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Is Windows Ready For Joe Longneck? 714

Posted by timothy
from the is-a-fatal-exception-an-illegal-operation dept.
Carewolf writes "Is Windows ready for the desktop? We have heard it year after year, that now is the time for Windows on the desktop. But is it really time? Richard K. Yamauchi at OSNews don't think so and has writen a piece that list a number of issues that needs to be solved before Windows is really ready for the masses and "Joe Longkneck"."
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Is Windows Ready For Joe Longneck?

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  • Yes (Score:4, Funny)

    by YetAnotherDave (159442) on Monday January 27, 2003 @02:59PM (#5168896)
    of course it is, but is he ready for linux :)
    • Re:Yes (Score:3, Funny)

      error, poster is a dolt :)

      I've been reading 'is linux ready' for so long
      I see it when it's not even there
    • Very true (Score:5, Insightful)

      by phorm (591458) on Monday January 27, 2003 @03:10PM (#5168987) Journal
      As users get more and more attached to windows, this actual becomes more and more true. Linux may now or in the future be ready for the desktop user, but even if linux were to look 95% like windows (see Lindows, Lycoris), will the average Joe user be ready to switch?
      Even if it's somebody who's not used windows, or at least not often, will Joe User overcome the stigma that "Linux" is for geeks? And if it's a longtime windows user, will Joe U be mentally ready and willing to switch, especially when all his friends are using windows. People are notoriously resistant to change, even good change.
      If 'nix crawls into the office desktop market, it stands a better chance of getting into the home desktop market. And the #1 reason it would get onto office desktops is of course: cost and licensing. Perhaps after we get 1 or 2 large companise sucessfully using a 'nix desktop, people will become more aware of linux as something other than a geek tool.
      • Switch == no problem (Score:5, Interesting)

        by jcsehak (559709) on Monday January 27, 2003 @04:12PM (#5169435) Homepage
        If the distro had:
        -an MSword clone (and plug and play printer support)
        -a p2p app
        -a CD/DVD player
        -a CD burning app
        -a browser
        -an email client

        if all these things had an icon on the desktop that they could just double-click and use; if all of these things had a decent UI so you could use them without having to learn how; if game developers started making the latest games available on linux; and if, and this is the most important if, if people understood that switching to linux would mean that their 1.8 ghz pentium 4 which right now runs like a 386 because it's so smothered in adware, spyware, and conflicting whatevers, would actually run as fast as it should AND it wouldn't crash 3 times a day; they would switch in a second.

        If at any point they have to type "make," or even look at a CLI, forget about it.
      • Re:Very true (Score:5, Insightful)

        by drpatt (557639) on Monday January 27, 2003 @05:15PM (#5169848)
        ... will Joe User overcome the stigma that "Linux" is for geeks?

        That depends on the geeks who perpetuate this stigma by telling Joe that he can't handle Linux because he is just a dumb Windoze luser.

        • Re:Very true (Score:5, Insightful)

          by kien (571074) <kien@NOspaM.member.fsf.org> on Monday January 27, 2003 @05:52PM (#5170087) Journal
          ... will Joe User overcome the stigma that "Linux" is for geeks?

          That depends on the geeks who perpetuate this stigma by telling Joe that he can't handle Linux because he is just a dumb Windoze luser.


          I wish I had mod points. That was insightful. I've found that people are much more willing to try GNU/Linux when I encourage them to ask questions and experiment. It also helps if you're willing to help people solve their Windows problems...your opinion means more after a few Windows driver updates so they're much more open to the idea of trying something different if you recommend it.

          I also never recommend that a lifelong Windows user switch "cold-turkey". I help them set up a dual-boot system so that they can always fall back to what they know if they need to or if (and I know it's heresy to mention it but...) something just works better in Windows currently. It takes a lot of patience to teach people how to solve problems (in GNU/Linux or in Windows) but it pays off in the long run. You know, that whole "teach a man to fish" analogy and all.

          Educating people is what we need to be doing...not convincing them. Teach them how to be geeks themselves and then let them make their own informed decision about what they like best. Seems to work most of the time; people are very interested in saving money and, once they're aware of the options and over the learning curve of a new environment, I've found that most of them prefer GNU/Linux. (And all the games included in the distros helps them win over their families.)

          --K.
      • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Monday January 27, 2003 @06:01PM (#5170143) Journal
        And the #1 reason it would get onto office desktops is of course: cost and licensing.

        IMHO that's only the #2 reason. It's been ready for desktop (and even on it in several big shops) for some time now, has had those advantages for years, and hasn't yet been widely adopted.

        For an advantage to be compelling, it has to provide about an order of magnitude cost/benefit improvement to drive a switchover. Linux may be getting there - mostly thanks to Microsoft's cost and cost-of-restrictions increases, which are passing ten times the cost of retraining. But that frog has been boiling for a while and it still hasn't hopped.

        I think the #1 reason to switch - and the one that will create a "shelling point" (where everybody realizes it's time to switch) - is the security issue. Microsoft's vulnerabilities are notorious, and getting more so.

        The SQL worm crashing BofA's ATMs on the eve of Superbowl weekend won't go unnoticed (no matter how much the media spins it as an internet problem, rather than a Microsoft problem).

        And we can expect more and bigger infrastructure hits on companies using Microsoft products soon. Not just because someone will upgrade the recent worm to screw around with the databases once it's infected the servers. But because Microsoft just showed their source code to the Information Warfare departments of several major powers - while still keeping it closed and hidden from the academic security community.

        (Yes: the info war departments. Who else is in a position to "audit" the code and certify its security to their governments' politicians? Of COURSE they won't use this opportunity to learn how to write new warcracking tools and deploy them against their enimies' infrastructure. [Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.])

        So expect more hits on the Microsoft software monoculture. And eventually even the PHBs will wise up - or the government's shiny new internal-security bureau will wise them up, in an uncomfortable manner.

        Yes, that worm was an attack on servers. But once the PHBs get the idea that Microsoft in their IT operation is a risk, some of 'em will realize that it's a risk even if it's only on the desktops.

        Perhaps after we get 1 or 2 large companise sucessfully using a 'nix desktop, people will become more aware of linux as something other than a geek tool.

        Right. Herd animals. The situation is like penguins going into the water from the ice pack: The first ones in have a higher risk. So they make rushes at the water and try to get a bunch to go together - slamming on the brakes at the last moment if there isn't enough movement toward the water. But at some point several go in - and the rest of the flock follows.

        (There's a joke somewhere in the reversal of penguins jumping into the water vs. businesses jumping into the penguin. But for the life of me I don't see how to phraise it.)

        Heh. If Sadam wants to thrash the US infrastructure right now, he could announce he wants to take Microsoft up on its offer. That would open a few eyes and might start a panic switchover. Something like a sea lion on the ice BEHIND the penguins. Of course if he already has anti-Microsoftware wartools ready he's ahead to keep quiet.
      • by buddydawgofdavis (578164) on Monday January 27, 2003 @11:27PM (#5172112) Journal
        I know a couple of guys at work that raved about this OS called Windows. They even managed to talk the IT guy into "test driving" it. The first problem we ran into was "not getting" the community. Quite frankly, we couldn't seem to locate any of them outside of Redmond (smallish I'd say). It booted O.k. on many occasions during the install. We found it a little difficult replacing the browser though and the man page for it was non-existant. Well, after several failed attempts we gave up and loaded a W3C compliant browser, the "Moz". For several weeks many of the staff members tried out Windows to see if it could be a possible replacement OS for Linux.
        This is what we discovered:
        1. Most open source software worked on it, but not as well as in Linux, they had a "ported" look and feel.Emacs works better on Linux.
        2. The Windows community isn't accessable, where on sourceforge are they? No freshmeat link.
        3. What's up with their browser.
        4. It's not Gnome, It's not KDE, It's not fvwm, which desktop is this anyways?

        In the end, the only use we found for Windows that actually made sense was as a Samba client. Maybe Window will be ready for the desktop after it's next release.
    • wuh? (Score:5, Funny)

      by ryochiji (453715) on Monday January 27, 2003 @03:21PM (#5169074) Homepage
      Why would you put windows on your desktop? Windows belong in walls, and maybe ceilings, or the side of a pickup truck... everybody knows that.
      • Re:wuh? (Score:4, Funny)

        by deego (587575) on Tuesday January 28, 2003 @01:19AM (#5172586)
        Dear Ryochiji

        It has come to our notice that you are using the term windows for openings in walls and ceilings. Please note that windows is a registered trademark of microsoft.

        Using it for wall-openings can clearly cause confusion among our users as to which the desktop environment is, and hence we request that you stop using the term within 15 days.

        Sincerely
        Attorneys at Redmond.
    • Re:Yes (Score:5, Interesting)

      by swordboy (472941) on Monday January 27, 2003 @03:54PM (#5169311) Journal
      but is he ready for linux

      Linux has nothing to do with a userland desktop. As it sits, the various bits and pieces that make up Linux have nothing to do with rendering a desktop environment. Right now, KDE and Gnome (among others) fill that aspect. And, like Windows, those have a long way to go before they become ready for the average new fish.

      The part that really gets me going is that Windows has a lot of baggage that it needs to carry with it. Linux desktop environments are starting from scratch with the ability to target all that is wrong with Windows, but they don't (for the most part). The GUI developer should go work in a help desk of a non-technical business for a while. Only then would they have the insight necessary to develop a mainstream GUI.

      Gratuitous suggestion to any GUI developer:

      Put an "interface" setting on the GUI. Make it accessable via a standard input (CTRL+ALT+DEL works nicely... or make the Windows button do something useful for a change...). When a new fish encounters one of these particular machines, he/she will be able to switch to a standard interface that they are familiar with. Programs will act in a predefined manner. People will spend less time trying to figure things out.

      Perhaps a level of standard interfaces could be added - NOVICE, INTERMEDIATE, ADVANCED and the applications could all be tied into this. i.e. -BEGINNERs would never be able to save documents into anywhere but their own designated document storage. ADVANCED users could browse application on the file system at the file level while this complexity could be eliminated at lower levels (if grandma accidentally deletes wreng41.dll, it isn't her fault but she never should have been able to pick into it in the first place...)

      I could go on and on but I think that the most we will ever get from an OSS developer is, "RTFM". I'm still waiting for MacOS on X86.
      • Re:Yes (Score:5, Insightful)

        by IamTheRealMike (537420) <mike@plan99.net> on Monday January 27, 2003 @05:05PM (#5169798) Homepage
        Put an "interface" setting on the GUI. Make it accessable via a standard input (CTRL+ALT+DEL works nicely... or make the Windows button do something useful for a change...). When a new fish encounters one of these particular machines, he/she will be able to switch to a standard interface that they are familiar with.

        This already exists. Assuming the machine has KDE or GNOME installed, you will be able to choose it when you log in. Assuming they log in as a new user, all the defaults will be in place. Even if they don't, they'll only have to deal with whatever modifications the owner of the machine has made to their layout, which isn't necessarily huge.

        The GUI developer should go work in a help desk of a non-technical business for a while. Only then would they have the insight necessary to develop a mainstream GUI.

        .... followed by .....

        Perhaps a level of standard interfaces could be added - NOVICE, INTERMEDIATE, ADVANCED and the applications could all be tied into this.

        Argh! This is a prime example of one problem with usability, everybody thinks they are experts. I once saw it called the science of personal preference. Don't get me wrong, I'm no expert either, but I have followed the GNOME usability effort closely.

        User levels really really suck basically. Nautilus used to use them, and they were pulled because they suck. Why do they suck? Well, firstly people tend not to be good at judging their own ability level. Smart people who lack confidence choose Beginner and lose out on features they would probably have found useful. Most people choose Advanced regardless of their actual level of ability, and are then flooding with prefs and features that are no use to them.

        I find it amusing you mention tech support and then user levels straight afterwards, user levels play hell with tech support, as you instruct users to click buttons or menu items that aren't there, or worse, have different functionality to what you were expecting.

        if grandma accidentally deletes wreng41.dll, it isn't her fault but she never should have been able to pick into it in the first place...

        Presumably in order to do this Granny would have had to click the "Yes, show me the Windows directory" link, dismiss the numerous warnings that pop up when removing such a file, and somehow evaded windows file protection.

        I'm sure there are grannies out there that are capable of it, but hypothetical relatives are only of limited use when talking about usability.

  • huh? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 27, 2003 @03:00PM (#5168906)
    well....we all know windows is not ready....but, it's everywhere already.
    Duh!
  • by Orkin (61749) on Monday January 27, 2003 @03:01PM (#5168916)
    What a refreshing perspective!
  • by IWantMoreSpamPlease (571972) on Monday January 27, 2003 @03:01PM (#5168917) Homepage Journal
    Windows has barely been ready for the desktop since its inception. Granted it's further along than *nix is (but far behind BeOS) but the continual "improvements" that come out of Redmond will almost certainly prevent any real useability out of Windows for some time to come.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      ...that all I can do with it is my email, word processing, video editing, applications programming, scanning and editing images, audio production, DVD viewing, reading newsgroups, instant messaging, web browsing, burning CDs and DVDs, and playing music!

      It's SO hard to get anything DONE!
  • by Carrierwave (640525) on Monday January 27, 2003 @03:02PM (#5168920)
    "User interface. Look, XP has the best colors on any OS I've ever seen. Why would you use an OS with inferior colors?" Because God knows that's exactly why we should decide on one piece of software over another...
    • The Norms (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Acidic_Diarrhea (641390) on Monday January 27, 2003 @03:12PM (#5169006) Homepage Journal
      Perhaps you were just pointing out that this is a rather ridculous and amusing truism but, in the case that you weren't, I'd like to interject. To the average non-techie, the colors of the software play any important role. For Windows, the default color scheme has to be a good one because when people pick up the box on store shelves or see it on a display computer, about the only way they can evaluate it is by determining whether they think it's appealing to the eye or not. They don't know any important questions to ask about an OS - to them multi-threading involves sewing a hole quickly and benchmarking is some type of flaw or defect in a seating-device. In software, I'd guess that 80% (a figure I pulled entirely from thin air, so don't ask for a source, I'm just guessing) of the market will be convinced and swayed by fun bells and whistles and not usuability or performance.
      • Re:The Norms (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Apreche (239272) on Monday January 27, 2003 @03:39PM (#5169212) Homepage Journal
        Well I was in CompUSA the other day and I heard a normal guy talking to one of the salesfolk. I myself was inspecting Viewsonic's tablet pcs and wireless monitors (oooh, ahhh). This guy was obviously not a techie. He also wasn't an idiot either, as many techies assume all non techies to be. He was asking the sales guy about one of HPs new machines. The questions he asked were pretty simple. Can this machine make CDs? Can I take video from my camera and edit it on here? Can I edit music on here? He didn't care if the machine was fast or slow, or what resolutiont he monitor ran at. He just wanted to know the capabilities of the machine.

        When normal people buy computers they don't think of it the same way we do. They think of it just like buying a DVD player. It's a machine that is going to do a few things. The one I get has to be able to do the things I want. They don't care what OS, how fast, or anything. Because you can't care about what you don't know about. This guy wanted a machine that could help him do multimedia work. Sounded like amateur film making or home movies or something. And that particular machine did the job for him at the right price. That's why he left the store with it. He probably could have gotten a faster machine for less money, but what he got was adequate.

        The reason people go to Windows so often is because some of the things they want their machine to do, can't be done with linux. The high quality polished interfaces and software just aren't there. Does linux have stuff as nice as After Effects and Premiere? No. So if someone wants to do video linux is already out of the picture. Does it have AutoCAD? no, so architects aren't goign to use it. Games? no.

        Windows is and has been ready for the desktop for a long long time. It does EVERYTHING. It may not do it well, and it may crash sometimes, and linux may be more powerful, faster, more stable, or better, at certaint things. But if there is somethign you want your computer to do. And computers are capable of doing it. Then a computer with Windows is capable of doing it. That can't be said for any other operating system. When someone else is selling a machine that does everything, you need to sell a machine that does more than everything to even stand a chance.
        • by rogueroo (242539) on Monday January 27, 2003 @04:10PM (#5169426) Homepage
          That can't be said for any other operating system.

          This is exactly why Apple is going to such great lengths with its "Switcher" ads and its courting of alpha-geeks . . . to dispel this kind of myopia. As far as consumer-oriented operating environments go, of course Microsoft Windows is the predominant brand. But Apple Mac OS X can do everything too [for certain smaller values of everything :)] The only thing that I've found can't be done in Apple Mac OS X that can in Microsoft Windows is that Apple Mac OS X can't be Microsoft Windows. But that's why we have Virtual PC!

        • by yerricde (125198) on Monday January 27, 2003 @04:14PM (#5169454) Homepage Journal

          Games? no.

          Well over a thousand titles have been released for the Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance platforms. Just connect a cartridge reader to your parallel port and install the cartridge reader's driver. Then insert your Game Pak into the cartridge reader and "dump" it into a file on your hard disk, which you can use with the VisualBoyAdvance [emuhq.com] emulator. You can emulate most PS1 games as well, and this time, the reader is already built into your computer because PS1 games come on CD-ROM discs. (I chose GBA and PS1 because of the ease of finding media readers for those platforms.)

          "Games" does not mean "first-person shooters, real-time tactical simulations, and massively multiplayer online games". Some people prefer platformers such as "Metroid Fusion" for GBA to Quake clones. (Not that "Metroid Prime" is a Quake clone or anything.)

          But if there is somethign you want your computer to do. And computers are capable of doing it. Then a computer with Windows is capable of doing it.

          Really? Then why does the least expensive edition of Windows XP support only one processor per machine, encouraging vendors not to make dual-CPU machines in the home user price range? (*Linux and some *BSDs support symmetric multiprocessing out of the box.) And why does the Windows kernel limit the number of simultaneous open incoming TCP connections to a ridiculously low level unless you're running Advanced Server? (On *BSD and *Linux you can change this either by recompiling the kernel, by editing a text file, or by running a GUI app that does either of those.) And why do the headers to write a file system module cost $1000 [microsoft.com] to license, putting it far out of the CS student/hobbyist price range? (On *BSD and *Linux, the source code for several sample file systems comes with the kernel source code.)

          • by Zathrus (232140) on Monday January 27, 2003 @04:43PM (#5169653) Homepage
            Well over a thousand titles have been released for the Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance platforms

            Oh, hey, lets talk about MAME and stuff too! Think about the thousands of games available that way!

            Talk about irrelevant.

            First off, most people don't want to play GB/GBA games on the PC. They want to be able to go down to the store, buy some game released for the PC, and install it. Period.

            Linux fails on this... even when you use Transgaming and whatnot. Until that changes, it will continue to fail on this.

            Alternately, games could start coming with Linux binaries and auto-installers, but that's even more far fetched... the market is too small. To get this you'd have to solve the first problem, and then demonstrate some significant advantage of spending development time on Linux binaries over running it via Wine/WineX/whatever.

            Then why does the least expensive edition of Windows XP support only one processor per machine

            Maybe because home users would not benefit in the slightest from a dual CPU setup? Or most power users either? And, look, use XP Pro and you suddenly have multiple CPU capability. How is this something Windows can't do?

            And why does the Windows kernel limit the number of simultaneous open incoming TCP connections to a ridiculously low level unless you're running Advanced Server?

            Because you're not running a server? Uh... this is part of MS's licensing scheme. You can complain about that, but you can't say it's "something Windows can't do".

            And why do the headers to write a file system module cost $1000 [microsoft.com] to license, putting it far out of the CS student/hobbyist price range

            Because MS has no interest in that market would be my guess. Stupid of them, but that's their choice. How does this make it impossible to write alternate FS's though? Difficult, yes. Undoable? No.

            BTW, I wouldn't agree with the parent poster that "anything you want to do can be done with a Windows PC", but I would agree that for what most people want to do on a computer, it's a lot easier to do under Windows (or a Mac - dependant on what you're looking for really). Linux as a desktop OS still requires far more Unix knowledge than most people want to deal with.
          • by cornjones (33009) on Monday January 27, 2003 @05:03PM (#5169782) Homepage
            This just struck me a silly. If you didn't sound so serious I would think you were being facetious. The parent poster was complaining about no games on linux for the average, non tech, user. Your reply is:

            1. Just connect a cartridge reader to your parallel port and
            2. install the cartridge reader's driver.
            3. Then insert your Game Pak into the cartridge reader and
            4. "dump" it into a file on your hard disk


            4 relatively technical steps. the first requiring extra hardware. this is EXACTLY the problem. yeah it probably isn't that hard and yeah there are probably 4 different HOWTOs but you have to have the time to dick around and the inclination to dig under the hood of the machine.

            I thought the parent poster made a great point. The non technical, idiot or not, doesn't want to fuck around w/ this kind of shit. I do, you do, but that is b/c the tech is a hobby and the process is as interesting to me as the final outcome.

            You go on to talk about XP being single processor. Hardware these days has far outpaced software and the casual user really just doesn't need dual processors. Refering to the example in the parent post, he could have gotten a faster machine but what he was really interested in the functionality it was going to give him.

            In alot of ways you can liken computers to cars. Cars have evolved to a point (in the last 15 years or so) that you don't really have to worry about what is under the hood. sure if you have specific needs (towing, racing) you are going to be very particular about it having 335 horsepower v8 or whatever. Overall though, the selling points thesed days (as evidenced by what the car commercials brag about) are other things. the toys. does it have a sun roof, does it have gps. the warrantee, etc...
            30 years ago, if you had a car you needed to know some things about it. you had to be able to check your oil. that isn't the case anymore. Computing is still very much in the "need to change your oil" stage. Windows and possibly mac do the most user level coddling and try to avoid making you change your oil. linux, as much as I love it, makes you change your oil. Hell, as you point out in your post you have to rebuild your ##$%ng engine (recompile the kernel).

            ahh I am just ranting now, i do like the granularity and control that linux gives me but most people don't want to deal w/ it any more than they want to replace the suspension on their car.

        • Re:The Norms (Score:5, Interesting)

          by moosesocks (264553) on Monday January 27, 2003 @04:24PM (#5169538) Homepage
          I'll have to disagree with you on this here. In its shipping configuration, windows xp CAN make cds, but cannot eidt video (the version of movie maker that ships with XP is a joke), pictures, and windows media player is one of the most confusing programs in existance.

          On the other hand, Macs do this out of the box. Cd recording, movie editing, image editing, and audio all work well and intuitively OUT OF THE BOX.

          In windows' defence, I will say that I recently bought a sony PC which had a slew of preinstalled software at no extra price - Premere LE, Sound Forge and ACID, Photoshop LE, and a media player which wasn't as good as iTunes, but definitely beat windows media player. If the normal version of windows did all of this, I'd be happier, but it doesn't, and requires a lot of extra (expensive) software do it. Apple bundles utilities to do all these things INTUITIVELY, and intergrates them well into the OS. If you want something more powerful, go get Final Cut, photoshop, premere, etc. But, for most people, the iApps are fine.
  • by JonTurner (178845) on Monday January 27, 2003 @03:02PM (#5168925) Journal
    "Longkneck"???
    The real question is whether Slashdot's ready for a built-in spellchecker!
  • by sickmtbnutcase (608308) on Monday January 27, 2003 @03:04PM (#5168936)
    ...does it make da inter net faster? I still gots time to fetch a Budweiser outta the frige and staiten outta flamingo in the frunt yard befour a page downlodez.

  • No, but... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PissingInTheWind (573929) on Monday January 27, 2003 @03:04PM (#5168938)
    who cares?

    Or maybe that isn't the right question: why do some care that much? Linux is the right thing for me because I am a developer and have access to a wide variety of high quality tools for free. Someway, Linux is good for developers _because_ it is made by them and for them. It is a bit like programming languages: most of new (esoteric?) languages are good for writing compilers, because that's what their designers do.
    • Re:No, but... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Dionysus (12737)
      If Linux users/developers don't care if the OS is ready for the normal users, then they should stop complaining about the normal users choosing Windows (or MacOS).

      I mean, I love the message Linux people are sending out: We don't want you here, go away luser... wait, why choose the Evil Empire(tm)... whaaaaa, you are being brainwashed...
      • Re:No, but... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Grishnakh (216268) on Monday January 27, 2003 @03:42PM (#5169230)
        I really hate the message people like this send out, that Linux people are putting out different message, when in actuality, the people who support Linux actually have different opinions, just like any other group of people. Personally, I've never met any group of people where they all hold exactly the same opinions, so it really doesn't surprise me that some Linux people want to convert everyone to Linux, and others don't want it "dumbed down" for the "masses", and yet other people probably have other differing opinions.

        Personally, I wouldn't care at all if other people all used Windoze, as long as I was able to use Linux unimpeded. Unfortunately, due to Microsoft's monopolistic control, this isn't possible. It's always a fight with them. I'd be perfectly happy if I could use Linux at work and at home, doing everything that MS-users do (but without all the blue-screens and slammer worms), using the same file formats and network protocols. But that's not good enough for Microsoft; they have to use secret, proprietary file formats and protocols, and any other means they can to achieve lock-in, so they can control not just 95% of the market, but all 100%. If MS followed published, vendor-neutral, freely-accessible standards for everything, free software advocates wouldn't be complaining about them at all, because then MS would mostly become a non-issue to them. I don't care much for Fords, but I don't waste my time bitching about how crappy they are because I'm never forced to drive one (except every few years when I manage to rent one perhaps). I never try to drive somewhere and find that a particular road only allows Ford cars on it. I'm not required to drive a Ford to get to work. So I really don't care much about them; I drive a car I like instead. Why can't MS leave people to choose what they want like Ford does?
  • L33tism. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Picass0 (147474) on Monday January 27, 2003 @03:05PM (#5168944) Homepage Journal
    Could it be Linux people keep putting out stories like this because we really dread the day when we go full mainstream? Then Linux won't be ours anymore. I think some would rather talk down Linux than see the day when the braindead masses start talking about RPM packages, Lilo, kernels, etc...

    It think some distros are ready. Windows compatable? No. But user friendly, yes.
    • Re:L33tism. (Score:5, Funny)

      by Dark Lord Seth (584963) on Monday January 27, 2003 @03:37PM (#5169198) Journal

      I dread the day Linux becomes "Mainstream"(tm) and thus a viable target for advertisements, spammers and script kiddies. I fear the software and Linux kernels we might see, such as "Bonzi Buddy QT/GTK", "AOLinux" and ofcourse "mod_drm" compiled into the kernel...

      • Re:L33tism. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by IamTheRealMike (537420) <mike@plan99.net> on Monday January 27, 2003 @03:59PM (#5169347) Homepage
        I dread the day Linux becomes "Mainstream"(tm) and thus a viable target for advertisements, spammers and script kiddies. I fear the software and Linux kernels we might see, such as "Bonzi Buddy QT/GTK", "AOLinux" and ofcourse "mod_drm" compiled into the kernel...

        I used to think that too, but lately I think that's not going to happen. I have this theory.

        Every platform has a culture you see. The cultures of Windows, MacOS and Linux are distinct and different.

        The Windows culture is one of rampant commercialism, I guess because Microsoft was always a figurehead of capitalism and because being dominant and without any distinct culture imposed on it by Redmond, it adopted the culture of western/american society as a whole. So you get apps that forcibly display adverts, practically all the software is commercial, 30 day trials or spyware funded. Hence the high piracy rates.

        The MacOS culture is one of "we pay over the odds, so we demand absolute quality". I'm not a big fan of MacOS myself, in fact I think it's ultimately a harmful thing, but it is a pretty high quality product, and Apple charge a premium for it. In turn, having bought into the platform, the users tend to demand everything be done the Apple Way. The Apple Way is the One True Way, and woe betide any company that violates that. An example of that would be focus on the gui, following the apple user interface conventions etc (note that doesn't necessarily equal very easy to use). What Apple says or does must be correct, this is taken for granted. There is similarly a lot of commercial software, but again it tends to be less in your face for fear of disturbing the users "experience", for instance I think it was OmniWeb faded in "free trial" over the web page instead of using annoying popup dialogs.

        The Linux culture is the most different. It is a culture of the community above all else. A media player that cost £40 and whose free trial inserted spyware into your system would not be tolerated, period. A free version would be made, it'd be made better, and that'd be the end of it. The whole setup and technologies are oriented around this. For instance, the vFolders menu system is category based, rather than company based like the Windows start menu. Linux users also tend to dislike things that don't play by the rules. Closed file formats are seriously frowned upon, simple shareware style programs don't stand a chance. EULAs are foreign to Linux, in fact RPM and DPKG don't even support them afaik.

        When writing software, there is a (possibly unconscious) effort to make software fit in with the culture. I've seen Windows programs that display an "EULA" which in fact says practically nothing of worth whatsoever, even gpld software has this (you don't have to accept the gpl to use the software). They usually offer options to add themselves to the desktop, start menu and quicklaunch area. 30 day trials are common, and adding icons to the tray area that don't do anything other than start the app are all commonplace.

        In turn, on the Mac, everything has to be animated. Things can't just appear, they have to fade in. MDI apps don't exist. Everything must have an Apple-sanctioned look (even when it may not actually be appropriate sometimes) and so on. Some things, like inventing your own widget toolkit, just "aren't done".

        So for Linux, would you want your app to stick out like a sore thumb by invading the menus, shoving itself everywhere and generally being impolite? On Windows users accept that as the norm, the price of using Windows. On Linux, this would gain seriously negative points, so companies would be less willing to do it.

        So, I doubt you'll be seeing BonziBuddy for Linux anytime soon. Maybe one day, but it really depends on whether we, the geeks, can steer the culture of the OS in a favourable direction by making it hard to write unfriendly software, and making sure users don't tolerate invasive programs.

        It's just a theory. We'll see how it bears out in reality.

        • Re:L33tism. (Score:4, Insightful)

          by spectecjr (31235) on Monday January 27, 2003 @04:23PM (#5169521) Homepage
          So, I doubt you'll be seeing BonziBuddy for Linux anytime soon. Maybe one day, but it really depends on whether we, the geeks, can steer the culture of the OS in a favourable direction by making it hard to write unfriendly software, and making sure users don't tolerate invasive programs.

          Well shit! I mean, it worked for the Internet, right?

          Right?
        • Re:L33tism. (Score:3, Insightful)

          by cpeterso (19082)

          I'm not a big fan of MacOS myself, in fact I think it's ultimately a harmful thing,

          What exactly is so harmful about the Mac OS itself? Mac OS X's internal design might have its problems, but its user experience and applications are much better designed than most Linux or Windows apps.
    • Re:L33tism. (Score:3, Funny)

      by BrookHarty (9119)
      Amen.

      How userfriendly does an OS need to be? Do I need everything to explained to me? Do I need wizards, and step thru diagrams to explain to me how to setup a device/net/sound/etc configuration?

      I dont want the bloat, give me a stripped down, fast OS that I can add applications I want... Win98 took only 120megs to install, WinXP uses over a GIG of space. Not to mention all the software it comes with that I will NEVER use. Strip that OS down, whack it with a shovel, put it in a zip file, and give me ntfs format. Give me the power, and screw joe six pack.

      We seem to complicate every good thing, till its an out of control, large beast that consumes our time and life. I dont want 2 gig linux distros. I dont want happy happy joy joy dialog boxes, and forced howto intros.

      BTW, I use WinXP for applications and games.

  • by Wheaty18 (465429) on Monday January 27, 2003 @03:06PM (#5168957)
    XP has one of the worst interfaces I have ever used. Just looking at that candy-coloured interface makes me feel like I'm in a Teletubbie or Carebears episode.
    • by The Bungi (221687) <thebungi@gmail.com> on Monday January 27, 2003 @03:31PM (#5169161) Homepage
      Yes, and itsn't it funny how every (relevant) Linux distro in the planet is trying its hardest to copy it?
    • is the best description I've seen of XP.

      OK, so it isn't carved in stone. You can change it. But it still points to an attitude that MS takes toward its users that isn't very flattering.

      They don't just think of their users as ignorant, lacking "savvy" or even mouth breathing sister marrying redneck morons.

      No, they think of them as *juvenile.* Oddly enough, even the mouth breathing sister marrying redneck morons can be offended by this. Even the juvenile ones. Go figure.

      Everytime I look at the default XP interface I start looking for the little steering wheel and want to beep the horn.

      KFG
  • buwhahahah (Score:5, Funny)

    by SirSlud (67381) on Monday January 27, 2003 @03:08PM (#5168971) Homepage
    Its funny!

    The paragraph on clicking is worth the whole article alone. Why are the funniest things always the closest to the truth. :)

    Always reminded me of the "mac needs a second mouse button" rant. Its true that power users love the second mouse button, but it still makes me want to pull my hair out when people single click on shit that needs double clicking, and even worse, trying to guide somebody through the gui and having them double clicking where they should be single clicking.

    Say what you will about Windows, but the clicking conventions are a complete and utter mess. I'm not even sure power users can predict with 100% certainty when a particular drag and drop in a particular context will result in a move, copy, or make shortcut action. (And yes I know about the left click drag - its hilarious, that feature is a total hack for how confusing the drag & drop heuristics are.)
  • by southpolesammy (150094) on Monday January 27, 2003 @03:08PM (#5168972) Journal
    Just like the old quote goes...


    "The best way to get someone to touch something is to put a sign on it that says Don't touch"...

  • Comic Relief (Score:5, Insightful)

    by shiflett (151538) on Monday January 27, 2003 @03:09PM (#5168980) Homepage
    Despite all of the negative comments, I thought this bit of satire was refreshing.

    I only wish the article went into a bit more detail about all of the challenges Windows faces on the desktop. In order to be funny, some things were exaggerated too much at the risk of discrediting valid points.

    After reading the same types of articles with Linux as the subject matter, I am tired of seeing them all have the slanted perspective of, "Is Linux ready for Windows users?"

    Point 10 reminded me of a Gateway advertisement I saw recently for a computer that comes with the Internet:

    10. Freedom. You can use the inter net with Windows XP. It's built in.
  • by HealYourChurchWebSit (615198) on Monday January 27, 2003 @03:12PM (#5169014) Homepage

    I know the author of the article says he's sorta writing a satire of another article (yes, some of us do read the article) --- but one point he makes I think strikes home at some potential problems downline for Microsoft when he writes
    9. Dev tools. Student versions of VB start at like $100. Try developing something on VMS without spending $60,000, and then try to make application without taking a class or reading book. VB has a WIZARD to create an app. And, if you want the enterprise level, you'll never have to spend more that $1000 for you PC to get all the dev tools.
    The problem is that the development tools have indeed become too expensive. Long gone are the days where one could buy a simple 'Turbo' this or 'Visual' that compiler for $99.95. And along with that, goes much of the supportive development by independent programmers and small companies.

    Similarly, have you seen what it takes in the way of system resources to write a simple COM component perhaps a XML-based web service on .NET Arguably, it is the inexpensive compiler that encouraged us to suffer through MS-DOS and early versions of Windows over other operating systems because you could at least roll something on your own. I don't see that happening with the new breed .NET.

    Sure, J2EE is a behemoth as well, but at least you're not going to get licensed out the wazoo and knickle-n-dimed to death when you write your 150 lines to say "Hello World!"

    Need proof? Turbo Pascal -- it changed the way we looked at the PC.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 27, 2003 @03:30PM (#5169148)
      .NET Framework SDK is FREE [microsoft.com]

      No, you don't get the Visual Studio development environment, but you CAN compile VB.NET, C#, or C++ code with it.

      If you want a visual dev environment and still don't want to pay for it, try sharpdevelop [icsharpcode.net]

      If you'd done some research before posting, you'd have realized that your criticism is unfounded. Additionally, there's nothing stopping you from getting GCC running under windows as well. You also have perl, python, or any number of other languages ... so what exactly was your point about not being able to develop for free?

    • You seem to have two quibbles:
      1. Development has become too expensive, and
      2. Development has become too difficult
      The first point has been addressed (most usefull skills like J2EE and .NET are in fact essentially free to learn).

      Although I hate to see small companies and independent developers hit, I don't agree with the idea that computer programming should be easier or less difficult. This is programming, not assembling furniture. It's now to the point where even the "hold-your-hand" RAD tools are cutting off the non-serious users (VB6 was the bane of bad programming, but VB.NET forces its users to code better, and VB6 "coders" aren't happy about it).

      It's exponentially more difficult to be a programmer today than it was, say, twenty years ago and so what I see a lot of (and I'm not saying this is you) is people who got in on the low end (i.e., COBOL thirty years ago) and somewhere between Object Oriented and Polymorphism, fell off the curve. I work at a University that's moving (at some point) from a COBOL-based mainframe to a "web-based" system (whatever that means - PeopleSoft, .NET, something) and the majority of the people who work with me (most of which are at least thirty years older than me) just want to put it off until after they retire.

      Once you get ensconced in "difficult" programming, you will either understand why it is how it is and why it is so difficult (i.e., it won't be so difficult anymore) or you'll get so flustered with it that you'll find another profession or hobby. And as programming gets more and more difficult, there will be less and less people to do it, and as a result these people will be worth more since their rarity is increasing.

      Or maybe that's just what I want.

  • Arrg! It's a joke! (Score:3, Informative)

    by Christopher Bibbs (14) on Monday January 27, 2003 @03:16PM (#5169035) Homepage Journal
    Read the article, people. It is humor. Laugh, don't make serious rebuttals or get defensive.

    Personally, I love joke about the new "better colors".
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 27, 2003 @03:17PM (#5169041)
    I doesn't think so.

    Richard K. Yamauchi at OSNews don't...
  • by SatanicPuppy (611928) <`Satanicpuppy' `at' `gmail.com'> on Monday January 27, 2003 @03:17PM (#5169047) Journal
    I know this is flamebait, but I think the place for windows IS on the desktop. The only time I ever oppose it is on the grounds of cost.

    On the other hand, a Windows Server? What kind of moron would put up a windows server? Desktop fine, but that desktop had best connect to a Linux Router, then a Linux Server, protected by a Linux Firewall. That is unless you LIKE viruses and downtime.

    I've got a client who called me up at 9:00am on Saturday wanting me to go down and patch up their MSSQL Server 2000 server to keep their precious precious data safe. It was a real pleasure to say, "Safe? Don't worry, your 150000 dollars worth of MS junk is safe behind the Linux firewall I put together out of a spare computer I found in a basement storeroom."
  • by Megor1 (621918) on Monday January 27, 2003 @03:17PM (#5169049) Homepage
    In the article they point to netcraft which lists a windows 2000 box as being up for 2 years, in the same list (http://uptime.netcraft.com/up/today/top.last.html ) they also have Mac OS X machines that have been up 1340 days which puts it's last reboot at 3.67 years ago, but the problem is Mac OS x was only released in early 2001, so it could have been up for at MOST 2 years, me thinks these stats arent worth anything.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 27, 2003 @03:21PM (#5169082)
      Let's see if the site [byteandswitch.com] is still up after slashdot effect...two years without much traffic may be possible with Windows 2000 but how about under heavy load?
    • Actually, Mac OS X Server has been around since 1998. I ran version 1.0 and then 1.2. They were nothing like the current OS X.

      Anyway, in this case, when you look at the "OS, Web Server and Hosting History for binomial.dhs.org" for this site, it says it was running Linux back in July. So something is wrong...

    • There's a word for a Windows 2000 machine with 2 years of uptime connected to the Internet.

      Honeypot.

      That thing must attract every hacker from the four corners of the world! Haven't they ever heard of a Service Pack? Good Lord.
  • by MrLint (519792) on Monday January 27, 2003 @03:20PM (#5169073) Journal
    The real question is are the rest of the mouthbreathers really to be using computers? The answer is no.

    Firstly there is no wayo to make them totally idiot proof. Nature keeps evolving better idiots. There is a certain level of 'je ne sais quoi' necessary to run technology. You have to have some basic understanding of what youare doing and what the metaphors mean. to this day there are ppl in companies that use computers who can't make the logical connection between a document in the filing cabinet and a document on a computer disk. No amount of 'fixing' an OS can alleviate that. You cant fix a situation hat when ppl get a message onthe screen instead of readin it they clickthe cancel button and pretend it didnt happen. There has to be some thought going on in their head.

    Let me give you guys an anecdote, i was workingon a womans computer who was using lotus notes everyday for more than 2 years. In case you dont know LN has a *very* distinctive login window. Anyway so I had to reinstall notes and i had to aveher login. She didn know which password to use, after about 5 different ones she got it. So i logged her ot of notes for the settings to take effect and i neded to have her login *30 seconds later* and she had forgotten which password to use.

    This is the kind of situation you would have to design computers around, those who cannot retain information. The only hope for us support people and for those kind ofusers is tohave voice regonition and then you define broad terms to describe things like "I want to see my email" or "where is that damned sales report"

    I have a nice dent im my wall if you wanna start pounding your head there now:)
    • by CharlieO (572028) on Monday January 27, 2003 @03:44PM (#5169241)
      But was it not OS designers that brought us the concept of a login and password?

      Do we 'login' to our office building? No we use some form of key, be that a tumbler lock or a swipe card.

      Perhaps if we used a physical means of ID it would be easier for most people to use, USB dongle maybe.

      I know there are problems about login for remote system, and I know that some people use pin codes to get in doors.

      But I think my point is that so far most computer interfaces have been built by computer engineers that have a certain way of looking at the world.

      MacOS was a bit different because a lot of its users were more the creative type, and I'd argue that the Mac interface is more 'transparent' to most people, which is why a large number of people who just want to get the job done like Macs.

      Why do we enforce the filesystem concept - aren't we smart enough yet to have data stored on disk indexed so that fuzzy queries like "where is the sales report" can work - Google can do it for the web, why can't we do it for the file system?

      The best example I have seen is a local school here in the UK. They were thinking of buying an interactive whiteboard system and invited me along as a tame techie to make sure they wearn't scammed. They also know I'm actually a trained teacher too so could 'translate' what the salesman was saying.

      In the end I didn't need to translate - its so wonderfully simple a 5 year old could do it. I saw a roomful of computer phobic adults and teachers grasp the concept in 5 minutes. If you ever used an interactive whiteboard you'll know what I mean, if you haven't its difficlut to describe. They now have three and the 5-10 year olds in the school use them every day with no training.

      But thats my point - we still think of the machine as a computer, the rest of the world just thinks of it as a tool. Now if we are as smart as we claim we can make that tool work for other people.
      • by thatguywhoiam (524290) on Monday January 27, 2003 @04:19PM (#5169494)
        But was it not OS designers that brought us the concept of a login and password?

        Nope, not the designers; that was the *nix people.

        The original interface designer's spec for a Login panel called for a small animated 3D man with a friendly mustache. The friendly man would walk up to you (on the screen) and present you with a giant bar full of buttons, all of which were dancing around, animated, all different colours. Then the man would sing a request to you, in a jaunty tune, asking if you could please identify yourself. You did this by waving the mouse cursor in circles around the one you wanted until it understood. Then the little man ate a sandwich and disappeared.

        Yeah, you can thank those *nix bastards for the mess we have now.

  • by z_gringo (452163) <z_gringoNO@SPAMhotmail.com> on Monday January 27, 2003 @03:22PM (#5169091)
    I really didnt understand the post after the first read, but now that Ive actually read the article, (yes, I really did!), I see that Its a joke. Its amusing and all, but this one paragragh actually makes sense!

    That leads to the install itself. Yes, windows installing has gotten 100 times better since the days of DOS. Finally, users don't have to type "a:/setup" or "a:/install" anymore. And thank God "Sys c:" is history. And for the sake of all that is holy, good riddance to "format c: /s". But there's one thing that has always bothered me: What if I want to do a Clean Install and still have all my applications that I installed on let's say Win98? Here's what you can do: You can do a clean install beside Win98, but you won't have all your applications on XP. You can also upgrade win98 and most of your applications, if not all will move to XP. However, what if there is an application that I NEED that won't run on XP. Or what if XP dies. Then I have no Win98. I'd like to see an upgrade feature that let's me keep my existing Win98 installation as WELL as upgrade Windows 98 to XP at the same time. Until this happens, Windows is just not ready.

    Just goes to show that even in humor there often lies truth....

    (Lies truth???)

  • by tasidar (604319) on Monday January 27, 2003 @03:25PM (#5169108)
    I like the following quote, "3. Stability. Netcraft has announced that Windows 2000 server has finally gone for over 2 years without a reboot." After checking netcraft [netcraft.com], we can see their server is at byteandswitch.com. So fellow slashdotters, want to give them a hand? [byteandswitch.com]
  • WWJD (Score:3, Funny)

    by richlb (168636) on Monday January 27, 2003 @03:29PM (#5169141)
    Now, there's some of you 31337 that are going to say RTMF. Or, WTF, WWF, or OMG. Or WWJD (Windows is What's on Jesus' Desktop)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 27, 2003 @03:33PM (#5169171)
    A middle-aged woman once hauled her entire computer setup - printer, monitor, cables, keyboard, manuals, everything - into our store and asked us if we could fix it. Our tech guy said, "What's wrong with it?" and she said, "I deleted the Internet." He said, "Really, the whole thing?" She said, "Yes, it's gone, I'm so sorry, I didn't even know you could do that." I said, "I think you mean that you deleted your web browser." She said, "No, the Internet is gone, there's no www or email." We were trying to understand what she was getting at, so our tech guy ventured another guess. "Oh, did you delete your dial-up connection?" She said, "No, we have cable." We went back and forth and eventually figured out that she deleted the AOL Installer icon that came pre-installed on her system, after she had tried to use email and the web without setting up any kind of Internet service. She'd heard about cable and since they already had basic cable, she thought they had the internet somehow magically flowing into her computer from the cable outlet, although she never physically connected them.

    I don't blame her. My mother is not a stupid person and she still struggles to grasp when to single vs double click. She never had this stuff and it's intimidating. But nowadays she uses the web, books plane tickets and hotel books, uses email competantly, set up Quicken to download her banking stuff by herself, things she'd never have figured out on her own a year ago.

    Needless to say, neither my mother or the woman who deleted the Internet will ever use Linux.
  • Not even MST3Kable (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Forgotten (225254) on Monday January 27, 2003 @03:38PM (#5169200)
    An interesting thing I've noticed about Windows is that it isn't even satirisable. This piece isn't a great example because it's frankly baffling (it starts out as a weak attempt at humour, then seems to lose its way in genuine criticism). Linux satire is funny because some parts of Linux are still genuinely atrocious; focusing on those parts is like reviewing a so-bad-it's-funny B-movie, and the overall excellence of the underlying OS provides for ironic contrast. Mac satire is funny because the Mac really is slick, but also dogmatic and takes itself a wee bit too seriously sometimes (or its users do) - amusing yourself at the Mac OS's expense is like making a Matrix parody. In both cases, people really do like the OS, and they're thus able to laugh at them in good humour.

    Windows is just so mediocre and generally almost-good-enough that reading a satire isn't ever really funny; it reminds you of the low-level frustration you deal with (or used to) on a daily basis. It's like a movie that's not worth watching because it's good, but also not worth watching because it's so bad. Possibly this is why this weird satire attempt so lost its way on the second page. You can try to have fun at Windows expense, but then you realise you're not. Having fun that is.

    Anyone have any links to a really funny Windows lambasting? I'd enjoy being proven wrong.
  • by Entropy248 (588290) on Monday January 27, 2003 @03:53PM (#5169298) Journal
    I'm waiting for the OS that hides every technical detail from the user. I don't want to have to explain to my mom that you install software on C:, because C: is the hard drive. I'm waiting for the day that I can buy a piece of software, put the CD in the drive, and have it automagicly install and work on my computer without any interaction at all. I don't ever want to have to say C:\, because it sounds too much like watching a bad bowel movement.
    I'm waiting for the OS that doesn't make me have to ever look for My Files after I save them on My Computer because they are My Documents and My Computer should know where they are. And, while I'm at it, I shouldn't have to tell the computer where to save my files, it should just know based on the type of file it is.
    I don't ever want any technical knowledge just to type a fscking report on 18th century painters; the class is hard enough without the additional burden. I still don't like the typing out bit anyway; why hasn't voice recognition gotten really good yet?
    Why do we put wallpaper on our desktop? Why do I have a Start button, a Quick Launch bar, and a system tray on my desktop? Why can I see the time, but not the date or the day of the week in the system tray?
    Uhhh...Whine whine whine... Bitch bitch bitch... I'm done ranting now, you can move on. Nothing more to see here.
  • Go figure ... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ultraslide (267976) on Monday January 27, 2003 @03:57PM (#5169333)
    Funny article ...

    My Dad , a "Joe Longneck" indeed, really Likes Windows XP. Go figure. He digs the Media Player, the new GUI and the stability (he upgraded last year to a Dell P4 1.4 from a Whitebox P2 266 running Win 98)

    His only complaint is that the GUI should have defaulted to the old look so he knew where everything was. Didnt take long for him to figure out ho to change it all back.

    Go Dad !
  • by Lumpy (12016) on Monday January 27, 2003 @04:47PM (#5169676) Homepage
    There is one reason why Joe Longneck wants windows instead of linux and that is the large source of software from friends and relatives.. I get constant barrages from relatives asking if they can borrow my software, same as co-workers and friends... I give them the free/ open alternatives (OO.o in place of office 2000, the demo of Unreal2003, GLtron, AVir instead of norton... etc....)

    Joe sixpack will gladly switch if the flow of free software from friends, relatives and acquaintances dries up...

    microsoft is popular only because of the HUGE flow of illigitimate software... if they actually had to pay for it, they wouldnt want it.
  • by eGabriel (5707) on Monday January 27, 2003 @04:59PM (#5169758) Homepage
    And maybe it doesn't need to be funny. There genuinely should be more real world articles that question whether Windows is ready for the desktop, whether Grandma can use it, whether or not you should bet the company on it.

    The problem is that a lot of the people who write articles about whether Linux is ready for the desktop don't want it to be desktop-ready for any nice, warm, fuzzy, cuddly reason. They want it there so they can invest in it, so they can draw big graphs of climbing profits, so they can sink their bloodsucking greedy teeth in it.

    Honestly, if I like Linux on my desktop, why should I care if anyone else does? I've got my fluxbox, my nethack, my vim, and those things aren't going to get any better because a bunch of Windows refugees decide to use them too.

    I don't get it.
  • Windows vs. KDE 3 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by vorpal22 (114901) on Monday January 27, 2003 @05:16PM (#5169862) Homepage Journal
    While I think Windows isn't without it's significant usability flaws, I have to say that I tried KDE 3 seriously for the first time today, and it was an absolute usability nightmare. I have no idea what people are talking about when they say that KDE is kindly-yet-computer-inexperienced-grandmother-frie ndly. I've been using computers seriously for 20 years now, and there were oodles of things that I either couldn't figure out how to do in the hour I used KDE, or that were incredibly unintuitive. I won't even begin to critique the KDE control panel. Talk about a nightmare of ambiguity, poor organization, and far too much complexity.

    Not to mention - who thought up that hideous default sound scheme? I know that I'm going to have nightmares about it tonight. My skin was crawling for the few minutes it took me to figure out how to turn it off.

    Not that Windows control panels are much better... Windows control panels are also hideously disorganized, with things in completely nonintuitive places (sometimes you have to access the control panel, other times you have to access certain features that you'd logically expect to be in control panels in menus instead, and other times you have to resort to running command line programs to get to windows that provide you with what you're looking for - e.g. ipconfig, msconfig), but I find that the user isn't quite so overwhelmed with options in Windows as they would be in KDE.

    Mac OS X is the first operating system where the equivalent of the Control Panel (System Preferences) is logically organized and not overwhelming. I think that software designers should take a usability lesson here.
  • by Junks Jerzey (54586) on Monday January 27, 2003 @05:17PM (#5169867)
    Whatever happened to the unwritten Linux creed, borrowed from Ghandi:

    First they laugh at you,
    Then they fight you,
    Then you win.

    I know the article is supposed to be funny, but at its core it comes across as bitter and whiny. If Linux is better, then let it be better on its own merits, period.
  • Consistency (Score:5, Interesting)

    by forevermore (582201) on Monday January 27, 2003 @06:20PM (#5170264) Homepage
    This has been repeated often in OSS circles, but it needs to be repeated again and again until the developers get it right:

    Be consistent. One of the greatest things about MacOS over the years is that it's entirely consistent. Command-W always closed a window, command-Q always quit the program. Programs that didn't follow the guidelines changed, or didn't get used. Windows has this for the most part, but still has a few breaks (no control-Q to quit, because it's actually file->close_window). The *nix world is torn by the emacs, vi, X and "other os" shortcut wars, and that doesn't even get into the look-and-feel of things (like how come half of the programs I use in gnome have their own proprietary open/save dialogs?! Shouldn't someone have just updated gnome's api to support more features in the existing one a long time ago?).

    As for themes/skins (my personal dislike of OSX is apple's lack of support towards their user base in this respect), I read a /. post the other day where someone was bashing the plethora of horrid skins out there. However, as long as there are GOOD ones, let the people have their dancing-Barney xmms skin if they want it - they're not power users, and us power users will choose a more realistic skin/theme (esp. if the good one is the default). I agree with that poster, however, with regard to the fact that as developers, we need to put good, useable interfaces on our software (and for other coders, we need to over-comment our code - too many times have I tried to improve a piece of open source software only to be dumbfounded by the 2 lines of useful comments in 1000 lines of code).

    Note: I use linux for my primary desktop, at home and at work, despite the inconsistencies, but in hope of them going away.

"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro..." -- Hunter S. Thompson

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