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A Continuing Work in Progress: The State of Linux 2006

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June 7, 2006 10:57:42 AM

Linux is now on everybody's radar, both in server rooms and on the desktop. Though most people have heard of Linux, far fewer of them actually use it on a day-to-day basis. But that number continues to grow, as more individuals and companies find reasons to use this powerful and capable operating system for all kinds of situations and applications. There's a lot of interesting technology available that works with or is based on Linux, and a staggering number of options available to those who wish to take advantage of same. Dig into our "State of the OS" report to see what's up, where the action is, and why this phenomenon is unlikely to slow down any time soon.
June 7, 2006 1:06:58 PM

While Linux is most definitely a "work in progress", I feel that the title of your report fails to do justice to how much work and progress is actually being made, on a daily if not hourly basis.

Windows seems to have the market at this point and it is from a Windows perspective that people tend to view and evaluate Linux. I surmise, that if you were to give a couple of totally inexperienced kids PCs, one with Windows and the other with Linux and turn them loose and let them explore for a few years, the one with the Linux machine will have learned more and be far more productive at the end of those few years than the Windows PC user.

This is not intended as an insult to either camp. But there are options and Linux is a most viable one... more so than most people realize.

I think that your report went far in raising awareness of the significance of Linux (if people actually read it (I know I did)) but was unsuccessful in conveying the fact that Linux is a completely useable, highly functional and virtually complete computing environment right out of the box, including some very serious productivity software.
June 7, 2006 2:07:23 PM

I agree with most of this article. I have 7 computers and 3 of them running a flavour of Linux, mostly Suse. I find the windows computers far easier to maintain and operate. I find the linux computers have some really nice features in the user interface that I like.

The issue is that there is too much choice and too many flavours of linux. While the point that a single individual will be more productive and knowledgable after a couple of year on linux will only be valid to a certain extent of the distribution being used. After 2 years take the linux person who was using KDE on suse and then drop him into KNOME on Debian or another and that is the problem.

When you know windows XP you know windows XP in all companies. If you know linux you know a Desktop and and a distribution which may not fully apply and will require retraining when you go to a different company.

Choice is good but choice is one of the factors hurting Linux's widespread adoption, too much choice = too many variables = more work to keep running = more complicated to learn

Hardware drivers is the next big problem. Installing printers on Linux can be a huge PITA. When was the last time you had to fight to install a printer on Windows? From a vendors perspective there is not enough payback at this time to support all the different flavours of linux drivers required. I am currently struggling with trying to get an ATI all in wonder X800-XL card to display TV in linux and I have invested far too much time in this versus the 20 minutes to do it in windows.

I think the hope for linux will lie with many newly adopting countries that will eventually have enough clout and volume hardware requirements that drivers will become available for most common hardware.

So while Linux is certainly capable once setup for a user I also believe that it truly is a work in progress.
June 7, 2006 2:32:37 PM

Linux is a very viable desktop OS, I use it exclusively. The major drawbacks that people quote are not the fault of the linux developers, but of the hardware manufactures who do not release drivers or even the comunication specs for their products so the developers can write their own drivers. But with my setup I have zero problems with my HP printer and epson scanner, nor with my nVidia graphics card or sound balster Audigy sound card.
All distributions of Linux have the same core, the Kernel. The way you use the kernel is the same in all distributions. Somethings are tweaked a bit differently here and there between different distros, but what I learned using Red Hat, Caldera, etc. in 1996 while playing around with it I was able to use last year when I gave up Windows and went to Suse, K/Ubuntu, and PClinuxOS.
I settled on Kubuntu because I like KDE better than Gnome, I learned how to use a computer on Amigas and Macs so the configuration through the Gui suited me better that the configuration files of Gnome, and Suse seemed a bit to unstable for me, and PClinuxOS had weird cropping problems with my scanner. I could have played with configuration files to try to fix it. But it worked with Ubuntu so I didn't bother.
I also like not having to do deal with malware.
June 7, 2006 3:50:25 PM

Really, almost all Linux distros fall under one of the three basic families of Linux distributions, 1) Debian based distributions (Debian, Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Mepis, etc), 2) RPM based distros (Red Hat, Mandriva, PCLinuxOS, SUSE/Novell, etc), and 3) compile your own (build from scratch) distributions (usually derived from Gentoo Linux).

Then there are two major Desktop windowing GUI environments, KDE and Gnome. As a good many distros support both environments, and one can typically run KDE apps under Gnome and Gnome apps under KDE, this is really a non-issue.

This may seem bewildering to MS-Win users, but moving from one Linux distro to another isn't all that different from moving from Win 98 to Win ME to Win 2000 to Win XP.

I work with Windows XP in the high school lab where I teach, and all my machines at home run Linux (no MS-Win at home). At the end of the work day, I can hardly wait to use my main Linux box. Using it is a genuine pleasure.

This Summer, I'll install Linux on the lab computers, in a dual OS boot situation. I'm going to start moving my students from MS-Win to Linux. It's the wave of the future.

While Microsoft struggles to make MS-Win Vista a reasonally secure OS, Linux already is, and it just keeps getting better and better.
June 7, 2006 4:43:06 PM

As another comment, Linux is nice in tht you can just get it and install it.

With Windows (and commercial software in general), it is always a game of "Mother May I?" If I have to format my drive and reinstall XP, I always wonder if eventually WPA will deny me the ability to get XP going after 30 days. I would also LIKE to upgrade another machine from Win98 to XP, but I can't seem to justify the money. Plus, to get Office working on the 2nd machine would take even more money.

At work right now, I am also facing a proglem with a development environment for an embedded PowerPC processor. The motherboard on the development PC was bad, so the IT guys swapped it out. The MAC address changed, so now the development sofware refuses to run because the license is not valid on this "new computer". This is costing us in terms of lost productivity -- all because of "Mother May I?" The thing that really annoys me is that we have a USB emulator for the processor made by the same company that makes the IDE. If the IDE is included with the cost of the hardware, then the presence of the hardware should, by itself, be enough to allow the software to run. Well, the story gets better. The licensing help support is e-mail only. The general tech-support line said that they are several days behind right now.

This is not, of course, a Microsoft vs. Linux issue, but is instead a problem of commercial vs. open software -- or, instead, a problem of commercial companies so worried about piracy that they are willing to treat their customers like criminals. Of course, the best way to thwart piracy is to make your software so crappy that nobody even wants to use it -- and that is what some companies are rapidly working towards.

I am not opposed to commercial software. But, if I (or my company) spends a lot of money for software, then the company supplying me the software should bend over backwards to make up happy, not bend over backwards in order to tie our hands and cost us valuable time.

With Linux and Open-Source software in general, there is none of this "Mother May I" nonsense. No product activation, no licensing keys, no hassle. That, in itself, is worth a lot.
June 7, 2006 4:50:14 PM

Quote:
As another comment, Linux is nice in tht you can just get it and install it.

With Windows (and commercial software in general), it is always a game of "Mother May I?" If I have to format my drive and reinstall XP, I always wonder if eventually WPA will deny me the ability to get XP going after 30 days. I would also LIKE to upgrade another machine from Win98 to XP, but I can't seem to justify the money. Plus, to get Office working on the 2nd machine would take even more money.

At work right now, I am also facing a proglem with a development environment for an embedded PowerPC processor. The motherboard on the development PC was bad, so the IT guys swapped it out. The MAC address changed, so now the development sofware refuses to run because the license is not valid on this "new computer". This is costing us in terms of lost productivity -- all because of "Mother May I?" The thing that really annoys me is that we have a USB emulator for the processor made by the same company that makes the IDE. If the IDE is included with the cost of the hardware, then the presence of the hardware should, by itself, be enough to allow the software to run.

This is not, of course, a Microsoft vs. Linux issue, but is instead a problem of commercial vs. open software -- or, instead, a problem of commercial companies so worried about piracy that they are willing to treat their customers like criminals. Of course, the best way to thwart piracy is to make your software so crappy that nobody even wants to use it -- and that is what some companies are rapidly working towards.

With Linux and Open-Source software in general, there is none of this "Mother May I" nonsense. No product activation, no licensing keys, no hassle. That, in itself, is worth a lot.


Very True. This isn't directly related to Linux, but I have been trying to move as much as I can toward Open Source/Free software on my Windows environment. Open office, avg, gimp, gaim, etc. My PC runs faster, the environment is cleaner, and it is much easier to update software/ rebuild the environment.
June 7, 2006 4:55:49 PM

Quote:
With Windows (and commercial software in general), it is always a game of "Mother May I?" If I have to format my drive and reinstall XP, I always wonder if eventually WPA will deny me the ability to get XP going after 30 days. I would also LIKE to upgrade another machine from Win98 to XP, but I can't seem to justify the money. Plus, to get Office working on the 2nd machine would take even more money.


I can totally agree on this statement. If I pay for software, I shouldn't have to pay for it again if I buy a new hard drive, or swap a motherboard. Why should I? I legally acquired said software, why should I have to pay for it again, especially if it is for the same version of said software. I could understand if I was getting a new version, like going from Win 2000 to Win XP but that's not the case. I'm getting another copy of the same OS. This sounds more like a form of fraud or extortion than anything else. It's like buying a book and reading it. Then being forced to buy the same book if you want to read it again.
a b 5 Linux
June 7, 2006 5:28:06 PM

MG37221, theboomboomcars, gfranken, Harrkev great points :-D :-D :trophy: :trophy: :trophy: :trophy:


I have been using Linux since 1995 and it has been a viable OS at least that long.

I have several dedicated Linux machines and use Linux full time.


The only area in which Linux is lacking is gaming, through no fault of the Linux community.

I applaud THG for the article :-D

Linux deserves more coverage!
June 7, 2006 5:38:09 PM

Sorry. I'm a Windows kind of guy. Sure it means I have to bend some rules sometimes so I don't have to keep paying for an OS and software I already bought, but to me, Windows can't be beat. Everything runs on it and as long as you're not stupid, its as safe and secure as Linux. Plus it means I don't have to search through cryptic file structures looking for what I want and use 20 year old command line calls to accomplish something. Everything is easy to find and well laid out.

I've had very little experience with Linux at work but it was all bad. Linux is by no means a bad OS. But its too much work for me to deal with on my home computer and doesn't let me do what I love most(well, 2nd most 8) ) when I'm not at work, play games. If games developers ever seriously supported Linux, I'll consider it. Until then, Microsoft has me tied to them.
a b 5 Linux
June 7, 2006 5:44:48 PM

Surprised it took you this long to post linux_0, I woulda thought you could smell/sense the story being posted :D 

I too have used Linux for a relatively long time (1996) and recently many, many things are starting to fall into place. A fine example is the recent progress in the X server that had stagnated for many years. Now we are starting to get preliminary beta stuff that looks better than Vista and runs on much more reasonable hardware.

Also, the foomatic + cupsd + (gnome_cups_manager|KDEPrint) makes printer installation very, very easy these days MikeInParadise. I will grant you that editing the config files to enable functionality with the ATI drivers (which are low-performance and flakey anyway) is tedious, but as others have stated, that is a shortcoming of the manufacturer. For NVidia's drivers, they also include a handy config tool that mimics that which many are used to in Windows.

While I doubt Linux will ever replace Windows, I do feel with it's incredible power/versatility/security. it always has a place in high-end computing (enterprise and enthusiast). The security and ability to configure to make it extremely simple to use also means that it can have a place for those who are not very familiar with computers (your grandma, your kids, etc). Just setup so there is easy access to the tools/programs they want, and enjoy.
a b 5 Linux
June 7, 2006 5:52:20 PM

Quote:
I don't have to search through cryptic file structures looking for what I want and use 20 year old command line calls to accomplish something. Everything is easy to find and well laid out.


Funny, "easy to find" and "well laid out" are the first thing I think of when I think of the latest distros using either KDE or Gnome. And who says Windows is well-layed out? Who would ever think of looking for file-sharing settings in folder settings? And auto-finding shared printers too? What about if you want to prevent media from auto-loading? Open a command prompt, type in "gpedit.msc", search through it, and change a setting there? What about the countless changes that require editing the registry?

I say the two platforms are much closer in ease of use than you think, you're just used to one.
June 7, 2006 6:27:06 PM

Quote:

Funny, "easy to find" and "well laid out" are the first thing I think of when I think of the latest distros using either KDE or Gnome. And who says Windows is well-layed out? Who would ever think of looking for file-sharing settings in folder settings? And auto-finding shared printers too? What about if you want to prevent media from auto-loading? Open a command prompt, type in "gpedit.msc", search through it, and change a setting there? What about the countless changes that require editing the registry?

I say the two platforms are much closer in ease of use than you think, you're just used to one.


Over all MS has attempted to put all of the configuration that most users use in one place. I think they could do a better job and combine or make available even more. Like the file sharing should be under networking. A lot of stuff is left out of the UI to reduce the chance of some user accidential changing it. For linux however I have found my hunting through 2000 line configuration files, a little less cryptic then the free-for-all windows registery, but a lot harder to find something again once you have found it.

In the end PC are about applications. The OS is just the base for this. Most users are happy if there OS just runs in the background quitely doing what it does best. Its not even a matter of finding an application, its finding one that runs well and is intuitive. I see a lot of poor preforming applications. Mostly ones that are written to be cross-platform using Java. Java apps on the average seem to be fairly slow and chucky, doesn't matter Windows or Linux.

Like the note of the DirectX issue with games. I wish a few of the titles I liked to play would have went OpenGL and at least had a chance to run on Linux. I know there is a DirectX emulation software, but its just not the same thing.

Actually I hope Linux never becomes to popular so all the maleware author don't start writing for it too.
June 7, 2006 6:41:29 PM

Quote:
MG37221, theboomboomcars, gfranken, Harrkev great points :-D :-D :trophy: :trophy: :trophy: :trophy:


I have been using Linux since 1995 and it has been a viable OS at least that long.

I have several dedicated Linux machines and use Linux full time.


The only area in which Linux is lacking is gaming, through no fault of the Linux community.

I applaud THG for the article :-D

Linux deserves more coverage!


Totally agree. I use linux on all my machines, desktops and laptops. Gentoo and ubuntu are probably the best distros i've used so far.

There isn't that much of an issue with hardware these days. There are drivers for all standard hardware, like, harddrives, cdrom/dvd, ac'97 sound chipsets. All graphic drivers are available on linux, although open source versions would be prefered.

Occasionally you will run into some piece of non-standard hardware where drivers are not available, but this doesn't occur to often provided you do a little research before purchasing the hardware. Even for non supported wireless laptops cards, there are still things like ndiswrapper to fix it. Hardware vendors need to pull their fingers out of their ass and start producing linux drivers for non-standard hardware.

Gaming, well, of course thats a big problem area for linux, no one can dissagree. I just wish more game companies were like I.D. They produce great games that run natively on linux. Doom/quake/enemy-territory etc. I always go out of my way to buy their games. But to be honest, with windows games, i usually just torrent them. If they provided native games for linux i would buy them without hesitation.

Finally i just want to say, great article, nice to see this site isn't just focused on windows. Other sites like ExtremeTech should be ashamed.
June 7, 2006 7:37:18 PM

Quote:
Linux is now on everybody's radar, both in server rooms and on the desktop. Though most people have heard of Linux, far fewer of them actually use it on a day-to-day basis. But that number continues to grow, as more individuals and companies find reasons to use this powerful and capable operating system for all kinds of situations and applications. There's a lot of interesting technology available that works with or is based on Linux, and a staggering number of options available to those who wish to take advantage of same. Dig into our "State of the OS" report to see what's up, where the action is, and why this phenomenon is unlikely to slow down any time soon.


I am not a fanboy--or I don't believe myself to be one. Having said that--this article is clearly biased, which is fine and dandy for THG...

I need only mention that the latest numbers indicate that in the server realm, Linux and *nix share is very clearly decreasing while Microsoft Server software is increasing. I will edit and add the links to the proof as I find them, but I read this whole article--perhaps I missed it--but I did not see anything except that "Linux is growing" in the server market. That isn't bias, folks, that is flat out false.

http://news.netcraft.com/archives/web_server_survey.htm...
http://www.internetnews.com/dev-news/article.php/359426...
http://www.betanews.com/article/Microsoft_Makes_Gains_i...
June 7, 2006 7:47:32 PM

To one and all!

Thanks for your many postings, observations and ideas. In looking back at the story it probably would have been smarter for us to explain the notion of viability before intimating that Linux is still lacking in this area.

Justin Korelc (my coauthor, whose name was omitted from the byline, but should be added soon) and I have both used Linux for years, and for many applications--especially media and entertainment, where MythTV is our current favorite--it knocks the socks off you-know-who.

The intent of our remarks in the viability vein were more along the lines of "Grandma would have trouble sticking in a CD or DVD and winding up with a working/workable Linux installation" (of course that's moot in my case anyway: both of my grandmothers have been deceased for some time now ;-). I think the same thing is true for Windows, however, when it comes to the geriatric set. But the real point is that users must still do some of the tidying up and finishing up on Linux installation where Windows does what's necessary to result in a working desktop when installation completes.

This is by no means a judgement that Windows is "better" than Linux, and doesn't indicate we favor the former over the latter. I agree with the many people who post that given sufficient time, energy, and use of the proper drivers, Linux is smaller, faster and less unruly than Windows. And likewise, it continues to improve at competing on all fronts, including productivity apps.

We plan to do another story soon about a do-it-yourself notebook PC project where Linux will be the only operating system we install on that machine. We look forward to everybody's input, interest, comments, and suggestions on that as well. Also, if you have any particular pet projects or topics related to Linux you'd like to see us cover, please let us know. You can contact us by posting further here, or use the Tom's feedback form at http://www.tomshardware.com/site/submission/feedback.ht....

Thanks,
--Ed--
June 7, 2006 7:48:00 PM

Of course the article was biased towards Linux. The article was about Linux. It wasn't an article about OSs in general or an attempt to trash other OSs. It was just an article about Linux.
June 7, 2006 8:00:35 PM

Absolutely right, Ed. I wrote this from a "Where are they now?" perspective, not a "My <OBJECT> is better than your <OBJECT>' fanatical viewpoint. To focus on that is to miss the point entirely. I'm only mildly interested in seeing these server market numbers--the point made is not only arguable, it's tangential to the meaning of this piece.

Clearly everyone else gets it. There are a lot of confirming comments related to usability, availability, and other important subjects that were touched on in the article.

Thank you guys for taking a moment of your time to actually read through and understand the article.

Justin Korelc
a b 5 Linux
June 7, 2006 8:27:50 PM

Quote:
Linux is now on everybody's radar, both in server rooms and on the desktop. Though most people have heard of Linux, far fewer of them actually use it on a day-to-day basis. But that number continues to grow, as more individuals and companies find reasons to use this powerful and capable operating system for all kinds of situations and applications. There's a lot of interesting technology available that works with or is based on Linux, and a staggering number of options available to those who wish to take advantage of same. Dig into our "State of the OS" report to see what's up, where the action is, and why this phenomenon is unlikely to slow down any time soon.


I am not a fanboy--or I don't believe myself to be one. Having said that--this article is clearly biased, which is fine and dandy for THG...

I need only mention that the latest numbers indicate that in the server realm, Linux and *nix share is very clearly decreasing while Microsoft Server software is increasing. I will edit and add the links to the proof as I find them, but I read this whole article--perhaps I missed it--but I did not see anything except that "Linux is growing" in the server market. That isn't bias, folks, that is flat out false. Links to come...



Microsoft recently bribed GoDaddy to let them park 4.5mil domains on Server 2003 machines to improve their numbers.

Just about any organization with brains on the planet is moving away from Microsoft products.

If you want something that works get Mac OS X, BSD, Unix or Linux.

The only area in which Microsoft software is a semi-necessary evil is gaming.

Linux is not perfect, no one is arguing that. No software is perfect. However it offers amazing features at a great TCO.

I have no problem paying for software if that software is worth it, however many commercial companies are charging us outrageous prices for buggy, insecure, low quality software which is specifically designed to prevent the user from accomplishing anything rather than the other way around.
[/i]
June 7, 2006 8:50:08 PM

Knoppix 5.0.1 just became available on the mirrors. Download the file, burn it to a DVD, run the DVD, and ask yourself this question: Wouldn't it make a lot more sense if Knoppix were the multi-hundred dollar software and Windows were the freebie?
a b 5 Linux
June 7, 2006 10:19:57 PM

Quote:
Knoppix 5.0.1 just became available on the mirrors. Download the file, burn it to a DVD, run the DVD, and ask yourself this question: Wouldn't it make a lot more sense if Knoppix were the multi-hundred dollar software and Windows were the freebie?




Excellent point! Knoppix scores very high on the usefulness meter.

Perfect for fixing windoze when it breaks.

:-D
June 7, 2006 10:28:06 PM

I understand that the point of the article was not that "Linux is better than Microsoft so jump on the bandwagon". I do. My point is that it through statements in there that were incorrect.

I am not anti-Linux. I believe it is great stuff--heck, countless organizations use linux for the backbone of their SCM, it is much more robust, it doesn't use 16-24 processes just to BOOT, etc.

It is not winning over Microsoft. I have seen little or no evidence to support that. In your neck of the woods linux might be spreading like bubonic plague, but the numbers I see in the studies indicate a significant loss for *nix usage worldwide Q4 of 2005, whilest Microsoft Server saw tremendous growth. The numbers and URLs should be listed above shortly...
June 7, 2006 11:21:26 PM

I have tried Linux at various points to see if it has improved. Every time it takes me less than a month to swear off of it again.

I love the idea of Linux. I fully support the Open Source Movement. However Linux is a Very capable and powerful server class operating system with one of the most immature user interfaces available.

That is why it is taking a lot of effort to gain support.

When a new version of Windows comes out, I can figure it out quickly and without much fuss. Hell the first time I sat down at my new Windows 95 machine (I had only used amigas and commodores before then) I immediately started playing with it and everything made perfect sense to me.

When I sat down to start playing with linux it was like pulling teeth. Very little was intuitive at all and in order to do many things I could easily figure out in Windows, I would have to first figure out what random configuration file to open, figure out how the syntax works in this particular configuration file, find the lines that needed to be edited, and figure out why it didn't work when I edited them the first time. This is a lot of frustration.

Every time I try linux again I go through the same rigamarole within a day or two for something that I usually just take for granted in Windows.

Linux has come a long long way, but it still has a very long way to go.
June 8, 2006 12:19:25 AM

Linux will never take off in Desktop untill they solve the dependency issues. All popular linux distros come with many useful apps, but installing more apps for your personal needs can turn into a nightmare if you have very limited internet access or no internet access at all, as it makes apt-get and similar tools useless. In terms of out of the box experience, current desktop oriented Linux distros easily win (granted the user doesn't mind the useless unorganized help system). But unlike the Linux distros, you can extend your Windows system painlessly for your needs even if you don't have internet connection.

It's very sad to see that no Linux distro tried to make a decent softaware installation system yet. Seems that only PCBSD has given this side some importance and tried to actually do something with PBI installers.
June 8, 2006 1:09:03 AM

First of all, nice article. Linux's qualities do need more coverage in more mainstream media outlets.

Overall, I quite like Linux as an on/off hobby. But it is a long way from being my main OS, never mind my only OS.

Let me give you an example. When I install Windows, the sound works. I have a bog standard Audigy 2 OEM, so this isn't surprising. I've installed Windows lots of times over the years. And the sound always works. The jingles at the start may be annoying, but at least they're there.

With Linux, sound might work. Or it might not. I might get the right version of ALSA in the kernel that likes my sound card. Or I might not. The distro might already have gone to modular based ALSA, and may have the versions which work. Or it may not. The sound may work out of the box, or it may require one, if not more, terminal commands to actually get the thing configured and unmuted. Or it may not. Blame it on the distro/firmware/driver/utils package/kernel/ad infinitum.

The above is just a silly example, but it illustrates what Windows gives me. Dependability. Before you flame me for "Om1g0dzorz, windows BSODs every 5 seconds, omgwtfbbq", let me explain. When I turn on Windows, after 40 seconds or what have you, I get a screen where I type in my password. After 20 seconds more, I have a finished desktop. In total, one minute of waiting and it's ready. I can reboot 100 times, and it'll do exactly the same thing every time. I can leave my PC on overnight, and know it'll be exactly the same (as when I left it) when I get back. Whenever I need to something ultra important for school, I know I can open a .doc, print, and it'll work.
With Linux, maybe it'll work. Maybe GRUB will play nice and manage to boot into the right place. Maybe the X server won't hit a fault and send me back to a command line. Maybe Gnome won't break and leave me back at a command line. Maybe I won't get weird, apparently random error messages when I boot in. Maybe my desktop will look vaguely similar. Maybe printing will work. Maybe my file will have the right ownership rights to let me open and edit it. Etc.

Observant readers will have hit a trend here. Maybes. With XP, it just works. Sure, it's not perfect. But for the vast majority of cases, it works just fine. I never need to enter a command line to do anything. Or edit .conf files. Or play with fstab to get drives seen. Or battle with grub.conf to get the damn thing to actually boot to where I want it to. Windows just works. And at the end of the day, that's what I want from an OS. Not KDE's apparent vision of an OS that'll write my documents, do my emails, browse my internet and iron my shirt. I just want it to open the files and programs I want, and to do it with the minimum of fuss. In a way, Linus Torvold's recent rant about Gnome being too simple explains my very point. Gnome is one of the few Linux programs I've encountered that has the "Average Joe" usability to creak it's way out of a tiny market share. Others that did interest me were XGL (super idea) and Amarok. Though, as a Gnome user, Amarok does require installing half of KDE for its dependencies anyway. Sigh. When Linux has an exact comparable program for every one I currently use, I might consider switching. Every one. Not some, not most, not all but one.

In the end, I use XP. I got it free with my system, so the cost of Linux is a non-issue. It boots and works quickly, so efficiency isn't an issue. I don't really care about open source software, as unPC as that may be, so being open source isn't an issue. I've never experienced a BSOD/hard lockup (with XP), so stability isn't an issue. After that, you rather wonder what reasons I have left. Sure, I could learn to do a million 1337 things on Linux. But why bother. I can do the 42 1337 things I actually need. In XP. Right now.

Linux is a work in progress. Gimme a tinkle when it hits beta.
Ronaldo38741

P.S. I (due to energy and enthusiasm) haven't bothered to mention games, or install procedures, or compatibility, or other topics. Enough material for a second post when I get round to it.
June 8, 2006 1:54:01 AM

I am currently a writer for the Denguru section and I did the articles on gbpvr and yahoo go. I am currently trying to get the hang of linux and i have to say I'm pretty lost. I go to do the simple task of setting up a media player and I look it up and find mplayer as the choice. I download the RPM to go to town and find I need 10 other libraries to install the player. After about 30 minutes of work I got the thing installed but still no gui. I look up how to set up a gui and all the walkthroughs tell users to compile from source I figured I would try compiling from source and had to use a special command so that it would ignore that i had a new compiler version and then found that the program needed gtk 2.0 which I'm still looking for an rpm for. I then figured I would set up a canon ip 1500 printer networked from a winxp computer. I figured it would be easy since file sharing worked great with samba. Not so. I tried 3 different printer wizards and multiple desktops and could not get them to find the thing. I used fedora 4 core before this and the video stopped working during load up (I think that was my fault for upping the resolution to the max of monitor with a radeon 7000). I used suse 10 and that just wouldnt load up anymore for no apparent reason after 3 restarts. I think the boot loader was defaultly configured incorrectly. I ran this 500 mhz P3 old dell xps T500 pc with 640 meg of ram on xp pretty well for a couple months before I tried out linux so I know all the hardware works. I was hoping to work my way up to myth tv on a faster computer.
You guys claim linux is as easy as windows and its not. Setting a windows machines to play video is a 10 second download of a codec pack and install. I can get GBPVR up and running in 10 minutes with probably all the functionality of myth tv. I'm not a dumb guy either. I am chemical engineer with a minor IT and I often interface instruments to windows PCs by programming them. I grew up with a dos commandline and am no way intimidated by the linux commanline. I would really like to learn this linux stuff but all of the walkthrough set up for linux assume you have all the necessary packages or they are directed at one particular distro. When I first saw windows 95 at ten years old I set up a printer and now that I'm 21 I can't install a networked printer on linux. I'm finding linux buggier than windows and thats just wrong. Maybe I have to burn the cds slower or maybe an older distro for older hardware. You guys have come a long way in hardware compatibility and open office, mozilla, and gaim rock. I use them all on my windows comp. If you guys have any suggestions for distros or can think of any stupid things I'm doing wrong with linux just leave a post.
a b 5 Linux
June 8, 2006 10:25:57 AM

Yahoo reports and Microsoft has admitted this 8O

Quote:

"Microsoft Corp. acknowledged Wednesday that it needs to better inform users that its tool for determining whether a computer is running a pirated copy of Windows also quietly checks in daily with the software maker. The company said the undisclosed daily check is a safety measure designed to allow the tool, called Windows Genuine Advantage, to quickly shut down in case of a malfunction." The EULA is suppose to disclosed this daily call in feature. Lauren Weinstein, who is co-founder of People for Internet Responsibility, was one of the first people to notice the daily communications to Microsoft. Report from Yahoo.com"


http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/06/08/0119253...

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060607/ap_on_hi_te/microso...;_ylt=AujEpciXDaznfIp7roidcYMjtBAF;_ylu=X3oDMTA0cDJlYmhvBHNlYwM-
June 8, 2006 1:18:06 PM

Quote:
Yahoo reports and Microsoft has admitted this 8O


"Microsoft Corp. acknowledged Wednesday that it needs to better inform users that its tool for determining whether a computer is running a pirated copy of Windows also quietly checks in daily with the software maker. The company said the undisclosed daily check is a safety measure designed to allow the tool, called Windows Genuine Advantage, to quickly shut down in case of a malfunction." The EULA is suppose to disclosed this daily call in feature. Lauren Weinstein, who is co-founder of People for Internet Responsibility, was one of the first people to notice the daily communications to Microsoft. Report from Yahoo.com"


http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/06/08/0119253...

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060607/ap_on_hi_te/microso...;_ylt=AujEpciXDaznfIp7roidcYMjtBAF;_ylu=X3oDMTA0cDJlYmhvBHNlYwM-

And I care--because?

This is no problem for me. I knew you would come back to defend linux, didn't realize you would do so by attacking Microsoft. As I said before, regardless of difficulty setting up Linux, in some--perhaps many--configurations, it is better suited for running mission-critical tasks. However, there are many more client computers than there are servers, and Server 2003 does a dang good job these days.

Why resort to attacking Microsoft? This is about Linux, is it not? Yes, Microsoft has its problems, and it has had huge, gigantic flaws, but Linux is a double-edged sword in that it excels due to its open-source--while it is not universal like Windows is. Incompatible software is a nightmare because saying "X driver or X software runs perfectly on Linux" depends on which of the dozen or so popular flavors of Linux we're talking about. Microsoft has different client and server OS versions, and yes, x64 vs. x86 versions now too, but of the currently supported versions, really we're talking 4 or 5 big ones. Most if not all Windows 2000 apps work on Windows XP, and heck even most Win2k drivers work with XP, so really only 3 or 4.

Again though--why mention something so off-topic? We were getting off-topic as-is, and even if you expose a weakness microsoft has that I have not known before, does that make linux any better? Oh, nevermind. I'm not a linux hater--but you certainly seem to want to create anti-linux flames--perhaps to catch us in error while flaming without reasoning...

Here I go talking about staying on-topic and lol I just brought us even MORE off topic :roll:
a b 5 Linux
June 8, 2006 1:40:39 PM

I was simply posting an article I saw today on slashdot, I was not aware that was a crime.

To the best of my knowledge I posted facts and did not bash microsoft in any way.
June 8, 2006 2:14:20 PM

You didn't say which distros you have tried so I'll say what I know and hopefully it helps. Dependancies can be terrible so I would recomend using a package management utilitity, in SUSe Yast does this, I am currently running Kubuntu and use synaptic. Whats really nice about package manangement utilities is that you put in your repositories (if it's installed with the system then some are already configured for you) and it brings up the list of available applications you find the one you want through the search tool, or just browsing (I wouldn't recommend this as with the basic repos for Ubuntu there are over 20,000 apps to choose from) select the ones you want and it takes care of the dependancies for you.

I have hade zero boot problems, and with Kubuntu have had to edit any .conf files, so maybe you could take a look and see if it will do the same for you. If you like Gnome the go for Ubuntu instead. Also the ubuntu forums are great, they have lots of howtos and totorials to get everything going should you run into any problems.

PClinuxOS is also another great distro, it has most of the media codec installed right of the bat so you don't have to install them.
a b 5 Linux
June 8, 2006 2:56:09 PM

Quote:
You didn't say which distros you have tried so I'll say what I know and hopefully it helps. Dependancies can be terrible so I would recomend using a package management utilitity, in SUSe Yast does this, I am currently running Kubuntu and use synaptic. Whats really nice about package manangement utilities is that you put in your repositories (if it's installed with the system then some are already configured for you) and it brings up the list of available applications you find the one you want through the search tool, or just browsing (I wouldn't recommend this as with the basic repos for Ubuntu there are over 20,000 apps to choose from) select the ones you want and it takes care of the dependancies for you.

I have hade zero boot problems, and with Kubuntu have had to edit any .conf files, so maybe you could take a look and see if it will do the same for you. If you like Gnome the go for Ubuntu instead. Also the ubuntu forums are great, they have lots of howtos and totorials to get everything going should you run into any problems.

PClinuxOS is also another great distro, it has most of the media codec installed right of the bat so you don't have to install them.




I agree, package mgmt programs are awesome.

YaST, apt-get, synaptic, yum and others are great, make life a lot easier and save you a lot of time :-D
a b 5 Linux
June 8, 2006 3:07:09 PM

Quote:
When I turn on Windows, after 40 seconds or what have you, I get a screen where I type in my password. After 20 seconds more, I have a finished desktop. In total, one minute of waiting and it's ready. I can reboot 100 times, and it'll do exactly the same thing every time. I can leave my PC on overnight, and know it'll be exactly the same (as when I left it) when I get back. Whenever I need to something ultra important for school, I know I can open a .doc, print, and it'll work.
With Linux, maybe it'll work. Maybe GRUB will play nice and manage to boot into the right place. Maybe the X server won't hit a fault and send me back to a command line. Maybe Gnome won't break and leave me back at a command line. Maybe I won't get weird, apparently random error messages when I boot in. Maybe my desktop will look vaguely similar. Maybe printing will work. Maybe my file will have the right ownership rights to let me open and edit it. Etc.


Wow, I'm sorry you've had such a hard time, but I just wanted to point out that I've had the exact opposite experiences with my own machines. Windows will, from time to time, no longer want to boot or have some registry settings automagically changed. A fine example is my laptop which will sometimes launch FF when I press the "internet" hotkey button, sometimes not. In Linux, it took more time to set it up sure, but it works 100% of the time. Linux will always boot for me, never failing to load whatever modules/daemons I tell it to. I don't acuse you of lying, I have seen weirdness on Linux just as in Windows, I just haven't seen persistent random weirdness, if that makes any sense. Once the weirdness is fixed, my experience has been that it stays fixed.

That being said, I think that whatever you're most productive in is what you should use. Once I properly configure it, I am much more productive in Linux. "Properly configured" varies from machine to machine for me, but usually takes about 2 days in total, most of which is just catching the little settings or apps that I've forgotten.
June 8, 2006 6:13:51 PM

Come come now, that post from slashdot didn't end up in a State of Linux thread by accident. It IS important, but I think there's a better place for the link. (On a sidenote: I despise auto-checkers like that in all forms whether it's Google, Microsoft, Yahoo etc. Progs like that annoy the hell out of me) In the spirit of not derailing the thread, I'll move on.

I loved this piece. It was refreshing to see a Linux article on the internet that doesn't spell Microsoft with a dollar sign, or do nothing but compare Linux to Windows for three pages. Like most Linux users, I started out tinkering with a few distros as a hobby. As time went on, I found I could do more and more with Linux that started to resemble "everyday" computing with the same ease I had originally found on MacOS and Windows. Now that I've taken the time to learn and configure my machine, it does exactly what I want it to, and nothing else. That's what I adore about the experience: I can tailor what I want it to do without extra or automated processes taking control from me.

**You might want to skip this part, it's self-righteous pontificating**
I appreciate that Microsoft wants to offer me what they've determined to be the average user's computing useage. It's not better or worse than what I have, it's just not the same. There's also some ego involved. I like that I configured Linux to the way I wanted it. The sense of self-satisfaction is a big part of the Linux experience in my opinion. The nature of the beast is that the Linux community isn't unlike the car enthusiast scene, especially in that regard.

Some people want to build a car, some people want to buy a car and then fix it or tune it to their own designs. In reality, most people don't care enough or have enough time to learn cars to do either. They just want one that runs. They want to go to Honda and say "give me a Civic." And hey, look at that! It comes with a radio too. And wouldn't you know? It comes with an airbag as well. It's not the best air bag, and you could probably install a better radio...but is driving your car enough of a concern that you'll go that extra step?

In that light, I hope Linux never replaces Windows. I hope corporations like Microsoft and Google stay right where they are. They do something Linux won't do, and that's offer an experience to people who don't need that much power over their computing. They offer a standard. It's probably a closed or proprietary protocol, but it's a decent impression of what their users want. I dread the day that Linux strays too far from its roots and offers something so specific as what Windows does. I don't mix well with the idea that a software maker can better guess what I want from my computer than I can.
**Ok, I'm done with that**

I'm in agreement with the article, Linux has made incredible leaps and bounds since its inception. I won't say that Linux has a long way to go, because there's nothing specific Linux has to do...kinda. So long as users want control over some part of their computing, Linux will cater to that.
a b 5 Linux
June 8, 2006 7:40:16 PM

Installing printers on Linux is usually not a task at all- you turn on the printer when you install the OS and it gets detected. Or worst case, you have to go to "Add Printer" in the admin/control menu of the distribution and select the printer from a menu of detected ones. Or you could always go to http://localhost:631 and configure the printer via the CUPS web interface, which is also very pick-and-click.

If you have a VERY cheap win-printer, sometimes they require a firmware flash, and distributions like SUSE generally carry that with them. Some others don't and you have to get the firmware packages. But buy a printer where the cost of the printer > cost of the ink in it and you'll be fine.
June 8, 2006 7:41:45 PM

You said it better than I did.

But I do go into the command line with Windows. Quite often. And the only time I've ever had to even look at the registry at home is when Star Wars: Empire at War's incredibly shitty copy protection mechanism wouldn't let me play the damn game that I legally purchased. The fix was changing a setting in the registry to give my optical drive admin access.
a b 5 Linux
June 8, 2006 7:51:13 PM

About the only bad thing about Linux is that you pretty much have to have a broadband connection to enjoy some of the better qualities of it, such as the online-repository-based package management systems and also to download the CD or DVD ISOs. You certainly can install Linux from a bought/borrowed CD/DVD and use the install discs for package sources, though. It's just not as up-to-date or elegant.

But Windows also shares that problem, with the exception that you can't (well, LEGALLY) download the program ISOs from the Internet and you have the option to used boxed software for about everything, whereas a lot of the Linux software is just offered for download, with the exception of a few large packages like OpenOffice, Java, and Mozilla. And Windows Updates are a heck of a lot bigger than Linux patches, so this is really a "modern OS" issue and not a Linux-specific one.
June 8, 2006 7:59:06 PM

Quote:
Who would ever think of looking for file-sharing settings in folder settings? And auto-finding shared printers too? What about if you want to prevent media from auto-loading?


I think file-sharing for a folder being in that folder's settings menu is quite intuitive. "Is my folder being shared? Well lets look at its settings. Yup."

Not sure what you're talking about with the auto-finding shared printers. You go to printers and yes you can set Windows to autofind them (of course it doesn't work that well).

If you want to prevent media on CDs or USB devices from auto-loading you just select "Take No Action" and check the "Remember this decision" checkbox the first time you put put/plug either in. Not exactly hard.
a b 5 Linux
June 8, 2006 8:13:15 PM

You know, I am young enough to never have used UNIX in "the old days" and the only CLI-only system I ever used was an Apple II. My family's first computer was an 80286 with an IBM GUI and I never remember having to go to the DOS prompt except to install a program. But after starting to use Linux a couple of years ago, I actually *like* to use the command line as I think it's a lot faster to do many tasks with. I was very surprised as I was led to believe that the command line was to a GUI as a slide rule is to a graphing calculator: old, hard to use, and far less powerful.

There is a tool for every job, and some jobs are best done with a CLI, and some are best done in a GUI. I like the modern *nixes because they have both a good, powerful CLI and a good, usable, GUI. Windows has a good GUI but the command line is an vestigial appendage like an appendix- it is technically there but it does nothing.
June 8, 2006 8:42:03 PM

At least ipconfig is still useful from the CLI :wink:

I do agree that the CLI in Linux is much more powerful and I like it. I also like the way linux handles partitions, and the EXT3 filesystem is nicer than the dated NTFS and FAT32 systems.

That being said, I have never really got into using linux as on a regular basis. I have set up some backup file servers (Its nice than you can through a bunch of old HDs in a PII and have a decent archive file server) and print servers and what not, beyond that, its more of a hobby that a use from time to time.

I do use Solaris and to a lesser extent HP-UX at work all the time, and there are some things they can do that Windows just can't compare to.
June 8, 2006 8:45:10 PM

I think what people mean with the auto find of printers in Windows is the fact that it automatically adds every printer on your local area network, even if it already exists as a shared printer on the machine.

While not necessarily a problem, this does tend to be a pain in the ass.
June 8, 2006 9:24:34 PM

bourgeoisdude,

I think you need to relook at your links. for one netcraft shows a small increse in IIS server and a small decrease in Apache servers (note apache not= Linux)

but if you look over time you see that they both follow up and down trends and neither has moved much from inital gain.

the Microsoft gains server market, is well both uninformative as much as it dose not say Windows is taking market share from linux. it states UNIX (Linux is UNIX like, Not UNIX , as UNIX is a standard not an OS)

they don't print the numbers but include the statment at the end that Windows is not the only OS to gain from UNIX useage drops, but that Linux also gained "with Linux taking 37 percent of those customers". so the only thing I got from this is microsoft gained and Linux gained. nether lost

and the other was compairing Netware (not unix or linux) to windows.. WoW.. that was a suprise..



if you look at
http://www.serverwatch.com/stats/article.php/3596491
you see IIS did have a big gain in number of server but percentage only 4% (note for example SUN servers had a 2% gain)

if you look at
http://www.serverwatch.com/stats/article.php/3609521
you will see Microsoft has 37.1% of the market with a 5% growth
while Linux (sales --- not installed by user, but sold on the box) have a 12% of the market share and grew by 17%.

This is a much larger growth in sale (rember this has nothing to do with use)

so I don't see your logic that linux shares are falling..
Its just supported by the facts.

I am not arguing that windows server share are not growing, they are, but so is the world market of potetal coustomers. as that grows there is room for both to grow.
June 8, 2006 9:26:23 PM

Quote:
Sorry. I'm a Windows kind of guy. Sure it means I have to bend some rules sometimes so I don't have to keep paying for an OS and software I already bought


Bend.....call the things for its name: break the rules, download sowftware Ilegally, obtaining commercial products and using them without a valid (legally acquired) license, in summary, doing bad stuff xDxDxD

Quote:
The only area in which Microsoft software is a semi-necessary evil is gaming.


Microsoft is to OSs as Satan to the christian faith....you just can't have heaven without hell

If only there were more games (opens) out there......


And for all the ppl that said that MS is like big momma...yes, it feels just like when you (sadly) aquired a PC NOT made by yourself (shame shame!!) and it has that "warranty seal" :twisted: :twisted: :twisted: :twisted: everytime you screw something up you remove the HDD to get to a friend's house to fix it (or bakcup it or watever) but with that NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO you just hav to get to a techinician so he does what you already know and besides, he charges for it, sure it's fair game, but only if you know about pcs as much as a donkey knows of non-linnear algebra.....


Finally, well, Linux has too many distros xDxD a "standardification" process is required (not the kernel, but all) so you don't get problems like I've seen in other forums (and happened to me when trying to install my modem :p )

LINUX DRIVERS->INSTRUCTIONS-> <<insert distro here>>

WTF???? but I have <<insert another distro different that the one above here>> now what will I do

If you are a Winnie user that has been under the deep sleep of ignorance and suddenly awakened half a year ago (just like Neo in matrix) it's kinda hard to shift :p  (specially if you have a couple of tests every week+prints for mechanical drawing class+ a psycho teacher of physics II just like I do and so on)

I like this thread :D 
a b 5 Linux
June 8, 2006 9:29:38 PM

Quote:
For the record, another article showing the server trend, hot off the press: http://www.betanews.com/article/Microsoft_Gains_in_Web_...



Quote:

Microsoft recently bribed GoDaddy to let them park 4.5mil domains on Server 2003 machines to improve their numbers.

Just about any organization with brains on the planet is moving away from Microsoft products.



I am considering organizing a GoDaddy boycott.
June 8, 2006 9:42:29 PM

to add
from http://www.serverwatch.com/stats/article.php/3609521

Windows is the likely cause behind the Unix servers experienced a 7.1 percent decline in sales year over year, while unit shipments declined 8.7 percent from first-quarter 2005. Unix revenue, on the other hand, totaled more than $3.9 billion for the quarter and accounted for 33.2 percent of sales.

and you can notice that from http://news.netcraft.com/archives/web_server_survey.htm...

is you read MAY 2006 numbers.. not just the JUNE nubers that everyone is reporting as its the top of the page (hint you must look down)
Quote:

This month 1.7 million hostnames at Go Daddy that were classified as "Other" in April are recognized as Apache sites running on Linux. Large blocks of Apache sites at Go Daddy have shifted back and forth between Apache and Other since January , due to changes in its bulk hosting service. It uses a front-end system that generates an HTTP redirect with no Server header when a site is first accessed — only once the redirect is followed, or if the site is accessed a second time, does it identify Apache as the server.

The latest shift helps Apache regain 2% market share after a drop of 5.7% last month, when Go Daddy shifted more than 4 million hostnames from Apache to Windows Server 2003. Apache's improvement this month has no effect on Go Daddy's continued hosting of parked domains on Windows Server 2003, which gains 143K hostnames at Go Daddy this month.

it looks like Go Daddy is tring to hide what servers it is using.
June 8, 2006 10:24:17 PM

I especially like the bleeding paperclip!!

I'll be forwarding this to a few.
a b 5 Linux
June 8, 2006 10:29:39 PM

Quote:
I especially like the bleeding paperclip!!

I'll be forwarding this to a few.





I hadn't even seen that...

that's awesome!
!