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How Linux and Windows Stack Up in 2006 193

Jane Walker writes "How does Linux stack up to Windows in 2006? Experts weigh in on that question in these articles, comparing the operating systems' security, reliability and usability. Get insiders' views on Microsoft's proprietary stack versus open source software, as well as Windows-to-Linux migration tips."
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How Linux and Windows Stack Up in 2006

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  • LINAPCP - (Score:3, Informative)

    by Burz ( 138833 ) on Monday September 25, 2006 @03:21PM (#16189301) Homepage Journal
    "Linux" is not a Personal Computing platform. It's a kernel that's wedded to the GNU toolchain, which is meaningless to most end-users and young developers starting out. Its a boon for people who 'do infrastructure' (including managed thin-clients) or gizmos with custom UIs. But thin-clients != personal computing. This only looks like a platform if you're a sysadmin or systems-oriented coder.

    To anyone just wanting to run their PC, get user-oriented applications on CD or downloaded as a file... or experiment with some code that their teachers and pals across town can download as a file and run... "Linux" (nee Fedora, SuSE, Ubuntu, Linspire, Xandros, etc, etc) feels like a big headache. Your friends are trying out "Linux" too? Well, you've probably got to learn packaging, dependencies, repositories, etc. before you can expect your experiements to run at all on anyone else's system. The fragmented distro scene is like chlorine against budding application developers needing platform stability in order to express their creative urge.

    So in the crucial desktop PC space, Windows and Mac will continue to have a considerable edge.

    People here often forget what makes the PC experience special: The uniformity of a platform aimed at *their* needs (not just those wanting to experiment with new encryption and packet-switching schemes), primarily the ability to install apps and drivers at will (and before you issue the kneejerk response, no Mac OS does NOT suffer by advancing these essential platform qualities).

    Anyone wanting GNU/Linux + Whatever to shine as an alternative for PC users should get behind the new LSB Desktop spec. that is due this December/January. At least then ISVs (not just system hackers) will have something uniform to target as far as APIs and other features are concerned, and we should see more creative and wonderful applications that can draw end users to the platform.

    To those who don't care or hate the idea, perhaps because of the notion that elitism is what keeps GNU/Linux good and secure, I suggest adopting a tolerant and polite attitude instead; No one will be forcing you at gunpoint to use distros conforming to LSB Desktop. The desktop PC needs a workable free alternative, and we're looking to geeks to either help or get out of the way.

  • by ElleyKitten ( 715519 ) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {esirnusnettik}> on Monday September 25, 2006 @04:31PM (#16190681) Journal
    And where's the central repository of knowledge that tells me what's the best text editor of the 9,000 available for Linux? The best media player, the best burning software?
    Look, I know you're used to Windows which comes with a bare-bones text editor, a bloated pos for a media player, and no dedicated burning software, but Linux distros tend to come with decent programs to do all those things. If you're willing to use whatever some random guy uses too, then why not just stick with the perfectly usable defaults?

    Installing in Windows just as easy as installing something on Linux. Frequently it's a heck of a lot easier to set up due to gui set up, rather than having to use config files.
    Config files? No, on Ubuntu it's just point and click. Ok, type in something to search, but on the whole, less clicks than Windows installers.

    Even with its package manager I had to trudge through the forums to find out what program does what.
    It says what it does right in the description. What more information did you need?

    Not to mention the fact that in order to replace my Windows setup I need to add repositories that aren't in there by default. I know why there no there to begin with, but it's a pain to add them for every install, and every tutorial I've seen just uses the command line anyway.
    You don't have to use the command line, people just like it because it's more straight-foward. You can add them through Synaptic (forget where, not in front of my ubuntu box, sorry) or you can get EasyUbuntu [freecontrib.org], which will install mp3, flash, etc, as well. Or you could get Mepis.

  • Desktop? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Monsuco ( 998964 ) on Monday September 25, 2006 @06:00PM (#16192149) Homepage
    It seems like Linux is now becoming a major competitor to Windows and Mac on the desktop. It hac come a long way. With the advancment of binaries like .deb, .rpm, .bin, and scripts it is getting easier and easier to install things on linux. Wine has gotten so that most Windows software with exception to some games and programs that need drivers will run. I can easily run IE, WMP, Shockwave, the latest Flash, Outlook Express, Office, and the like. More and more hardware vendors have been supporting linux. The winmodem problem seems to have been solved not by the development of drivers (though that has happened) but by the spread of broadband and ethernet. WiFi support has improved. Gaim has IM covered. Firefox's spread has helped linux be able to read more web pages by discouraging IE only pages. OOo has goten good at dealing with office documents. iPods work. Flash and Java and MP3 and Real are all supported. The only real problems are legal DVD support and legal WMA and Quicktime support. There are games on linux. What is missing, we need OEMs.
  • by Simon80 ( 874052 ) on Monday September 25, 2006 @06:50PM (#16192751)
    I totally agree with this, most, if not all, of my experience is problems like this that can be clearly diagnosed and then fixed. Any other problems are also almost always related to hardware/drivers. In response to the original request for the "one CD switch", Ubuntu is definitely what you're looking for, you burn the one liveCD, boot off the CD into an Ubuntu that is very similar to what will be on your hard drive, and then you run the installer using a shortcut on the desktop. 6 (I think) separate pages to fill in (keyboard layout, time zone, partitioning, what to use each partition for, user name, and confirmation of the whole thing), and then it installs, asks you if you want to put grub in your Master boot record, you say yes, and you have a shiny new dual booting system. Say no, and you end up with Ubuntu on your drive but no way to boot it until you set up a bootloader to boot it up. You're asked to give you a chance to verify that the installer correctly detected the other OS on your drive.

Thus spake the master programmer: "When a program is being tested, it is too late to make design changes." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"