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Re: Musing on Linux (long)

__/ [Kier] on Friday 09 December 2005 11:14 \__

Good read. Simple, yet a good reflectant of true facts.

> At times I find myself wondering, why are some people so dead-set against
> Linux.

Because they don't use it.

*Everyone fears the unknown

*Change of tide sweeps one's habit along with it

*Everyone must re-enforce his/her own choices

*Misinformation (e.g. Gets the Facts Campaign, Wintrolls)

*Lack of information (Windows-centric media) and the factor of information
amplitude ("if you don't hear about it, it can't be big")

> For a start, if they don't use it, how can it affect them? So, there will
> be more open standards that everyone can access, but that's a good thing,
> not a bad thing. Yet the anti-Linuxers come here in droves, and most of
> them, when you come down to it, are perpetuating the same old myths: that
> Liux is hard to use/hard to install/hard to configure/ugly/poor/etc.

People are good at believing what they desire to believe. They otherwise go
by stereotypes.

> Yet here I sit in fron of a nice Linux box, running a pleasant-looking
> desktop (Gnome). I post to Usenet most days, via ssh to another Linux box,
> and I sometimes forget Pan is not actually on the box I'm sitting in front
> of. If I feel like it, I can tune into some streaming music through
> streamtuner and Xmms or Zinf, or access my music collection through
> amaroK, which has some very nice features. If I'm in KDE, it even has a
> nice Superkaramba plugin that's really cool-looking.
> OpenOffice.org covers just about everything any average user is likely to
> want. I don't worry that it opens a bit slower than MSOffice - I haven't
> got MSOffice on my system, so who cares? Once it's open, sitting quietly
> on its own virtual desktop, it waits for my input. If I want speed and
> lean-ness, I'll use Abiword.

OpenOffice is not slower than Office. People use Microsoft's platform for
benchmarks. I happen look at people's Windows task manager on occasions.
Even without MSOffice running, huge lumps of RAM are consumed by it. The O/$
is optimised for Office, which is the primary cow to milk.

> Rip CDs to mp3 or ogg? I've got plenty of choice. Grip, sound-juicer, and
> more.
> Manipulate images? There's the GIMP. It's well up to Photoshop Elements or
> Paint Shop Pro standards, which is what the average user is going to have
> on his Windows box, and in some cases, it's better thean Photoshop. And
> it's certainly a lot less expensive. Then there's Krita, a new app for the
> KDE desktop, which is very nice too.
> Then there's Blender, for doing 3D work, or Wings 3D, both excellent.
> Blender comes as standard in many distros now, and Wings 3D is little more
> than download-and-run.

POV-Ray is nice too:


> And of course firefox/mozilla/epiphany/ for the web, and mail clients like
> Evolution or thunderbird.
> I could go on, but you get the picture. Linux doesn't lack for apps, the
> kind of apps most users want.
> Yet the naysayers keep on saying nay.
> A lot of posters here, both pro and anti, are 'in' the industry. But I'm
> just a user. Therefore I generally think and act like a user.
> Anti-Linuxers often make the claim that anyone trying Linux will
> immediately be put of by the lack of this or that, poor hardware support,
> whatever, and run gratefully back to Windows.
> Well, I didn't.
> The users who try it at this stage will more likely be people who are
> curious and want to give it a try, and they'll quite probably do as I did
> at first, and dual-boot. (These days, they might even have a spare machine
> to run it on). And they, like me, will probably find things a bit
> different in Linux, even difficult, because make no mistake, Windows and
> Linux *are* different.

Fundamentally no. Everything is based on similar principles, but Windows is
slower. Moreover it is filled with bugs and exploits and its only inertia
are develops who cater for a market that is (still) a majority rather than
the niche. That's why Microsoft are trying so hard to penetrate the market
of servers and PDA. Once they haven't over 90% of all home computers,
they're on the road to progressive road to demise -- an avalanche. Firefox
has a similar effect and sites are no longer designed for or optimised for
MSIE. They never will be. That very concept or design approach is over;

> Some will not like it, and think, This isn't for me, and go back to
> Windows. Others will persevere, and discover a fascinating new world
> they'd hardly known existed. That's what I did.
> Of course, some advance preparation is need if a novice Linux user is to
> do well and not run back to the comfort of Windows at the first
> difficulty. Some users simply aren't ready for the level of responsibility
> Linux requires of them. But really, it isn't rocket science, it can be
> learned. And the novelty factor shouldn't be underestimated. One of the
> reasons I liked Linux from the first was that it *was* different. It
> looked different, it felt different. Some bits of it didn't work quite s
> they should have, but that was equally true of Win98, and Linux wasn't
> half as dull. You might say that it grew on me.
> The naysayers tell us that Linux is primitive, ugly, hard to use. A few
> years ago, this might even have been true. Now - no way. And while many
> distros throw in everything but the kitchen sink (and Debian throws in the
> whole kitchen), applications that don't offer anything to you can easily
> be left out/uninstalled. Then again, you might discover a use for some of
> them. Complaining about getting more, rather than less, seems somewhat
> pointless to me.

If they are deterred by applications, you might wish to point them to the


Woz: "Microsoft, Apple and AOL, they tend to turn out the crappiest products,
you know, software-wise".

> What I discovered when I started using Linux was that I gradually found
> myself using Windows less and less. Such that, when I found one day that I
> had lost Windows altogether, I wasn't particularly bothered. I just fired
> up a LiveCD and copied what data I wanted to keep onto my new Linux
> install (and by this time I had XP Pro, which had worked quite nicely).
> Later on, I bought a new Windows box. After a while, I dual-booted it,
> first with SUSE, then with Mandrake, and now with SUSE again. And I'm
> still not using the Windows side much. It's pretty, and it works, and I
> have some nice apps on it, including all my favourite open source stuff.
> But I hardly ever fire it up. Why? Because (with one exception) it doesn't
> offer me anything I can't get with Linux.
> I think that the naysayers miss the point. They try Linux, not because
> they want to enjoy a new, interesting computing experience, but to pick
> holes and find fault. They don't open their hearts and minds to the Linux
> experience, so they never see, and probably never will see, the benefits
> that we do. They're always dragging Windows with them, like Jacob Marley's
> chains.

There appears to be a certain dependency. It is easier to stop carrying
Windows altogether if each of every one of your machines runs Linux and can
thus communicate with its peers at ease. That needs to be explained to
newbies, but having said that, interoperability gaps are bridged rapidly.
OpenOffice (version 2) is just one example of that.

> When you get past a certain point in Linux, Windows becomes, well,
> irrelevant. If Linux doesn't have a certain feature and Windows does,
> then, yes, it's not really that important. Why? Because we are Linux
> users, not Windows users. Hey, if I need or want the latest whizz-bang
> feature of Windows, I'll buy a Windows box. I'm not going to shun Windows
> just because it comes from MS. If I don't use it, it's because it doesn't
> give me much reason to.

I am not sure I get the point. What can I ever do in Windows that cannot be
done trivially in Linux? Play games?

> As Linux grow more confidant on the desktop, more people are going to come
> in contact with it, and some are going to try it. And in time, more are
> going to stick with it. And Linux just keeps on getting better and better.
> Some day soon, all those naysayers will have to find something else to
> carp about, because if they carp at Linux, they'll just be laughed at even
> more than they are now.

Open Source software and GNU/Linux will become the primary (if not only)
platform in the future. Yet, the next big wave of hatred will be directed at
Open Source software. People will whine that it kills software companies,
innovations/patents and cannot be administered from above. We see some early
signs of that:


How about the growing hatred towards Google and their liberalism? It comes to
show that only the scapegoat will have its face changed.

Best wishes,


Roy S. Schestowitz      | "Computers are useless. They only solve problems"
http://Schestowitz.com  |    SuSE Linux     |     PGP-Key: 0x74572E8E
 11:50am  up 2 days  9:01,  4 users,  load average: 0.25, 0.25, 0.20
      http://iuron.com - next generation of search paradigms

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