In comp.os.linux.advocacy, chrisv
on Fri, 19 Dec 2008 13:21:20 -0600
> The Ghost In The Machine wrote:
>> mentally-ill troll wrote:
>>> Any takers?
>>Fine by me, but precisely what did you want to discuss?
> Don't you know? He's been repeating the same garbage in here for
> years, mostly using Windows' dominant market-share as "proof" that
> Windows is better, people "don't want" Linux, there's "something
> wrong" with Linux, etc, etc.
Windows *is* better in one area: market share. That's about it. ;-)
As for what is wrong with Linux, I can point to some
specifics (a bug in jfs for example blasted a rather
important though not absolutely essential file on my laptop
during a system crash), but generally I think the main
problem is probably that people aren't as familiar with it,
and have learned well the lessons Microsoft have pushed
at us (sometimes intentionally, sometimes less so) -- for
example, Ctrl-Alt-Del fixes everything (ha!), that
GUI = "easy to use" (properly done, GUIs are a help, but
it's a lot of work to implement such correctly), that
Microsoft Windows Vista is a modern OS (um, FSVO), etc. etc.
Time might cure that...though a healthy advertising
budget would be of some assistance. How would one sell
Linux to the masses, though? At best, Linux is merely
another piece of software to install on their computing
machines (and a rather obscure part, at that, since more
visible portions include KDE, Gnome, and X); at worst, it's
a competitor to Microsoft and therefore largely unnecessary
if one does go by the "the winner must be the best" theory,
and certainly Microsoft has won by a large margin --
though it is far from clear that they've done so honestly.
Sad mess, admittedly, lasting over a couple of decades
(Win1.0 was, after all, released in 1985). One hopes for
at least the following:
 Standard Win32. [*]
 A Win32 reference implementation (no, *NOT* Microsoft's!).
WinE might be a good candidate here, or ReactOS. WinE
is now out of beta (if the 1.1.7 is any indication;
it was, however, very usable well before 1.0).
ReactOS is at version 0.3.7 and is out of the womb,
but barely crawling; it has many major subsections --
among them, proper disk partitioning -- which still
need to be worked on. It does, however, run a number
of programs already (among them, Remote Desktop),
and can be installed within a virtual machine.
 QA departments around the world using the reference
implementation or implementations during testing,
to catch obscure bugs.
Of course if one really wants a good standard
implementation, Linux was clearly there third -- as Unix
(or if one prefers, POSIX) was first, The X Windows System
second. Microsoft schlogs up the rear, having spent most
of its time on its own well-trodden but nonstandard path,
but Microsoft does have a very long train of developers
following its every move, some of them rather famous.
I'm not a user of Ubuntu but they seem to have a good
thing going; I hope they can resolve some of their
problems, if only to spare the embarrassment when a
troll mentions the freezeups posted on their forums.
(To be fair, I think a lot of those freezeups are because
of equipment overheating, although in one case it might
be because of wrong or stupid WinModem drivers.) Of course
Ubuntu is just an easy target, as they are the most visible;
they could just as easily go after Gentoo, were it the
top dog, or Fedora or DSL. I don't see Gentoo becoming
the top target, though it's my favorite distro (certainly
I've installed it on at least six machines).
I don't see people wanting Linux, myself; it doesn't do a
thing for them directly (though the indirect benefits are
numerous). Not that I see many people wanting Windows,
either; they might want specific things, such as the
ability to browse the Internet using the big blue e -- or,
ideally, Firefox or maybe Google Chrome (though Google had
better get its act together at some point); Windows media
player to play their favorite music and videos (codecs are
a bit of a mess); Flash to play casual games and interact
with certain websites [www.disney.com, for example];
various programs -- Bat, Exchange, Evolution (Linux),
balsa (Gnome), kmail (KDE) etc. -- to send messages to
friends and family, or maybe text them nowadays.
FWIW I don't see many people wanting Midori, either; we'll
probably be stuck with it though, at some point. If we're
really lucky they'll change the name to Microsoft Windows
<boringly bland name> so we think it's an improvement.
However, from what I've heard regarding one of its
internals, C/C++ code such as
char * ptr = (char *) &dummy - 123; // somewhere in the stack?!
may have *no protections at all*, potentially wiping out
not only the current process but any other process in the
system. I don't know the C# equivalent; fortunately C#
does have the 'unsafe' keyword as a hint, but any hacker
would know that anyway.
(Someone, anyone, please, prove me wrong regarding Midori...)
Thank you, Microsoft, for making computing slow, difficult,
cumbersome, and dangerous, and for making everyone think
that computers can be less slow, less difficult, less
cumbersome, and less dangerous with additional non-Windows
software, or by simply pressing those three magic little
keys that everyone nowadays learn from birth (or so it
seems anyway [+])...
[*] there's a lot of quibbles here. The current Win32
specification -- if one can call it that -- is a mess,
including things from file and process handling to
highly sophisticated GUI controls. Linux et al at
least managed to separate fork() from XCreateWindow(),
though that might have been more by accident -- the
latter is part of X Windows, after all -- than design.
I suppose Windows did too; CreateProcess is in winbase.h,
RegisterClass and CreateWindow in winuser.h. However,
the Windows include files have to be handled far more
carefully for some reason than the Unix/X ones.
[+] X could support Ctrl-Alt-Del better; Ctrl-Alt-Backspace
is a reasonable substitute, though, and Alt-SysRq
might be a reasonable substitute as well for the
Linux kernel, though I've rarely used it, and don't
know if I've enabled it in my kernels offhand.
Linux. Because life's too short for a buggy OS.
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