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Firstly, being completely honest, I'm not satisfied with any OS I've ever run, but I dual boot win7 on my computers for games, and use Ubuntu the rest of the time. I'm a web developer/programmer, and I prefer working in the same environment (LAMP) my code is deployed on. It makes sense for me.
I love both windows and linux for different reasons, but I hate both of them for certain reasons too.
Windows 7, is by far the best windows ever. I've used them all, it's good. That said, I have had just as many stability issues as I had with XP...it's not perfect yet. On my laptop, for example, it decided to completely kill itself after an update, and nothing short of a re-install fixed it. This actually happened 2x...within 3 months. I still don't know why...but now that laptop only runs Ubuntu, cause it's too crappy for games anyway, and it's been rock solid for a year now.
On my desktop, win7 has been nothing short of a nightmare for me. I know I'm pretty much alone in this, but it's true. I would not trust win7 to important work on this machine. About 6 months after first installing win7 on it (64 bit from msdn), I got a new video card. Genuine advantage decided it was a different computer and tried locking me out. No biggie right? Just activate it. Well, that didn't work, I forget why. I re-installed. Later I got an ssd. I decided to clone my C: partition onto the ssd, as that was always easy in the past on hdds. Wrong. No matter the method I used to clone the partition onto the ssd, windows would not boot off of it (this is a fully supported intel ssd, it should have worked). Even the repair mode on the win7 disk couldn't properly find a windows installation, despite it being perfectly readable and everything (I've done this tons of times on regular hdds, with no problems). So, I ended up doing a clean install on the ssd. Everything was fine for a while. One day, win7 decided it couldn't update anymore. The error code was related to proxy settings, and trusted sites. I went through every single step in the supposed solutions to the error, but it would not be fixed. Nobody could help me out with it either. Stumped everyone that came across it. Since I only use it for gaming, it was not updated for 6 months, but then I decided enough was enough. Re-install. Currently it's working just fine...no issues. We'll see how long that lasts.
Overall, windows maintenance is the #1 reason I prefer linux for my default. On top of the hassles I've had with my desktop, I hate the way windows update works. It couldn't take any longer, and I hate that it tries to force you to reboot...it's stupid. I miss how easy it is to back up a list of software you have installed, and re-install it like in linux with repos. It takes so long to re-install software after a windows install. It's ridiculous. It takes me about 1/10th the time in linux to get everything I want installed...and I always have a LOT more installed in linux. I hate how windows handles drivers, they still, in win7 tend to mess up way too often. Viruses, I don't have problems with anymore, so I can't list that.
Linux though, I have problems with too. Every time linux's graphics stack starts getting good, fast, and stable, either xorg devs decide to break everything, or new desktop tech (compiz, kwin, gnome3, etc) breaks things with my catalyst driver. And there's the rub. Graphics in linux, across the board, is crap. You cannot find a high end card right now with a proprietary or opensource driver that is near as good as in windows. All have some missing functionality, and the opensource ones which everyone tries to recommend, perform like crap. If I were a games dev, I wouldn't make games for linux either...it's that bad. I get by just fine, cause I don't game that much, and my 4850 works fine for my uses. Applications. I wish linux had the application and game support windows had. It would sure be nice. Ubuntu in particular is terrible with regressions. I've never had an update to a new version of the distro go perfect. Not ever. Lately bugs I've personally experienced have been pretty minor, however. Wireless support could still be better. Zealots of all kinds need to go die in a fire. There's a place for proprietary, and there's a place for opensource and free...the fighting needs to stop. There's more stuff, I'm forgetting some.
So, why do I stick with linux on my desktop at all, if there is more software, better video drivers, games? Because day to day it's less of a hassle than windows is, it keeps working unless I mess with it (unlike windows in my experience), and I develop code (web stuff) that runs on linux...so it makes sense. Also, besides that, I like LVM, couldn't live without it. It makes keeping my multimedia collection organized simple as pie, because I don't have to have tons of partitions, or raid (I'll only do hardware raid, so, that's less cost not needing it). Also, I tend to find linux's desktop environments more pleasant than win7, pretty much across the board. I know I'm mostly alone on this.
Why Windows? Just games for me, don't trust it for much else, honestly...but I understand why lots of other people prefer it, and that is perfectly fine too.
People that prefer linux will like to believe that windows will not ever be reliable, and people who prefer windows tend to believe that linux won't be.
I've seen this time and time again, both through myself, and my friends/acquaintances.
Just two recent examples of this:
A friend of mine bought a really nice Asus i5 gaming laptop with win7 home premium preloaded on Thur last week. I envy his laptop. It's awesome. Anyway, on Friday, after only running the laptop 2 times, he turned it on, only to find that win7 wouldn't boot. Luckily Asus provided a recovery disk (some OEMS require you to burn your own, he wouldn't have done that that soon). My very first reaction (as I do prefer linux, and I myself happen to have many issues just like this one with any and all windows oses, my friends will confirm that I do for some reason, whereas they do not usually...) was to start laughing, and I remember saying "When will MS get their ^(&# straight?". Now, we all know that it's possible it was his fault, not win7, but it wasn't my first reaction.
Likewise, a different friend of mine has a win7/ubuntu dual boot setup on his desktop, and at one time had xp and ubuntu via wubi on his laptop. He very very rarely uses ubuntu, and I honestly don't even know why he insists on having it installed. His antivirus program thought the wubi virtual disk of ubuntu was a virus, and deleted/broke it. He instantly blamed ubuntu for being unstable (who wouldn't). It was only later, after it happened again and we caught his antivirus in the act that we figured out what was happening. This same friend had a sata cable fail on his desktop which was hooked up to the drive with ubuntu on it. Because of this, his computer wouldn't boot, although oddly enough the drive did show up in bios. He blamed ubuntu instantly for the grub error that appeared when grub couldn't find that drive, and had me come over and help him "fix ubuntu". Well, we figured out pretty quick that he just had a bad sata cable, and after replacing it, everything was perfect.
In both cases, the operating system might not have been at fault. (ok, so ubuntu wasn't in these cases, but I've seen it become unbootable on a netbook after a regular "apt-get upgrade" too..., and the win7 issue might have been my friends fault too, I don't know.) However, it just goes to show how our personal feelings about our favorite operating systems get in the way of factual information about them, and many times people say things and bash them before they think about it. The same goes for both windows and linux.
If the Ipad is going to revolutionize anything, it's going to be big media. Itunes pretty much did it a while ago with the hurting music industry, and I believe the Ipad is another venture to keep big media happy and make apple a fortune. I personally don't think the ipad is that appealing, and I will probably never own one, but I DO think it's an attractive platform for big media, and maybe that is why it is being hyped so much. Big media sees it as a possible answer to some of it's problems, so if it can make this thing popular enough, then it has a way to prolong it's survival.
What I think is interesting about this though, is that if advertising via big media still works, then obviously big media is doing just fine. If newspaper is failing, fine, just move it to a more current medium. I don't see an issue here. There is plenty of room to expand to digital mediums instead of printing everything. If you don't want it to be a (mostly) open technology like the internet, fine...pretty sure there is enough similarly-minded money out there to back whatever your silly idea is. I believe this is exactly what the ipad was created for.
Shouldn't slashdot be using html5 instead of flash for this? Some people can't use flash at work and doing it in html5 would make it possible because every browser is compatible with the html5 devices tag that enables webcams in html5.
Also, there should be a mute button, or volume controls. I'm too stupid to mute only the player, and I want to be able to listen to my own music and watch at the same time.
And finally, I love today. (My new i9 super gaming desktop from dell came in the mail today!)
I didn't realize how much windows forces you to reboot until I had been running linux pretty much exclusively for over a year...and then windows tanked. I had tried out MULTIPLE distros of linux, and yeah, pretty much never had to reboot more than once to get them completely up and running with every bit of software I would ever want. Also, there is something nice about knowing that you can use your home dir/partition on ANY linux and never have to worry about "migrating" your data like you do in windows.
Also, window's installers (including win7) just aren't as nice as the leading linux ones. They usually install a working system in about 15 mins, without rebooting until you want to run the new install. With windows it has to reboot in the middle...and if something happened to go slightly wrong, you have to start all over again. And let's not forget the hell of getting a laptop running in windows if you don't have the OEM disk for the drivers. Yes...linux is hell when drivers aren't already supported by default, or not at all, but I honestly find this to happen less often then it does with windows (name the version) on my laptops. For instance, try installing win7 64 bit on an inspiron 1525, and then try installing any major 64 bit linux... EVERYTHING works great in linux (one reboot for wireless broadcom card to work...). Windows 7 though? Still don't have a webcam driver that works right...my touchpad does all kinds of odd stuff, and it took me forever to find a driver that let me scroll properly on the touchpad. There was other stuff too...but I can't remember now. I gave up and went back to 32 bit win7. This is a common experience for me though with windows and laptops vs linux. it may not work for linux, but if it does, it's amazingly simple usually. I wish I would have counted the reboots trying to get my hardware to work on 64bit win7..I bet nobody would even believe the number...I know it was pretty large. Windows works better/has more support for more hardware/more software/ etc...but getting it working and maintaining it is not worth the cost in time for me in many cases...especially on laptops which I can't use for gaming...
I know it's already all been said but really...the author needs to try this:
Program a small application in php, and one in c++. All the data must be stored in a database, on a remote machine (which is the way it would be done for a huge site). Now, hardcode in some data for your first benchmark of php vs c++ to get an idea for raw php vs c++ performance doing the same task, now, comment all that out, and get the data from the database, and time that. Guess what, I bet the times become pretty darn similar in the latter test. No, php isn't going to be QUITE as fast...but it's gonna be really close for REAL web-application type workloads where latency from your sql server and loading all the other page content come into play. Your clients are never going to notice the difference on the majority of applications, and I don't believe that most time is spent processing php or c++ code on a web application either. It's waiting for the DB, and uploading content to clients. If you truely are doing extremely data heavy tasks and lots of floating point math or something, then yes...C++ is probably a better tool, but even then, there's no reason not to use php for the non-data heavy stuff...
I know I'm just a youngster web programmer who only graduated from college a while ago and who deserves little respect on slashdot compared to some of you, but I do have a decent amount of experience with quite a few programming languages. I learned C++ first, and know it pretty well for someone who doesn't use it constantly any more. I think I'm very very good with PHP...and so does my boss. Given that information, I have something to say.
If someone told me to program an entire web application from top to bottom in C++, I'd probably quit on the spot, and walk out laughing all the way to the parking lot. I like C++ for lots of things, but there is no way in hell you would EVER get me to program an entire web application in c++. It would take 10x longer at LEAST to develop than it would for me to do in even Java, with which I actually have less knowledge of (but still a good working knowledge of), and I don't consider ideal for web apps. The debugging for C++ on something like that would probably drive me completely insane. I say me, because I'm assuming that I'm building this web app and only me...like I can do very quickly in php or python or nearly any other language that does web stuff well, otherwise it would be me and all my co-workers.
Languages that are traditionally used for web development are used for a reason...and it's not how fast/efficient they run. It's for the difference in expense of the developers (HUGE factor really), for how well the language suits the web in it's core libraries, and how well it integrates with web servers, database abstraction libraries...well I could go on forever really. I'm not saying that C++ couldn't get libraries built for it that made its appealing as say, ruby (on rails), php, or python, but lets face it, it would take a very long time to get to that point where everything was as seamless and easy as it is in current web languages...not to mention getting hosting companies to let you run a c++ app YOU programmed on their servers (they'd have to be stupid...really freakin stupid). C++ will just never be popular enough for web stuff to be attractive to developers...that's the bottom line. Lack of efficiency is such a tiny price to pay compared to these other factors.