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Ubuntu, Macintosh and Windows XP 641

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the can't-live-without-the-rhetoric dept.
LXer has an interesting look at the big three operating systems with some surprising results. From the article: "If you think that a Linux advocate cannot make an objective analysis of desktop operating systems, then you need to read this report. You may find yourself surprised with some brutal honesty that leaves out the free software philosophy."
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Ubuntu, Macintosh and Windows XP

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  • Far from "brutal" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatman @ g m a i l . c om> on Monday March 20, 2006 @02:52PM (#14958684) Homepage Journal
    The article advertises itself as "brutal honesty that leaves out the free software philosophy." With a headline like that, I was hoping to get a real analysis of what's going right and what's going wrong for all three. Instead, the author ends up dodging the key positives and negatives of each system in favor of more nebulous concepts like available software. His conclusion is that Linux is losing because it doesn't have eductional titles or tax software. Excuse me?

    A more thorough analysis would have focused on why these packages are lacking. What is so special about Windows and Mac that they have these markets clinched? Does his analysis show that Linux needs this software, or is it actually competing in a different market? These are the types of questions that are actually important.

    Finally, some of his analysis was just confusing. According to the author, Apple is nicer than Windows because they make nice hardware. Wait. Aren't we comparing software? If hardware is a key issue, why isn't that brought up in all three analyses? And why does he believe that the higher price of Apple's hardware makes it only appealing to Enterprise users when it's quite obviously home users who use it?

    All in all, I give him an A+ for effort, but a D- for content. He's really trying, but he doesn't have any real goal in mind during his comparisons. As a result, his analysis comes out confused and unfocused.
    • The truth about these OSs is not brutal, anyway. In 2006, we are a long way from M-Windows 98, Linux with Fluxbox, and Mac OS 9.

      M-Windows XP with SP2 is the best version of M-Windows yet. I find it stable but it is still vulnerable to infiltration. It's familiar to many long-time M-Windows users and its market-share won't be dropping sharply any time soon. Call this phenomenon, "Winertia".

      OS X is a delight to use. TFA's author is right to say that the tight coupling to Apple hardware is its challenge. Apple
      • Re:Far from "brutal" (Score:2, Informative)

        by rainman_bc (735332)
        Ubuntu (Linux + Gnome + tweaks) is also very usable.

        Ever had to connect to a WPA enabled network? It is not usable at all. The wireless tools are mediocre at best; the NetworkManager service doesn't support wpa, and it appears like development is moving ahead at tutrtle's pace.

        And stil, the menu editor seems to be read only (at least in FC). It's getting better, but no where close to mom and dad simplicity IMO.

        I like Linux and Gnome a lot, but it has some serious usability hurdles to get past first.
        • by Kadin2048 (468275) <slashdot.kadinNO@SPAMxoxy.net> on Monday March 20, 2006 @03:41PM (#14959080) Homepage Journal
          Agreed; the GUI configuration utilities never seemed to help me accomplish anything in Ubuntu. Maybe it was just the WL card I'm using (some piece of shit Marvell-based one -- thanks a bunch Linksys for not changing the model number), but every time I tried to use the control panels either in Gnome or KDE, it was a crap-shoot as to whether the changes would get applied, or whether the system would hang, or none of the above.

          I don't find installing a new distro to be something enjoyable or entertaining, thus I'll probably stick with Ubuntu until I find a very compelling reason to change to something else, but I think if I was going to do it all over again I probably would have picked SuSE or RedHat. All in all, running Ubuntu has been an interesting experience -- I've discovered that the "spit and polish" aspect of an OS counts for a lot more to me than I thought it would.

          So I suppose I'll keep coughing up $2.5k every few years for a new shiny thing from Apple, since so far they're the only company that I've found that does it right.
        • Ever had to connect to a WPA enabled network?


          No, Sir, I have not. Wireless is not a major selling point for desktops in the enterprise. Secure-wireless networking is not a show-stopper for Ubuntu.

          Ubuntu is junky for Bluetooth as well. But that hasn't stopped Ubuntu from gaining significant support.
        • Re:Far from "brutal" (Score:3, Informative)

          by flosofl (626809)
          Ever had to connect to a WPA enabled network?

          With Ubuntu? Yep. No problems. WPA-PSK TKIP and WPA2-PSK (AES). In fact, there is more than one step-by-step guide on how to get wpa-supplicant up and running on the Ubuntu Forums. The hardest part is cutting and pasting the shell commands.

          WPA works fine on the other distros I've used including the latest Open Suse and FC4.
          • by Genevish (93570) on Monday March 20, 2006 @05:58PM (#14960209) Homepage
            I think you just reinforced his point. With Windows XP or Mac OS X, I've never needed to search for a step-by-step guide on a forum to set up a wireless connection. Nor did I need to work in the command line. Those who feel comfortable doing these things tend to have difficulty understanding why others find Linux too difficult to use.
            • Re:Far from "brutal" (Score:4, Interesting)

              by Adam9 (93947) on Monday March 20, 2006 @10:54PM (#14961655) Journal
              Setting up a WPA connection is a bit different than your $20 linksys soho solution. The guide at my university explaining how to connect to our secured wireless network has 12 steps for WinXP. Whenever there's more than one option, people may need help in setting it up.
            • Re:Far from "brutal" (Score:4, Informative)

              by 10Ghz (453478) on Tuesday March 21, 2006 @03:27AM (#14962344)
              I tried my WLAN-card on SUSE 10.0 some time ago. What was the installation like? Well I booted the computer and logged in. When the computer was running, I plugged the card in and.... It worked. Straight out of the box, with zero hassle, zero configuration. I honestly don't know how it could be any easier than that.

              Yes, too often things are too difficult to do in Linux. Getting that same card to work in Ubuntu was a lot more difficult, and they had detailed instructions on how to get it to work (AFAIK, it should work now OOB with zero hassle). But many things ARE getting better, and many things that used to be very difficult and tedious to set up are actually very, very easy these days. In the end, the main reason why many things are difficult is because the hardware-manufacturers don't provide Linux-drivers, and we have to resort to hacked-together kludges. As it happens, that WLAN-card had vendor-supplied GPL'ed drivers, and getting it to work was as easy as plugging the card in. Took about 5 seconds in total.
    • "As a result, his analysis comes out confused and unfocused."
      Must be that new "confuse them" journalism.
    • by iamnotaclown (169747) on Monday March 20, 2006 @03:13PM (#14958866)
      Say hello to WINE.

      I did my taxes this year with Quicktax under WINE. To my surprise and delight, everything just worked. Kudos to the sidenet-wine-config [sidenet.ddo.jp] people -- this tool downloads and installs several key bits of software from Microsoft that many windows apps expect (such as IE).

      • Or the internet (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Midnight Thunder (17205) on Monday March 20, 2006 @03:28PM (#14958982) Homepage Journal
        When you consider more tax software companies are making their software available as web packages, which OS you are using becomes moot. As soon as this happened I abandonned the Mac tax software, since it was a good $15-$20 than the PC version.
        • Re:Or the internet (Score:5, Informative)

          by munpfazy (694689) on Monday March 20, 2006 @04:35PM (#14959553)
          >When you consider more tax software
          >companies are making their software
          >available as web packages, which OS
          >you are using becomes moot.

          Yup.

          Even if that weren't the case, judging a computer system by whether or not you can perform a task that one needs to perform roughly one hour per year is just silly. The author mentions a dozen application that are used daily, followed by the line, "and most importantly income tax preparation software." Most importantly? In what bizarro-universe is a home pc's most important feature tax prep software?

          Even if there weren't several very robust online tax prep services, and if paper forms and human tax accountants weren't an option, it's hard to believe there are many potential linux users who don't have a friend or colleague who would lend them a windows machine once a year in order to do taxes. (Whether you're willing to give your SSN and banking info to a machine administered by someone other than you is another matter, I suppose.)

          In passing, it's worth noting that of the other "missing" applications, only two that are genuine categories of software rather than specific vendor packages - PDF converters and legal DVD players - really have no place on the list.

          There are plenty of ways of generating PDFs on linux. Having spent a fair amount of time generating PDFs from both platforms in recent years, I claim it's far easier to make arbitrary material into a high quality PDF using an unmodified linux install than it is in windows, even after paying hundreds of dollars to Adobe.

          What's more, while there are no *legal* dvd players and there are a hand full of important codecs that are *legally* restricted in the US, it is trivial to install illegal software to satisfy one's every multimedia need. If linux growth were restricted only to those of us who claim it is ethically defensible to obtain an illicit copy of media playing software which is distributed for free to users of one OS but cannot be purchased at any price by users of another OS, in order to play our own legally purchased media on our own hardware, the linux community would never notice the difference.
      • I've done my taxes on Linux now for five years in a row, using some tax software that has successfully saved me thousands of dollars. I consider this software worth my roughly $20/yr investment.

        Q: How do I get it to run on Linux?

        A: I use a high-tech interface called a web browser, specifically Firefox. As a result, my tax software is OS-independent.

        Really, this isn't hard, is it?

        • Re:Jeez, no kidding. (Score:4, Interesting)

          by shaitand (626655) on Monday March 20, 2006 @04:39PM (#14959582) Journal
          Tax software is not really the problem. There is no real alternative to quickbooks on linux yet and until there is linux adoption will never hit the small business desktop. Small businesses will carry linux with them when I they hit critical mass and bring linux to the corporate desktop if there is an accounting package to run.

          Once open office base becomes stable that will answer the other critical need for small business.
    • As a result, his analysis comes out confused and unfocused.

      I kept trying to figure out what the point was, and what I came out with was "all three have good points, all three have bad points." Which pretty much anyone who's worked with all three at one time or another will say. There are things that XP is better at, or at least the only option. There are things that Mac OSX is better at. There are things that (fill in a Linux distro here) is better at. To me, an analysis should start with "What exa

  • Article Text (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 20, 2006 @02:52PM (#14958685)
    Ubuntu, Macintosh and Windows XP
    Posted by tadelste on Mar 19, 2006 3:44 PM
    Lxer.com; By Tom Adelstein

    If you think that a Linux advocate cannot make an objective analysis of desktop operating systems, then you need to read this report. You may find yourself surprised with some brutal honesty that leaves out the free software philosophy.

    All three desktop operating systems have admirable qualities. Each has some weaknesses. Attending a recent User Group Fair, I had another chance to see them at work. Having used and programmed on each platform provides some unbiased insights.

    Background
    I have owned several Macintosh computers. I had new world and old world bios machines including several older 6500s, 7600s, etc. that would not take OS X. I also had a blue and white, a beige workgroup server, Power Mac G4s, a Cube, iBook, etc. I remember making the transition from OS 9 to OS X. I liked it.

    I used Microsoft from the DOS days to early Windows 2.0, 3.0, 3.11, Windows 95, 98, ME, NT3.51 - 4.0, 2000 and XP. I still have the licenses and media for everything since Windows 3.1. I managed large IBM networks with OS/2 on the desktop and LAN Server 3 as the server. I won't get into my NetWare experience.

    I used Solaris, AIX and Linux starting with Slackware 3x. I even ran Red Hat on Sun IPCs, Sparc 5 and 10 workstations. I'm now using SUSE SLES and Pro, RHEL, Fedora, Debian and Ubuntu for daily use on servers and workstations.

    Each system has different programing architectures with OS X a little closer to Linux than Windows. OS X uses a UNIX architecture to run its internals. However, the OS X desktop interface does not resemble Linux or other UNICES which depend on X. You can use X on the Mac natively.

    Windows has a completely different programing structure from OS X and Linux. Windows relies heavily on its user interface which has evolved over time. Programing involves using Windows shell extensions. XP uses the NT kernel to manage file systems, internals and communication with the graphical shell.

    OS X and Linux use completely different schemes with kernel extensions and independent programs running inside the user interface shell. The UNIX shell runs independently in what kernel developers call userland.

    UNIX and Linux programmers consider their programing methods preferable to Windows. Windows developers consider the interface extensions easier to use and providing for more rapid application development. Each have merit when you look at them objectively. Of course, Macintosh developers will say that since they moved to the UNIX method that they experience more stability.

    Macintosh
    I started with the first Mac configured as a desktop publishing machine. I remember liking it because it cut costs we otherwise spent on type setting and graphics, paste up ,etc. Then I started using the Mac as a production machine at a DoE lab.

    For personal use, I used the Mac for graphics, audio productions and developing web sites. OS X made a huge difference since I didn't have to reboot in the middle of working. I also knew my way around UNIX and that allowed me to use Internet applications I hadn't used previously.

    I found the developers tools useful. I enjoyed the interface. I found myself exploring more of the system when I purchased "OS X, the Missing Manual". The same book helped me discover ways of using Windows and Linux I hadn't known previously.

    Windows XP
    I recall using XP for three months without having to reboot it. I don't remember that happening before. I started collecting Microsoft Certs when Windows 95 arrived. I had used Excel 5 and Access to develop financial tools. Later, I became a sysadmin and ran a couple of large NT networks.

    XP appeared safe behind our firewall. After three months, my system became sluggish and prone to malware. I did maintenance on the system regularly including defraging the disk, deleting unnecessary files and checking the registry.

    I liked XP better than any previ
  • by TheRealMindChild (743925) on Monday March 20, 2006 @02:55PM (#14958709) Homepage Journal
    "Ubuntu, Macintosh and Windows XP"

    Have you ever noticed that in the scheme of naming meat for the three big land animals is completely broke?

    Cow == Beef
    Pig == Pork
    But CHICKEN is still just CHICKEN ("Poultry" doesn't count as it encompasses all domesticated food birds).

    Using this known quirk, we can safely assume, that if all of these Operating Systems were a meat, Macintosh would be CHICKEN!
    • by Anonymous Coward
      FYI, the trend in English is that animals are called by the word used by the Anglo-Saxons who raised them and the meat by that used by the French-speaking nobles who ate it. (Sheep / mutton is another example.)
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Using this known quirk, we can safely assume, that if all of these Operating Systems were a meat, Macintosh would be CHICKEN!

      And by extending your logic, I can thus only conclude that NeXT was a TURKEY
    • by tepples (727027) <tepples@nOSpAM.gmail.com> on Monday March 20, 2006 @03:06PM (#14958800) Homepage Journal

      Have you ever noticed that in the scheme of naming meat for the three big land animals is completely broke?

      No, the system works as designed. For mammals, the English name of the animal comes from Anglo-Saxon, while the English name of its flesh prepared as food comes from French. See also sheep => mutton; deer => venison. But for species in other classes that extend Chordata, the English name of the prepared flesh is derived directly from the common English name of the animal: duck => duck; pheasant => pheasant; frog => frog legs; tuna => tuna.

    • "Have you ever noticed that in the scheme of naming meat for the three big land animals is completely broke?

      Hmm, I never considered chickens to be big land animals. Anyone know where I can pick up a side of chicken to store in my freezer?

      Here's some more for you:
      Cow (Bull,Steer/Cow,Heifer/Calf) = Beef = Boeuf ~ Bovine
      Pig (Boar/Sow/Piglet,Shoat) = Pork ~ Porcine
      Goat (Buck,Billy/Doe,Nanny/Kid) = chevon ~ Caprine
      Sheep (Ram/Ewe/Lamb) = mutton/lamb ~ Ovine? Where the hell does that come from? Sheep d
  • by fishdan (569872) * on Monday March 20, 2006 @02:57PM (#14958726) Homepage Journal
    ...Ubuntu has in excess of 25% of the Linux desktop market which compares to number two SUSE with 11.4% of the market....

    Have there been any really good studies showing this? I'm aware of a few very small samplnigs that show something like this, but nothing that was statistically significant. I'd be grateful if anyone knows of a good study showing usages. Anecdotally, Red Hat dominates my group of friends -- if we knew about a survey, we'd probably skew it pretty good too.

  • by ThinkFr33ly (902481) on Monday March 20, 2006 @02:58PM (#14958733)
    FTFA:
    Windows XP does not compare favorably with Linux, Macintosh or UNIX variants as a development platform.
    Really? Windows has excellent development tools (almost all 3rd party tools run on Windows, and Visual Studio is usually considered one of the best if not the best IDE for development). The interop argument is silly. If you're writing code for interop you can do it just as easily on Windows as any other platform. If you're writing stuff for Windows, you have the support of some of the best frameworks available today.
    • Windows is a horrible development environment. You can't pipe program output, redirect to file, etc. Windows has nothing remotely close to expect. Search through source file relies on 3rd party solutions, and few of them have the ability to work with regular expressions. And being integrated into massive applications like Visual Studio, none of them work the same. Sure, you can get all that by using Cygwin, but if you're going to emulate unix anyway you may as well just use unix.
      • by ThinkFr33ly (902481) on Monday March 20, 2006 @03:21PM (#14958925)
        You can't pipe program output, redirect to file, etc.

        First, I can't recall the last time I needed or wanted to redirect output to a file from a command line app while I was doing development. Perhaps it's because I do a different kind of development than you do, but regardless, I would hardly classify XP is a bad development platform over something like that. Even so, you're completely wrong as it's very easy to pipe output [microsoft.com] in XP.

        Search through source file relies on 3rd party solutions, and few of them have the ability to work with regular expressions.

        Huh? Aside from the fact that hitting F3 in Windows will bring up a find dialog that can search the contents of files, Visual Studio (and virtually every other IDE that runs on Windows) has the ability to search with regular expressions [microsoft.com].
    • I've developed networking code on both Linux and Windows, and by my estimates I can get stuff up and running in half the time under Linux with it's standard socket interface. Basically, the Windows tools are designed to be good at cranking out MDI applications; once you attempt to move outside Microsoft's standard application model, getting anything to work properly becomes like pulling teeth. Now, if you wanted to compare writing straight GUI code in Xlib versus Windows, I don't know; Microsoft may have an
      • I can get stuff up and running in half the time under Linux with it's standard socket interface

        Can you give me a more specific example?

        Basically, the Windows tools are designed to be good at cranking out MDI applications

        Huh? Windows tools are great at cracking out all sorts of applications. Why would you think that "MDI applications" are somehow the target of Windows development tools?
    • Really? Windows has excellent development tools (almost all 3rd party tools run on Windows, and Visual Studio is usually considered one of the best if not the best IDE for development).

      *cough* Ok, I'm not going to get into a debate about VS with you. It's been about two yearsa since I used it and it may have changed. But my residual opinion of it is vastly different from yours.

      Having said that, I don't think Windows is a good development environment for the very non-scientific, non-quantifiable reason th

      • Alt+shift+tab cycles you the other way in Windows. The terminal app, yes. Not like cmd has ever been a full-featured CLI, or Windows has been designed around a GUI rather than text. Other than that, you seem pretty much right. I still prefer Linux to Windows or OSX, though.
    • Windows is a developer's nightmare. You point at the MS IDE, but it is not that good, and at the best possible light, it is still very small, lacking most of the tools that make a developer's life easier. Windows API is terrible and Windows lacks laguages. Despite the fact that you can always install some more compilers and interpreters, installing stuff at Windows is HARD, and well, you need to install them, on UNIXes they come by default. Windows also lacks shared libraries and toolkits.

      And you'll always

    • by mrsbrisby (60242) on Monday March 20, 2006 @03:55PM (#14959199) Homepage
      Really? Windows has excellent development tools

      That's debatable...

      almost all 3rd party tools run on Windows

      No, most don't. You need an emulation layer to run the most flexible development tools; those found in UNIX. Because windows lacks basic automation powers outside of normal user processing, the developer has to write "helper programs" that on UNIX are already written, to do basic transformations.

      No pipelines, no universal application interface, I'd say windows doesn't have any of the things that I use regularly in my development.

      The interop argument is silly. If you're writing code for interop you can do it just as easily on Windows as any other platform.

      No you can't. It's certainly much easier to build and develop on a unixish system than on a Windows system.

      My schism tracker project builds automatically for Win32, x86/Linux, and ppc/MacOSX all from the same source tree, all in parallel, and at one point, all from the same machine.

      I do not see for a minute how it is even possible to do this on Windows unless I either (a) do an awful lot of work, or (b) use a UNIX environment on Windows and do slightly less than an awful lot of work.

      If you're writing stuff for Windows, you have the support of some of the best frameworks available today.

      If you mean to say, writing software _on_ windows gives you access to some of the best frameworks available, I have to tell you you're wrong. Most Windows frameworks have very poor accessibility outside of C++, or possibly VB.

      If you mean to say writing _targetting_ windows gives you access to some of the best frameworks available, I still have to say you're wrong. The win32 frameworks don't mesh well with any other systems' development model.

      Sadly, that seems to be intentional...
  • by Cyclops (1852) <rms@NOsPAM.1407.org> on Monday March 20, 2006 @02:59PM (#14958740) Homepage
    I keep finding it all around the place, some pseudo-pragmatists saying derivates of:

    • urgh, they insist on ethics
    • urgh, they insist on freedom
    • urgh, they insist on ...


    Like people who care about such important things have a terribly contagious lethal disease.

    That sucks big time and sounds like a-moral freaks who would sell their moms (not that I buy that point of view, but it sure as hell sounds like it).
    • by Kohath (38547) on Monday March 20, 2006 @03:09PM (#14958823)
      Some people just want to get their work done. Sometimes the ethical hairsplitting and free vs. not-free debate gets in the way of that. Some people want software, not a cause.
      • Sure, but isn't a balance of both the best thing in terms of getting work done? I mean, imagine locking yourself into proprietary software and then being forced into expensive upgrades that you can't afford, or not being able to fix a show-stopper bug because you can't get access to the source code.

        If you want to always get work done, there is an argument to be made for using free (as in freedom) software.
        • You are correct but the "zealots" don't portray it from a viewpoint of practicality. To them its a epic struggle on par with the quest to free blacks from slavery or to bring voting rights to women. I bet there are some who even think its MORE important than those two great events. You can't reason with such people and they won't accept less then 100% victory even if thats totally off-putting to everyone else.
      • Precisely (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Sycraft-fu (314770)
        I've gotten to the point where I just don't want to screw with my computers. Probably since I do systems support professionally, I have little patience for doing it on my own stuff. I just want my hardware, apps, etc to work with no intervention on my part.

        What I find with free software is I'm asked to make major, major compramises, and that the people pushing it seem to think I should be happy, and even thankful, to do so just because it's free. I particularly get in to this with audio apps. I have a numbe
        • Re:Precisely (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Wylfing (144940)

          What I find with free software is I'm asked to make major, major compramises, and that the people pushing it seem to think I should be happy, and even thankful, to do so just because it's free.

          I understand where you are coming from, and in your case you are making intelligent economic choices about what software you want to use (i.e., it is worth the money to pay for legitimate copies of audio software). The development of the "attitude" you are addressing is, however, based on somewhat different circumsta

      • "Some people just want to get their work done." ... without having to get their credit card out each time to try out a piece of software, or have to call tech-support if an API they're using is undocumented.

        Some people just want to get their work done without having to count how many machines they've installed ProTax2007 on, or document it when the vendor says they're coming round for an audit. Some people just want to get their work done without having to trawl through a 25-page EULA for every piece of sof
  • Silly review... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fak3r (917687) on Monday March 20, 2006 @03:00PM (#14958746) Homepage
    All throughout the article the author tries to paint OS X as being the end all, with little fact. Plus, what user looking to try one of these 3 OSs will understand this jibbish?
    • Each system has different programing architectures with OS X a little closer to Linux than Windows. OS X uses a UNIX architecture to run its internals. However, the OS X desktop interface does not resemble Linux or other UNICES which depend on X. You can use X on the Mac natively.
    I get so tired of hearing that OS X uses a UNIX architecture, but I digress. Also I like how Linux sucks because software like Income Tax apps are lacking...hello? I processed my last 3 income tax paperwork via Turbo Tax online. What a bad article, no wonder I stopped checking 'digg.com'
  • by dildo (250211) on Monday March 20, 2006 @03:06PM (#14958799)
    I wonder if the /. editors are on the take from pharmaceutical companies that sell anti-hypertension drugs?

    It seems like once a day there is an article like this that provides no real content, but may inspire limited skirmishes between hotheaded zealots. No doubt some of them are on these medications.

    Or maybe the editors just like to see the ants fight after they shake up the bottle.

    Franklin Hoenikker, is that you?

  • Moo (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Chacham (981) * on Monday March 20, 2006 @03:10PM (#14958829) Homepage Journal
    Didja realize when he spoke of Linux he was enthusiastic, but when he spoke of Windows it seems someone was forcing him to do it. It's also filled with excuses "The large volume...seduces", "The lower cost...".

    I may despise Windows, but i'll never say it isn't a good OS. If you want to make money, it's better for development, and development tools are easier. Like AOL, UI is key to Microsoft, and many, if not most, developers want that. Plus, tools for the braindead like VB and it's ilk are in abundance with help files, technical support, and addins. It's debugging is usually superior to Linux because it goes line by line, making it an excellent tool for the beginner.

    I like Linux, and Linux is robust. I am learning to use C with a friend right now, and we login to my Debian box via SSH to get it done. But one thing is for sure, it ain't as easy. (Which is half the reason i want it that way, but that's another story.)

    Linux is more secure, if you know what you are doing. To the average idiot, buying Windows and Symantec's security suite is ten times better. It works out of the box, it has support, and is updated for viruses.

    But the "reviewer" didn't even get into overall usuability.

    Windows is better, hands down because everyone knows it, it's UI is beautiful and easy to use to most people, there is a great deal of software support for it, and games are written for it. If you are willing to spend money, there's nearly nothing you can do with Linux that you can't do with Windows.

    For the techy, however, Linux can be better in that it is control, speed, and reliability. Futhermore, debugging tools such as having the source, using strace, or having knowledgeable people in the newsgroups or mailing lists that speak Geek and are overall familiar with the techy nomenclature, can be a boon and a welcome diversion from the ignorance found amongst Windows support personell.

    But, for the non-techy trying to save cash, or the techy trying to save time, the "other" OS may be better.

    So much for my opinion. But (in my opinion!) it's alot less biased than his.
  • I always look for metadata in information. It's less likely to be biased. I haven't followed -- is Ubuntu really the number one Linux desktop distro?

  • I use Ubuntu Linux, Windows XP, and OS 10.4 for my work, usually depending on what a customer uses and what special software I might need to use. For Java development, I use IntelliJ, and all three operating systems are just about the same. For Ruby I like TextMate on the Mac, or jEdit/eclipse/emacs under Linux, but TextPad on Windows is OK also.

    I don't usually (but sometimes :-) think about which OS I want to use for personal reasons - all three are just tools.
  • by Cyclops (1852) <rms@NOsPAM.1407.org> on Monday March 20, 2006 @03:13PM (#14958867) Homepage
    Like all Linux desktops, Ubuntu has limitations. It lacks applications such as Photoshop, Framemaker, Pagemaker, Visio, Access, Quickbooks, a PDF converter, legal DVD players and most importantly income tax preparation software. Without those applications ported directly to Linux, Ubuntu remains a mid-level desktop.
    I won't even go deep into the Linux is a kernel so shouldn't have any of those apps reasoning, and assume he's speaking of the user land, tipically a variant of GNU/Linux or even some *BSD with a GNOME or KDE.

    No... I'll simply say...
    • The GIMP [gimp.org] satisfy virtually all "photoshop" needs (maybe not some small part in some graphics shops, but otherwise you're bitching without real knowledge).
    • I don't do much in the area of Framemaker or Pagemaker, but most desktops will do fine with the functionality present in OpenOffice.org Draw [openoffice.org]
    • Visio has some nice features, but I've lived for years with Dia [gnome.org] managing a network of almost 200 equipments in a variety of multi-level networks
    • Access is b0rked by design. PostgreSQL [postgresql.org] and MySQL [mysql.com] are on Enterprise level, and they're at your feet on most GNU/Linux distributions
    • PDF Converters? Have you tried printing? Go there. Notice the Create a PDF Document option...
    • Legal DVD players? Write your congressmang, senator, whatever favorite politic of choice and influence and tell them how wrong DMCA is.
    • by argent (18001)
      There are open source programs that provide some of the functionality of commercial desktop software. The problem is that for business you need software that is bug-for-bug compatible. Yes, it's deeply wrong that Microsoft file formats are a mess equalled only by the Emacs undumper in pure evil non-compatibility in the open-source world... but that doesn't change the fact that bug-for-bug compatibility is needed.

      The Gimp is a decent tool. There's better free software on the Mac, and none of it runs Photosho
    • by mopslik (688435) on Monday March 20, 2006 @03:24PM (#14958949)

      I don't do much in the area of Framemaker or Pagemaker, but most desktops will do fine with the functionality present in OpenOffice.org Draw

      A better substitute, IMO, would be Scribus [scribus.net]. But OO.o is pretty decent for what's included.


    •   Linux is a kernel so shouldn't have any of those apps


      But Linux is a monolithic kernel [fluidsignal.com]... doesn't that mean that Photoshop should be part of the kernel?
    • by Carik (205890) on Monday March 20, 2006 @03:35PM (#14959033)
      1) GIMP does not equal Photoshop. Yes, it has most of the functionality. Yes, it's plenty powerful for almost everyone. However, it is NOT Photoshop. The commands are different, and if you've just spent a year learning Photoshop, you probably won't want to spend another year learning a completely different system, which won't be installed on most computers.

      2) Pagemaker is a LOT better than Draw for, say, laying out a newsletter. Yes, yes, LaTeX... but why learn a complicated system when there's an easy one available?

      3) Dia may do for planning your network, but Visio is good for a lot of other things. Just because you only want it for one thing doesn't mean that's all it can be used for...

      4) OK, can't argue with this one. The only advantage to Access is that it's more universally available on the Windows platform, and I don't see that as much of an advantage.

      5) Wouldn't know about PDF Converters, since I mostly don't bother with PDF.

      6) Writing my congressman doesn't help me play a movie tonight, tomorrow, next week, or probably even this year. People want immediate solutions. Let's keep working on the long term, but I'd like to watch my movies legally now, thanks very much. Of course, I have a DVD player, and a decent TV, so I don't really care whether my computer can play them.

      The simple fact is that using Windows or MacOS X is EASIER if you don't already know linux. I use linux as my primary daily OS, but there are still things I end up going to Windows for, because they just work better. I prefer Visio to anything I've found in linux, and I'd rather be able to play my games without having to hope WINE is up to the task.

      • 6) Writing my congressman doesn't help me play a movie tonight, tomorrow, next week, or probably even this year. People want immediate solutions. Let's keep working on the long term, but I'd like to watch my movies legally now, thanks very much. Of course, I have a DVD player, and a decent TV, so I don't really care whether my computer can play them.

        Y'know, we bitch about this one quite a bit, but the fact is that software decoders must be legal on some level, or they wouldn't exist for windows either. And
      • "GIMP does not equal Photoshop."

        I am sorry we were not able to provide you with a free copy of photoshop. I know that you won't be satisfied until somebody gives your everything photoshop does, the exact same as photoshop does it for free. In the mean time there is GIMP. MOST people find it adequate for everything they need to do.

        "Pagemaker is a LOT better than Draw for, say, laying out a newsletter. Yes, yes, LaTeX... but why learn a complicated system when there's an easy one available?"

        I am sorry we were
  • I don't see anything "brutal" in the article. It's just a "yeah i like it but it needs a bit more of this and that" kind of review. No advantages, disadvantages, complaints, specifics. It's just a one-page recommendation.
  • by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Monday March 20, 2006 @03:27PM (#14958971) Homepage
    I use OS X, which I switched to because I like the UNIX internals and the excellent Apple applications.

    That said, once AGAIN we see that same stupid statement. It's taken as a tautology that Apple's stability is due to it's hardware. From the article:

    "Macintosh OS X runs on a limited number of hardware devices which allows Apple Computers to offer a stable and high-performance product overall. Apple's entry level products such as the Mac mini provides a low-cost, high-value multimedia platform."

    Bull. While that can't do anything but help, I don't buy it. I think Linux has proven that you can run an operating system on a very diverse set of hardware (that is, the same hardware Windows runs on) and be entirely stable enough to run for months without issue (Windows has gotten there, for the most part). OS X is stable not because there are only 3 pieces of hardware it runs on, but because it was well designed and well built, based on a stable and mature architecture (BSD). It's perfectly stable (from what I hear) when installed on generic Intel computers that it was never designed for.

    Besides, what does OS X run on? It runs on Powerbooks, the Minis, PowerMacs, iMacs, iBooks, and the G4 Cube, and more. Each of those has numerous different revisions (often amazingly different, as the difference between a G4 PowerMac and a G5 PowerMac, or a 12" Aluminum Powerbook and a 15" MacBook Pro). In the year I have owned a PowerBook there have been 3 revisions, along with the MacBook Pro. That's one year, one computer line. Not including the different sizes (12", 15", 17").

    When will people stop blaming OS X's stability on the hardware. When will they start to blame it on good design. Give Apple a fair shake.

    Besides, if the hardware thing was true, OS 8 and OS 9 should have been MUCH MORE stable because they only ran on those few pieces of Apple hardware, while Windows XP should be much LESS stable because it runs on so many million different types of computers.

  • by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Monday March 20, 2006 @03:34PM (#14959025)
    It's interesting to be since I have a fairly complicated return (including long and short term gains on taxable stock sales), I live in a sales tax state so I had that, I have accounts with interest income, my income is decent so I run it through the AMT (apparently I don't know what "decent" really is since AMT doesn't apply to me), I have a mortgage and school taxes. I'm reasonably smart but basically a "B" type not some superbrain.

    My 2006 taxes took me about 100 minutes to complete from start to finish- by hand- without a program. The only thing I needed a calculator for was the sales tax thing (for the love of god could they have made it more complicated-- multiply the base amount by something like 1.337?).

    Besides you only use tax software once a year as it is. Most people who would be interested in free software won't make enough that tax software would matter anyway.

    Personally, I think the -government- should be required to produce a generic "C" program or web page that calculates your taxes according to the tax code and if it is wrong, you only pay interest- no penalties. Tax collection is a government function- it's insane that we have these huge industries built around calculating your taxes.

    Sure-- 10% of the population would still need accountants and so on but 90% really don't need these things.

    I'm moving pretty aggressively towards opensource software and mildly aggressively towards linix. It won't be because of the cost- I can buy a complete windows system at Fry's for $369 - slap in a hot video card and a cool quiet power supply and match 90% of the score of any single card $1800 system on the plant. How they do this when the operating system alone costs me $99 and the bloody hardware in the computer is worth over $369 purchased piecemeal is beyond me. Microsoft must be giving the OEM folks OS's for almost free.

    No- the reason I will leave windows (and not go to mac) is because of DRM.

    It's MY COMPUTER. Unless they are going to BUY it for me and give it to me free, I'm not going to give them money for a system that is going to snoop and report on what I'm doing, tell me what software I can and can't run, and tell me what content I can and cannot play.

    Sure- I may have a $379 special version of whatever windows is out there the rest of my life- I also might have a PS2 or XBOX for the same reason- to play games (Tho there is a ton of MAME content out there these days for linux).

    • Personally, I think the -government- should be required to produce a generic "C" program or web page that calculates your taxes according to the tax code and if it is wrong, you only pay interest- no penalties. Tax collection is a government function- it's insane that we have these huge industries built around calculating your taxes.

      I'd like to point out that the brazilian governament offers a free (as in beer) program to calculate our taxes, and deliver them using the internet. It comes in two flavors: a

  • by mrsbrisby (60242) on Monday March 20, 2006 @03:43PM (#14959099) Homepage
    Seriously, Free software means that _this_ is what the people want. They want it so bad, they're making it themselves.

    Very few people actually use windows- you ask them what kind of computer they have, and you'll hear "Dell" or "Packard Bell" or "Gateway" - maybe even an "IBM". These people have no idea what they're using or if anything might do what they want better.

    Leaving out the fact that this is Free software is trollish- if you don't qualify any comparison with "This is what the people who actually have to use it want to use", then you're just feeding this FUD machine that zero-charge software equals lower-quality- because OF COURSE there's something available for Windows that isn't available for my Free operating system.

    Doesn't mean I miss it in the slightest.

    And by the way, I have no problems using tax preparation software on Linux, or converting things to and from PDF. I also have no problems watching DVDs legally- as my DVD player and software predate the DCMA.

    I have no interest in Visio, Framemaker or Photoshop, or rather any other software that doesn't want me to use it. I may be interested in performing some of the tasks that are possible with these programs- but I've already got adequate Free software, that works and does things the way _I_ want to.
  • apps (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tom (822) on Monday March 20, 2006 @03:52PM (#14959173) Homepage Journal
    XP provides an adequate operating system for hosting a number of applications.

    The correct - and more important - distinguisher would be that XP provides the only hosting choice for a large number of applications.

    We all, and Bill Gates and even Wallstreet know that if all software available for Windos were available for OSX and Linux as well, with no difference in price, support or ease of installation, Windos market share would drop faster than you can possibly sell your M$ shares. Not to zero, some people just use whatever is there or don't know any better, but users are already moving to OSX in droves despite the app count disadvantage.
  • Free Software (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pandrijeczko (588093) on Monday March 20, 2006 @04:10PM (#14959332)
    I've never has the need to use Apple hardware or OS X so I'm not qualified to comment on either.

    Windows XP is the best OS Microsoft have done so far - provided that you get rid of the *TRULY AWFUL* default Windows XP UI & go back to the "Classic" UI, as well as doing some registry hacks to get rid of all the "patronising" features that treat you like a five year old. When you do that, and accept Windows big design flaw (the ever-expanding, ever-fragmenting registry), it's worth using. I still, personally, use Linux much more but that's because of what I do on my computers & the way I like to do it.

    What I *REALLY* have a problem with is the *WINDOWS MENTALITY*...

    I've been using Linux and free software now for many years & it's great when I can run my favourite free apps on Windows or Linux - Firefox, Thunderbird, GIMP, Vim, OpenOffice, etc. Sure, many of free apps don't compare feature-for-feature with some of their commercial equivalents but if I've ever been in the situation where I've felt a free application needs an additional feature, then I've dropped an email to the developers of that app to say what feature their app needs and why I think it needs it. I've not always got a response but at least I hope someone is maybe considering my suggestion. But in my mind, this type of feedback is core to the advancement of free software because it gives the developers a viewpoint of their software from the usability perspective.

    Unfortunately, the "Windows Mentality" deems that you don't feedback to software creators - instead, you just hand over money & have a shrink-wrapped box put in your hands. And when you try out the software, it either does what you want it to do or doesn't; if it's the latter, you just use it, put up with it & wait for the next version...

    I really don't care how many people use Windows and whether or not they'll migrate to Linux. But I do wish many Windows users would make more of an effort looking for free software apps & just try them out. Rather than just handing out money, or passing round CDs of cracked commercial apps, I wish they'd put some energy into giving free software a try & contacting the developers - whether to just say "Thanks" or to suggest enhancements to their software.

    I don't believe all software should be free - whether you write programs or paint ceilings, you deserve renumeration for any hard work you do if that's what you want. But the free software movement is one where everyone who has access to a computer can take part in - and with many mature free apps, they're now at a stage where it's the users who dictate "what happens next" by telling the devlopers what's needed.

    Unfortunately, far too many people just sit there expecting software to just "fall into their laps" after they hand over money & it's that mentality that needs to change here.

An Ada exception is when a routine gets in trouble and says 'Beam me up, Scotty'.

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