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Wednesday, February 1st, 2006, 10:27 pm

Linux Saves Time

Desktop with previews

OCCASIONALLY I get reminded why productivity and Windows remain an oxymoron. Take authoring in research, for example.

Colleague: juggling processes, restoring and minimising active windows, yet unable to cope with the complexity and clutter in the desktop

Over here: 8 virtual desktops

Colleague: needs to convert many images from encapsulated PostScript to PNG. Approach: start bloatware and wait for a little while; Load all images, assuming physical memory permits it; Wait for a long time for images to be rendered; Save images one by one and change file extension by hand.

Over here: a simple 3-line script does all of the above in just seconds. It uses ImageMagick.

Colleague: uses Wordpad for composition and paint.exe for simple graphics

Over here: a decent choice of professional tools

Colleague: figure placement handled by hand, hyphenation not possible. LaTeX is not reliable under Windows as it is not ‘native’

More issues: occasional viruses, FS maintenance, regular reboots (thus restoration of workspace is needed)

I estimate that we save several hours per day by opting for Linux. I am left baffled wondering: how can anyone who uses a computer for work possibly choose Windows? Has the world turned upside down?

I will soon be writing about the transition of a close friend to Linux. He recently discovered a world of power computing and left Windows on the curb. Linux stereotypes are often the main peril.

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