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pgpckt's Journal: Windows Vs. Linux: The Personal Fight. Round 3, Windows Wins 2

Journal by pgpckt

I have been using computers since before hard drives. I still remember dual floppy machines with no hard drive and 500k of RAM. Since that time, I have been using Windows. Now as a computer science major in college, I have decided to try to learn Linux. I like the power of the command line, though there are a lot of options for any command and I find the MAN pages hard to read and understand. I also remember a time when I knew every switch for every command line option in DOS, so I am hopeful that as I continue to play with Linux I will learn some of these options.

This entry is about round 3 of my personal fight with Windows vs. Linux. Rounds 1 and 2 are not covered in my journal, but Linux won. Suffice it to say rounds 1 and 2 were getting Linux up and running, and installing OpenOffice and some other packages.

Round 3. Installing 3D Games (Quake 3 Demo)
Winner: Windows, decisively

Report: I want to like Linux, but Red Hat 7.3 running KDE 3.0 does not have the ease of use of Windows.

I decided I wanted to see how my NVIDIA Geforce 2 video card ran under Linux. I decided to install Quake3 demo to test the video card. When I downloaded it and installed in in windows, it installed perfectly and worked right out of the box. I had to do nothing to get it to work, and it functioned perfectly. When the Quake3 screen came up, I changed the resolution in the game's setup, and Quake3 immediately changed resolutions. There was no problem at all with Quake3 demo out of the box working on Windows XP.

Linux was a totally different story. I was able to install it fine, but when I ran the command to launch the game, I was greeted with a blank screen. Not the effect I was looking for. Now, I probably could play with Quake3 demo and get it to work, but that's not the point. It worked out of the box on Windows and I expect the same on Linux. The help file that came with the Demo did not address my problem, and asking for help on a Linux IRC channel resulted in RTFMs and a general not helping attitude. I was more or less mocked for my inability to get the demo to work. This has got to be frustrating for anyone trying Linux out, especially if they are not familiar with computers. The average joe with Windows has programs work out of the box. No worries about permissions. No having to compile the code. All he has to do it double click on the executive and it works. Linux does not provide that kind of support.

I am frustrated. I want the power of Linux, the power of the command line when I need it, but I also want products to work right of out the box just like they do for Windows. Until that happens, I cannot imagine Linux will be an alternative to Windows for the average consumer. I will keep trying Linux, but the stability of Linux cannot compare to the ease of use of Windows. Without ease of use, the average Joe won't care about security or stability, and Linux will not be able to penetrate the market.

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Windows Vs. Linux: The Personal Fight. Round 3, Windows Wins

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  • Linux is lagging behind Windows for games, and not just 3D games. There are some efforts for porting API's (SDL) or games (Loki etc.) to Linux, but they aren't ready yet.

    This and video-editing are the only reasons I still use Windows.

    For Web authoring, programming, messing with files on your HDD, you cannot beat the power of the command-line once you know what are all those obscure utilities good for (grep, convert, bash, sed, perl etc.)

    I have found out that I was running both OS happilly but for very different tasks. Dual-booting still sucks, and I'm too lazy to walk from one desk to the other, so I'm dual-booting anyway.

    Now of course, your mileage may vary !

  • I know someone who's bought a copy of Lindows, and he's been raving about its ease of use, particularly its Click-n-Run technology. Click-n-Run specifically addresses the problem with Linux stuff running out of the box, by making a packaging system aimed at killing off all the pain and trouble related to dependencies, etc...

    Unfortunately, Lindows costs money, for both the OS, and a subscription to their library of Click-n-Run stuff. I personally hate the "You get what you pay for" principle, but it may apply to the current incarnation of Linux.

    But just think, a few years back, we didn't just have to worry about ease of use, we had to worry about use in general. I went through about 10 popular distros, installing them, setting up sound, X, networking with DHCPCD (which was not included back then), creating accounts, etc... and then not using the machine for anything due to a lack of useful application software and cool games. At the current rate of improvement, I expect Linux to indeed be easy enough for Joe Sixpack within a couple of years.

Two is not equal to three, even for large values of two.

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