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Microsoft

Petreley on Win2k Installs and Softway Systems 233

Zach Frey writes "Nicholas Petreley [?] 's latest column has an interesting side-by-side comparison of Linux installs vs. Windows installs. It's a data point in the "Linux is too hard to install!" war. The upshot? Current Linux distros installed in around 15 minutes and had no trouble autodetecting his hardware, Win98 took 40 minutes and failed to recognize his network cards. W2K took ... much longer. " The more interesting comments, IMHO, were the comments on Softway Systems, but the Linux install article is timely, in light of the CNN install nightmare story.Update: 09/30 10:27 by H :Check out an update from Nick posted in the comments regarding the version of Win2k.
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Petreley on Win2k Installs and Softway Systems

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  • Yes, and how much does MS charge for the beta? If you pay for it, it should work (and work well), shouldn't it? Well, in an ideal world, I suppose.
  • ...just a hidden assumption.

    "I don't know how to fly an airplane, it's too hard. Therefore all airplanes suck for my uses."

    This is exactly what the "can't install Linux" guy was saying and it's what Petreley meant to say, but didn't.
    ---
  • Ever tried to install MacOS on a Mac?
    That's how to install an OS.
    Put in the CD and double click on the installer icon.
    That's it.
    And you can do a "clean" install which replace your old system folder with a new one and leaves a backup of your old system folder on your disk.
  • "95 out of 100 Microsoft customers will choose Windows"

    Err... Duh. I bet most Red Hat customers would choose Red Hat too. What bold statements you make.

    If you want Windows enough to buy it, then that's what you want. You could care less if another OS is in the box for free. If you want Linux, you can get it for free anyway.

    And how many Windows users even *buy* windows? They either have it installed when they buy a computer, or they buy an "upgrade" CD. And just because you can install the Win98 upgrade over Win95, don't mean you can install either from scratch.
  • >>In any case, your and my definition of 'install' is irrelevent if we're talking about average users installing Linux.

    Linux, like *BSD, and even WinNT probably should never be for "Average Users". When you dumb a product down quality issues arrise. Imagine what Win9x could have been if they didn't have to keep backwards compatibility with DOS and Win3.1 apps.

    >>Average users expect their computer to "just work" after installation.

    The average user is a moron who only wants to get on AOL and download a little porn when the wife or parents aren't looking. The Average user wants his computer to read his mind and do what he wants it to do and not what he actally tells it to do.

    It's a waste of finite resources to concentrate on making Linux easy for these idiots. That time and talent should be spent on making the OS more stable and powerful.

    >>Personally, manually editing setup files and chasing down drivers got old a long time ago.

    Looking for device drivers are a bitch, I concede that, but manually editing *.conf files can be a bit tedious but it is the best way to get a good understanding of what's going on. You sound like the 3rd grader who says "Why should I learn the multiplication tables? That's too hard. I can just use a calculator!"

    You must understand how to do things the hard way before you can take shortcuts and do them the easy way.

    LK

  • Absolutely! This is one of my biggest pet peeves about Win95. I moved my PCI ethernet card to a different slot one time, and sure enough Windows reported that a new device was found, and couldn't find drivers. I didn't have the old floppy around that came with it, so I had no ethernet driver.

    There is a work arround for this, you tell it C:\WINDOWS and C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM when it prompts for a disk.
    If that fails, becuase the file is someowhere silly, you will need to use find.
  • Getting to a command prompt, or a gui screen, is only a small part of what people set up a machine to do, and so we should expand the task for the comparison.

    A better challange would be to have a new user install the OS and create and print a simple text document.

    With Windows 98 and any recent printer, the printing services are automatically installed. This is not at all the case with any flavor of Linux I have experienced.

    Maybe a better test yet would be for the new user to install the OS, get onto the Internet and print a specified web page. The user is allowed to use whatever resources he/she needs to establish a new account to get onto the net. This would include the freedom to establish an account with one of the half dozen or so national ISPs whose icons are installed by default on the Windows 98 machine, or some maw and paw hole-in-the-wall outfit if desired.

    I'm not sure what options the user would have under Linux (I remember seeing an AT&T Worldnet icon printed on a Linux Mall CD for OpenLinux over a year ago,) but I know for a fact it wouldn't be as easy. Since we are talking about a newbie user, it wouldn't be acceptable for them to just plug in the info from a previous account somewhere. They could of course use any ISP they wanted, even dial up by voice and get the info from an operator at the ISP (a popular choice with some Linux users).

    Installing the OS and then a game (something a few years old, like perhaps Quake or Doom) and getting it to work, including sound and joystick, would be yet another worthy test case. I remember a few years ago waiting at the register at CompUSA with a woman behind me her crying child. She was trying to tell him the game that he wanted "wouldn't run on the Mac." I suppose for the sake of objectivity, we shouldn't insist on there being a crying child in the background as the test subject struggles to get something fun for a kid running on the Linux machine. Xbill doesn't count, needless to say.
  • A few weeks ago my friend wanted me to install windows on his box. He gave me a weekend so I'm like hell let's put Linux on this machine. The first night I install Redhat 6.1 becuase it was just release, what a waste of time, then Turbo Linux and SuSE just for the heck of it. Oh it was sweet, no problem with the video card, X went up at 1024*720 24 bit colors the 1st time. The nic went flawless. It was a really nice sweet install.

    The next night I installed windows 98 on it. It took me four hours and 40 reboots to get the thing shipable. Windows couldn't find the NIC and I didn't have the drivers for it. Then had problems with the video card. Then it BSOD once when i was installing some programs. Had problems reading cd's I burnt. Between the 40 reboots, 5 crashes, 2 reinstalls, 3 formats, the B flick film and the haft gallon of ice tea I was burnt out and didn't want to do another windows install in my life.
  • Fairynuff.

    No I haven't, it should be easy, limited hardware.

    I was referring to shells though, where it's personal preference on what is easy to use now.
  • Why does Petreley feel the need to spread FUD about 64 bit Windows? He says "Microsoft was making such poor progress with 64-bit NT". What are the details? What problems specific to 64 bit could Windows be having? He uses "facts" like this, which contain absolutely no details whatsoever, and it makes it sound like it is just something he heard off of a rumor mill, and it also makes him sound like he has very minimal system design experience of his own. Undetailed, ungrounded FUD like this is regularly passed around and it sounds clearly unbased in reality, and intended just be a more feel-good juice to appease the Microsoft-hating crowd rather than to make any sort of intelligent journalism.
  • Win98 is a pain to install. I completely cleaned mine out and reinstalled recently and it bluescreens on shutdown. Nowhere else, just when shutting down. Weird.

    It's also a pain to do, unless you've prepared boot disks and such like before hand.

    dave
  • My system: Abit BH6 mainboard (on-board IDE) 384MB Micron CAS2 PC125 SDRAM Celeron 300a (464MHz - I know, I know =P Adaptec AHA-2940U2W SCSI-3 Controller IBM UltraStar 9ES 7200RPM LVD HDD (9.1GB) Teac 6x/24x CD-R (SCSI) Pioneer 6x/32x DVD-ROM (slot-load SCSI) Western Digital 6.4GB EIDE HDD Matrox Millenium G200 8MB SGRAM AGP Linksys LNE100TX 10/100 network (tulip) Creative Labs Sound Blaster AWE64 Gold PRE-SCSI My first installation of Linux, Slackware 3.6, revealed that the tulip driver in the kernel didn't quite support my network card (2.0.35 or so) - so all I did was check the website for my card and they pointed to a new driver to include in the kernel compilation (which I was about to do). Then I found that it was already supported under the new kernel series, so all I had to do was rebuild one of those on my box and boot it. So I did, and everything worked A-OK. Next were RedHat 5.2 (needed kernel upgrade for network card), SuSE 6.1, Mandrake 6.0, and now Mandrake 6.1 - all of which were painless to install and get working, EVEN for someone who had NO (as in 0) previous knowledge about UNIX and/or Linux OSes! All I had to do was a little bit of research and reading up on the matter and I was set (and damn fast, too, because there is a PLETHORA of information out there on it). Oh, and the best fact? YOU ONLY HAVE TO REBOOT THE LINUX OS ONCE - 1 TIME!!!!!! (after all packages are installed) Now to Windows... (with SCSI) Let's see... 1. I had to disable my on-board IDE controller in BIOS just to get Windows to realize that I had a SCSI HDD installed in the system... (let's see a newbie computer user do that.) 2. I didn't keep track of how long actual file copying and "auto-detection" of hardware took, but at least 20-30 minutes, and then... 3. Windows boots for the first time, "auto-detects" the monitor and needs to reboot. 4. Windows detects a few system devices (motherboard stuff) and needs to reboot. 5. Windows does this a few times, reboot after reboot, etc, etc. 6. Then I finally get into Windows and things look pretty crappy - I need to get the latest drivers for my video card, and while I'm at it update all my other drivers. 7. Windows then lets me know that it doesn't have a very good driver for my SCSI controller by running like Quake2 at 1 frame / hour. 8. I install the latest drivers for the SCSI Adapter, and everything seems OK for a bit. 9. Then it slows to a crawl again and I go into device manager - there's suddenly a cute little yellow exclamation point over the controller. 10. I reinstall the same drivers, and it works again... Then it does the same thing. 11. I reboot my system and the error is corrected... Hmmm... *(Just before this Windows installation I had been running Mandrake 6.0 for a solid 2 months straight - no reboots - so I'm thinking it's not the hardware.) 12. It did this for a while, then I upgraded to Windows 98 SE (which has newer drivers for the 2940U2W), and didn't even bother with upgrading the drivers. Overall experience? Took at least an hour to get it up and running flawlessly (well, for Windows, even if the base I/O of your computer (SCSI) doesn't work, that's pretty flawless for Windows) and a few months if you take into account getting the SCSI controller working correctly. Add to that the dozen re-boots, and it's even longer. Oh, and I've installed Windows from the CD more than 20 times, I'm sure, so consider me a professional who can do it about as fast as it can be done. Linux on the other hand? Worked out of the box without problems, and didn't take a fraction of the time to install. What can I say? Windows is a pain in the ass to get running compared Linux.
  • Win95 and Win98 are desktop OS-s, NT and 2000 are server OS-s. Win9x does not support 2 NICs because it was not designed to, no-one in their right mind would want to use it for a server because it is simply to insecure anyway.
    Usually the FUD goes the other way (attacking linux) but this is part of the report is certainly pro-linux FUD.
  • My system:

    Abit BH6 mainboard (on-board IDE)
    384MB Micron CAS2 PC125 SDRAM
    Celeron 300a (464MHz - I know, I know =P
    Adaptec AHA-2940U2W SCSI-3 Controller
    IBM UltraStar 9ES 7200RPM LVD HDD (9.1GB)
    Teac 6x/24x CD-R (SCSI)
    Pioneer 6x/32x DVD-ROM (slot-load SCSI)
    Western Digital 6.4GB EIDE HDD
    Matrox Millenium G200 8MB SGRAM AGP
    Linksys LNE100TX 10/100 network (tulip)
    Creative Labs Sound Blaster AWE64 Gold

    PRE-SCSI
    My first installation of Linux, Slackware 3.6, revealed that the tulip driver in the kernel didn't quite support my network card (2.0.35 or so) - so all I did was check the website for my card and they pointed to a new driver to include in the kernel compilation (which I was about to do). Then I found that it was already supported under the new kernel series, so all I had to do was rebuild one of those on my box and boot it. So I did, and everything worked A-OK.

    Next were RedHat 5.2 (needed kernel upgrade for network card), SuSE 6.1, Mandrake 6.0, and now Mandrake 6.1 - all of which were painless to install and get working, EVEN for someone who had NO (as in 0) previous knowledge about UNIX and/or Linux OSes! All I had to do was a little bit of research and reading up on the matter and I was set (and damn fast, too, because there is a PLETHORA of information out there on it).

    Oh, and the best fact? YOU ONLY HAVE TO REBOOT THE LINUX OS ONCE - 1 TIME!!!!!! (after all packages are installed)

    Now to Windows...
    (with SCSI)
    Let's see...
    1. I had to disable my on-board IDE controller in BIOS just to get Windows to realize that I had a SCSI HDD installed in the system... (let's see a newbie computer user do that.)
    2. I didn't keep track of how long actual file copying and "auto-detection" of hardware took, but at least 20-30 minutes, and then...
    3. Windows boots for the first time, "auto-detects" the monitor and needs to reboot.
    4. Windows detects a few system devices (motherboard stuff) and needs to reboot.
    5. Windows does this a few times, reboot after reboot, etc, etc.
    6. Then I finally get into Windows and things look pretty crappy - I need to get the latest drivers for my video card, and while I'm at it update all my other drivers.
    7. Windows then lets me know that it doesn't have a very good driver for my SCSI controller by running like Quake2 at 1 frame / hour.
    8. I install the latest drivers for the SCSI Adapter, and everything seems OK for a bit.
    9. Then it slows to a crawl again and I go into device manager - there's suddenly a cute little yellow exclamation point over the controller.
    10. I reinstall the same drivers, and it works again... Then it does the same thing.
    11. I reboot my system and the error is corrected... Hmmm...
    *(Just before this Windows installation I had been running Mandrake 6.0 for a solid 2 months straight - no reboots - so I'm thinking it's not the hardware.)
    12. It did this for a while, then I upgraded to Windows 98 SE (which has newer drivers for the 2940U2W), and didn't even bother with upgrading the drivers.

    Overall experience? Took at least an hour to get it up and running flawlessly (well, for Windows, even if the base I/O of your computer (SCSI) doesn't work, that's pretty flawless for Windows) and a few months if you take into account getting the SCSI controller working correctly. Add to that the dozen re-boots, and it's even longer. Oh, and I've installed Windows from the CD more than 20 times, I'm sure, so consider me a professional who can do it about as fast as it can be done.

    Linux on the other hand? Worked out of the box without problems, and didn't take a fraction of the time to install.

    What can I say? Windows is a pain in the ass to get running compared Linux.
  • I've actually done several installations of win2k, with several versions of the OS (from NT5.0 B1 to Win2k RC1). It's slow. However, it's impressive for a two reasons: 1) It does everything. Well, too. It detected old, wierd hardware, as well as newer hardware, and installed it correctly. It asks you very few questions, and yet doesn't do everything wrong. 2) It does upgrades. I've always had problems getting upgrades of MS OSes to work right; the resulting systems end up mangled, or at best, mysteriously unstable (over and above baseline MS instability). Win2k RC1 did flawless upgrades of 95 and NT4 for me. Some applications won't work right, but they are coded to check for NT4 or 95/8. Plus, on fresh installs, the irritating inability to make formatted partitions over 4 GB during install is gone. As for ease of installation compared to Linux (say RH or SuSE), sure it's easier. No user intervention is required, so what's easier than doing nothing? Linux installs are currently oriented towards people who understand things about how a computer works, things which basic Windows users don't know cause they don't ususally need to, like how to partition drives, etc. That stuff isn't tough, but average compuphobic/computer illiterate users will get freaked out.
  • Softway was doing so badly that they'd even proposed going to an Open Source development model awhile back.
  • The problem with this reasoning is that if you installed linux with the same ammount of core functionality as win98 you would have something like 50Mb or so. Basically what you got on the cd was everything that would make a complete system with everything you ever need. If you bundled Office2000, doom, quake, (both shareware), netscape, compilers, text formating tools, image manipulation programs, etc. The install would probably be about 5Gb+. So actually for what linux does it does it in a smaller space.

  • Time spent on the install isn't a good indicator of the actuall difficulty. I once installed Win3.1 in under 30 seconds (off of a ram disk on a fast 486) and have spent three hours fiddling with Redhat (picking packages, etc) install.

    The install also isn't over when the OS boots. With Linux the install for the OS installs all the standard services, compilers, shells, etc. All you need to do is change a few configuration options. With Win95 the install is 'easier' but you don't get as much installed.

    There will always be this complexity != ease factor... A linux install (currently) expects you to know what Apache is. And in the future will at least expect you to know what a web server is. Until we start treating people like idiots and having default installs that don't install 'complex' stuff, the installs will be harder.

    Part of the problem, like someone else on here said already, is that Windows comes installed, but very rarely do people get Linux installed. (And of the geeks here, who wouldn't reinstall it themselves, just because... :) Until Linux comes preinstalled, it will be harder. If for no other reason than that you'll need to find the CD.

    But, is this really a problem? Only if we're trying to compete directly with Windows in the desktop market. I don't think we're ready. Many office machines could be replaced transparently by Linux, but the user's machines are the last to go.

    Who cares? As long as Linux is there for the high-end and the very low-end (where OS costs double the machine costs) then we can work at slowly narrowing the size of that middle ground. We don't *have to* do it all overnight.

    But, to win that middle ground, we need to have trivial installs that focus on security over flexibility (does that desktop user want a web server and if so, is this the install for them?) and that brings the user straight into X with a nice WM and a decent GUI config editor (along the lines of Win9x's control panel).

    So, yes. Windows is probably easier for everyone except Slashdot readers and tech writers to install. But, it's getting easier quickly enough that we don't need to fret, especially because it doesn't need to be easy right yet.
  • I tend to agree on the "burial" notion, although there might be some use to having Softway's software to help build BackOffice facilities that can interoperate with UNIX so as to lure people to install NT/BackOffice in UNIX environments... (Feel free to change names of products as needed to express Where Microsoft Wants You To Think They're Going This Week... )

    It doesn't make that much sense to consider this to be a "64-bit-related" deal; the issues of making NT (or W2K) code "64-bit-clean" are likely to have more to do with having considerable bits of test harness to validate that they work with big values than anything else, what with the major architectural differences.

    As for competition immunity, we can go back to the days of the Roman Empire and see the ebb and flow of the growth and destruction of empires that people thought would stand. The more arrogant they get, the bigger the fall when they do fall.

  • I'd qualify that with a if you know what you're doing.. My first linux installation (~2 years ago) took weeks to figure out. Partition this, set that bit, install these packages... don't overwrite the MBR! It was a battle royale just to get my system to dual-boot[1]. Then the moment of truth - I logged in as root... and then just sat there looking at:

    localhost~# _

    As if... how much more cryptic could you get?! Today... I can reinstall redhat in under a half-hour, and that includes restoring my custom configs under /etc from a tarball, merging all my custom patches and stuff into the stock distribution, and bringing the system back up (on different hardware no less!). Throw in a kernel compile, and in under 45 minutes, I have a system that is 100% operational, fully configured, and set to go. I can't do that under windows - even if I wanted to. There are some things a GUI just slows down... *alot*.

    [1] I hear, however, that it might have taken less time if I had actually read the manual. *g*

    --

  • by mrsam ( 12205 )

    This mirrors my experience almost down to the last T. I installed Linux on my laptop two years ago. Mind that: that was TWO years ago - Red Hat 4.2 distro.

    I didn't notice anything peculiar, or out of the ordinary. RH 4.2 installer came up, detected my hardware, I chose the packages, the CD spun around for a while, and I was all set. Pretty much everything worked. I think I had to tweak X for a few minutes, but I don't recall any major problems with my Chips & Technologies chipset. Red Hat's installer also had no problem detecting the ESS audiodrive chipset, and everything pretty much worked out of the box. It took a while for the set up to complete -- the laptop's CD was pretty slow.

    The laptop was partitioned to dual-boot Win95. By comparison, it took me at least a couple of month before I managed to combine the right concoction of assorted card and protocol stack drivers so that the PCMCIA network card could work properly with Win95 OSR2. Mind this: this was a 3COM PCMCIA card, supposed to have great support under Win95!

    Bleah! The bloody thing refused to work for months. Finally I got it work simply by trying every device driver on the OEM Win95 CD in turn, until the bloody thing worked.

    By comparison, pcmcia-cs worked nearly out of the box. All I had to do is tweak one setting in a config file. This was with Red Hat 4.2. Since then, the laptop was loaded with RH 5.0, 5.1, 5.2, and 6.0 without a hiccup. Each upgrade went in on complete cruise control. I'm afraid to touch the Win95 partition. I'm afraid that if I as much as sneeze at it, it'll stop working.

    This is not a joke. Win95 failed to correctly autodetect the network card, and choose the correct device driver. Meanwhile, even two years ago pcmcia-cs correctly picked out the correct device driver voo-doo logic after a one time either/or boolean option was set.

    I've lost the number of times I installed and reinstalled all the OSes on countless machines. I've done them all - Win95, Win95OSR2, Win98, various Linux distros, etc... Always, without fail, I've had a much easier time bring up a Linux distro on the same machine, as opposed to a Win OS.
    --

  • by Noke ( 8971 ) on Wednesday September 29, 1999 @06:47AM (#1650151) Homepage
    I wonder why he never gave any numbers about the install time of Win2k?

    Was he installing from the CD? Was he installing directly from his HD under windows? Was he installing from the CD in DOS? If he was installing from DOS, he probably didn't have the foresight to load smartdrv and sat there for 4 hours while it copied all 2,000 files from the i386 dir to the HD. Anyone who has any experience installing Win2k doesn't install this way as it is like chineese water torture. DOS copies files very very slow. The better method is to either boot from the Win2k CD directly, install from Windows (if you already have it installed), or if you MUST install from DOS - make SURE you run smartdrv to speed up the file copy process.

    I can't speak for beta2 since it is almost 9 months old, but Release-Canidate 2 that was released a couple of weeks ago doesn't take more than an hour to install. I am speaking on behalf of 40 or so people in #Win2000 on efnet who all install Win2k at various times. As long as they arent installing from DOS without running smartdrv, and they don't have shitty hardware, they install within an hour consistantly.

  • Well, sure.. installing Linux isn't hard.

    How easy is installing a Linux-based system which is fully-usable. Hmmm.. I can't think of a decent way to say that.

    (Before you all flame me, I don't really like Windows, but let's look at this objectively)

    Once Win98 is installed, _if all goes well_, you'll have a nice little icon that helps you pick and configure an ISP. It'll pop up a nice little box when you plug your USB wossname in. It'll start the CD-ROM when you put it in the drive.

    All things that we all probably hate, but all things that Joe Q. Public will _need_ if he's to use his computer more than looking what's on a disc, etc.

    How easy the core operating system is to install is frankly irrelevant. How easy it is to get a useful, working, comfortable operating environment *with applications* is another matter.

    Windows 98 *can* be easier than Linux in this respect (when it works!)
  • I haven't really tested this theory out lately (I'm notoriously lazy with regards to upgrades ;), but last I did a clean install of just the base GNU/Linux system (Red Hat 5.1, to be precise), with no optional frills (hopefully I don't have to explain what this means.. yes it ran =P), it took up just a little less disk space than Windows 95. ;) Naturally if you toss on all that optional software, it can get to take up more space than Windows, but that's probably because you're not just talking about the base set of tools anymore (granted, Windows comes with a lot of useless junk, but that's their fault ;).

    Granted, however, you do get a lot more stuff with your average Linux distro. It's just that not all of it is forced upon you a la Windows. Hee hee..

  • That all sounds great, but is it the first thing you see on your desktop with a message underneath saying "Connect to the Internet" (or something equally dumb but obvious)?

    The Windows 98 one will give you a pretty selection of ISPs with their pros, cons and prices.

    Sure, most of *us* hate it, but a dummy will love it.
  • by mlk ( 18543 )
    Hmm, strange last time I installed Solaris(~30 mins), I found it MUCH easyer and cleaner than Red Hats, or SUSE(~40 mins) install program, and a lot faster.

    But then I found it faster than Linux in grenral.

    As to aiming to Win's install, yeap its a good start, but really you want something like BeOS install (click next, 10 mins it's installed). But then your also want its boot time (4 sec) and it's file system...

    Mlk, awaits the flames...
  • Don't you think that maybe Apple knows what all hardware they need to be able to support? It isn't like a big question in their minds. Obviously, if they put together the hardware and the software, you can be Joe F. Idiot and install it. How about a real example with a real OS? Better yet, just stick to the thread, not wander off into la la "I can show Kish up" land.. ;)

  • Tens of millions ... try to install.
    But it will not be a 'clean' install, it'll be an update, ie all the settings neaded will be there, an it will just be a case of throwing in a CD, and letting it auto-run.
    In the next... Windows2000?
    For many 'normal' users there still will not be this choice, as all they care about is 'will it run word, and game X'. Why change your nice, easy to use, standardied (in the way it looks) OS, to Linux? I would have to say that Linux is a LOT easier to install.
    Yeah, but as Alt-OSes go, BeOS is MUCH ezer to install (hit next, wait ten mins, the end...)

    Mlk, awaits the flames

  • When folks complain about having to edit files to get their systems to work properly, so many seem to forget that it was only four years ago when the vast majority of PCs still ran Win 3.1 -- if that. Hello?! Win.ini? System.ini?

    Together with control.ini Win9X still uses these files. The real fun comes with it storing most of the data in binary format. So you can't even use a text editor on it. As well as not separating configuration information into "critical", "important" and "trivial"...
  • Any data, user stuff would be under /home, /usr/local, and maybe /opt (Which are OF COURSE seperate filesystems). These would be primarily (/home totally) untouched by the upgrade. So loss of data would be near impossible.


    -- Keith Moore
  • I think that the three arguments (that Microsoft bought Softway just to bury Interix, Microsoft bought them just to get developers for 64-bit-Windows or that they bought them to really improve POSIX compliance for the federal marketplace) all have a certain amount of merit, but none alone are the total reason. Microsoft wants this type of technology to exist when it benefits them (so they don't want to see Softway go belly up), but they feel a need to control this type of technology so that people will only use it in a single direction -- to Windows instead of away from it.

  • You are not installing comparable products. Of course you are going to have problems installing an upgrade version of 98 without having a previous operating system.

    You need to compare installing Linux and a full version of 98 to get any worthwhile results. Until you do, any results you may draw are worthless.
  • by British ( 51765 )
    I would like to see a side-by-side comparason of installing Linux vs. installing Windows 98. I wonder what the results would be then, seeing is that 98 is not in alpha.
  • You can install 98 by booting from the CD. I did this quite successfully on a machine last week which had a virgin harddisk.

    Strangely it wouldn't boot my FreeBSD 3.2 CD.
  • Yes, he probably did, in fact.

    That would be a neat trick.

    Not all that tricky if the video card and monitor support the VESA Display Data Channel standard and the video card can get enough information from the monitor that way to let the host identify it.

    I haven't bought the standards in question from VESA (they aren't cheap), so I don't know what sort of information you can get from plug-and-play monitors, but check out the VESA standards page [vesa.org].

    It looks as if support for DDC, and at least some of the information you can get from it, may show up in XFree86 4.0; see this item in the XFree86 3.9.16 release notes [xfree86.org].

  • Any one who says that Linux is hard to install is blatantly biased. Most of this is due to ignorance. If you handed these same people a machine with an unpartitioned drive and a windows disk, they would obviously have the same problems. If you actually read the screens, Linux installs are much simpler! I have installed every distribution that I can get my hands on, and all of them, even Debian, are simpler than Windows.
    Brad Johnson
    Advisory Editor
  • Top 10 things to do while waiting for Win2k to install:

    1. Run a marathon, finishing last

    2. Watch the Matrix... twice

    3. Install Linux on the 8 other machines in your house

    4. Renew your drivers license at the DMV

    5. Get a Master Degree

    6. Get your PhD

    7. Read Leo Tolstoy's "War and Peace"... twice

    8. Read every article on Slashdot, the article it links to, and all the comments it gathered.

    9. Write a lengthy letter to everyone in your family, and the families of everyone you know.

    10. Hit cancel and install Linux instead ;)

    hope you enjoyed it - feel free to add your own

    ---

  • You can install 98 and NT withou resorting to installing DOS first.

    You can either install by booting from the CD if your hardware supports it, or they both provide boot diskettes (1 for 98, 3 for NT) which load enough of an OS to talk to the CD, although this might not be true for all SCSI CD's.
  • You are right, win32 is just another subsystem of windows NT. Tho NT is not a true microkernel OS, since the subsystems are executed in kernel mode! (also the GUI is executed in kernel mode..)
  • I disagree. Call any help line number, and after a short time, the answer comes back "reinstall windows". This is worsened by Microsoft, as in this quote from the article " What surprised me most was what happened when I tried to upgrade my installation of Windows 2000 Professional to Windows 2000 Advanced Server. The installation program told me I couldn't do it. I had to wipe the disk and start from scratch.". Not only is it a reinstall, it's a hard reinstall.

    I've never ever had to reinstall a Unix box just because it's having problems. Almost every OS upgrade I've ever done I've done without loosing the data. Those rare upgrades where that's not possible, that's because I've been changing the filesystem - ie a GOOD reason.

  • ..I want to see some more articles about how easy it is to use Linux as compared to Windows (and hopefully not just the CLI ;). After all, only someone with a good grasp of things is going to dare to install an OS on their computer rather than just buy a desktop with it preinstalled and preconfigured (well, unless they don't mind running into.. trouble).

  • It's interesting, but I would have liked more details, instead of just hints. How much practice has the author had at installing either operating systems and what procedures did he use?

    I like to pick my packages individually while installing linux, so it takes me a little longer. On the hand, I've had to re-install NT Workstation so many times due to it's f**king up, I can do it in under 15 minutes.

    (And I have a friend who insists that re-compiling your linux kernal is a basic step in the installation procedure, which would add a little more time :) )

    Finally, it is vastly more important to me which computer *functions* once the install is complete, rather than how long it takes. Looks as though Win98 is the big lemon, though.

    Dana
  • I noticed this same sort of behavior with Win95 (OSR2). I moved a bttv card over to squeeze in an Adaptec 2940U2W (btw, I have had no problems with the 2940 and it's really very nice--YMMV). Linux just noticed the new 2940 and behaved accordingly (Oh, look, there's a SCSI controller. Oh, look, here are the devices it has attached to it.)

    A week or two later, when the wife booted up Win95, Windows had lost the bttv card, found a new one, and what the hell is this other thing? (The last part's understandable.) It even insisted that it had no driver for the bttv card. Now, excuse me, the drivers are installed with the PCI slot address written into them or something? Yuck.

    In general my experience has been that Linux and BSD are both a lot easier to deal with when you add new hardware or move things around. And while CNN reporters might not know what a video card looks like, there are a lot of average Joe home users out there adding new hardware to their systems. CompUSA's selling all those HooDoo JuJu 3D UltraWidgets to somebody.

    I'll go even further and say that as long as the user follows instructions correctly, it is probably easier for an average person to add a new driver to the kernel source and recompile/reinstall the kernel than it is to add a new driver to a Windows system. Following the instructions for low-level things like this on Linux always leads to the same, predictable results. On Windows, however, following the instructions can lead to very different results based on your system's configuration. Has anyone not had the experience of following a hardware vendor's installation instructions to the letter and winding up with a totally hosed Windows box?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    You can power down the machine in the middle of the Win98 or Win2k (I think) install and it will pick up right where it left off.

    I think part of the difference is due to this. Win98 is very careful to log everything and is always prepared to be screwed by the hardware.

    However, some of the difference has to be in the size of the install. Linux is a lot smaller -- for good or bad. You do get a lot more stuff with the installation of Win98.

  • I totally agree that Linux *is* as easy (depending on how you look at it) as Windows. Sometimes, like with NT, even more so. That's irrelevant, however, because the average user -- the guy who avoids Linux because of this stuff -- NEVER NEEDS TO INSTALL WINDOWS. Well, yeah, that's obvious, right? It's preinstalled. Guess what? That's tough titties for us. We've got to make Linux EVEN EASIER to install, so that it's as easy to install Linux as it is to use a pre-installation of Windows. I think that WinLinux2000 that we just saw a week ago was a step in the right direction, but we need to do more, and preferably not using the UMSDOS filesystem.
  • They're NOT biased, they just don't know any better. You buy a machine from Dell or Compaq or something, turn it on, and it says "Setting up windows" asks for your serial number, and POOF! you're done. That's all a consumer needs or wants to do.

    Linux is not that easy, because it's so hard to get it pre-installed on a machine. I know, market development agreements, microsoft, monopoly, etc... but that doesn't affect the end user.

    Because most machines ship with windows, we need to see more windows-based installers. Stick in the CD, an autorun screen pops up, asks where you want to install, reads your registry to get all your ISP and hardware settings, installs Netscape to closely reflect whatever browser is on the Windows side, and restarts you to linux...

    That'd be easy. It's coming, but not here yet.
  • What version of win2k did you install? I've installed RC1 in a vmware session (which goes slower than a regular install), and it didn't take more than an hour. I was installing from the CD. Worked flawlessly too.

    Avi
  • Debian already has a system that is quite robust in this regard. Just download the packages onto the hd and then type dpkg -i *.deb or something like that and it will upgrade everything without getting anything munged.
  • It occurred to me that there are two main approaches to OS creation today. There is UNIX, which has an extremely logical and consistent design, but which is difficult to learn, and there is Windows which is relatively easy to learn, but internally seems to be a mess of inconsistent overlapping APIs. UNIX in the form of Linux is trying to become easy to learn, and Windows in the form of NT and 2000 is trying to be good at the things UNIX is good at.

    Clearly even if Windows was made open source it would be such an incredible job to tidy it up and get it to the same state of logicalness as UNIX that it hardly seems worth it. We need to keep making sure that Linux (and in turn UNIX) is at least as easy to learn as Windows - the installation procedure is just one part of this. Eventually the BSD's will hopefully take on the easy-to-learn parts of Linux too. Choice is always a good thing.

    Hmmm... maybe this is slightly offtopic. Never mind.
  • Well, that's the flaw - the assumption. But how many people bother to logically analyze what people have to say? Not many, but I do - by reflex. I find myself carrying on a one-way conversation with TV commercials... or correcting the accuracy of other people's statements in my head "Well, surely he must have meant foo instead of bar, it wouldn't be self-consistent otherwise!"

    Anyway, I just noticed your nick: "FascDot Killed My Pr" ... followed by "on 09-29-99..." ... which comes out to "FascDot Killed my Pron". Coincidence? I think not! :^)

    --

  • Actually, either the CNN guy was a moron, or just doesn't know how to count:
    My daylong effort to install Caldera's Linux 1.3 on a PC

    Why was he installing such an old version? Is that even a version of Caldera Openlinux? I installed 2.3 and it didn't ask me much at all. In fact, it started up in KDE. Since the guy didn't mention Tetris, I'll assume he was, in fact, installing the older version. That, to me, doesn't count for anything. Wow, big deal. An old version of Linux doesn't install easily. Look at the newest versions. They install fine. (except Slackware and Debian, but I've only installed each one twice.)
  • by Tim Behrendsen ( 89573 ) on Wednesday September 29, 1999 @06:56AM (#1650189)

    Crowing about anecdotal evidence on Slashdot? I would've expected better.

    Trying to convince the world that Linux is easy to install by throwing up meaningless stories like this is going to accomplish nothing. Making Linux truly easy to install with a wide variety of driver support will do a lot more.

    Remember that Windows has sold literally 10s of millions of Win/95 and Win/98 upgrades. When upgrading, the O/S redetects all the hardware. Trying to argue that Windows doesn't work anything less than the vast majority of time is foolish.

  • The problem here is not Win98 but the fact that PC's are such chaos. The BIOS doesn't have serious SCSI support (compare this to the SCSIManager on Mac where you don't need drivers for other SCSI cards) nor even basic CD-ROM support. The reason that PC's are such nightmare to set up is that there are no standard interfaces for most components (only keyboard, up to two hard disks, floppy and very basic video support are standard, all the rest is up to the whims of the card manufacturers).
  • Let's be honest - neither of these beasts has a simple install. It's partly the installation mechanisms, but a lot of it has to do with hardware support. I've installed various windows, Unix-es (Unices?), and other oddball OS's on a lot of Intel and other hardware. I've got over 17 years of experience installing this stuff, it's still tough! Macs and Solaris boxes are easier to install, but only because the company controls the harware and the software.

    I think that the Windows installation routines have a slicker look-and-feel that really puts the person doing the install at ease. Don't think it's any simpler than a Linux install, though, just prettier.

    I've done a lot of Token Ring installs, for example, never found an OS that installed easily there.

    I've got a hybrid ethernet/modem PCMCIA card at home. Took me several hours to get it working under Windows, and I never got the modem part to work. Worked out of the box on Linux (including modem). Whoever wrote the driver for it really paid attention to the details.

    Linux is pretty ambitious in that it is trying to support a lot of older hardware (386/486 systems) with smaller resource footprints. From an installation and start-up/booting point-of-view, this is only increasing its complexity. And we want the Linux install package to provide a novice installer interface as well as an expert interface. Windows has the one mechanism.

    The bottom line - I'd rather fight with Linux installs than Windows installs, but not by much. The key work is fight.
  • On Apple, it easy because there are better standard interfaces (like e.g. SCSIManager). You can easily put a third party SCSI card in your box, attach a CD-ROM drive to it and boot from that drive. It's simply the PC BIOS that is so primitive. If a new and better global specification for BIOSes was created (which hopefully also supported protected mode), we wouldn't have trouble with all those silly device drivers (only *one* generic SCSI driver would be needed).
  • Exactly how is it difficult?

    Boot to CD. Watch it load drivers. Agree to licensing. Keep pressing enter. Select partition. Choose to format it, or not. Watch it install. Reboot. Install NiC (via search or driver floppy). Watch it finish installing. Reboot, log in.
    Sure, you still have to service pack up, but as with any OS you tweak after installation.
    Real tough stuff.



    -witz
  • OK. Well, PPP is a little more difficult to get working, but all the distributions I've used come with packages to help you get that going (and it's really not that hard), and also do so in the installation, BUT: I'm now cable and I'm on a local LAN, and you wouldn't believe how easy it is to get it online -- just two commands, pretty much, and the distributions will also set this up for you during the installation process or configuration tools and start them up whenever you load Linux.

    Fully usable -- that depends. My current Linux system is fully usable ... to me. I use WindowMaker/Enlightenment/KDE for my Window Managers, and there's at least something about the interface I don't like about each, but I use them all whenever I feel like something different. Windows GUI is, well, 'standard', but I have to admit it works nicely. Applications -- that all depends. YMMV (I learn all my acronyms from Slashdot).

    Oh, and my damn monitor emits a high-pitched, annoying noises sometimes when I'm using X, up to about 3-5 minutes. I still can't figure it out. :-(


  • I believe that Win 9x installer is designed to crash while detecting certain old fashion devices. After the reboot, it checks the detection logs and makes an educated guess about your hardware.

    In practice, this can be a disaster. However, I did see it work once with Win 95a and an old token ring card.
  • In several other threads here, I've seen people talking about "What constitutes a real installation." I think, like it or not, that many if not most of those who install Linux in the near future will be dual-booting between Linux and Win9x. That setup is just a bit more difficult to configure/mess with than only having one OS on the machine, as I'm sure everyone knows.

    Partitioning the hard drive can be a royal nightmare, of course. SuSE 6.1 had the time-honored solution (defrag C:, boot into DOS, run FIPS.EXE) but the documentation for doing so was scattered throughout the manual and the first distro CD. Also, there was something in the docs which said, "LILO is incompatible with FAT32 partitions!" which was, fortunately, false. :-)

    Setting up LILO to do the dual-boot thing was even harder, as the manual left off a rather important line in the sample /etc/lilo.conf they provided. (mustn't forget "table=/dev/hda".) Well, everyone should be allowed some typos, and after RTFMing, I figured it out...

    The real danger here is a lack of good documentation--the SuSE people tried really hard and produced a fairly decent manual, but it wasn't quite there yet. (Have RedHat/Caldera done better in their paper documentation?) It's really no good to tell people, "Read the HOWTOS on the LDP website," because while you're installing, you probably don't have much of a network, and some of the HOWTOS are slightly outdated. Maybe I should write a HOWTO of my own, then....

  • "All they ever talk about is the installs..."

    While it's true that they talk about the installs all the time, it's not unfounded because like it or not, 99% of the users out there wanting to try Linux will have to install it themselves. While you can buy boxes with Linux pre-installed, they aren't nearly as ubiquitous as Windows or even Mac boxes.

    Regards,
    Bun
  • No, the video card ROM just puts a call to a function in shadow ram in the vector list. This is what gets called by the interrupt. The functions that give you all the info mostly just point to a small block of shadow ram where you can read out the names of manufactures and version numbers, screen modes supported and stuff like that. The info is pretty cool. And I do believe the name of the monitor manufacture can be found in there, if the monitor supports it, but I don't really remeber.

  • When i upgraded from win95 to win98 my pnp devices
    stopped working, so i had to install them after the upgrade, but to get my mouse working i had to change my cd-rom from d: to e:(?).
    I also now other people who had major problems upgrading.
  • No, the video card ROM just puts a call to a function in shadow ram in the vector list. This is what gets called by the interrupt. The functions that give you all the info mostly just point to a small block of shadow ram where you can read out the names of manufactures and version numbers, screen modes supported and stuff like that. The info is pretty cool. And I do believe the name of the monitor manufacture can be found in there, if the monitor supports it, but I don't really remeber.

    Ok, yea here it is...

    int 10:
    AX=4F15
    BL=1
    cx=dx=0
    es:di=where you want the info to go

    puts in 128 byte block at es:di manufacture, model, serial number, manufacture year and week, size of screen (in cm), gamma, timing, and some other stuff. Pretty cool!

  • Not only that, but msdos.sys is a text file that controls windows, and it still uses config.sys and autoexec.bat, which come from before win 3.1. It also introduces another dosstart.bat. It runs this whenever you go to dos, so that it can load your real-mode cd-rom driver or whatever else you need in that session. There are many of them. The point though is that they already have most of the defaults correct for most situations, and windows provides easy ways for a program to modify these files during installation, so that the user rarely ever sees them. (I think Windows 3.1 did a better job here... everyone has had to go into the registery and fix it, but it used to be fairly rare in 3.1.

    Daniel

  • You sound like the 3rd grader who says "Why should I learn the multiplication tables? That's too hard. I can just use a calculator!"

    No, I sound like someone who has edited literally thousands of configuration files in my career. Like the lounge singer said, "The thrill is gone, baby."

    On the other hand, to use a similar school analogy, you sound like a 10th grade nerd who feels he has to memorize 30 digits of PI in order to prove how smart he is.

    The point is usability, not making things as difficult as possible. Life is too short to have struggle with things that are better done by automation. Maybe you find configuring computers fun, but personally I enjoy using and programming them far more.

  • If you're looking for a really easy way to get PPP up and running, have a look at WvDial [worldvisions.ca]. It'll auto-detect your modem, and figure out how to talk to your ISP. All you should have to give it is your username, password and phone number.
  • "If you handed these same people a machine with an unpartitioned drive and a windows disk, they would obviously have the same problems."

    This depends. With the Windows 98 Upgrade, if you did this, and they didn't know what they were doing - by this I mean how to use DOS fdisk and format - they would simply fail and not have a clue why.

    I bought a new hard drive and decided to go for a complete, clean re-install to re-organize my partitions (and have Win and Linux live on separate disks). The new drive came unformatted, and the Win 98 Upgrade installation simply hung there, with an incompletely printed error message indicating that Windows needed something.

    If one of my friends was doing this, my phone would have rung 2 mintues later, guaranteed.

    Regards,
    Bun
  • If you handed these same people a machine with an unpartitioned drive and a windows disk, they would obviously have the same problems.

    It is my experience that they'd have more problems. Just an example...

    Just about a week ago I installed a VooDoo II card. Should have been simple right? Well, I had to move the PCI network card to get the VooDoo II next to the video card. Insert the cards, closed it up, and booted Windows 98. WHHAAATT??? Windows 98 first decided to install *another* driver for my network card. So it did that, and I rebooted. Logged back in, and now I have *2* NIC drivers installed. Removed one, and then rebooted *again*. After logging in, I found out that I couldn't connect to the network. Windows 98 had decided to *reconfigure* my IP settings. So I fixed that up and, yep, you guessed it, rebooted again. So I rebooted 3 times and finally was back to the place I started at before installing the VooDoo II card. And I'm not the only one who has problems upgrading hardware under Windows. It's obvious that that is way beyond the grasp of the consumer.

    How about the install? I shouldn't have to even mention that. Even with a smooth install, it's going to require the floppy shuffle to install all the newer drivers. And what chance to you think a consumer is going to associate what the Wizard is installing with the actual CD or disk the driver is one. Commonly my friends call me and ask, "It wants a disk for the PCI Network device, what's that. Uh, that's the disk with 'Netgear' on the label. Oh, okay it took that."...

    And then after all that, do you have a complete setup? Oops, gotta install Office, and set up internet access and networking. With Linux, it's 20 minutes, and KDE is installed and configured, KOffice is installed and configured, networking is configured, and so on. Okay, maybe Linux *isn't* all the way there yet, but I'll bet it beats Microsoft to it.

    -Brent
    --
  • Agreed. There is a lot of variety in what people would consider a base install. Being a geek, I install pretty much every compiler & language that comes with the distribution, several text editors and that is the basic set of tools for me:)
    I think the greatest part about linux is that you get to pick pretty much exactly what goes onto your machine...

    My OEM version of Win95 forces me to install The Works and then I get to spend an hour or so deleting stuff I don't want. Not helped by the fact that you have to reboot almost everytime you un-install something!

    Windows installs make things a little more entertaining because afterwards you get to run through it going...Huh? What's this? But novelty of that wears out after a while :)

    Dana
  • What is WinLinux2000? Sounds like bad mojo.
  • As Signal 11 points out, experience certainly makes taking a metric of installation ease difficult. In this day in age, it is really hard to find a sample set of people with no Windows-biased computer experience -- almost everyone knows about the A: and C: drives just like they understand touch tone telephones and ATMs. To them Linux is more alien because it starts calling A: /dev/fd0.

    However the growth of Linux in spite of these handicaps demonstrates its vigor and fighting spirit. In a few years time CNN will be reporting nightmares installing Win2005 while lauding Linux's ease of installation.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    About 30 years ago, Mad magazine satirized Consumer Reports. They called it Condemner Reports, and the test was how various appliances would press socks and ties. IIRC, the four place toaster, while not getting out all the wrinkles, was a model of efficiency and production. It was pretty funny. Take CNN in the same vein. Please.

    Linux is tough to install? Compared to what. Installing DOS with the TCP/IP stack? WIN31? These are still commonly used by the way. This guy doesn't know what tough is.

    I'm working with my high school niece, 'teaching her computers.' It took her about 10 minutes to learn the Caldera install, she calls it the chicken dance. 'Just keep pecking yes.' Mandrake 6 wasn't much tougher. Tomorrow we automount file systems.
  • Redhat Linux 6.0 still uses only one floppy to do a network install.
  • by puppyscent ( 95780 ) on Wednesday September 29, 1999 @07:09AM (#1650218)
    Having recently (within the past two months) installed Windows 95, Windows NT 4, Windows 2000 Professional RC1, and RH Linux 6.0 (with Win95, NT, and Linux on a triple-boot machine), I read with interest NP's perspective on the relative installations.

    Frankly, I was left a bit cold from the article. It didn't really say much of anything new or insightful other than one very critical point: Microsoft makes some huge assumptions about where one begins when using their OS (?!) products.

    • Example 1: On my for-work laptop (A relatively high-end Dell Latitude), I had a perfectly acceptable-for-NT installation. I thought that I just might throw risk to the wind and install the latest RC for Windows 2000. The Win2K setup program complained about my existing filesystem configuration and refused to continue. After altering the filesystem settings, the setup program appeared to run fine, only to completely ruin my previous installation of applications and other settings. To its credit, however, the Win2K setup program detected my installed hardware effortlessly. And yeah, it took nearly 3 hours to "finish." (I ended up having to wipe the disk clean and start from scratch. Setup still took over 2 hours -- and I spent 3 more reinstalling my apps.)
    • Example 2: On my Dell Workstation 610 I made a valiant attempt at installing WinNT4, Win95, and RH Linux 6.0 in one day. Based on what I had read from other mentally unstable folks attempting such a configuration, it is typically best to start with the neighborhood bully, WinNT, as your first OS (due to its all-powerful and rude boot loader). Before beginning I used PartitionMagic to setup my partitions (here's an area where the vast majority of OS installers will stumble -- and that includes novice hackers). Lucky for me, I could boot the NT installer from CD and away I went. Since NT4 is big and dumb, I had to jump thru hoops for it to recognize the fact that I had two SCSI controllers on my system (the CDROM drive on one, the HDs on the other). Once I got past that circus, I watched as NT4 basically detected just about nothing else on my sytem. Lucky I had built driver images for my pieces from Dell's support site.
    • Example 3:From NT I proceeded to install Win95 on the existing C: FAT16 partition. (All that NT had placed there was what it needed for booting.) Here again, many reboots and essentially non-existent device detection. And I had to really dig around for Win95 versions of drivers for my preinstalled devices. An elegant kludge, my ass.
    • Example 4:I began my Linux installation from the CD -- again grateful for bootable CDs. Like the new kid in school who knows he has to get along with everyone, the RH installer allowed me to proceed rapidly through the installation, almost never frightening me with refusals to recognize different devices nor other OS filesystems (though both my Win installs used the congenial FAT 16). Configuring the X-Server was the only place where the installer really faltered; but even with that the whole installation took me about 30 minutes. (I bypassed LILO, instead looking to use the bully NT OS Loader.)

    In all of the press and conversations I've read/heard discussing the installations of Linux vs. *using* Windows, the basic thing that seems to be missing is that very problem with Microsoft's assumption: that we only use their products and that we should be grateful for doing so. When folks complain about having to edit files to get their systems to work properly, so many seem to forget that it was only four years ago when the vast majority of PCs still ran Win 3.1 -- if that. Hello?! Win.ini? System.ini?

    I'm still not sure where I stand on the Linux-for-the-masses issue, but I'm sure that I don't want people to assume that they have to settle for an inferior product when, with a bit of tweaking and polish, a better solution (Linux, FreeBSD, etc.) is readily available. That said, I'm encouraged by where Caldera is taking the install process; I only wish that the 'Advanced' user bypass option will always remain.
  • Trying to argue that Windows doesn't work anything less than the vast majority of time is foolish.

    Oh yeah? NEVER in my life have I ever had a flawless installation of any version of windows, going back to 3.1 and 3.11

    My experiences have been timewasting nightmares. For a while I thought it was cool that I was smart enough to do the strange and random things necessary on mine and my friends computers (and later, clients) to get doze to work. Now, I dread having to install it, let alone an 'upgrade' or putting in some new hardware. It is insane. No normal, non-'power' user has a hope in hell.

    My first linux box was an ipmasq debian box a friend built for me out of spare parts. Took a bit of work, mainly re-compiling kernal for a tulip nic. My experiences with this, an order of magnitude more reliable than the wingate solution I was using tempted me to try more.

    Since then, I have installed rh 5.1, 5.2 and 6.0. They all worked first time, including apache and sendmail, right out of the box. Getting ipmasq etc working with 2.2 kernals fooled me for a bit with 6.0, but a couple of howto's later and I was going fine.

    I have to say that rh's autodetection and general hardware installation pisses on m$ from a great height. It ain't pretty, but it works, is extremely simple and more logical.

    The marketdroid lies that win98 spews out during an installation just make me laugh nowadays. And it takes forever and you have to reboot at least 3 times, and thats if you are lucky . . .

    -- Reverend Vryl

  • I mean, Linux installation really doesn't do nearly the same amount of stuff W2K does.
    As an example, Linux has a pretty limited hardware detection routine, whereas windows 2000 has thousands of infs it has to look at to install just the right driver for like 2000+ devices - then it has to detect them properly. Basically - W2K has support for much more hardware (and a variety of them too).
    This is probably the longest part of the installation provided you boot off the cd and don't do a DOS installation without smartdrv.

    Then there are the extra things W2K setup does, it tracks it's progress - so lets say you accidentally powerdown the machine half way thru - or detecting some hardware causes a reboot - w2k setup will be able to recover from this (if it was a detection problem, it'll skip that device and log it). Linux installers don't do this.
    Ther are other examples like W2K scans for other OSs (ok, only microsoft ones), scans the registries etc etc etc.
    W2K does much more than just copy files and do some simple detection of Mouse, Video, NE2000 (and maybe *some* extra) devices.

    It may take a long time, and generally - it's probably not much easier than some linux installers - but it is really easy and DOES detect hardware well - like win98. Ofcourse you could always find a hardware configuration that Linux can detect well, and win98/win2k can't, but i think that's prolly a minority of the cases. It's a simple result of windows having much better support from hardware manufacturers.
  • OK from personaly experience the following things are "difficult" about linux installs:

    1. Disk partitioning
    2. X configuration
    3. Getting a network card to work

    And -

    1. Disk Partitioning
    When i got slackware 3.1 as my first distro (off the net and onto floppies, no less (that kept getting bad sectors.. but thats another story :P), I spent ages figuring out how to partition, and then doing it totally wrong and reinstalling :P

    This has been made much better by Redhat (and its variants) in particular offering "default" partition layouts. Good for people who dont know what is what with the unix-type filesystem layout. A simple "root + swap" 2 partition setup would be fine for the average desktop linux user i suspect. People who need more than that (who are setting up servers for example) SHOULD know what the hell they are doing.

    2. X configuration
    This has been largely addressed, however what would be MUCH help is actually having hardware specs available with hardware. I dont mean programming info necessarily, but sync rates of monitors/video cards, etc. Some simple instructions from video card vendors would help here: eg for a TNT2: run xconfig, type options blah blah blah.

    Some sort of help file with common video cards and what to set them up as would be a help (displayed on screen with a "click here for help" button :P)

    The VESA framebuffer will help here, as a last resort type setup, as a "i dont know" option in setup so that additional updates can be done after X install.

    3. Getting a Network card to work.
    Major problem is that most distros have them all loadable modules, and typically want IO addresses for them, etc. Hopefully PNP will help here?

    Other than that, disks are large enough these days for most users to just do an "everything" install, and worry about figuring out what they need after they get some experience (as I gather everbody first did when they first installed windows anyway :)

    Linux WAS hard to install. These days, the most difficult thing (assuming you are doing a Redhat install) is video card or network card setup.

    Redhat is unfortunately hard to update so I dont use it tho :)

    debian's apt-get is just too funky :)

    but now im rambling....


    smash
  • Interesting quote from the article:

    The idea of Linux for Windows sounded too much like the last resort of a company that can't find any other way to get Linux applications to crash.

    Anyway; as Signal 11 has pointed out, that sounds like FUD, although pointed at W2K. Not that I mind, though. It's a nice thing to see the pendulum swing both ways in the news. Of course, ideally, there would be no FUD either way, be it Microsoft or OSS.

    The "Linux is hard to install" is truly an annoying myth and one dating back to the early 1990's, at that. I do remember trying to install Linux back in University; it was a long and tedious process, for which you felt more than rewarded when, after weeding through tons of HOWTO's, you actually managed to kick X into working. It was a hard but very satisfactory experience.

    I installed Linux again when Mandrake came out, and expected more or less the same growing pains. I was quite surprised to see the whole affair go by smoothly, so smoothly in fact that it's a simple matter to simply reinstall the whole thing when you begin screwing with permissions and packages too much. (Or when you lose your root password, heh heh.)

    Now, the other day, I had to run a friend through the phone (I had a busted ankle and couldn't go there) into installing Windows 95. The main problem was to prevent the bloody thing from assuming things about every other driver. It took a good hour and a half to babystep her through.

    That brings old memories of Linux. Linux Mandrake does not. The article has one essential point: indeed, Microsoft relies on the fact that the computer will come pre-installed with the OS. They've dumbed down the installation process to clueless technician level, but only for a standard platform on which the technician will have installed the OS many times.

    As for most Linux distros, the installation process becomes more efficient and automatic each time. Microsoft doesn't seem to want to ease the installation process any time soon. As soon as a few people pick up W2K from the shelves and end up crying to their hacker son/nephew/friend (I do level 1 support for my family and many friends, as I'm sure you all can relate), the myth that "Windows is easy to install" will die.

    In the meantime, let's keep working on the "Linux is hard to install" one.

    "There is no surer way to ruin a good discussion than to contaminate it with the facts."

  • Dell uses the most common, off-the-shelf components of just about any major PC manufacturer. I don't understand how or why a normal Win98 CD would fail to install properly on it. How on earth do people who build their own boxes manage? What about those whose Dells shipped with '95 and want to upgrade? Are they just SOL?

    At least, in this case, the blame can be laid, in part, on someone other than Microsoft. Still, though, for a company that's been promising "plug and play" for years and years, I've yet to experience anything but headaches when adding hardware in Windows.

    - A.P. (software that works == good)
    --


    "One World, one Web, one Program" - Microsoft promotional ad

  • by BugMaster ChuckyD ( 18439 ) on Wednesday September 29, 1999 @08:38AM (#1650248)
    BeOS install crushes them all

    Im constantly amazed by how good BeOS is at what it does. Of course what it does is still quite limited compared to other OSes that have been out longer. In my experience the RH and windows installs are pretty much equal these days. Alot depends on your hardware.

    I prefer the RH because the windows way of doing just about anything really frustrates me. Windows is an example of how NOT to do a GUI interface. BeOS is an example of just how good a GUI can be.

    BeOS has the easiest, quickest install of them all if (and its still a fairly big if) your hardware is supported.

    BeOS is fun & easy to use and doesn't sacrifice power in doing so. And its fast, really really fast. Right now its weakest point as an OS is the lack of multiuser support and the attendant network security problems.
  • So far in my life, OpenLinux 2.3 is the BEST install EVER. It worked flawlessly straight out of the CD Burner. It's awesome! None of the otehre Linux distro's I've ever worked with (and I've worked with most of them) installed as easily or quickly as OpenLinux 2.3

    It beats installing any MS product hands down. But then again installing Linux has always beat the crap out of MS due to the lack of rebooting. Installed Win98SE on a P3-500 with a 48x cd-rom last night, took 45 minutes. Installed OpenLinux 2.3 on a slower machine (p2-266, 40x cd) during the same period of time, took all of 17 minutes, and I go to play tetris (a small but highly effective gimmick).

  • by Zagato-sama ( 79044 ) on Wednesday September 29, 1999 @07:48AM (#1650260) Homepage
    Well here are a few of mine.

    My system is:
    Celeron 300
    Abit bh6 board
    128MB ram
    Mylex UW Scsi adapter
    plextor 32X scsi cdrom, plextor 4x12 scsi cd-r
    IBM 8 GB ide hard drive
    awe 64 soundcard
    Riva TNT video card
    Linksys 10/100 Network card (the one the guy used)
    SGI 20.something inch monitor

    Windows 98
    The install is fairly simple, it des not recognize the video card (As TNT cards weren't around when 98 was made..duh) The NIC is either detected as a NE 2000 card, or nothing at all. Everything else works fine. After the install I pop in the driver cd for the video card and floppies for the network card. After a reboot everything works fine. I don't see what this guy's problem was for the Linksys card... go figure.

    Windows NT (Workstation)

    I installed NT a long time ago so I don't remember all the details. Video card worked fine after applying service pack 3 with AGP support. The sound card was a nightmare to install though, ISA PNP support in NT definately needs work. But after I finally managed to get it working everything was fine. I would like to mention that I used NT for a few months and not once did the system crash. Apps crash of course but that is present in every O/S. Never did I have to reboot a system due to a lockup. So when I hear these stories of systems locking up it makes me wonder if the user was playing Quake or something on the NT server ;)

    Mandrake 6.0

    The TNT card does not get detected, this is okay as I can pick it from the list of cards supported. The SGI monitor does not get recognized _ this is a major pain in the ass as I don't have the manual for it. After playing "Guess the horizontal and vertical frequency" for 5 minutes I manage to get it right. Not a good way to pass time. Network card is detected fine. Mandrake 6.0 also does not have sound detection as part of the install, bummer. After running sndconfig everything works fine. All in all an okay install... the monitor bit is what annoys me the most.

    Caldera 2.3

    Wow..not bad, I'd say the best Linux installer I've tried so far. Detects everything sans... The monitor is not detected but they have an entry for it! Amazing. So I pick it and everything works fine, why doesn't Mandrake have the entry for my SGI monitor but Caldera does? Weird. After pondering that I also notice that Caldera detected my Awe 64 as a Soundblaster 16... makes me raise an eyebrow, but it works. My opinion? Not bad.

    BeOS 4.5

    Finally BeOS. I am lucky enough to have supported hardware, a lot of my friends have been unable to install it due to lack of drivers. I pop the cd in, run partition magic to make a BeOS partition. After a reboot the install kicks in, asks me if I want some 3rd party demos and japanese support. After that the install begins, after returning from a 5 minute trip to the kitchen I see that the install is done! BeOS boots in some 10 seconds and presto.. I blink in amazement as the install didn't ask me any hardware questions. But lo and behold everything was detected except for my network card (networking isn't part of the hardware detection I guess) I go into prefrences and put in my card type (no irqs or io settings to mess with) and my ip adress info. All done.

    Moral of the story? Windows 98 install is easy, Windows NT is fine unless you have ISA PNP cards, Mandrake 6.0 install is livable, Caldera 2.3 install is about on par with Windows 98. BeOS install crushes them all. Not bad for an operating system made by a little company heavily in debt and smirked at by open source advocates screaming "Since you won't open source you will die! Mwahahaha!" Anyway that's my two cents. The biggest thing to watch out for is to make sure you have compatible hardware. Check first, install second. Not the other way around. Pardon any spelling errors ;)

    Zagato-sama
  • The important thing to remember is that most Win9x users don't have to install their OS; it comes preloaded on their PC. I agree that, by and large, Linux is usally easier to install from scratch these days. I would submit, however, that Linux -needs- to be much easier to install than Windows (of any flavor), if it is to become anything approaching a mainstream desktop OS.

    Capturing server-space isn't hard when you have tech folks who can install just about any OS. Getting your average, 'i think I know enough about PC's' Joe to install it on his family PC is another matter, for just about any existing OS.

  • He did install Windows 98, along with W2K, and a small number of different Linux distros.

  • I am just stupid or isn't the current desktop system made for a total graphical experience (ala GNOME, KDE, etc)? The command line is optional 100%. Even win98 has a command line just pop up a dos prompt.
  • by bmetzler ( 12546 ) <(bmetzler) (at) (live.com)> on Wednesday September 29, 1999 @06:32AM (#1650281) Homepage Journal
    I still think Linux should not be for the masses.

    Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I for one advocate iMacs to all those who don't know anything about computers, and don't *want* to know about computers. For everyone else, Linux is the way to go. Sure, there's BeOS and FreeBSD and others, but if they know that much they'll know whether it's the OS for them.

    Linux is also the way to go in environments like corporations where the users don't know anything, and don't *need* to know anything because there are real computer people to support them. Of course, having a thin-client solution is an even better solution in such environments.

    -Brent
    --
  • by bhurt ( 1081 ) on Wednesday September 29, 1999 @06:32AM (#1650282) Homepage
    Much more likely is the theory that Microsoft bought Softway simply to bury the technology. Microsoft has a vested intrest in making sure that cross-platform development remains very difficult (to keep all the software, and thus all the users, on Windows). And certainly promoting the Unix API as _the_ cross-platform API is Microsoft's worst nightmare.

    As to hiring talent for 64-bit Windows, why did Microsoft throw a hissy fit over Compaq's dropping NT-on-Alpha, and not simply hire the entire Compaq/Dec group to continue doing what they were already doing? Here you have a group of people already familiar with a 64-bit architecture _and_ the internals of NT, and in sudden need of a new job. It's possible that Microsoft was just being childish, but more likely they aren't looking for outside help.

    As for Microsoft being immune from competition, I think the book "Megatrends" said it best- "There is no divine right of inherited markets any more than there is the divine right of kings". The book was talking about Railroads, but the lessons apply.
  • by scumdamn ( 82357 ) on Wednesday September 29, 1999 @06:33AM (#1650289)
    When a Windows system gets hosed for unspecified reasons, many customers call in to the company they purchased their computer from for support with reinstalling it. A customer rarely has to go through the reinstall without someone to hold their hand over the phone. The Windows reinstall (by the time you've installed whatever drivers, service packs, applications, etc) can take more than two hours. RedHat will install in 20 minutes max with all apps already installed. You just can't beat that!
  • First off, we don't have an impartial judge here. So many grains of salt must be added to this article.
    Second, Win98 takes about 28 minutes. Did 5 last week on different hardware, and it was about the same. Also the Win98 setup takes about 5 minutes of your time. Then you leave and come back in about half an hour and it's done.
    Lastly the Linksys card he's mentions in the article. I only use linksys and have never had one not autodetect in the install. At worst it installs as an NE2000 adapter, which will work.
    The install times are really driven by experience. I do Windows installs and am familiar with them, and other than waiting for ti to copy files from the CD it all goes quickly. I bet if I setup linux boxes (any flavor) all the time those would go quickly too.
  • I rember Ralph Brown's interrupt list had all the specs on it, but it is sorta an arcane way to go about it... (although someone eventually has to code it at the assembler level)

    Eh? Are you saying that the only way to get DDC information from a video card is to talk to the BIOS? I'll have to go grab the source to the XFree86 release in question and see how they do it, but I'm skeptical that you have to go to the BIOS to do it....

  • by Tet ( 2721 ) <slashdotNO@SPAMastradyne.co.uk> on Wednesday September 29, 1999 @08:13AM (#1650302) Homepage Journal
    I happened to install both Linux and Win98 on a new machine recently. Apart from the configure device/reboot cycle that you have to go through half a zillion times, the Win98 install was very impressive. It's what Linux should be aiming for. Yes, it took a long time, and yes, it would have been considerably more complex if it hadn't made assumptions about partitioning, but it was very simple -- a huge improvement on installing Win95. Linux isn't as hard to install as people make out, but that doesn't mean there's no room for improvement, and Win98 isn't a bad level to aim for.

    The major downside, though, was that it was sooooo slow. Linux on the same box whizzed through the install, and was ready to use in no time at all (apart from having to fix some of the broken Red Hat defaults, like ignoring the users' .inputrc).

    FWIW, I also installed Linux and Solaris 7 on my Sparc this week, too. Linux took it's usual 20 minutes. Slowaris took over 4 hours...

  • by ryanr ( 30917 ) <ryan@thievco.com> on Wednesday September 29, 1999 @08:18AM (#1650306) Homepage Journal
    Articles about how someone had an easier time installing one OS versus another are pretty pointless. Unless they're doing some massive multi-model, multi-OS, multi add-on test, it's just anecdotal evidence. And as with any anecdotal evidence, people will use it to support their favorite side of the arguement.

    I've had really bad installs with many OSes. Windows has the real-world advantage that Windows is the first OS vendors write drivers for. It's also the one they maintain best. Often, you'll find your hardware driver on the Windows CD.

    This does not make Windows a better OS, it means that vendors favor it because of marketshare, therefore feeding the marketshare.

    Windows also does a decent job of maintaining backwards compatibility.

    However, if your hardware isn't supported by Windows, chances are good your recourse is NIL. You could write your own drivers, but you won't find source as a starting point, or a community of Windows device driver developers waiting to give you help.

    My opinion is that one would have a much better time trying to write for obscure hardware under Linux than Windows.

    It also means, if my observation is correct, that Linux will catch up to Windows for device support, and will take that advantage away.

  • by SoftwareJanitor ( 15983 ) on Wednesday September 29, 1999 @09:02AM (#1650307)
    Most of the non-technically literate will be installing from EIDE/ATAPI CD-ROM drives, which are much easier than SCSI to auto-detect.

    Your milage may vary if you have some kind of wonky SCSI card, but if you have a normal type of Adaptec card you shouldn't have the kind of problems you describe.
    The only normal Adaptec model I've heard of problems with is the 294x, due to the incredibly large number of firmware changes that Adaptec made during the lifespan of that card.
    I've heard a few complaints about some of the cheapo Adaptec models that don't have a BIOS on them, but from your description, that doesn't sound like your situation.
    There are also a number of off-brand SCSI controllers or sound cards that use Adaptec chipsets, and I've heard of a few problems with some of those. In general, most people say to avoid such things.
    Personally, I have several machines with SCSI CD-ROM drives on several different types of SCSI controllers, Future Domain 950 (8-bit ISA), Adaptec 154x (ISA), Future Domain 1860 (ISA), Adaptec 284x (VLB) and NCR/Symbios Logic 538xx (PCI). I've never had trouble with Red Hat's installer (5.0, 5.1 or 5.2) not correctly identifying and supporting any of my SCSI CD-ROM drives (Sony, Panasonic or Toshiba).
    For that matter, I've never had trouble installing Red Hat with the two wonky proprietary interface CD-ROM drives I've got (Aztech and Phillips/LMS-CM205).

    Another suggestion if you have sufficient hard drive space is to copy the Red Hat distribution under MS-DOS to your hard drive and then do the install from there. Or if you have a network card and another machine with a CD-ROM drive that is running something that can export it under NFS you can do a network install, I do that with my laptops that don't have a CD-ROM on them and it works great.
    There are ways to get around your problem without having to resort to a floppy install.

  • Is it really fair to compare the shipping version of one product with an unreleased beta version of another?

    Isn't ease of installation more important that raw installation time? I mean, you only install an OS relatively rarely... Who really cares how long it takes, just make it simple...
  • by technos ( 73414 ) on Wednesday September 29, 1999 @06:38AM (#1650322) Homepage Journal
    Having recently installed W2k, I can tell you that he does not exaggerate. I could have installed SuSe, every package, nine or ten times over in the span I waited for Win2k to tell me it couldn't complete the install. Instead, I drank two pots of coffee, recompiled my Linux kernel five times, wrote 1,000 lines of code, read the first four chapters of 'Linux Device Drivers', built a new box from spare parts, installed RH 5.2 on it, configured it, re-timed my Camaro, drove to the store for smokes, bled the brakes on said Camaro, washed my hands of the grease, checked my phone lines for noise, played a few games of Quake, ate lunch, ate dinner, watched Alien 3 on video, did some light housekeeping, and refreshed /. two hundred times. The sick part? I was installing it on a PIII from a local drive!
  • I don't believe I've seen an article in the mainstream media about how easy it is to use GNU/Linux with a desktop environment (say, GNOME), a window manager (say, Window Maker under X11), etc., however. They always bitch about the installs. AFAIK, Windows has always had DOS mode. The fact that GNU/Linux also allows for a GUI or a CLI (or even both) is why it could be good for both Joe Public and Joe Linux (and everyone in between). All they ever talk about is the installs, though. I want to see how your average media guy does at just playing around in a preinstall preconfigured Linux environment (that was set up competently, mind you).

  • by Signal 11 ( 7608 ) on Wednesday September 29, 1999 @06:39AM (#1650325)
    Gee, I wonder if either of these two columnists will arrive at the conclusion that the speed of installation for a given piece of software is inversely proportional to the knowledge that person has in computers?

    More seriously, both of these articles should be classified under "FUD", or atleast severely-misguided, because they don't take into account the intelligence/knowledge of the user. Let me give you an example - "I don't know how to fly an airplane, it's too hard, therefore all airplanes suck. But because I know how to drive a car, all cars are better than all airplanes." Anybody else see the flaw in that statement?

    --

  • HardWare: Abit bh6, Celeron 366 @ 550, 128 RAM, ISA sb16, Realtek 8139 nic

    BeOS 4.0 (haven't upgraded yet)
    Ok, I'll get it out of the way: BeOS is great! My machine instaled & rebooted in about 6 minutes. It didn't detect Sound, but I could set it up easily (I lost most of the time working out that I didn't need to worry about configuring i/o or irqs). There was, at the time, no NIC driver for my card....
    Other points: Very few options to choose from: You either instaled it clean or full of demos and other extras. I *love* the very simple app they use to create partitions. And the BeOS GUI is very good, very *easy*.

    win 98 SE:
    It took me 50 minutes to install and reboot! It keeps on insisting that my 3.5 floppy drive is an old 5.125 floppy drive. I have to remove & reinstall it on the device manager various times before it finally got the ideia... Otherwise everything worked first time, even TNT card (remember this was the SE version of 98).

    NT 4:
    Ok, less time to reboot than 98 (about 20 minutes), but didn't video, sound or network cards. I installed the drivers from floppys and they worked first time (first time this was this easy for me).

    2000:
    It asks me the usual (windows) questions and then proceeds to do everything quietly. Takes about an hour on my system.
    Now, Win 200 has a cute way of solving install problems: It logs every action it makes, before it makes it, so it knows it must bypass it if it crashes and restarts the install.
    Well... It don't work too well. I watched open-mouthed as my pc instaled almost to the end, crashed, self rebooted, restarted the install, didn't ask any questions and re-installed everything... only to crash and repeat at the very same spot.
    It did this 5 times before I took pity on it and stopped it.

    Suse 6.1
    Love the isntall. It's (IMHO!) the best isntall around for us middle-of-the-road folks, who know quite a bit about pc's, but can't (or can't be bothered to) begin to unravell the library dependencies in Linux. It's a text-mode app, so no fancy tetris game while-u-wait, but it does the job well. It boots into graphic mode into Suse's own X config app for Videocard & monitor defenition, which works very well. It didn't detect my sb16 or my nic, had to do it by hand.

    Anyway, in the M$ world I *still* prefer NT4 (sp5). BeOS is (don't flame please, this *my* personal opinion only) the better OS of the lot. It was the fastest, easiest to setup, and rock-stable. It has litle or no software, but so did Linux 4 years ago (In fact that's what M$serfs criticised about Linux at the time, right....).
    Suse is a very good instalation, prefered it to RH 5.2 which was the latest I have tried so far.
    Maybe 6.0...


    No, I can't spell!
    -"Run to that wall until I tell you to stop"
    (tagadum,tagadum,tagadum .... *CRUNCH*)
    -"stop...."
  • It is amusing to see the comments spewing fourth about Microsoft's aquisition of Softway Systems.

    Interix never claimed to offer Linux/*nix BINARY compatiability. That is just plain silly. When Softway launched the campaign to get Linux people, they tried to make Interix more 'linux friendly' by porting over more apps and utilities that exist for linux today. That is all. Remember back when slashdot pointed to a story about Interix triyng to get more 'linux friendly'? The zealots all ASSUMED that meant Interix was trying to put out a way to run linux binaries in emulation mode. If some of these people here would bother to READ the article before commenting on it, they would have noticed that Softway was simply porting over more utilities.

    What Interix provided was a true posix system to _compile_ source code into a binary that will work under the INTERIX subsystem of NT. What Mr. Petreley is suggesting simply won't happen. The only reason I can see for him suggesting that MS/Softway will provide a way to run linux binaries to to rile up the linux community in order to get more hits to linuxworld. It seems that this has succeeded if his story is now posted on slashdot.

    Fear not, the closest thing that MS could do (if they integrate Interix) is providing a way to compile *nix source code under the Interix (or whatever it will be called) subsystem. And that is a good thing for both NT users and Linux users.

    Please keep in mind that the way NT is set up is that the microkernel? provides the ability to have seperate entities (win32/os2/posix(interix)) that can talk to eachother.

    Posix/Interix subsystem != win32. Try to remember that.

  • I'm reconfiguring some of my PCs to be dual-boot machines (Win98/Linux). On one box, both OSs installed easily, with little intervention required.

    The other box is a 1-year old Dell that SHIPPED with Windows 98. I wiped the disk and tried reinstalling Windows 98, from the Dell-supplied CD. With 3 minutes left in the install (they have a little timer), I got an error message about a broken or missing vxd file. Reformatted the disk again -- same thing. I have a real problem. Dell support was useless. ("Try starting the installation from the floppy instead of booting from the Windows 98 CD". I tried, just to be safe, and of course that failed.) Searched the web and found a 19-step procedure for fixing this file. The procedure takes about an hour to go through. Made a slight error after that, and had to start from scratch (more reformatting). Got it right the next time. Installed a NIC which caused the machine to lock up solid when booting. Removing the NIC (in safe mode, from the control panel) and physically removing the card didn't fix the problem. Another reformat and reinstall (along with the 19-step 1-hour procedure to avoid the vxd problem). Finally get through it all, and the machine is flaky -- freezes within five minutes.

    It's hard to imagine a simpler installation scenario -- standard Dell machine with no extra hardware; blank disk; standard Windows 98 installation. After banging my head against this wall for three days I still have a useless PC.

    Meanwhile, I'm quite new to Linux, and got through the RH 6.0 install in about 15 minutes on another machine, on my first attempt.

    Now I have to say that the Windows install had prettier graphics flashing while the installation "proceeded", but I don't see that as contributing to simplicity.

I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best. -- Oscar Wilde

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