You'll typically notice that Debian (and Gentoo for instance) are much better maintained, when it comes to less popular packages. They usually care more about standards and social contracts. The average Debian and Gentoo user is often quite happy about his operating system, because he knows how it works. The learning curve for these distribtuions is much steeper than for Suse/Redhat. If you have a problem, you can really fix it (without trial and error like it's often done in Windows). And if you ask for help politely, you'll probably get it. As a sidenote the learning curve for Linux is usually steeper than the one for Windows. I have used Windows for years and I can't say that it makes a significant difference, if you use it for one, two, three or more years.

Some obvious adavantages of Linux haven't been named. For instance you are not tight to a company, which makes your data (and knowledge) much more future proof. You can be sure that the underlying software doesn't violate your privacy. You can keep your software uptodate without regular needing to pay for it, which pays off in the long term. If you have problems with some piece of software you have the chance fix it yourself or (more likely) pay someone to do it. Opensource avoids the need to write everything from scratch, if it's already been done.

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Offline Jens

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« Reply #10 - Posted 2004-02-11 08:27:45 »

Quote
It's about time Desktop Linuxen woke up and had a long think about the existing benchmark of usability and where Linux compares - objectively, not subjectively.


When you write this, it sounds like GNU/Linux developers didn't even start think about usability. In fact they are not sleeping and usability plays a large role in many Opensource projects. KDE has its own usability subproject for instance.

There are already number of existing objective studies comparing Linux and Windows in terms of usability. Most of them show that Linux was behind Windows in terms of usability for the desktop user and is about equal now. KDE and Gnome are more powerful than the Windows desktop nowadays.

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Offline princec

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« Reply #11 - Posted 2004-02-11 09:47:44 »

Quote
I think much of them are a matter of personal experience

And that's one of the things I have an issue with. When 95% of the world's personal experiences are The Windows Experience you'd better be sure not to make any new experience too jarring or they don't like it. The mass market can only cope with tiny adjustments, a few at a time, and they have to percolate for a good while.

That study fails to mention that after the initial terror of using the OS, Windows is very very rapidly learned. To become competent at using Windows one has to learn very little, and nearly always, one has to learn only one thing: double click to run. New programs always install the same way, despite the installers all being different. New drivers are (almost always) installed in the same way these days (it's still not perfect but it's getting there). Whereas on the Linux I had, I had to learn how to:
Open a terminal
Learn how to change directory
Navigate to a directory
Figure out how tar and gzip work
Figure out that I needed to do su to install something
Figure out how to chmod the installer
Figure out how to run the installer (hint: prepend the totally obvious ./ to the filename. Er...?)
And then figure out where the hell it actually installed to because it didn't ask me
And at the end of it it didn't create any icons and I had no idea how to create them

After having learned this painful rigmarole once it would have been nice if that was all I had to do to install the next thing. Except it came in a completely different form, and was fraught with its own bizarre troubles. And so on.

After 3 days, the Windows user is productive and happy and competent. After 3 days, I, a very old hand at computers of all sorts, was still so uncomfortable at just how fiddly it was to make anything work that I gave up. What hope for the mass market?

Quote
Some obvious adavantages of Linux haven't been named. For instance you are not tight to a company, which makes your data (and knowledge) much more future proof.

This is such a massive misconception it must be stamped out, completely, now! The news is: Microsoft do not own the desktop nor all the applications that run on your computer. All the software that is written for Linux could equally well be written for Win32 and still be under the GPL.

Linux has no advantage to the end user in respect of free software, either beerwise or lunchwise. The end user wants a tool to do a job. Who made the tool and the "philosophy" behind the tool is not important to the end user. Why the hell would I, as a user, care about a philosophy of one small tool to do one small job? Especially as in the rest of the computing world, we have nice big tools that do lots of things in a wonderfully integrateed fashion. Consider that 99% of us in here use the most celebrated and brilliant uber-tool idea of all time: the integrated development environment. Why is this concept so popular? Because it's easier and better and faster than using a loosley coupled collection of bits and bobs.

The only things important to the end user are fitness for purpose, quality, and price. Fitness for purpose is by far the most important - and that's irrelevant as far as the Linux / Windows / MacOS debate concern goes. A few crazy nerds might insist on using only GPL software and never paying for anything ever, or hate Windows just because it's owned by an evil self-serving monopolistic empire, but a few crazy nerds is not a very large number of people compared to the billion-strong Windows users club.

All of the rhetoric about being able to fix stuff and asking for help gets it etc. is just that, rhetoric. You know as well as I do that because there are 99 times as many Windows users in the world you're rather more likely to a) have your problem fixed for you in the first place, sooner and b) find help from someone when you need it. But the fact is it's so accelerated over the last couple of years now that almost nothing ever actually goes wrong with Windows, and when it does, you have probably noticed Microsoft automatically fix it for you without you even needing to ask.

Cas Smiley

Offline Jens

Senior Devvie




Java for games!


« Reply #12 - Posted 2004-02-11 11:48:42 »

Quote
And that's one of the things I have an issue with. When 95% of the world's personal experiences are The Windows Experience you'd better be sure not to make any new experience too jarring or they don't like it.


Not everything what the majority does is really good. (Say if 95% of the world is using C++ to write desktop applications, this doesn't mean all programming languages for desktop applications have to be like C++.) The second point is, that there are a lot of people, who use Linux without having used Windows before and a lot of people who used Windows long ago, but don't care for it anymore. Those people only want the best solution possible, not the most Windows-like solution possible. And after all it's even better, if you have the choice, what _you_ want to do.

What I wanted to say with the sentence above is, that it depends on what concrete experiences one person had with Windows or Linux. If someone never managed to install Linux, but tried several times, he won't like it. If someone always has problems with Windows, he won't like it either.

Quote

Whereas on the Linux I had, I had to learn how to:
Open a terminal
Learn how to change directory
Navigate to a directory
Figure out how tar and gzip work
Figure out that I needed to do su to install something
Figure out how to chmod the installer
Figure out how to run the installer (hint: prepend the totally obvious ./ to the filename. Er...?)
And then figure out where the hell it actually installed to because it didn't ask me
And at the end of it it didn't create any icons and I had no idea how to create them


I already told in the other thread, that you don't have to compile your software most of the time. On Windows you just use the installer all the time, why not on Linux? (We already had this topic in the other thread.)

Quote
This is such a massive misconception it must be stamped out, completely, now! The news is: Microsoft do not own the desktop nor all the applications that run on your computer.


That's very true for my computer. Cheesy

What I wanted to say is, that as long as you have Windows-specific software, you rely on Microsoft to exist. Typically Windows users have software, which relies on Windows.

Quote
Linux has no advantage to the end user in respect of free software, either beerwise or lunchwise. The end user wants a tool to do a job. Who made the tool and the "philosophy" behind the tool is not important to the end user.


For some users it is important. It's very important to know, if the product's philosophy is to get more expensive and force you to upgrade each release cycle or if the software will stay free forever, if it uses open standards or is proprietary etc. This can be critical for users. Even if the user doesn't care, does this make Linux worse?

Quote
All of the rhetoric about being able to fix stuff and asking for help gets it etc. is just that, rhetoric.


No, it isn't. It's reality. I've done it several times.

Quote
You know as well as I do that because there are 99 times as many Windows users in the world you're rather more likely to a) have your problem fixed for you in the first place, sooner and b) find help from someone when you need it. But the fact is it's so accelerated over the last couple of years now that almost nothing ever actually goes wrong with Windows, and when it does, you have probably noticed Microsoft automatically fix it for you without you even needing to ask.


Surprisingly this is often not true. How many Windows users are really using forums, mailinglists and newsgroups to help other users? How many of them can actually help? How many Windows users actually report problems? How interested is Microsoft in having problems discussed openly? Is the Windows community really stronger than the Linux community?

I don't think that you can't say that actually nothing ever goes wrong on Windows (maybe this is true for you, but not for all users). A lot of people have problems with viruses, bluescreens, unexpected behaviours, stupid error messages etc. Often you simply can't do anything about it. Sometimes Microsoft needs a long time to fix security issues etc. Windows isn't as close to perfection as you describe it here especially in the fields of security and stability. (Only look at the really serious issues of Internet Explorer.)

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Offline Mojomonkey

Senior Devvie




ooh ooh eee eeee


« Reply #13 - Posted 2004-02-11 12:03:43 »

I just want to add my thoughts on this. Cas, you keep mentioning how everything must be standardized, otherwise things will begin blowing up, or something. Why? You know, I rarely ever sit at a random computer and start using it. The computers I use are, in fact, mine or the company I work for who is loaning it to me. Why is it a bad thing to make my computer work like I want it to? In fact, every linux install I have seen in the last two years by default creates a desktop VERY similar to windows. The user is then free to modify it to their hearts content.

You make the analogy that we shouldn't be allowed to move pedals in our car. I agree, but I think your analogy is flawed. I think we should (and CAN) adjust the seats in our car to allow us to reach those pedals. Hell I can even adjust the MIRRORS!  Tongue

Don't send a man to do a monkey's work.
Offline princec

« JGO Spiffy Duke »


Medals: 437
Projects: 3
Exp: 16 years


Eh? Who? What? ... Me?


« Reply #14 - Posted 2004-02-11 12:44:32 »

That's exactly analogous to the alt-tab feature mentioned, or to being allowed to have your resprayed in any colour you like. Swapping the pedals is crazy.

Now, you're a very lucky person, by the sounds of it. I've used more computers than I can count in the last 2 years, in about 8 different organisations. I thank my lucky stars they were all running Windows because they all behaved the same way and I could just get on and do what I needed to do without having to find lots of different ways to do it.

Jens keeps talking about "many users" and such but for each one of his "many" there are "99 x many" Windows users who are more usefully catered for. Why not accept this? There are more of them! Make them feel at home in Linux, don't be different just for the 1%.

Cas Smiley

Offline AndersDahlberg

Junior Devvie





« Reply #15 - Posted 2004-02-11 12:48:09 »

<RANT>
First:
As my hd suddenly died a couple of weeks ago (don't ask why *sigh* stupid stupid me...) I'm writing this on a "the network is the computer" Wink kind of set up (knoppix booted from cd running on ramdisk) - kinda hard to do with windows Smiley

Second:
Quote

And that's one of the things I have an issue with. When 95% of the world's personal experiences are The Windows Experience you'd better be sure not to make any new experience too jarring or they don't like it. The mass market can only cope with tiny adjustments, a few at a time, and they have to percolate for a good while.

A couple of centuries ago 95% thought that slavery was a good idea => stuff change - get used to it (well "slavery" is probably quite a good description of the current microsoft influenced "it" sector as well Wink

Third:
My mom and dad have been using redhat for about 2 years now and are currently using fedora, my dad had been, and is still, using windows 95,98 and nt in his work. My mom was (is Wink a complete computer newbie.

Thing is, after dad started paying his bills and surfing the 'net with redhat (and now fedora), after first being somewhat (understatement) pessimistic ("that doesn't look like windows attitude") he is now, in pseudo his own words, totally convinced that linux is a lot easier to use and definitely more stable than any windows os he has used.

My mom had to be shown once by me how to connect to the internet (they have an old 56k connection...) with kppd and since then she is happily surfing the net for recipes and similar stuff, writing documents in openoffice and playing music with xmms (or mu.dev.java.net depending on her mode Smiley

(true, as their computer had a windows only modem: configuration of that was a b****... - but had it only been a regular non-software modem I'm positive my father could have configured the net access totally by himself as it's quite similar to windows connection settings).

Quote

Open a terminal
Learn how to change directory  
Navigate to a directory
Figure out how tar and gzip work
Figure out that I needed to do su to install something
Figure out how to chmod the installer
Figure out how to run the installer (hint: prepend the totally obvious ./ to the filename. Er...?)
And then figure out where the hell it actually installed to because it didn't ask me
And at the end of it it didn't create any icons and I had no idea how to create them

Redhat/Fedora version:
1, Download rpm file (i.e. save to desktop)
2, Double click rpm file
3, enter root password *
4, Click ok
5, Program installed and links provided in redhat's equivalent of windows "start-menu" in appropriate category (i.e. internet apps in that folder, generic apps in applications etc etc very easy for my parents to understand where to look!). Or a quick alt+f2 and entering the app-name in the prompt (with auto completion!) and pressing enter which works in 99% of the cases - quite easy if you ask me!

* My mom was very happy when I told her that she couldn't "mess anything up" when using the computer as she was using a "safe user", well she probably didn't understand what safe user was but anyway - she was less afraid of the computer after that. Thus she had no problem later that day accepthing the need to input root-password when connecting to the internet (I guess she understood somehow that the 'net ain't safe Wink

Fourth:
Quote
But the fact is it's so accelerated over the last couple of years now that almost nothing ever actually goes wrong with Windows, and when it does, you have probably noticed Microsoft automatically fix it for you without you even needing to ask.


********!!
Just yesterday I had a coffee with a neighbour and his father - his father had a question about why suddenly the "export-files to disk" feature suddenly had stopped working (read: crashing the application) in windows media player - later we found out that the drivers for his mouse had somehow managed to replace a vital (well...) dll with their own version - funny thing is, as he is using XP and it's "super smart keeping dll files safe in memory and very protected from the user thingy" it's almost impossible (well... relatively speaking) to remove that corrupted dll file and replace it with the original one (Earlier, before asking me - the father had asked a local support hotline how to fix the problem - can anyone guess their response? LOL)

So much for XP and usability if you ask me!

Btw, I stopped using windows in 2000/01 when I uppgraded to linux as I had a neighbour who had this "cool", yay Wink, linux os in which you could customize almost everything, and it had all these nifty small programs that you either can't find for windows, or they are ad/spyware etc etc.

Earlier I've been using the windows "versions"
3.1 (limited)
3.11 (some)
95 (a lot)
98 (a little)
me (before I deleted it from my parents computer...)
nt ( 4/5? I think- a little)
2000 (a lot)

Even though I've only used linux based distros (maybe 5 or so) three years or so; I almost everytime become frustrated when using windows again as it feels so limited, slow and "expert user" unfriendly!
(I.e. no quick terminal access, no nifty way to create smart shortcuts, launch files, scripting language - I don't consider JScript a language..., strange cron jobs etc etc)
</RANT>

Well it is *off topic* Wink
Offline Bombadil

Senior Devvie





« Reply #16 - Posted 2004-02-11 13:57:05 »

Quote
One of the cornerstones of basic usability is standardisation.

With the invention of changeable skins for windows and buttons and blabla since Windows2000 I find several applications on Windows NT5 and higher to have a totally different L&F, which is horrible...
Worst is Microsoft; their applications do brake "official GUI guidelines" on a regular basis.
Offline princec

« JGO Spiffy Duke »


Medals: 437
Projects: 3
Exp: 16 years


Eh? Who? What? ... Me?


« Reply #17 - Posted 2004-02-11 14:18:09 »

Yeah, they don't always get it right Smiley

I do wish people would stop giving me individual examples of so-and-so-who-uses-linux-without-problems and such-and-such-an-application-that-breaks-Windows. I am trying, over and over again, to argue that individual instances of success or failure are not what the argument is about. It's about what happens when you throw 100 million people at the issue.

Overwhelmingly, without fail, the vast majority of people are used to Windows. There's no reason to suggest just because your dad uses Linux that it makes it easy. Throw 100 million dads at Linux and you are certain to end up with 99 million angry or confused dads.

Cas Smiley

Offline Mojomonkey

Senior Devvie




ooh ooh eee eeee


« Reply #18 - Posted 2004-02-11 14:21:04 »

Quote
Throw 100 million dads at Linux and you are certain to end up with 99 million angry or confused dads.



Throw 100 million dads at Windows and you are certain to end up with 99 million angry or confused dads.

Throw 100 million dads at Mac OS X and you are certain to end up with 99 million angry or confused dads.

Throw 100 million dads at BSD and you are certain to end up with 99 million angry or confused dads.

Don't send a man to do a monkey's work.
Offline JasonB

Junior Devvie





« Reply #19 - Posted 2004-02-11 16:22:04 »

Quote

Throw 100 million dads at Windows and you are certain to end up with 99 million angry or confused dads.

Throw 100 million dads at Mac OS X and you are certain to end up with 99 million angry or confused dads.

Throw 100 million dads at BSD and you are certain to end up with 99 million angry or confused dads.

Damn good point actually.  Due to the complexity of computers, the only machine you could point 100 million dads at, and not have 99% of them angry or confused is probably a console.

Quote
I do wish people would stop giving me individual examples of so-and-so-who-uses-linux-without-problems and such-and-such-an-application-that-breaks-Windows. I am trying, over and over again, to argue that individual instances of success or failure are not what the argument is about. It's about what happens when you throw 100 million people at the issue.

Cas, We are offering counter arguments to your own examples of a 'happy' windows user: yourself.  You talk about the problems you've had as an experienced computer user -- and you've been given counter examples of the non-experienced succeeding...

....you're not bitter about it, are you...?    Grin
Offline swpalmer

JGO Coder


Exp: 12 years


Where's the Kaboom?


« Reply #20 - Posted 2004-02-11 18:46:42 »

Quote
JasonB wrote:
Maybe Windoze users find it difficult, but there's evidence the same isn't true for computer newbies



Sure - but non-tech newbies don't actually USE computers. They simply repeat what someone shows them.  They don't understand a thing they are doing most of the time and if one step is different they are completely stuck.  I can see how Linux is no worse in that case.  It's when you actually have to do anything even slightly different that it all goes to hell.

Quote
JB:  I'd like to know what distributions of Linux you've tried...


RedHat 9, SuSe 9 are the most recent,  Also RedHat 7,8,  and WAY back, slackware something.

Quote
JB: Windows XP is a hideous monstrosity compared with KDE.


KDE looks 'ok' if you don't touch anything,  actually do something and it crashes, flickers like mad, and feels dog slow.  Windows is slightly better, Mac is a lot better.  Gnome flickers less, crashes less, looks a bit worse.

Quote
JB:  I estimate my productivity has gone up about threefold since getting away from Windows.


For me it plummets drastically.  Mainly because of the lack of UIs. I have to search tons of config files with bizarre acronyms for names.. read through tons of man pages to try to learn how to change something.  With windows - you browse - you see what you want, use select a different option.. MUCH faster/easier/etc.  Mac is the same.


Quote
Where do the icons go when you've installed the application?

JB:Into the menu structure, in most cases.  In a few cases, not.


Duh, easy to say - but how do you do it?  I've tried and got permission errors... apparently I can only change the menus as/for the root user?  (using Gnome).. this was very irritating.

Quote
Why is it that when I go to try and use someone else's Linux machine it behaves so radically differently that it's like another operating system?
JB:...Because you can tweak the desktop/gui so it behaves exactly as you want.


Tweaking colours and customizing toolbars etc. is one thing.. Radical differences are not that helpful.  Similarity is a "good thing".


Quote
What I would like to see is the Linux community abandoning X and Gnome completely and moving towards a proper client desktop
JB:You cannot be serious.


An excellent SERIOUS proposal.  X is crap, EVERY UI I've seen on top of X seems to suck.. though they have got better recently.  Note also the troubles that X caused the Java AWT guys with fullscreen, acceleration, etc..  X is good for dump X-terminals, nothing more.  That's why the good GUIs like Mac OS X, BeOS,etc. don't run on X (though you can run X on them if you have to).

Quote
blahblahblahh:  I have, on average, more crashes with linux on the desktop than with windows


Yep, same here.  I have one machine that can't stay up for 24 hours because the Adaptec drivers on Linux consume all the resources and die.  If I reboot daily I can run Linux.. fun.  That's with RH9.  You would think they could get something like a SCSI driver working by now... (though I've seen Adaptecs own driver code and it does suck Smiley )

Quote
blahblahblahh: you can't always kill processes.


Same holds for Windows NT/2k/XP

Quote
DrBizzar0:My experience is that most people don't know how to even install programs on windows.


True, but these same people would be worse off try on Linux where installations of simple packages often fail. Or in some cases installation is only available by downloading and compiling source code.

Quote
Cas wrote:
Whatever your take on the security issue it's a usability nightmare on both Windows and Linux. I have a feeling MacOS might be similar.



Mac OS X is much better here.  You run as a restricted user (not root) but when something root-like needs to happen the system asks you for YOUR password (because even though you aren't running as root it is YOUR personal computer).  For some tasks you can simply tell the system the the application is allowed to access your keychain to get passwords for network share access, emails, IM clients, etc.  The GUI for password management is decent.

In general though, I agree with Cas in that on a PERSONAL computer running as root is no big deal.  If I'm running as ME, a trojan can STILL delete all my stuff that is hard to replace (between backups - if you do them - most users don't).  The OS and Apps can be re-installed anyway.  It is the user created data that is valuable.  rm -r doesn't warn unless you run it as root anyway !

Note that I don't like the thread title as it is either - I'm not anti-linux in the slightest... I WANT it to be good and take market share from the corrupt monopolists at MS that have HELD BACK progress in the desktop OS area..  I can only observe that Linux still has a long way to go to reach that goal for consumers.  Corporations that have IT depts. and standard installs can get away with Linux,  personal users - no even close.

Quote
AndersDahlberg: he is now, in pseudo his own words, totally convinced that linux is a lot easier to use and definitely more stable than any windows os he has used.


Likely because he ran Win 3.1/95/98...  the versions of windows know to suck extremely.  Win NT/2k/XP have always been sooo much better.. and yet I will agree that they still could be improved a lot.   (If only I could have BeOS...  Mac OS X will have to do..  I liked AmigaDOS in it's day.. but it could never compete today).. Make no mistake... Windows sucks too, but that doesn't fix Linux Smiley.

Offline JasonB

Junior Devvie





« Reply #21 - Posted 2004-02-11 19:31:48 »

Quote
KDE looks 'ok' if you don't touch anything,  actually do something and it crashes, flickers like mad, and feels dog slow.  Windows is slightly better, Mac is a lot better.  Gnome flickers less, crashes less, looks a bit worse.

Huh? I must be inhabiting a slightly different universe to you, because I've never seen kde flicker, nor does it feel slow.  I'm on a 1.4Ghz laptop, so hardly top of the range (nor bottom either).

I'll buy that Windows XP sometimes feels snappier, but in other ways it seems gungier to me, kind of primitive -- which, for me, is worse than 'feeling' slightly slower.  I've had to use a colleague's XP laptop on occasion, and noticed things like one browser window in download-slowdown affecting another browser window.

Performance is subjective anyway.  I wouldn't notice any performance difference unless I was constantly jumping from Windows to Linux.  And I'm not, so no prob.

Quote
Similarity is a "good thing".

Okay, yes it is... -in a way-.  A new PC coming out of the factory with Linux on it, should behave just like any other PC coming out of another factory with Linux on it (or another operating system for that matter).  I'll give you that.  And a 'standard' Linux desktop CD distribution should be the same.
But that's where the similarity argument should end.  After that, if I'm nuts enough want to hack around with my config so that my mouse moves backward, the X button minimises the window, and the maximise button closes it, then I should be able to.  For that matter the original argument about going to use someone else's Linux machine and finding it completely different doesn't hold up either.  I seem to recall that you can hack around in windows as well.  Replace the taskbar with an Apple style dock, etc.  So there's no guarantee you'll go to another Windows machine and find it behaving the same either.
Offline Jens

Senior Devvie




Java for games!


« Reply #22 - Posted 2004-02-11 19:53:45 »

Quote
Sure - but non-tech newbies don't actually USE computers. They simply repeat what someone shows them.  They don't understand a thing they are doing most of the time and if one step is different they are completely stuck.  I can see how Linux is no worse in that case.  It's when you actually have to do anything even slightly different that it all goes to hell.


Everyone here used a computer for the first time (ages ago). The statement basically says, that if you start using a computer for the first time Windows and Linux are similar difficult.

Quote
KDE looks 'ok' if you don't touch anything,  actually do something and it crashes, flickers like mad, and feels dog slow.  Windows is slightly better, Mac is a lot better.  Gnome flickers less, crashes less, looks a bit worse.


KDE isn't known to be rock stable, but it's OK. Almost everything can be configured to fit your needs. Speed depends entirely on the number of effects and eyecandy you enabled. Appearance is a matter of personal preference, but can be configured in almost every way one can imagine.

Quote
[topic: icons in the menu]Duh, easy to say - but how do you do it?  I've tried and got permission errors... apparently I can only change the menus as/for the root user?  (using Gnome).. this was very irritating.


Once again: If you use packages the menu is updated automatically. If you want to modfiy it in KDE right click on the big "K" (or any other symbol) in the lower-left corner and select menu-editor. You don't have to be root to do this.

Quote
[topic: remove X and Gnome]An excellent SERIOUS proposal.  X is crap, EVERY UI I've seen on top of X seems to suck.. though they have got better recently.  Note also the troubles that X caused the Java AWT guys with fullscreen, acceleration, etc..  X is good for dump X-terminals, nothing more.  That's why the good GUIs like Mac OS X, BeOS,etc. don't run on X (though you can run X on them if you have to).


Gnome, KDE and other desktops need X to run on, so you cannot simply remove it. I can't comment on the quality of X, because I never looked deeply at the sourcecode and documentation (did you, that you can judge it?), but it almost never causes problems. Virtually every graphical application for Linux runs on X, so you basically say that every of them is crap.(?) What do you mean by saying "they have gotten better recently"? What did get better?

Quote
Yep, same here.  I have one machine that can't stay up for 24 hours because the Adaptec drivers on Linux consume all the resources and die.  If I reboot daily I can run Linux.. fun.  That's with RH9.  You would think they could get something like a SCSI driver working by now... (though I've seen Adaptecs own driver code and it does suck Smiley )


Don't know anything about the Adaptec driver, but Linux does support SCSI.

Quote
True, but these same people would be worse off try on Linux where installations of simple packages often fail. Or in some cases installation is only available by downloading and compiling source code.


That's simply not true. I use it for quite some time and installed thousands of packages and they almost never fail. There are probably no statistics about this, but probably 99,9...% of the package installs are succesful. Maybe you tried to install Suse RPMs in Redhat or something like this?

Quote
Mac OS X is much better here.  You run as a restricted user (not root) but when something root-like needs to happen the system asks you for YOUR password (because even though you aren't running as root it is YOUR personal computer).


Linux desktops work the same way.

Quote
Note that I don't like the thread title as it is either - I'm not anti-linux in the slightest... I WANT it to be good and take market share from the corrupt monopolists at MS that have HELD BACK progress in the desktop OS area..  


MS sometimes tries to establish their own proprietary "standards" to drive competitors out of the market. Their marketing policy alone is a good reason to have a look at alternatives.

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Offline swpalmer

JGO Coder


Exp: 12 years


Where's the Kaboom?


« Reply #23 - Posted 2004-02-11 23:52:29 »

Quote
Everyone here used a computer for the first time (ages ago). The statement basically says, that if you start using a computer for the first time Windows and Linux are similar difficult.


ok... sure...  But to illustrate my perspective... I've used many computer sysetms, C64 (and before),Amiga, Atari, Mac Classic, Mac OS X, BeOS, QNX,  HPUX, etc..  Linux is the one that sticks out as being low quality, inconsistent, and generally difficult to work with.

Quote
KDE isn't known to be rock stable, but it's OK.

My experience has been that it is not OK.  My SuSE 9 linux install running KDE tends to crash (the apps I run or KDE) in such a way that the UI is locked up - very frequently compared to any other system I've used.

Quote
Once again: If you use packages the menu is updated automatically. If you want to modfiy it in KDE right click on...

As I stated I was using Gnome (RH 8/9) when I had that problem.  All this "use packages" is fine, except that finding a package built for your distribution isn't always easy, in some cases (frequently)  'packages' are simply not available at all and then it is back to CVS/GZip ./configure, make, etc... and the many dependancy issues that come with it.

Quote
Gnome, KDE and other desktops need X to run on, so you cannot simply remove it....

Yet what I find to be GOOD windowing systems don't use X at all - that is my point that X seems to bring with it a significant level of suckage.  Remeber the original point of X - to support X Terminals.. the equivalent of a graphical VT100 dumb terminal.  I think it makes no sense at all to use X on a local display... or rather it didn't.. X keeps changing.. it is likely better about that now... though I wonder what it's point is since it seems that you need so much else to make X functional (Gnome, KDE, various window managers, etc.).  I think it makes a lot more sense to do what Apple did with Quartz - use a hardware abstraction like OpenGL (or equivalent like DirectX) and code the window server/manager to it without something like X getting in the way at the wrong level.  That's what I don't like about how X is used on unix systems in general.

Quote
What do you mean by saying "they have gotten better recently"? What did get better?

Part of this is that the window managers are getting better at disguising the fact that under the hood is a obsolete API for displaying graphics over a network.


Quote
That's simply not true. I use it for quite some time and installed thousands of packages and they almost never fail. There are probably no statistics about this, but probably 99,9...%


My personal stats are much lower... not counting of course the packages that are included with the distribution which have been tuned by experts to actually work.  My success rate for packages that I want to install that aren't included.. i.e. newer versions that I require or simply software that didn't come with the distro.. is around 50%...  half the time it fails because of the dreaded tree of dependencies problem...  you need to update glibc, and asound, and some other frame work - but you can't because it is incompatible somehow with the packages already installed.. or you simply can't find the dependancies at all... this for me is the typical experience for installing software AFTER the distro and the packages that come with it are installed.

Quote
Maybe you tried to install Suse RPMs in Redhat or something like this?

Yet another of the significant problems with Linux - I can bundle a single installer that runs on "Windows" that includes Win95/99, Me, NT, 2k, XP ... hmm note that I don't need 6 different installers.. just one.. for "Windows"..  (Mac OS X is generally the same, but Macs have a massive advantage of being controlled by a single hardware vendor - the same guys that make the  OS. You just have to pay extra to get that advantage.)  Try to find a "package" for "Linux"  it doesn't work that way, and that sucks.  The only time you get the single "Linux" version, you have to compile it yourself.. if you are lucky enough to get ./configure + make to run successfully.. chances of failure at this point are very high.

Quote
(re:asking for root password) Linux desktops work the same way.


No they don't - they ask for the ROOT password, not YOUR password.  And for some of the configuration stuff the UI doesn't ask you - you need to log in as root.  The GUIs (Gnome/KDE) are getting much better at this though.  On Windows you simply have to give your self administrator privileges - everything breaks down otherwise.  With the MS security track record as it is, is it any wonder?  (They were in the news again today with the worst security hole reported yet... they are just soooo bad at security.)

Offline JasonB

Junior Devvie





« Reply #24 - Posted 2004-02-12 00:11:28 »

Quote

My experience has been that it is not OK.  My SuSE 9 linux install running KDE tends to crash (the apps I run or KDE) in such a way that the UI is locked up - very frequently compared to any other system I've used.

Love to know what it is exactly about your setup to cause so many problems.     I had about 2 crashes of KDE under Mandrake in a year of use.  If you've got the patience, you could try Gentoo (everything, ormost things, built from source, so -mostly- avoids rpmhell).  A different experience really.
Offline princec

« JGO Spiffy Duke »


Medals: 437
Projects: 3
Exp: 16 years


Eh? Who? What? ... Me?


« Reply #25 - Posted 2004-02-12 06:39:06 »

I am still waiting patiently for a consumer version of the Java Desktop.

The linux kernel and FS and user stuff and permissions and drivers should all be neatly hidden away. Preferably in flash ROM. The desktop should be replaced by a JDesktop and everything would run nicely in Webstart. All it needs is a few high quality productivity applications Smiley


Cas Smiley

Offline Bombadil

Senior Devvie





« Reply #26 - Posted 2004-02-12 09:36:06 »

Quote
I am still waiting patiently for a consumer version of the Java Desktop.

The linux kernel and FS and user stuff and permissions and drivers should all be neatly hidden away.

Well, just use the old and well known SUSE Enterprise Linux edition and you know how SUN's "Java desktop" is like exactly.
(Just replace all SUSE icons with SUN logos in your head and there you are.)

When I used Staroffice and then switched to Openoffice all has been the same - except the startup logo. Btw Staroffice/Openoffice is a great application.
Offline Jens

Senior Devvie




Java for games!


« Reply #27 - Posted 2004-02-12 09:45:57 »

Quote

As I stated I was using Gnome (RH 8/9) when I had that problem.  All this "use packages" is fine, except that finding a package built for your distribution isn't always easy, in some cases (frequently)  'packages' are simply not available at all and then it is back to CVS/GZip ./configure, make, etc... and the many dependancy issues that come with it.


What did someone in the other thread say: "It's unfortunate that the distibution with the easiest package management (Debian) has the most god-awful installation process, while the easier installations (Mandrake et al) have the user messing around with make and configure."

Personally I don't think that Suse and Redhat are that bad and for almost every user the packages offered by the distribution suffices, but there's truth in the sentence above. Debian uses a different strategy: You have a central list of sources for packages. Most of them are officially maintained by the Debian project (its maintainers), but you can add other sources as well (a source can be on a CD, on an HTTP-Server, on an FTP-Server and more) . So for searching a package you just enter the name of the package and if it's found you can install it. There's no need to search half of the web for it. Because Debian is community driven the chances that you will find your package are extremely high, if it's opensource and depends only on opensource. (If you'd like to test it, tell me the name of some opensource programs and I'll tell you, if they are maintained by Debian.) Another advantage of this is that you get security updates automatically for your stable Debian release (other distros have similar mechanisms for security/recommended updates).

Quote
Part of this is that the window managers are getting better at disguising the fact that under the hood is a obsolete API for displaying graphics over a network.


I've just read some pages of X/XFree86 history and I found no evidence that it was intended to display X-Terminals only. If this ever was the case it probably has changed. People are still actively working to improve XFree. The client-server structure isn't that bad either. You can have a single X-Server and several clients using it. I can use it to open a graphical application (for instance an editor) at my space at university and work with it from my home PC. (The other way round works, too. I can also open files over SSH in a text editor on my PC.)

Quote
Try to find a "package" for "Linux"  it doesn't work that way, and that sucks.


After all the distributions are different operating systems, so you cannot expect a single package to work on every distribution. (There is a chance to be succesful, because of the filesystem standard, but I don't recommend trying it.)

Quote
No they don't - they ask for the ROOT password, not YOUR password.  And for some of the configuration stuff the UI doesn't ask you - you need to log in as root.  The GUIs (Gnome/KDE) are getting much better at this though.


Ok, I understood this wrong. But the way the Linux desktops handle it, makes perfect sense, too. I think this is not a showstopper for Linux on the desktop.

Xith3D Getting Started Guide (PDF,HTML,Source)
Offline blahblahblahh

JGO Coder


Medals: 1


http://t-machine.org


« Reply #28 - Posted 2004-02-12 10:03:12 »

Some observations:

  • Many of the people who are most extreme in dislike of windows come from a 9x background rather than NT. Many of the worst sins of 9x were already fixed in the equivalent NT of the day
  • Most arguments about increased / decreased stability are specious (*); the issue is nearly always hardware. My comments on instability of linux were (although I haven't explained this clearly enough) purely to provide factual evidence where many linux advocates are silent, to back up my claim that both OS's are as instable as each other (very approximately).
  • Some here (e.g. Jens, I think) seem to believe Linux is considerably better than windows, period. No offence intended, but most of what they say on this topic is either experience from one distro (Debian) or philosophical (things are theoretically better when you theoretically have the freedom to customize your system, etc.). This is true, but largely irrelevant if you're looking at the situation today, for typical users - e.g. in practice no-one has the skills or the time needed to change their apps by learning the app architecture, reading the source, planning a change, and compiling/making it. And I'm only thinking of config changes here! If you're interested in major kernel modification it takes orders of magniture more...
  • Linux packaging today is pretty much FUBAR (I say this as somoene who knows and uses all the resources for finding packages, e.g. PBONE, RPMFIND, etc etc). Yes, if you have Debian, and you don't care about being 12 to 24 months behind the rest of the world, and you don't want esoteric apps, and you only want open-source apps, it's fine. Bear in mind that today MOST open-source software (thankfully, this is not true of most major software) is NOT PACKAGED AT ALL, or else is badly pacakged for a specific version of Redhat, and works properly on few machines. One of the reasons I love developing with java is the "single binary package (JAR)". Every time some die-hard C++ developer tells me "C++ is write-once-run-anywhere too!" I smile kindly, and ask them about deployment, distribution, debugging, customer-support, and 3rd party DLL's?
  • When I said I couldn't alwasy kill linux processes, but had never had the same problem on NT, I should have made clear that I know the same could/should happen on NT, but that I just happened to have been lucky never to have had that problem in many years (and again this is probably due to hardware!)
  • X sucks as a modern desktop windowing system. It was NOT designed for this! It designed to do other cool stuff, like previously described. Realistically, there is no organization that can afford (time / money) to replace X from scratch. The latest incarnations of X are moving it more and more towards a modern desktop windows - lots of fundamental architectural changes, and if this continues many of the fundamental problems will disappear.


I've used, typically for 1-2 years each, DOS-3,4,5,6,7, OS2 and Warp, Windows 2,3,3.1,3.11,95,98,NT-4,2k and XP, Linux RH5,6,7 Suse 7(?),8,9 Mandrake 7,8.0,8.1,8.2,9, and several "micro" linuxes (not counting the various Unixes, like Solaris etc, and the non-intel hardware OS's).

At the end of all that, my strong personal feeling is that there's not much to choose between most of those; many of the early linux distros are actually very similar to DOS-5 and above (if you were using the autodesk apps etc) - unreliable, hard to use, GUI's not worth writing home about; win3.0 to win98 (and ME, from my limited experience) are very similar in terms of robustness, although 32-bit had a major effect on performance; late linux distros and NT-derivateives (NT, 2k, XP) are pretty close. Certainly, MS now overcharges if you pay retail prices for XP, compared to what you could get with linux (corporates etc pay much much less!).

FYI, I've never seen an OS GUI as fast as two in particular - NT-4 with 512 Mb RAM (or more), and any linux/unix running a basic window manager (e.g. one which runs in black-and-white). The latter is fast for obvious reasons, the former - dunno; but a 200Mhz CPU with 0.5Gb Ram is much much more responsive than any of the XP machines I've seen with 10x faster CPU's and the same amount of RAM. It feels pretty amazing (everything is sort of "snappy", just happens instantly Smiley). KDE is the nearest I've seen in recent years, but not as fast as either of those two. Just an interesting observation Smiley and I'm sure there are people with different experiences (e.g. a very fast win98 install, perhaps?)

(*) - I use that word so rarely, I thought I'd check the meaning. It fits exactly Smiley

  1. Having the ring of truth or plausibility but actually fallacious.
  2. Deceptively attractive.

malloc will be first against the wall when the revolution comes...
Offline blahblahblahh

JGO Coder


Medals: 1


http://t-machine.org


« Reply #29 - Posted 2004-02-12 10:11:24 »

Quote

Unixes really sucked or still suck... Isn't this the main reason why KDE and Gnome had been started? And why Windows won the desktop war - because the commercial Unixes failed completey to enter the desktop market and hold the coorperate market? I think so.


AIUI, there was a lot of political manouevring between the major Unix vendors to make sure X sucked - this was back when they were more interested in infighting than anything else, and didn't see Windows as a competitor (even though their MBA's may have known the probable impact of someone crawling up the value chain...eventually, MS was bound to leverage dominance in home-user market into corporate sales).

Quote

Well, BeOS just rocked. And so did Acorn's RISC OS.


I've only used BeOS a little, but RISC OS a lot, and was never too impressed by BeOS's GUI. I think most people agree that RISC OS had a fantastic GUI, let down by an underlying OS that was stuck in the dark ages of non-pre-emption, and in many ways utterly pants. I still really miss lots of RISC OS features, like being able to dynamically allocate RAM in realtime to the font cache / video memory / etc just by dragging barcharts (!). And most linux window managers / etc could benefit from looking more closely at RISC OS's interpretation of a "start bar" rather than windows's.

Quote

Who said Opensource is in most cases buggy low-quality software? Where's my fish to slap him with... ;-)


Me, for one. And it is - in most cases. Just because you can cite lots of counter examples doesn't change this - there's hundreds of thousands of crud apps (e.g. just by looking at sf.net), and perhaps a thousand good ones (I'd guess, off the top of my head, there are considerably fewer than 500 high-quality open source apps...perhaps even only than 200).

malloc will be first against the wall when the revolution comes...
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