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Re: [News] New Reasons Why Linux Beats Both Mac OS and Windows

I guess I'm in a mood today... :-)

In comp.os.linux.advocacy, Roy Schestowitz
on Mon, 05 Nov 2007 19:41:09 +0000
> 6 Reasons Why Linux Beats Windows & Mac OSX Hands Down
> ,----[ Gist ]
> | 1. Linux is completely open.

I'd have to study the issue.  One interesting boundary
point is the nVidia binary video drivers, for example;
however, these are more rightly considered add-ons.
The whole of Linux is currently distributed using a
modified LPGL; the modification allows for the running
of proprietary software without forcing the user thereof
to reveal the source code, IIRC -- a slightly silly
state of affairs if the user doesn't have such.

> | 
> | 2. The software that runs on it is also open.

This is not the case (counterexamples: Quake4, Doom3,
UT2004).  Of course one can state that *most* software
designed to run on Linux is open, and certainly a lot of
FLOSS stuff will run on Linux, in addition to FreeBSD,
Solaris, HP/UX, and even Windows, depending on how much
development effort is expended on the source and what
resources/libraries/etc. it needs.

And of course proprietary software is easily ported to
Unix and Linux, if designed properly.  Quake4, Doom3, and
UT2004 are mostly data files (textures, avatar descriptors,
etc.); the driver is relatively tiny, though Quake in
particular has a language -- Quake C -- of its own.

> | 
> | 3. Linux runs great on just about any platform.

That it does, though I've not personally tested it beyond
SPARC (my instance thereof, unfortunately, is now more or
less dead) and x86.  In theory, it's mostly a matter of
ensuring Linux boots; once Linux gets to a certain point,
it'll run anything that's properly compiled -- including,
of course, a ported Bourne-again shell and /sbin/init.

> | 
> | 4. You can buy a Linux desktop from Dell (or Walmart!).

Or from many other vendors, though it's not clear how
well-known some might be to Joe User.  However, I like
Erack's approach to the config problem; they provide nearly
two dozen distros.  System76 is far more limited in distro
offering (they only install Ubuntu), but they picked a very
good distro.  Ebuy.co.uk I'm not familiar with but has been
mentioned by at least one European inhabitant here in COLA.

Dell has competition. :-)

> | 
> | 5. Linux has become nearly idiot-proof for basic computing tasks.

As long as the hardware supports it -- and Linux supports
almost all hardware nowadays, except for the esoteric sound
card from Creative Labs (a known issue) and a few other
things.  As usual, caveat emptor, if one's constructing
a Linux system -- or a Windows system, for that matter.

> | 
> | 6. The desktop computer is dying anyway.

Debatable, but it's clear that software may have to adapt
to several environments.  In addition to the traditional
keyboard-and-mouse desktop, one might contemplate a mobile
handheld device (Blackberry, Nokia, even Orange), various
standalone server environments, touchscreen kiosks (which
aren't quite desktops but are close), industrial control
panels, home media (where Linux apparently excels, with
Microsoft Windows Vista Media Edition having some very odd
limitations), house control (heating, cooling, Internet,
entertainment, security/sensor, and status display) and
other such.

We live in interesting times.

> `----
> http://www.dailytechnobabble.com/2007/11/05/6-reasons-why-linux-beats-windows-mac-osx-hands-down/
> http://tinyurl.com/328lsb
> Points (4) and (6) can be considered new. Both are valid points.
> Related:
> Five Reasons for Making the Switch to Linux
> ,----[ Quote ]
> | Reason 1: Productivity

I'll admit to some curiosity as to how one measures such.
Of course Windows touts its stuff as being "easy to use" --
until one delves into the details of a crash after someone
has typed in 100 pages of document, perhaps.  For its
part Linux doesn't even quite belong in this space, mostly
because Linux is the kernel; the true productivity tools
are OpenOffice, various editors, Glade (for RAD), Eclipse
(Java/RAD), PHP, Python, etc.  However, all of these tools
are easily ported to and widely offered on Linux-based
distros (most are also available on Windows as well).

> | 
> | Reason 2: Security

Again, Linux security is not an issue in most attacks; the
general attack, in fact, appears to be coming through the
Web browser or Web server in most cases -- and then there's
phising and pharming, which are OS-agnostic.  However,
Linux has the advantage that once something is configured
OFF, it *stays* OFF; it doesn't decide to turn itself ON
again because something burped in a registry somewhere.

> | 
> | Reason 3: Linux Maturity

It's been out since 1991, and has had plenty of time to
get the worst kinks out.  That there are still kinks is
a fact of life in software; the only stable application is
a dead one.  (How many updates have come through for xbill
lately, for instance? :-) )

> | 
> | Reason 4: Availability

Very widely available, if one knows where to look.  Dell
seems to want to hide their Ubuntu stuff, though -- which
may be a worrisome attempt to shove it aside or simply a
reflection of Dell's issues in their manufacturing system.

> | 
> | Reason 5: Cost

I wish I really knew how much credibility to put into that
IDC report; they suggest most of the cost is in personell,
not in licensing or hardware.   Of course, it may depend on
their assumptions -- and it is far from clear that, if one
is given two farms, one with, say, 250 Linux systems and
the other with 250 Windows systems on identical hardware,
and a suitably sized problem (e.g., $250 million in orders
per quarter processed through those systems), how many
administrators would be needed for that farm, and whether
the farm is 1%, 10%, 50%, 90%, or 99% loaded.

And then one could replace those 250 Linux systems with
an IBM z-series, making for even more perturbations and
permutations in the cost analysis.  (250 systems would
occupy about 6 to 6 1/4 racks, though it depends on
whether one's discussing 1U or Blades.)

> `----
> http://www.enterpriseitplanet.com/networking/features/article.php/3707251
> 13 reasons why Linux should be on your desktop
> ,----[ Gist ]
> | # Cost 
> | 
> | # Resources 

I'd term this "efficiency".  Linux has a lot of
flexibility; some of that flexibility translates into a
lighter footprint.  A Linux server system simply doesn't
need VGA or mouse, for example -- and with modern cheap
video adapters, that translates into additional available
memory, as the adapters tend to "steal" memory for their
use from the main system buss.  Of course, on a 2GB server
system the borrowing of about 256k for video is probably
largely unnoticeable anyway -- and desktops operate under
a different set of parameters.

> | 
> | # Performance

Given more memory, a system generally performs better, and
since Linux needs less memory, more is available for the
application -- usually a Website if one's in server space.

> | 
> | # No bloatware 

Unless the user/administrator really wants it, of course. :-)

> | 
> | # Security 

Multiple issues here.  As usual, Linux qua Linux breaches
are very rare -- but so are NTOSKRNL qua NTOSKRNL breaches.
Most of the breaches appear to be at the application
(browser, emailer) or daemon (webserver) level.  The
lighttp server should make security headaches a thing of
the past for those who only need a very light web server
environment, though I've not studied it in detail.  For
its part Apache is getting a bit too big for my taste.

As for IIS7....I'd have to look.

> | 
> | # Dual booting 

This is *not* a Linux issue, but could be easily
misconstrued as such.  However, Windows doesn't encourage
dualboots; most Linux distros, by contrast, will detect
a Windows system and work around it (by overwriting the
Windows boot sector with GRUB or LILO and chaining things
so that Windows still boots).

Ideally, Windows would be able to do something similar,
putting existing Linux systems in its boot.ini.
That Microsoft doesn't bother is very telling regarding
its attitude towards sharing and caring (in short --
it doesn't.)

> | 
> | # Installation

I'll admit this is a weird issue, as most Windows systems
are all preinstalled, ready to go, plug them in and the
user can immediately get infected^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hhis work
done, whereas with Linux one has to do a little work --
about 20-30 minutes worth -- and reboot once or twice.
Oh, the horror!

At least, so goes the theory.  Of course, later on, a
badly-configured Windows system tends to suffer from bit
rot (if not outright infection by wayward malware), and
only then does the user truly appreciate the simplicity
of the Linux install (especially since it generally only
has to be done once), as opposed to the nightmare of
the Windows one, which from all reports can take several
hours, many reboots, and some creative juggling of "install
me first".

Which leads us to...

> | 
> | # Reinstalling the OS 

... as it turns out.  Granted, reinstalling a Linux OS
could be a nightmare in itself, if one has accumulated
so much cruft and customization that one isn't sure
precisely where to start.  Of course, in most cases I'm
not sure there's a need to.

> | 
> | # Keeping track of software

I'm not sure Linux helps all that much, but the distro
might.  Of course Linux distros have the advantage of
being able to leverage Unix's foulups (which have long
long since been resolved) in this area.  By contrast,
Microsoft is moving through its own painful rediscoveries
of version management.  Maybe with Vista they'll get
it more or less right.  Maybe.

> | 
> | # Updating software 

Again, mostly a distro thing.  Since most distros offer
lots of software, one can usually update through the
distro, but there's a fair number of exceptions.

> | 
> | # More security

AFAICT, this is a combination of best practices (again,
Unix has already gone through its share of messups,
foulups, SNAFUs, and errors), and explicit decisions
such as Evolution not allowing the user to click and
infect himself.

> | 
> | # No need to defrag disks 

I really don't know much about this, and the defrag problem
is so ill-characterized anyway I'm not sure what to think.
But again Unix's filesystem has the advantage of being able
to run way back on slower, older hardware; this presumably
forced the developers of the filesystems to at least think
a bit before requiring that head to seek.  Again, Unix
made its mistakes so that Linux doesn't have to. :-)

> | 
> | # A wealth of built-in utilities 

And an even bigger wealth of installable ones.

> `----
> http://www.desktoplinux.com/articles/AT5836989728.html
> 25 Reasons to Convert to Linux
> ,----[ Quote ]
> | Businesses, educational institutions, governmental
> | agencies and other organizations around the world
> | are converting1 their computer operating systems
> | from Microsoft Windows to Linux at an increasing pace.
> | They are likewise converting their application programs
> | from commercial software to free software (also referred
> | to as open source software). There are at least 25 reasons
> | for this situation, including...     
> `----
> http://ubuntu704.blogspot.com/2007/10/25-reasons-to-convert-to-linux.html

This blogger appears to have a slight technical problem with footnotes.

1. No cost.  (Well, OK, maybe a few cents per download at the very
   very most!)
2. Anyone can modify.
3. Free, high-quality support.  (Even in COLA, on occasion, though
   there are better venues. :-) )
4. No fear of discontinuation.  (And even if something is, the
   source code could be downloaded and compiled in a pinch.  Of
   course if something's discontinued chances are something else
   has replaced it.)
5. No fear of planned or unplanned obsolescence.
6. No forced upgrades.  (This is debatable but is primarily because
   one might want an upgrade somewhere else, forcing an upgrade
   in an otherwise stable package.  However, this isn't quite
   the same as a forced upgrade.)
7. No upgrade licensing fees/costs.  (Related to #1.)
8. No license tracking required, simplifying things.   (In practice,
   one might want to keep track of internal modifications, though,
   especially if they are of value upstream.  Different issue.)
9. Superior security.  (A combination of best practices and explicit
   design decisions.)
10. Highly resistant to crashing and rarely needs rebooting.  (This
    isn't phrased quite right, but the idea is clear enough.)
11. Extensive and rapidly growing selection of applications, many for
12. Several hundred distros available.  (I guess this is an advantage,
    though many Wintrools will debate this bitterly.)
13. Configuration flexibility.  (Does one want a basic "emergency boot"
    distro or a fully fleshed-out OpenGLX-based gorgeously attired
    desktop?  With Linux, either is possible -- admittedly with some work.)
14. Open file formats.
15. Generally faster, because of better code optimization.
16. Compatibility with more systems, to the extent that it can offer
    files to a Windows network, for example.
17. High ethical standards.  (The anthropomorphisms are a little weird.)
18. Hardware last longer; Linux software does not require frequent
    hardware refreshes.  Of course the flip side is also true; a
    hardware refresh will not require a Linux upgrade.  Mix and match!
19. Wide variety of microprocessors and platforms.
20. Linux is a superior choice for academic users.
21. Linux is a superior choice for government agencies.
22. Low risk of backdoors ("many eyes make good work").
23. Linux fosters a healthy diversity, as apps developed on Linux can
    be ported to competitive platforms -- including Windows.
24. Linux has blown by Windows and continues to accelerate,
    feature-wise.  (This is not to say all features will be
    appreciated by Joe User -- but Vista is looking a little faded
    by comparison now.)
25. Anyone can not only modify (#2) but distribute.
26. No need to defragment the hard drive to improve
    performance; Linux filesystems don't need it.  (There
    are some issues here, but clearly the highly fragmented
    areas of the file tree -- /var/spool/news come to
    mind -- can be put in their own space if necessary,
    and the largely static ones can be compressed once
    and that's more or less it.)

All of these are indeed true, though I can quibble on a few.

> 25 reasons to switch to Linux
> ,----[ Quote ]
> | With Linux and other free software there is little reason to fear the 
> | existence of backdoors, in large part because all of the source code is 
> | available for inspection.  
> `----
> http://bored.dreamflicks.com/2007/08/12/25-reasons-to-switch-to-linux/
> Top 10 Reasons to Switch to Ubuntu Linux
> ,----[ Quote ]
> | I can't believe it's been almost a year already since I switched to Linux, 
> | Ubuntu specifically. I have to say, it's been one of the best times in my 
> | digital life. GNU/Linux is one of the best operating systems there is, and 
> | here's why.   
> `----
> http://mydigitalramblings.blogspot.com/2007/07/top-10-reasons-to-switch-to-linux.html
> 11 reasons to use Linux instead of Windows
> ,----[ Quote ]
> | Run thousands of great pieces of software that only run on Linux. 
> | Just like Windows, Linux has software that doesn't run on Windows.
> | Great pieces of software like Amarok, Bluefish, Neverball, Gnumeric,

Amarok:    music player.
Bluefish:  HTML editor.
Neverball: GL tiltable/rollerball table game.
Gnumeric:  spreadsheet.
K3B:       disc burner.
Beryl:     window manager/desktop visualization project.
gdesklets: Generic term for GNOME utility applets.
MythTV:    Video/TV signal manipulator/recorder package; I'm not
           familiar with its details but it sounds vaguely TiVo-like.
	   Includes a music player.

> | K3B, Beryl, gdesklets, and MythTV.  I know this is a chicken-and-egg
> | point, where Windows has the exact same situation. Too often I hear
> | "I can't switch to Linux because it doesn?t run [insert Windows
> | software]".  My reason for pointing it out is just to make it clear
> | that this is a two-way street.
> `----
> http://www.andersmoen.com/2007/05/21/11-reasons-to-use-linux-instead-of-windows/
> Things I can do in Linux that I can't do on Windows.
> ,----[ Quote ]
> | # Update every single piece of software on my system with a single 
> |   action...

There are issues as to whether one wants to automate this or not, but
with Linux one has the option to either do it oneself, preload the
downloads, or just have everything done at 2 AM in the morning.  Of
course there are risks...but so what else is new? :-)

> | 
> | # Update nearly everything on my computer without a reboot...

With the possible exception of the kernel -- and even then,
most issues are with the modules, which are generally
easily unloadable, replaceable, and reloadable.

> | 
> | # Keep my system secure without software that consumes my
> |   system resources, requires my time, and frequently nags me...

Except perhaps for chkrootkit, but that certainly doesn't
have to be run every day or during every file open -- and
it doesn't nag, just itemizes what it thinks is supicious.

> | 
> | # Run an entire operating system for free without pirating software,
> |   and without breaking the law...

We'll see what happens in this space...I'm a little paranoid with
this Administration.  Hopefully the courts are more reasonable
than the Executive branch.

> | 
> | #  Take my settings with me where ever I go...
> | 
> | # Run Internet Explorer 5.0, 5.5, 6.0, and 7.0 on the same desktop...

I've had issues with 7.0 but the others run fine.

> | 
> | # Understand everything that is going on in my computer...

Debatable, but then, there's a lot going on in there.  :-)  At
least with Linux one has a fighting chance at checking the
daemons and what executable they're running, what config
files they need, and what they're communicating with.

> | 
> | # Customize every aspect of my desktop...
> | 
> | # Benefit from competition between projects for each system on my 
> |   computer...
> | 
> | # Run thousands of great pieces of software that only run on Linux...

I'm hoping this is *not* the case -- mostly because Linux
shouldn't become a monopoly in its own right.  Ideally,
any Linux software would run on other solutions as well
(the two coming to mind being FreeBSD and MacOSX).
Of course, thousands of great pieces of software is a boon.

> | 
> | # Learn about, support, and appreciate the value of free software... 

A value that can't be measured in money or profits,
obviously. ;-) To be sure, what is money anyway?  (An issue
that might lead to a long and ultimately not all that
relevant digression -- but it's clear Linux is a unique
value proposition for those who can use and appreciate it.)

> | 
> `----
> http://dmartin.org/weblog/things-i-can-do-in-linux-that-i-cant-do-on-windows

#191, ewill3@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
"Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of
elderberries!" - Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Posted via a free Usenet account from http://www.teranews.com

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