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What's Keeping You On Windows? 3212

schnell asks: "Here's something I've wondered about for a long time. While it seems that the majority of Slashdot readers are no fans of Microsoft, recent polls show that 47% of Slashdot Users are using Windows as their main OS (and I bet that number is much higher in server logs). So I have a two-fold question: 1) Is it just the 'vocal minority' that favors alternate OSes over Linux and 2) if not, what's keeping you from 'putting your money where your mouth is' - why are you using Windows? My own situation is that I use an IT-mandated Win98 (ugh) laptop at work, but at home I'm Mac OS X all the way. While I did pay Microsoft for Office for Mac, I try to avoid filling their coffers whenever possible, so for all the family/friends who rely on me for computer recommendations I recommend Mac or Linux. Do people like using Windows? Are games the driving factor? Or is it just 'the right tool for the job?'" It's a perennial question, and one that is fitting to review every so often, if only to see how far Open Source has come, and how far it needs to go.
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What's Keeping You On Windows?

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  • Games (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Groovus ( 537954 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:27PM (#4680163)
    At this point that's it. Everything else you can do well with another OS, but games are still pretty much exculsive to Windows. Time to get more GNU/Linux game development/ports going!!!
  • Well - Duh! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by moldar ( 536869 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:27PM (#4680173)
    Maybe I am not part of the vocal majority but to me it is Games, Games, and more Games. I imagine that is the case for quite a few people.
  • Simple: (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dr. Bent ( 533421 ) <benNO@SPAMint.com> on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:29PM (#4680196) Homepage
    Warcraft III
    ...and all the other PC games that I can't do without. I'm a Java developer, so when it comes to my professional life, I couldn't care less what OS I work on (whatever's cheapest usually wins). But when it comes to my personal life, I choose Windows because I'm a gamer, and windows makes gaming easy (at least, easier than it would be on Linux or a Mac)
  • Games (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jasonditz ( 597385 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:29PM (#4680205) Homepage
    I do fiddle around with Linux and FreeBSD, and have boxes dedicated to both (plus a Solaris box), but my most expensive system is a Windows box. And there's one reason: games.

    The fact of the matter is games are just a lot cheaper and more plentiful on Windows than on Linux, or even a Mac.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:30PM (#4680214)
    Same reason people are still using Windows. Change is hard for all of us I guess.
  • by Bloodshot ( 8999 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:30PM (#4680225) Homepage
    I'm a long-time Linux user (currently running Gentoo) and want to move to OS-X...but I don't have the cash to get myself that shiny Mac laptop I want. Of course, that just means I've been sucked in by Apple's marketing. I would get a G4 desktop if I could afford it. Between the mortgage, car payment, montessori school for my kid, retirement planning and savings for the *next* house, there isn't anything left over. Apple makes solid hardware, but it's an order of magnitude more expensive than PC stuff.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:31PM (#4680238)
    It's the same reason that we use gas-guzzling cars instead of solar helicopters, or why we eat slimy hamburgers instead of cooking our own nutritious food, or why we watch shitty tv shows instead of engaging our imaginations in classic literature...
    It's easier, and we're willing to forsake quality in exchange for something which requires less effort, or we just don't HAVE the option of an alternative.

  • by skurk ( 78980 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:32PM (#4680263) Homepage Journal
    Here: Games only.

    I hate to admit it but, yes, I do play games (Counter-Strike exclusivly) and yes, I do have Windows 98 installed on my computer.

    Until recently, I haven't had Windows on my workstation for nearly three years. I managed fine without, didn't miss it at all. I used FreeBSD for about 1 1/2 years, then OpenBSD for six months, and now I'm back on Debian Linux.

    I'll try WineX [transgaming.com] tonight and will leave a report here if it is as good as they claim.
  • by Headius ( 5562 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:33PM (#4680282) Homepage Journal
    No matter how fast they make the drivers, no matter how much they optimize it - a client-server based desktop environment is ALWAYS going to be slower than a non-c/s solution. X continues to feel just a bit sluggardly on all my systems, even with the latest, fanciest drivers from whoever.

    The second biggest problem I have with Linux is stability. Linux itself is a rock, but I have not used a single X app that hasn't crashed at least once. It's a dismal record. There's no accountability for bugs, so they're only fixed when someone feels like it. I've managed and worked on a few open source projects, and without corporate backing, guess what -- homework, real work, and personal preference come first. Unless you've got some really dedicated guys, shit doesn't get done.

    I want Linux to succeed. I really do. I don't see how it's ever going to do it relying on X, and I don't see the desktop environments coming anywhere near more polished corporate-funded alternatives. Mac OS X is pretty, tight, simple, and as powerful as Linux, but I have to have a Mac to run it. Windows 2000 is vanilla, stable, boring, and runs on anything, but I don't LOVE using it. I would love for Linux to be a real alternative, but it simply isn't.

    Ditch X and come up with a really solid desktop environment that doesn't require it, and I'll be back in a heartbeat.
  • by Blimey85 ( 609949 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:36PM (#4680360)
    I use Linux for work and WinXP for games. I also use XP for doing some online shopping when I can't get Mozilla to behave but that problem has pretty much gone away for the most part, at least at the sites I frequent.

    I also get an occasional MS Office file and while there are products available for Linux that will allow me to work with these files, it's far simpler for me to pull them up in Office on my laptop. I also need to run Quicken and Quickbooks and so having my laptop running XP makes it all very convenient. It's a shame that I need to either boot into XP or use a second computer to get through the average day but that has been the easiest way that I have found.

    Also, I don't have MS like a lot of people do. I do actually like some of their products and while I agree that they have some pretty bad business practices, a lot of security holes, and a list of other things to bitch about, I still find some of their products to be quite useful. I have a MS keyboard and a MS mouse that I really like. I use Office XP when I need to do a spreadsheet or write a business letter. I play Motocross Madness and Age of Empries on occasion. I use some Adobe products as well as other applications and games that aren't available in Linux and since I don't have a Mac, I'm SOL on being able to run OS X.

    The more I think about the situation, the less I think that Linux will ever wipe out Windows. I don't think it will ever happen and I don't think that it should. It's all about choice and I do think that we will eventually reach a point where we are free to choose an operating system based solely on that os's merits (with all of the major apps being available for Win, Mac, and Linux).

    Until everything that I want to use is available for Linux, I'll continue to contribue to the obscene profits of MS when they have a new program or an upgrade that I wish to purchase. I use whatever is best for the given task. Games, it's Windows. Work (for me) it's Linux. Graphics it's (if only I could afford to get one) Mac.

  • Java! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dubbayu_d_40 ( 622643 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:40PM (#4680466)
    CPU's are fast enough and the JDK is good enough. If games were written in Java we wouldn't need windows. WE NEED JAVA GAMES!!!!! And quicken too...
  • by twocoasttb ( 601290 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:41PM (#4680483)
    The biggest reason I stick with Windows is the sizeable investment I've made over the years in purchasing and learning Windows software. For example, I own most of the Adobe product line. I don't know that I'd switch to Linux, but I'd switch to OS X in a heartbeat if I could get my Adobe licenses converted. Adobe used to let you do that for the price of an upgrade (still too expensive), but I don't think they let you do that anymore. That's the biggest problem I have with Apple's 'Switch' campaign. Switching isn't attractive when the switch would cost way more than just the price of a new computer and OS.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:41PM (#4680492)
    Yeah, the rest of the world has always waited for Linux to catch up to yesterday's technology. "Hey, Microsoft guys, wait for me."
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:43PM (#4680547)
    The reason people use Windows is simple.

    That's what the vast majority of software is made for.

    Gaming is a textbook example. Macs are limited to pretty much ID games, Blizzard games, and a sparce few others, and those few others typically come out MONTHS after their PC counterparts. So if you want to play any good and/or recent games, you have to stick with Windows.
  • by ShakaUVM ( 157947 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:45PM (#4680582) Homepage Journal
    Like a lot of people here, I run two boxes, one Win2k, one Linux. You gotta play to their strengths.

    Windows is great for:
    Return to Castle Wolfenstein
    Warcraft III
    A UI that, sadly, is more mature than KDE|Gnome
    Inertia (My windows box is still using the 2.5GB hard drive I bought in '96, and I don't really feel up to porting all the cruft that has accumulated on it to Linux.)

    But on the other hand, I would never consider using my windows box to run:
    MySQL daemon
    File Serving
    Remote interactive prompt (Have you *seen* windows terminal server???)
    Web Serving
    Or anything else that requires the least modicum of stability
    Or anything that would slow down my aforementioned RtCW or Warcraft III if it was run in the background. ;)

    There's nothing inherently wrong with using Windows over Linux. You just have to play to each of their strengths. Linux has stability, speed and power. Windows has lots of games.

    Bill Kerney

  • Pro Audio (Score:2, Insightful)

    by son_of_asdf ( 598521 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:46PM (#4680621)
    If there were adequate pro audio tools available for Linux that I could depend on for day to day production duties, I would take my Win 2000 lisences and chuck them in the garbage. Until Aurdour is really up and running (read as stable binaries that a musician, not a programmer, can install), no dice.
  • by NanoGator ( 522640 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:48PM (#4680652) Homepage Journal
    I'm a Windows 2000 user. My computer is stable. It's easy to use maintain. It plays all my games. Well, long story short, I don't have any complaints about my computer. So why should I switch? Sounds like it'd painful for me to switch to Linux without a really compelling reason.

    Frankly, the benefit I can see to me switching to Linux is that suddenly I'd be popular here on Slashdot. "hey look! I can use a real OS. After a steep learning curve, I can do what people are already doing in Windows! Woohoo! Down with MS!!"
  • by Moloch666 ( 574889 ) <jeff-junk@tdAAAs.net minus threevowels> on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:48PM (#4680653) Journal
    Fonts is a big deal for graphic companies. The company I work for does internet work and graphic work. The graphic guys cringe when a PC (Windows) job comes in. Mac OS just excels in that line of work. Linux and Windows have about equal font difficulties.
  • Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheAwfulTruth ( 325623 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:48PM (#4680659) Homepage
    Note: I am a software engineer and have done enough Windows and Linux cross platform GUI and non GUI coding to not be considered a Linux idiot.

    Caution: Well thought-out and knowledgeable opinions ahead. If these disturb you , read no further.

    I will not be switching from Windows to Linux as my main platform any time soon because:

    1) Less hassle dealing with the OS. I don't care anything about the "OS" part when I'm using a machine. I use applications. Windows is far easier to install and use applications on than Linux. application and install break windows far less than on Linux IMHE.

    2) The applications themselves. Though Linux has the basics covered. There is nothing even close to replacing Reason, T-Racks and Wavelab on the music front. Then there is the ubiquitous Photoshop. Though I couldn't afford the full version, my copy of Photoshop Elements for $69 is 90% of Photoshop for 1/10th the price. There is nothing that even comes close to the funtionality of Photoshop Elements for Linux. And of course Games. I work hard and I play hard (all on the computer of course).

    3) Development. Believe it or not developing for Windows is infinitely nicer than developing on Linux (Okay, that's just my opinion). The tools are all equal (gcc, perl, python, vi, emacs) up to far more advanced (Visual Studio) and far more varied to choose from.

    Basically, everything I do of any importance on Windows has no real counterpart on Linux. There are a lot of wannabe applications (GIMP etc) but they are usually pale shadows of real apps. The major windows (and Mac) apps are just too frequently not there for Linux.

    Money concerns: Free is great, but when you can't get what you want for free, then pay is the way. The current state of free is not up to the current state for pay. I work for a living, I make money, I have no problem paying other peoeple for the work they do.

    Even if everything else completely equal, the fact that I have 10 years of Windows and Windows Apps know-how in my head means that I would still benefit from staying.

    It's been said many many times, but until Linux is considerably better than Windows on all these fronts, there is no incentive to switch. I (and most computer users I'd bet) are not political grand-standers, were tool users, plain and simple. Best tool for the job wins. For all my jobs, Windows wins.
  • by kiwimate ( 458274 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:49PM (#4680672) Journal
    Here goes with some honesty, so I fully expect hostility. Be gentle, okay?

    The vast majority of my work is on Windows. The software areas in which I specialize (for example, document management systems) don't do Linux, by and large. I have to know these systems, inside and out, and know the platforms they use, inside and out. For me, that's Windows. I have to know it, and know it well. Linux is strictly a spare time thing, and I really don't have that much spare time. Yeah, I know, if I were a true geek, I'd be staying up until all hours on my Linux system. What can I say? I don't play computer games, either, so it's certainly not that that's keeping me on Windows (unlike every other post I've read in this story so far).

    I know Windows, and I can get it to work. I fully expect the flaming to start about now, but here are some simple facts which represent nothing more than my experience. My Windows servers don't crash. My Windows workstations don't crash. Personally, I'm just as happy to chalk it up to the fact that I know what I'm doing when I set the things up (and, admittedly, W2K is pretty stable). Yes, I have to reboot for patches. But failures and unplanned outages -- forget it, I don't get them.

    Linux, on the other hand, has given me some weird experiences, particularly on laptops, and, yes, occasionally I've had to do a hard restart because it was hung. I'm sure it's because I didn't download the latest drivers, or tweak the settings correctly, or rework my configuration script...but guess what, people -- I don't have to do that on Windows. Again, it's a comfort thing.

    Boy, I have a horrible feeling about what this might provoke, but here goes. When I first started to look at Linux, everywhere I looked on /. people were proudly proclaiming how fast it was and how tiny its footprint was. Please, point me in the right direction. I looked at SuSE, RedHat, Mandrake, and a couple of others, and everyone specified 64MB of RAM minimum -- that's not a small footprint, that's the same as an NT workstation! And, speedwise, my RedHat installation is the same as my W2K Pro installation on my dual-boot system. No tuning on the Linux system; but, then again, I've not tuned the W2K system, either.

    Those, for me, are the main reasons. Windows is just too important for me at work to not know it intimately, and Linux doesn't offer enough compelling reasons to dedicate a lot of time becoming better attuned to it. Remember, I'm just being honest!
  • by Inoshiro ( 71693 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:49PM (#4680692) Homepage
    "Nearly all the Xbox and PS/2 games in the world don't hold up to a single quality [sic]PC game.

    Compare: "Nearly all the PC games is the world don't hold up to a single, high-quality console game."

    Yes, 90% of anything is crap [tuxedo.org], and that crap won't compare to the best of the best. JSRF sure kicks the ass of Daikatana, just like Half-Life kicks the ass of Azurik.

    If you're going to troll, at least try and be good at it.
  • by teamhasnoi ( 554944 ) <.teamhasnoi. .at. .yahoo.com.> on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:50PM (#4680702) Journal
    Gimp doesn't support cmyk. It also(linux) has crap for color management. Why not ask Adobe to port it?
  • by mr_gerbik ( 122036 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:51PM (#4680715)
    Among other things, my primary OS is Windows because of the development tools. People who have not used Visual Studio (or people who have only touched the surface) have no idea how excellent Microsoft's development tools are.

    TAKE NOTE: Before my current job, I was only using Linux, writing Lisp and C code in emacs... so don't write me off as some Windows goober who needs fancy widgets to get by.

    Anyway, back to my point.. Visual Studio is some smart software. The layout is intuitive, the toolboxes are the kind of toolboxes you want to keep around and not hide. The dynamic help is wonderful. The tool tips that show various function argument completions are a huge timesaver. The debugger is powerful and easy, built in beautifully with the editor.

    VS is just a wonderfully put together development suite that has won me over. There are no open or free tools that even come close.. and believe me, I have used them. Even the commercial development suites for linux/unix don't come close.

    Anywho, that is my two cents.

    I still run Linux at home.. I need the command line ;) But when it comes to my professional activities -- I will be sticking to Windows for some time to come.


  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:54PM (#4680778)

    gimp is as versatile as photoshop

    Hehehehe... You obviously haven't used Photoshop for very long, have you? That's like saying that WordPad is as versatile as Word.

    For 90% of the population, gimp IS as good as photoshop. However, for TRUE graphics artists, the gimp falls WAY WAY short.

  • by PhaseBurn ( 44685 ) <PhaseBurn@PhaseBurn.net> on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:55PM (#4680799) Homepage
    Here's probably it for most people in a nut-shell...

    Unless you practically run the IT department, or have a sensible one, you're confined to running windows at work... Even if you have a sensible IT dept, many jobs require certain software (Vantive comes to mind, BusinessWorks as well (2 popular tracking packages that have chained me to windows in the past)) that relies on windows platforms. Since most of the fellow slashdotters I know mostly post/read here at work, that's what counts for the high logs, and probably people being honest in the polls (who'd have thought???)... In a perfect world, where EVERYTHING was cross-platform, how many people wouldn't switch to Linux? Be it stability, or hatred of MS, whatever it is, I really believe in Linux as a desktop. I believe it's mature enough for most day to day users (I didn't say Granny, I'm talking your average secretary, maybe a corporate exec, etc...) already, and it's the applications that are what's not making it viable yet...

    Next, we move on to the gamers. Being an Op in #Linux on GamesNet, we help a lot of people convert over to linux on a daily basis. Most of them never convert completly; a lot of games don't run well under linux, even using projects such as WineX. And even those that do, a lot of people say it's just easier to run them under windows like all their friends. Linux is more a "curiousity" than an alternate to windows.

    Just my $0.02.
  • by dukethug ( 319009 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:57PM (#4680824)

    When you develop a product that is far better than anything else available you should charge well for it.

    Now, my one big complaint about Microsoft, I don't understand why they feel that they need to charge $299 for an UPGRADE to XP Pro, it's simply unfair, but as we all know there is a price to pay somewhere, no matter what your choice of Operating System.

    Perhaps Microsoft also believes that they develop something that is far better than anything else available, and that they should charge well for it.

    Does anyone else smell hypocrisy?

  • by x mani x ( 21412 ) <mghase@NospAm.cs.mcgill.ca> on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:59PM (#4680854) Homepage
    First, some background.

    I started using Linux as a development environment (as a hobbyist in highschool, and as a CS student when I was working on my B.Sc) around 1996. I was 16 and really excited about having a UNIX OS on my PC. I'm still very excited about Linux. But as a development environment, I develop in Windows 2000/XP pretty much 95% of the time excepting when I have to test/debug code on a UNIX platform.

    I have XEmacs installed in Windows as a native app. I use Cygwin when I need a UNIX shell. XFree86(cygwin), Exceed and/or any other commercial/free X server generally work just fine. And I use MSVC++ for debugging - this is the main reason why I use Windows. I have not seen any UNIX debugger that comes close to MS's debugger (no, not even gdb, ddd or workshop).

    As a desktop user, Windows has provided me with 99% uptime (and that missing 1% is for software upgrades requiring reboot, not crashes). I simply can't use the stability argument anymore.

    I'm confident that Linux will kick ass on the desktop in the future. But if the Linux desktop is to entice developer desktops as well, a "killer app" debugger is needed. Unfortunately this is a huge undertaking. On top of this, UNIX developers might scoff at fancy GUI debuggers, just like I scoff at WYSIWYG word processors since I use LaTeX. But clearly this is not productive.

    So, unfortunately, I have to disagree that Linux (or UNIX in general) is the ideal development environment ... for me, for now.

    Just my $0.02!!!
  • Habit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by greenhide ( 597777 ) <{moc.ylkeewellivc} {ta} {todhsalsnadroj}> on Friday November 15, 2002 @06:01PM (#4680876)
    I actually use a Mac with Virtual PC running WIndows, and I frequently evangelize the Mac/Open Source and dismiss and deride Microsoft and Windows, so I'd say I'm a perfect person to be asked to justify my behavior.

    Worse--although I do in fact have OS X on my machine, I don't use it. What is the real reason most people use WIndoze?

    Habit. Habit and Familiarity.

    Let's be honest. Unless you're work for an oil drilling company like the man mentioned above, odds are you can find a piece of software for the *nix platform (especially if you include OS X). As many people above have pointed out, plenty of alternatives to favorites exist, and many games have been ported over to *Nix platforms.

    However, people use their computers as efficient tools. I don't bother even looking at the toolbar when I click on a button, or glance more than 2 seconds at a menu, or pause before entering a key combination. They have all become automatic.

    However, were I to switch to another OS, I would have to learn its nuances, and that would take time that I'm not so interested in spending. Even though I'm eager to use a command-driven interface, I find it frustrating constantly having to "learn" how to do things which I easily do in Mac OS 9, and have been doing for over 10 years now.

    The reason I haven't switched over to OS X? Believe it or not, there's only one reason: that stupid Open File dialog. I can't grok it, I can't figure it out, and worst of all I can't just type in the first few letters of the file I want in the folder and have it be selected, as has been the case since Mac OS 6.x (back when it was just called "System 6").

    I think one of the problems, in fact, is that so many Slashdot users are power users -- dedicated gamers, programmers, coders, designers, developers-- who have become accustomed to using their computers as an extension of themselves. For most everyday users, the biggest difference between a Windows machine, a OS X machine, and a machine running a GUI Linux would be the color of the windows and icons. They don't try to juice their programs as much. After all, if the most complex action you perform as a user is hitting the back button on your browser, it can be any browser on any software platform. But if you're used to coding in a specific text editor, moving to another can be a painful experience.
  • by Screaming Lunatic ( 526975 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @06:03PM (#4680905) Homepage
    Well you just hit one of the reasons people stay away from Linux. I'm running RedHat8.0 with Mozilla. I click the link, what do I get. Well dude, you're the winner of a "Install quicktime" dialog box. Sweeet. Oh wait. Crossover plugin...wine...some hacking. Sweet, quicktime. And that only took about 2 hours to install and configure.

    I don't see why the major distros don't have quicktime running out of the box.

  • by circletimessquare ( 444983 ) <circletimessquare&gmail,com> on Friday November 15, 2002 @06:03PM (#4680907) Homepage Journal
    to some here, i am the lowest form of scum. i am a windows vb programmer. that makes me 1. evil and 2. stupid. evil because i support microsoft. stupid because, as we all know, vb is a horrible language, right? ;-P

    you know what? you may be right, but you don't pay my paycheck. i have to eat and pay rent, you know? there's a market for vb programmers. i fill a market, shrinking or not, the market exists. i go to work and get a paycheck. end of story.

    i really think i do cool stuff. i'm working with metrics my company is pushing as an industry standard. i crunch data into purty colors using (shake in horror now) microsoft office web component chart objects. it's easy and straightforward. i'm happy and content. doesn't mean i'm a monkey in a suit. i still deal with thorny programming problems. but, of course, i live a rodney dangerfield existence: "i get no respect." you go on with your bad selves and snicker at me. doesn't change a damn thing. smug attitudes are just mental masturbation that makes you feel better about yourself at the expense of winning any converts. and winning converts is the whole issue here.

    my boss says "linux is an unproven platform. maybe in five years." before you all reply to his statement with derision and scorn, just remember that it does no good to chastise people like my boss, as you only further the image of the linux geek as an ivory tower, scornful, holier-than-thou type that wins no converts and drives average joe blow users away. instead, take his words at their face value. if you think his words have no truth, then work on dispelling the rumors and innuendo in the press that foster this attitude amongst your average corporate middle management types. don't like dealing with dilbertesque management types. fine! not a problem! don't! remember what the whole issue is here again in this story?

    as far as home use, the scene is currently fragmented. "real" geeks use linux and do "real" computer science. the rest of us are just hobbyists and morons, apparently. until, if, and when linux becomes as accessible to average joe blow "how do you click a mouse?" types, windows will be around forever. if you want to accelerate the acceptance of linux and do away with microsoft, the next time a computer user says something mindblowingly stupid to you, you will not snicker and scoff and say RTFM, you will smile and reply helpfully.

    and until the linux world makes a serious, concerted effort to make the linux gui and work environment and installation process as braindead as windows, yes, i said braindead, linux will not expand out of it's "i'm an ubergeek" niche. linux will seriosuly dent microsoft when someone can use linux completely, satisfactorially, on a daily basis, in all aspects of use and NEVER HAVE TO TOUCH A COMMAND LINE INTERFACE FOR A SECOND. or even know one exists!

    remember, the world of morons does not cater to your computer science genius. YOU cater to and serve computer using morons. accept that or be happy with linux being relegated to the smaller, rarefied world of high-end computing.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 15, 2002 @06:03PM (#4680913)
    port protools, port logic, port cooleditpro.......and a functional equivalent of the myriad of other audio tools I use--and I'd be there in a split second. Windows has the audio support. linux doesn't.

    not to mention the lackluster performance of the audio subsystems, and horrible latency......even if its just a 10ms latency, thats too much.....give me ASIO support, and programs to use it with....I'll be there in a heart beat...

    excuse the AC, I'm too lazy to reg....

    -Dan Youth
  • by IGnatius T Foobar ( 4328 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @06:04PM (#4680923) Homepage Journal
    There's nothing keeping me on Windows. I switched to Linux way back in 1997 and never looked back. I don't need to list the apps that make Linux a useful operating system -- you've heard the list a thousand times.

    The reason you can avoind Windows nowadays is because Microsoft lost the browser war. Yes, you heard me correctly: they lost. Microsoft didn't like the idea of applications shifting from Windows to the web. Remember when you needed special Windows apps for everything? You installed one to send messages to someone's pager, another one to do your banking, another one to track your FedEx shipments, etc. Microsoft wanted to keep it that way, but those pesky Netscape people kept pushing this idea of applications executing on a server while you viewed them in a browser. So they went into War Mode on the browser front. All they managed to accomplish was to destroy Netscape's ability to make money selling browsers. But guess what? Nearly all information-access apps moved to the Web anyway. And those apps are as easily accessed from a Linux or Mac desktop as they are from a Windows desktop. Microsoft failed to stop the migration of apps to the web. Say it with me, folks: Microsoft failed. Doesn't that sound good? It's true. Marc Andreesen's vision of web-enabled applications making the OS irrelevant has become a reality, and that's one of the things that has enabled folks like me to ditch Windows without ever missing it.
  • by lsmarso ( 17248 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @06:06PM (#4680954)

    Digital camera image processing has moved to the 16-bit realm. That's what's keeping me on Windows, although not at all exclusively.

    There is Linux support [primushost.com] for RAW image processing into 16-bit TIFs (Bayer interpolation from CCD data) for both Canon and Nikon DSLRs, however tools for subsequent processing and printing are lacking.

    I don't discount The Gimp [gimp.org], but its strictly 8-bit in all its glory. FilmGimp [sourceforge.org] is beginning to bridge that gap. In fact, it's a credible tool for manipulating 16-bit TIFs. In addition, the ImageMagick [imagemagick.org] package does provide a number of tools for 16-bit TIF processing as well.

    Still, I can't get a cutting edge sharpening or noise reduction algorithm for 16-bit TIFs in Linux.

    What's available in Windows? Well, more than Photoshop. All sorts of little specialty apps. As an example, here's a free, but not open source sharpening application [applied-maths.com] that draws its algorithms from bleeding-edge medical diagnostics imaging software, with sophisticated edge sharpening and halo controls.

    Not only does it output 16-bit images, but intermediate calculations are done in 32-bit for superlative accuracy!

    Is ImageMagick evolving in this direction? I hope so.

    And what's the future of printer support for 16-bit images?

  • by Itsik ( 191227 ) <demiguru-at-me.com> on Friday November 15, 2002 @06:07PM (#4680966) Homepage
    You have a very good point. From personal experience I can tell you that at work we are forced to use windows 2000 pro because of one main reason:
    MS Office!! I truly believe that if Linux had a strong Office like suite that enabled interoperability with others that use MS Office the picture would have been entirely different.
    As the systems administrator I am seriously considering migrating to lindows for many reasons one of them being much cheaper licensing. But first I want to wait and make sure that it will be able to hold its own and not end up being a flash in the pan.
    As for home use I have a dual boot PC with Red Hat 7.3 and Win2k Pro. Linux being the primary OS.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 15, 2002 @06:13PM (#4681041)
    In response:

    a) I do support *nix. Hate Winblows...

    b) Wife can't wrap her brain around *nix...

    Nuff said.
  • by iksowrak ( 208577 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @06:23PM (#4681150)
    That's awesome that you can run Linux full time. I'm really happy for you and one day I'd like to be able to do the same.

    However, I disagree with you on a couple points. 1) Microsoft may be loosing the browser war but I'd hardly say they've lost it. Until I can visit every site and have it work perfectly with a browser other than IE, MS hasn't lost the war. My credit card company won't let me access their online payment site without IE, a handful of sites have functionality that's only available through ActiveX compoments etc. MS got to the top by some questionable (to say the least) methods and they're slipping (long live Mozilla & gang!) but they're still top of the heap.

    Secondly, you say that "The reason you can avoind Windows nowadays is...." Please tell me how to get the games I like (not just any games, but the ones I want to play), Quicken (gnucash isn't there yet), photoshop (gimp is cool but it's not Photoshop), all the latest hardware drivers, application development suites, etc. (I could go on) to work in my browser.
  • by dswensen ( 252552 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @06:30PM (#4681205) Homepage
    It certainly is certain games. If you have the chance, compare sometime Unreal Tournament on a high-end PC as compared to the PS2 version. The PC version is fast, attractive, a breeze to play, and very fun. UT on a PS2 controller is a complete nightmare. And the resolution stinks.

    It's also hard to imagine games like Icewind Dale, Baldur's Gate, Civilization, most RTSes, etc. working on the console. I'm not saying they don't exist on the console, but that it's hard to imagine them working.

    Consoles are great for fighting, racing, and social games. They are not so great for quiet strategy games or RPGs, in my humble opinion. That may work for some people, but I just don't want to be in front of a console for hours. My thumbs get calluses and my hands (which are too big for most controllers) start aching terribly after too long. Not the case with a PC.

    It's a variety of factors, but for me it mostly comes down to the kind of games. And it cuts both ways, too: I own a PS2 and a Dreamcast and I love Soul Calibur and DOA2. But I'd never imagine playing either on a PC.
  • Two words (Score:2, Insightful)

    by StuartFreeman ( 624419 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @06:42PM (#4681307) Homepage
  • by luzrek ( 570886 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @06:43PM (#4681319) Journal
    Wal-Mart [walmart.com] sells Linux boxes (and Lindows boxes) starting at $199.99. That is less than the cost of Windows XP Home. Given, for 200$ you don't get too much computer, but it would be more than enough for wordprocessing/webbrowsing/AIM/e-mail.
  • by cjpez ( 148000 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @06:53PM (#4681408) Homepage Journal
    I don't see why the major distros don't have quicktime running out of the box.
    Does Quicktime run well on non-Crossover WINE versions? If it doesn't run well, that's probably why they don't have it out of the box. (Or, at least have a cool automated script to download and install, if there's distribution issues to work around with Quicktime.) Crossover != free.
  • The same poll... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Keighvin ( 166133 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @06:53PM (#4681414)
    According to the same source, 2% also use CowboyNeal. I don't think it's a very accurate place to get your information. ;)

    Reading through the responses, aside from gaming and "work makes me" the predominant reason is massive application support, and the potential complexity (meaning array of complex-application specific) thereof.

    Microsoft set out several years ago with VisualBasic to create a language simple enough any idiot could work in it - and they do! The APIs almost amounts to: DoWhatIMeanTo(WithThis). The whole mess encourages sloppy coding and letting the OS handle all the messiness which largely accounts for the size of recent releases.

    Even the slightly more advanced languages for the platform in the RAD dept. (Delphi, VC++, .Net) rely on the VB based (D)COM interface, and so inherit the same kind of crutch. MS is trying to be everything to every developer with their embraced/extended libraries so though is removed from the process and they Own All Your Base instead.

    I once read in an MS development manual about how the underlying API and hidden libraries were intended to, "shield the developer from the complexities involved". I don't want to ever rely on a piece of software written by someone who buys into that. If a developer can't handle the complex nature of development they shouldn't be developing.

    So, by tapping intellectual apathy MS grabbed a hefty amount of brain-share early - it continues to coddle them along now with helping hands that ensure MS continues as the dominant OS of choice for new software.

    I've worked in and out of MS environments - I'm much happier out of, no question.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 15, 2002 @06:57PM (#4681453)
    Exactly. I actually agree with both of the above. For print work, Gimp sucks ass compared to Photoshop. For most web stuff, it's nearly equal (but not quite). For me, personally, it's far better than Photoshop due to the price tag. As always, use what's best for you.
  • Why Windows? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Hank Reardon ( 534417 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @06:58PM (#4681460) Homepage Journal
    Actually, at work I use FreeBSD because that's the OS a majority of our servers run; it keeps my development environment nice and in-sync.

    I use WINE for my Office apps at work when I need to share between people, otherwise I use straight text or a Wiki.

    At home, there's a different story. I have 5 areas that I simply can't do without:

    Web Development

    I use Macromedia software to develop about 90% of my web stuff because it makes life easier. Yeah, the HTML is usually shit, but it's much easier to clean up than to make it look pretty in my head before using a text editor.
    Photoshop. I've never been able to get it to run under WINE. Yeah, I know: "Learn the GIMP! GIMP rocks". Whatever. I like Photoshop, Photoshop does everything I want it to, I know the interface, I know the quirks and I'm sticking with it. Want to have me move over to the Gimp? Duplicate
    everything in Photoshop exactly so I don't have to have 6 months in lost productivity while I learn the quirks of a new piece of software.
    I write music. Give me Fruityloops and Acid on Linux and I'll dump Windows for the music in a heartbeat. Until then, I'm stuck.
    I spend most of my time on the Windows box either playing games or writing music. If I need a HOWTO to get my game running, it's preventing me from having my downtime. I spend 65+ hours per week dealing with technical problems, driver issues on various *NIX systems, downtime, CISCO switches and assorted other bullshit. After all of that brain-drain, I want to put the CD in and play the game. Period. If it's more difficult than that to get my eye-candy running, I'm not interested.
    I use Userland's Radio to blog. Again, I can't seem to get it to run under WINE, so I'm stuck on Windows with it.

    You'll never hear me argue that Windows is technically superior, crashes less often or is even visually more appealing than OSX, command-line Linux, FreeBSD, Plan9, VMS, CP/M or whatever OS you feel like esopusing the virtues of; it just does what I need for those five things. The software I like (at least in the music area, and possibly the games area) is available exclusively on Windows.

    Until all of the above offer me the same functionality with the same ease of use, I'm going to use Windows for my personal stuff because it doesn't get in the way.

  • by fitten ( 521191 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @07:04PM (#4681514)

    The *best* scientific/technical programmers I know program on Un*x and Un*x-alikes.

    The *best* GUI/usability/wide-market (meaning applications that appeal to 10s of thousands or more users) programmers I know program on Windows.

    I've programmed on both quite a bit. My preference right now is Windows using C#.NET (I primarily write 'DataAccess Layer' code these days -- basically application interfaces to a database schema). My reasons are the same as the poster above. I can put together a robust application that does useful things in a (small) fraction of the time that I could using J2EE/C/C++ and the like (I'll admit that I don't know Python so I can't comment on it). Various scripting languages are archaic. If you don't have good documentation (stuff like tooltips and intellisense) that doesn't require leaving what you are working on (thus diverting/destroying your train of thought) to 'discover' what you need, productivity drops. Windows is stable and very easy for me to use the apps that are there. Microsoft's Visual Studio (since v6 and definitely .NET) has been the easiest and best development environment (when targetting only Windows) I've used. The C/C++ compilers are pretty good and produce fast code - to the point of being 2X as fast as Linux/GCC on the exact same hardware and source code back in the late 90s - and to the point where our app running on Windows on a Pentium-133 was faster than Linux on PPro-200 in a number of situations and yes it was floating point intensive code, FFTs to be exact). GCC is a lot better now than it was back then. C# performance is reasonable enough for the things I am doing now and it has lots of really nice features.

    At one time, I was an MPI developer/maintainer who ported MPICH to the Cray T3D, Cray T3E, various NoWS with a variety of network cards (good-ole Ethernet, Myrinet, Giganet, Fibrechannel, and a few others), a few embedded systems (single, dual, quad PPC 603/604 boards mounted in VME chassis comunicating over Myrinet and another using a proprietary fabric), as well as a few completely from scratch MPI implementations for almost all of the above.

    IMO, it's kind of like the old argument a long time ago about PCs vs. Macs and 'level of education' as shown by analysis of documents written by students. Documents written on PCs showed a 'grade level' of 11th grade ability. Documents written on Macs showed 8th grade ability. One of the main reasons that came out was because Macs were so damn easy to use compared to PCs... you had to know your stuff to use a PC (remember manually dealing with IRQs, DMA blocks and such?) so the average PC user was older and more technically inclined compared to the easy-to-use Mac.

    Anyway, there are a lot of Windows programmers out there who barely scrape by... my theory is that it is just so damn easy to throw a crap program together to 'get by' with VisualBasic and the like compared to the very user-unfriendly Un*x and Un*x-alikes. PC running Windows = easy, low learning curve. Machine runing Un*x = high learning curve. Low learning curves mean more people using it and more average or below programmers who can use Windows and Windows development tools who can't use Un*x/Un*x-alike tools. Most of the apps I use (and have used) on Un*x/Un*x-alike machines look like they were written by engineers. Concepts like workflow, discoverability, and 'foo-foo' features like intellisense are all but non-existant. The guts of the app may be the fastest McFlugglefarther algorithms and it can crank out solutions fast - when you get it started on your problem - because very highly skilled engineers wrote them. But much of the app development pretty much ends at that point. The engineers slap together some clunky GUI to handle the 1324213423 parameters (with a button/box for each one on one screen) and put the product out for use. The app may be great for speed and flexibility but the usability flat blows, making it hard to use.

    Autoconf... Emacs.... VI... makefiles... stuff that you have to know something about to use very well. Windows you 'mash' buttons and have an editor that requires no sacrifices to pagan gods to use.

    To most people, the ease of use of Windows probably outweighs by far any amount of stability advantage (if any) that Linux has. It's much easier and faster to put up with a few glitches than to deal with Un*x/Un*x-alikes.

    Computers and apps are tools to get my job done - whether my job is actually writing programs or generating images. If a tool is non-intuitive and hard to use, it costs me time to learn it... time that could be spent on another app that is easier to use but may even be slower executing but I can see results and I don't experience frustration from not understanding what the hell this clunky app expects me to do or from the feeling that I am wasting lots of time trying to figure out what these 324 dials and knobs do.

    Easy = good
    Hard = bad
  • by Malcolm Scott ( 567157 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @07:07PM (#4681557) Homepage
    Gimp is an incredibly weak imitation of Photoshop. It's not suitable for any real work.
    I beg to differ. I do a fair amount of graphics work, and I find The Gimp indispensible. It's as complete, functional, and feature-rich as anything else I've used. Admittedly, for a first-time user, the interface is terrible - it took me a long time to get to grips with it. But it was worth the effort.

    I even use The Gimp as my graphics tool of choice when forced onto Windows.

    AFAICS, Gimp's only major shortcoming is in printing. I generally need a little more control over my printouts than a standard "Print X Copies to Printer Y [OK]" box.
  • by chunkwhite86 ( 593696 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @07:07PM (#4681561)
    Then why are all the serious (i.e. UNIX based) CAD/CAM, animation and 3D design workstations UNIX (and X) based?? I cant hear you??

    And why do I get higher frame rates in my FPS games under Linux than under Windows??

    And since when does Windows 2000 run on anything??? Last time I checked, it only ran on P2 or P3 machines with oodles of memory?? How does that even remotely compare to the dozens of platforms Linux runs on, and dozens more that NetBSD runs on??

    Please come back when you have a *real* argument.

    In a world filled with clueless sheep buying Microsoft products just because that's what the guy before him uses, I figure I must be doing something right if my choice in OS and software disturbs your delicate sensibilities. Consider my Tux the penguin poster to be a big one-fingered salute, as a I fly past you on the information superhighway.
  • Why I use windoze (Score:2, Insightful)

    by vonsneerderhooten ( 254776 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @07:10PM (#4681586)
    I use windows because i know how to fix it. Put me in front of a linux box with a bad NIC driver and say fix it, i'd format it. Package installation is another issue i have. i had a devil of a time installing the JRE, could never get it working properly with the program i wanted to use. I am also a very visual person, and in windows, everything has an icon.
  • by Headius ( 5562 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @07:11PM (#4681602) Homepage Journal
    I could ask a more simple question: If X is the way to go and doesn't have the problems I mentioned, then why doesn't everyone building a new OS use it? It's Open Source, it's freely available, it's ported to scads of platforms, including Cygwin. How come QNX, Mac OS X, BeOS and others haven't said "let's go with X windows"? Because it did not fit the task at hand - developing a responsive, crisp, reliable desktop environment. Implementing a windowing system from scratch must surely be more work than porting the tried-and-true X windows, right? What drives these players to go with their own homerolled solution?

    X is old. It's a throwback from the Glass House era of computing that has simply been hacked over to squeeze a bit more performance out of it. Sure, there's shared memory, sure there's native drivers, sure there's a whole host of other modifications that are intended to improve performance. The bottom line, however, is that in order to continue supporting remote desktops, X has to carry along a whopping load of cruft. Cruft is bad for a desktop that's running client-only applications.

    I don't NEED to display the window from one machine on another, but running X, I don't have the option of turning that feature off. These days, a desktop environment should be dedicated to local applications FIRST, and then provide support for remoting windows SECOND. Guess what, I don't connect to a centralized server to bring up my desktop anymore, and I have no plans to. Allow me to run a desktop that doesn't carry along that kind of extra weight, and I'll show you a real contender.
  • by jonnythan ( 79727 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @07:16PM (#4681656)
    It doesn't matter if you can get a Super-Athlon 2.6 Ghz at half the price of a PowerMac if the OS sucks.

    Not many people will say that Windows sucks. Windows XP and 2000 are quite functional, stable, and just damned easy. A P4 2.4 GHz with half a gig of RAM and a 17" monitor from Dell costs LESS than that eMac with a 700 MHz processor and 128 MB of RAM. And let me tell you, Windows XP, even will all the eye candy turned on, feels far, far faster on the 2.4 GHz P4 than OS X does on a 700 MHz G4.
  • by IamTheRealMike ( 537420 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @07:16PM (#4681658)
    No matter how fast they make the drivers, no matter how much they optimize it - a client-server based desktop environment is ALWAYS going to be slower than a non-c/s solution

    First mistake. Measured statistics have shown that X is actually faster at some operatons (like line drawing etc) than the GDI on Windows. X is fast. Some drivers are not fast. If you have speed problems with X that are not purely psychology (i think it is slow, therefore it feels slow) then there's a bug somewhere that should be fixed with a driver/toolkit/application.

    The second biggest problem I have with Linux is stability. Linux itself is a rock, but I have not used a single X app that hasn't crashed at least once. It's a dismal record

    Uhh, well, umm, dunno what to say to that. I guess no Microsoft app ever crashes either? Linux is the OS and is pretty stable. The stability of an OS isn't related to the stability of the apps (snide jokes about 98/macos 9 aside), anybody can write a buggy app. So far most OS level software I've used on Linux has been solid. Some pure userlevel apps, ie chat apps etc sometimes crash but most are pretty good. If you're expecting every piece of software written for Linux to be uncrashable then you'll never be happy with it, so I guess you'll have to stick with Windows.

    There's no accountability for bugs, so they're only fixed when someone feels like it.

    And if a bug is annoying enough, somebody tends to feel like fixing it. This sounds more like a "my favourite bug/feature isn't fixed yet" rant.

    I want Linux to succeed. I really do. I don't see how it's ever going to do it relying on X, and I don't see the desktop environments coming anywhere near more polished corporate-funded alternatives.

    What is it with the mindless X bashing? Linux has already "succeeded" in many areas, and is busy succeeding on the desktop too. I don't understand what you mean by these comments about the desktop environments, to me GNOME2 feels pretty polished, albiet a tad light in features. X has nothing to do with polish OK, and FYI both KDE and GNOME have oodles of corporate funding. So your point is kind of invalid.

    Ditch X and come up with a really solid desktop environment that doesn't require it, and I'll be back in a heartbeat.

    Ditch X and replace it with what?? A non network transparent windowing system? That would be a major step backwards and I promise you, you wouldn't notice any speed difference (try installing directfb, something that you seemingly want, and see for yourself).

  • by Headius ( 5562 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @07:21PM (#4681702) Homepage Journal
    Granted, buggy apps crash wherever they are. I do, however, think that X apps, being necessarily more complex than CLI apps, are prone to many more bugs. Writing a GUI app well is hard. Writing a toolkit to run that GUI app is hard. Writing all the other libraries and services to support a full-featured desktop, based on those GUI apps and toolkits is hard * hard. X, while providing a non-specific platform for windowing, has not provided any indication as to how those windows should look or behave. That means every app running in X relies on a MOUNTAIN of libraries. One critical bug in one of those library (which are developed by groups all over the world that all have their own way of doing things and their own plans) means the app has a critical bug. Multiply that by all the leaky abstractions inherent in layers upon layers of libraries, and you've got a big, fat mess.

    This isn't to say X apps couldn't be great. With well-defined, well-documented, and well-standardized development practices, interfaces, and protocols, the leaks between layers would certainly be lessened. Right now, however, I run apps under X holding my breath. I've had critical applications crash far too often (usually losing work in the progress) to trust them anymore.

    And you know what? vi doesn't crash. Why? Because it's not piled upon a hundred layers of libraries that all have their own problems. Writing GUI desktop applications is hard. Writing them under X is monumentally hard.
  • Dreamweaver... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 15, 2002 @07:32PM (#4681776)
    ...that's it. Everything else, I've been able to use something equivalent in Gnu/Linux. I get a rock stable operating system (just checked uptime on my web/dns/file/print serves, and uptime 100 days, 7 hours, 42 minutes, load average 1.00, 1.00, 1.00, and 99 days, 14 hours, 45 minutes, load average 0,0,0.

    And the uptimes would be 3 or more months longer if I didn't have to reboot a hundred days ago for one of the security or software patches installed, if memory is correct, it was an optional patch, so reboot wasn't necessary.

    I get thousands of applications, an excellent office suite (OOo) that translates other file formats without intentionally breaking others or older versions, rock stable and lightening fast database servers, most widely used mail servers, and so much more.

    And, BSA, go take a flying leap. You come to audit my company, and it will be a nightmare for you.

    I have just bought some of the Lindows computers at TigerDirect for $230, and they are working great. Now a new station setup costs $230 for hardware (have a ton of monitors, thanks to a certain convention!), the software is legally free, and the equivalent on windows is $200 for client, $500 or $600 or whatever for ms office, $500 or whatever for photoshop, how much for server licenses, client licenses, mail servers, SQL server licenses, what else? And I can really expect 200-300 day uptimes with the mix of ms o/s's out there, right? Let's not forget dropped support, lack of support for the new Office on current OSs still being used (you know, the old forced upgrade...) broken IE, broken IE, broken IE, broken IE, etc.

    Just waiting for a Dreamweaver replacement on Gnu/Linux. I've tried Quanta, Bluefish, and a few others. They are just not there yet. I need a good wysiwyg interface for some of the work. They need a lot of work before I can use them. Actually, according to Mr. Lafoon of Quanta, we may see wysiwyg in about a year. I'd hate to wait that long, it may be worth it, but in a year I doubt I'll need wysiwyg.

  • by gatekeep ( 122108 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @07:33PM (#4681786)
    Honestly, the biggest thing keeping me in Windows is that whenever I've tried to switch, I invariably end up with some questions and head to IRC, Chat Rooms, etc. to ask people. The flames and insults I get for being a newbie are incredible. I really don't care enough to deal with that while I'm figuring out the intricacies.

    Other than that, it's mostly games. Though there are a few other things... Photoshop, Office (Openoffice is close, but not quite close enough), Outlook (this is huge..), etc. I've got a linux box I use for a PHP server, and I've tinkered with it from time to time, but it's not my primary OS.
  • by Headius ( 5562 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @07:42PM (#4681863) Homepage Journal
    Measured statistics have shown that X is actually faster at some operatons (like line drawing etc) than the GDI on Windows.

    Some operations. Some operations being faster does not a faster desktop make. Great, so under some circumstances, it can draw a line faster. The bottom line is that if one desktop has 5 layers of abstraction between the app and the hardware, and another has 4, the one with 4 layers has a much better chance of winning the race.

    I guess no Microsoft app ever crashes either?

    I never said that. See my other posting for why I feel X apps are especially prone to failure. Simply put, it's those lovely abstractions...they're never perfect, and if superb layer 5 depends on buggy layer 4, layers 6+ are hurt by it.

    This sounds more like a "my favourite bug/feature isn't fixed yet" rant

    No. I've been in the belly of the beast, and I'm guilty of doing the same thing. If a bug or problem is particular difficult to fix, and there's super-cool fancy-daddy super-wow graphics work that also needs to be done, I have seen very few people that choose the bug. Of course there's some people out there who live for that, but they're not a majority. Generally, open-source projects charge forward with new features and new enhancements while leaving many critical flaws for later. In this respect, they're the same as what Microsoft does - get the software out the door, make sure it's pretty, and try to get some good press. The truth is often far different.

    X has nothing to do with polish OK, and FYI both KDE and GNOME have oodles of corporate funding.

    Let's see some numbers on how much funding GNOME and KDE have versus corporate alternatives. Let's see how many man-hours are put into all the choices. As far as I know, there's never been any study into either statistic. I know you'll say that man-hours and money are not the key to good software, but relying on developers to work in their spare time, or pitting a group of n developers against a group of 50n developers in creating a complex system is painful. Throwing more developers at a problem does not usually help it, but providing more resources from the start can mean the problem doesn't show up at all. Note I say RESOURCES.

    I've tried DirectFB, and yes, it's slow. X hitting the FB directly is also slow. Neither are what I want. The FB is for platform-independent access to video, as directly as possible. It's great that it's there, it's great that it's enabling so many systems, but it's not going to help performance, and I don't think that's its purpose.
  • Re:alternatives (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Dalcius ( 587481 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @07:45PM (#4681881)
    Read the parent of my post -- he was talking about ease of programming, not feasibility.

    And no hostility meant, but if you'd open your eyes a bit, you'd notice that:

    1) Not all end user programs must use Windows dependent utilities. Java comes to mind. If you don't think java is feasible to use, you assumed I knew that. As you implied, many "end user" programs are developed through web interfaces, also negating the assumption that you can't make money developing on non-windows platforms.

    2) Not all development goes to the end user -- a LOT of development goes into servers and services and in-house utilities.

    If you could quit concentrating on killing off "ignoramuses like me" you might see that Windows is not the entire pond -- programming is more than just windows apps, my friend.
  • by vandy1 ( 568419 ) <.vandy. .at. .aperfectpc.com.> on Friday November 15, 2002 @07:47PM (#4681898)
    Well, I hate being picky, but here goes:

    Singular nouns ending in "s" just add "'", as in Windows'...

    But I agree, OpenOffice.org is great! The linear regression stuff, exponential regression, etc. is *much* better than that of Excel. Someone really ought to give these guys a pat on the back :)

    My A$0.02 (much less than the American ones...)

  • by sterno ( 16320 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @07:51PM (#4681944) Homepage
    Perhaps the reason that you see that more programmers who know what they are doing under linux is because windows is the easy choice for people. That is, if I'm not a real hard core technician, I'm probably not going to invest the effort to look beyond the 90+% of the market that's dominated by Microsoft. It's just too easy for people to go that route so they do.

    The other thing is that, say what you will about Microsoft, they have excellent development tools and a lot of integration between their various products. This makes it easier to develop small applications quickly using less skilled developers. This doesn't scale well, and it makes you dependent on Microsoft for everything. But it does require less skill to do this.
  • Different Goals (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tyler_larson ( 558763 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @07:53PM (#4681965) Homepage
    Is Windows more stable than Linux (or most any other UNIX for that matter)? Of course not. It was never intended to be. Microsoft's top executives--the ones that report to Bill alone--admit that it's not stable (but not to YOU, of course) and have expressed serious doubt in the possiblity of ever even making it stable. That's part of the drive behind Palladium: the NT core is hopeless as far as they're concerned. It's great for home and office users, but if you use it in a mission-critical system you're crazy.

    And that's exactly what they were shooting for anyway. Microsoft's developers are not stupid; they're actually many of the brightest ones out there. Microsoft built it's empire by giving the people exactly what they want.

    Here's a quick comparison of the Microsoft's goals versus the Linux approach to development (note that Msft has become much more UNIX-y in the past year or so). Listed more-or-less in order of importance:

    • Microsoft
    • Interface - The human interface is the most important aspect of any program. Users will not tolerate a broken interface, and if the interface is well-refined, the user will naturally assume that the program itself is more refined. The interface should be fast, intuitive, and responsive, even at the expense of overall speed and stability. You can almost always give the illusion of stability and performance by improving your UI.
    • Hardware Support - The system MUST work with the user's computer, and the user's acessory MUST work with windows. Stability can be sacrificed to allow for more hardware.
    • Features - Users want features. More features means a better product. Features take predence over speed, stability, and security.
    • Stability - The system shouldn't crash too often. However, the user will tolerate the occasional failure if it means she can get the features she wants.
    • Security - The system shouldn't be overly insecure. Serious security issues can be dealt with in the future on an item-by-item basis, and most problems can be blamed on the technology rather than the software (case in point: Outlook scripting worms are called "email viruses").
    • Speed - Moore's Law. [webopedia.com] 'Nuff said.
    • Linux
      note that Linux is worked on by a much more diverse group of developers. Each has his own goals. This list represents the more common goals of the core OS develpers.
    • Stability - Premeditated instability will not be tolerated. Linus will not accept a patch that he doesn't trust, and features known to decrease stability are almost never allowed outside of development releases of pretty much any package.
    • Security - Linux developers absolutely hate the idea of an insecure computer. Security is almost never sacrificed for anything else.
    • Speed - Speed is sexy. Many OSS developers get a rise out of making stuff run faster.
    • Features - Features are added when someone who needs it knows how to build it. Features are still very important, but shouldn't be allowed to displace things like stability and security.
    • Hardware Support - The system should work with all the hardware possible, but adding hardware support most often involves reverse-engineering and a lot of tweaking. It's slow, difficult, and most developers would rather just "make the common hardware work, and the hardware that works common."
    • Interface - Lets face it, most Linux programmers absolutely suck at interface design. An interface should be good enough to make it work. The real beauty of a program is in what it does, not what it looks like.
    The reason why most users prefer Windows to Linux is because Windows was based on what the common user wants. That's who they develop for, that's who they impress. The rest of us are stuck with it because, well, that's what everyone else uses.
  • by BlameFate ( 564908 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @07:53PM (#4681972)
    Spot on.

    Cases in point - graphical installers for Mandrake 8 and Redhat 8, both autoconfigured X well enough to run the installer beautifully, at the right screen resolution and bit-depth. Come to configure X in the install, and all kinds of trouble. You owuld think someone would just include a button that says "Use current settings", it is beyond belief that this isn;t fixed yet.. The installer got it right automatically straight away, what is the problem?

  • by MindNet ( 323597 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @08:17PM (#4682155) Homepage
    I do not use Microsoft Windows on my desktop. I haven't for a long time. I am a Debian GNU/Linux user who is greatly satisfied with Gnome and Enlightenment (except for the lack of alpha channel support in X). I use Open Office, Vim, multi-gnome-terminal, Mozilla, XMMS, Bluefish, Gnomeicu, Dia, Abiword, and a breadth of other applications that allow me to do much of what I can do on a Microsoft Windows machine. My workstation is much more solid (stable) using Linux.

    Unfortunately, I still have to keep abreast of whats going on in the Microsoft world because of my business, and the best way to do that is by actually using the operating systems and applications that I have to communicate with.

    Our company is a consulting firm focused on large scale network design and implementation. This requires us to research a large majority of hardware and sofware solutions. This also means that to be objective, we also have to consider Microsoft products. One of our clients has given us access to one of their terminal servers (rdesktop) so that we can fulfill that need.

    Recently, my company held a LAN party to celebrate moving our office to a more spacious location. Although half of us were Linux gurus, I was one of the very few who did not have a machine running Windows at all (not even on some tucked away partition).

    However, I love LAN parties, as I enjoy gaming very much (at least I did until I went totally linux about 2 years ago). Anyway, to make a long story short, I ended up grabbing some spare hard drive I had with 20 or so free gigs of space, and installed some version of Windows my buddy had. It all came back to me, fragging away my buddies, the adreneline rush, the co-ordinated attacks.. it was great!

    I eventually got rid of the windows partition, but I strongly considered keeping it so that I could boot it up and play some games.

    The point of this story is, there are two major reasons why a lot of Linux lovers are still running Microsoft Windows as their primary operating systems. One is that the Professional IT Industry is flooded with Microsoft's Products, and two is that the Gaming Industry hasn't made a committment to supporting Linux users.

    I do not believe that WineX is a solution to the Linux Gaming problem. This only encourages PC game developers to disregard the Linux community, as they believe we'll find a way to get it running anyway.

    This is simply not true, I don't want to waste my time trying to get games running on WineX when I could be spending that time actually gaming. I know that if I sit down and try hard to get a specific game running under WineX, that I could probably do it (with a little luck). But if I'm going to do that, then I might as well pirate the game, because I don't think I should have to work so hard to try and get a game running that I've already paid for.

    My $0.02
  • A mouse. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by edunbar93 ( 141167 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @08:21PM (#4682184)
    Nuff said.

    Well, okay, maybe not. Basically, for a *lot* of games, the mouse is a much better and more natural controller than the keyboard or joystick, which is really all the PS2 controller is.

    When they come out with a mouse for the playstation 2, I'll be right there. Until then, it's the best controller yet and only available for the PC.
  • So far... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Arandir ( 19206 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @08:23PM (#4682198) Homepage Journal
    So far I've read about a third of the posts. I can't read them all because there's a lot. But so far I have not found what I was expecting to see.

    No one is claiming that they're staying on Windows because KDE and GNOME look different! There's this sense of urgency in the Linux community that unless there's a unified vanilla desktop, no one is going to want to use Linux. It seems that this is not the case.

    But maybe I've missed those posts. So let me ask: is there anyone out there who has genuinely stayed with Windows precisely because KDE and GNOME don't have the same look and feel? [I'm not asking if you want them to have to same look, only if you have honestly refused to use any form of UNIX because of it]
  • by Darth_Burrito ( 227272 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @08:24PM (#4682208)
    Many posters seem to be saying that particular applications or lack of linux desktop support keep them tied to windows, but I think it is something more fundamental than either.People in general don't like massive change. Once you know how to do something a certain way, it is often very difficult to willingly adjust to something new.

    For instance there are a couple prototype cars out there that have a joystick instead of a stearing wheel. Most people would see that and say, "WTF?!?!?!!" Maybe a joystick interface is easier to control, they would certainly be safer where airbags are concerned... but people aren't going to run out an embrace the joystick as an auto steering mechanism.

    Another example would be those "ergonomic" split keyboards. I took a chance on one and I absolutely love it. Yet, most people I know still use the old kind. Why? Because they are used to it. Because learning to use the new one well takes too much time.

    A more softwarey example... Today I found I needed to get a list of all Groups in a domain and their members. After fiddling with Active Directory for about 5 minutes, I was like, wtf, I'll just do it in perl. I spend about 20 minutes trying to get Win32::AdminMisc through the proxy using ppm, give up, download it manually, spend about 20 minutes looking for a version 5xx build of perl or a 6xx compatible version of AdminMisc, give up, spend another half hour figuring out how Win32::NetAdmin works, realize that's actually what I used when I did this stuff two years ago, then write the script, most of it anyway. The point is, there was probably some easy way to get the information I needed from within the User interface, but I didn't know how, and I wasn't willing to learn when I had a known option available to me.

    It's pretty obvious how this behavior pattern ties in to Linux. People everywhere have grown up using Windows. They know how to browse the web in IE, to create documents in Office, to install software, to install drivers, etc. In Linux, everything is different. Switching to even a user friendly distro like RedHat is like coming home one day to find some dude has moved all your stuff around. Your furniture is upside down, the walls are painted green, all your food has been replaced with organic variants, your universal remote control no longer works with anything, and for some reason your monitor is stapled to the ceiling. You have to relearn where everything is and spend days getting it back into a state in which you can work effectively. To make matters worse, you now have 3-10 very different versions of everything. While I like having choices, I only like making informed decisions.

    So what's my point? Hell, I forget. Oh yeah, the question is what is keeping me on windows? The answer is, ease of use. I know where everything is. Of course if you asked me what was keeping me on Linux, I'd give you the same damn answer. Ever try to find free anti-spam support for Exchange (shudder)?

    I use Windows on the "Main" PC, run RedHat and Debian on my two servers, and use Deb on my thick thin client laptop. I stick with Windows on the desktop because the amount of time it would take me to reach my current level of desktop mastery on linux is well worth the price of XP and probably the next Windows as well. Right now there's room for both in my world. After using linux as a server for near 2 years, I'm getting a little better learning my way around, and while I'm sure the Linux desktop is ready for me, I'm not yet ready for it.
  • i'm a fan (Score:2, Insightful)

    by xo0m ( 570041 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @08:29PM (#4682241)
    i'm a big fan of microsoft for many reasons - and i know all you open source junkies are gonna hate me for this - but it gets the job done.

    i'm not really that big into configuring every little aspect of the operating system, etc, etc, etc, its just more of a convenience thing.

    it all depends on what you want out of a computer. if you are the type to compile and configure every little thing, then i guess *nix would be the OS for you.

    i, on the other hand, use computers for convenience (and thank god for win2k/XP cuz win9x was disastrous)...i honestly don't see how linux (for home users) is "convenient." sure its pretty "convenient" when it comes to the corporate world, but as a home user, it just is not all that practical. especially if i'm not the only one using the computer. however, i tip my hat to those distros out there that try to provide a very user friendly experience (redhat, mandrake, etc).
  • by g4dget ( 579145 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @08:29PM (#4682242)
    I just spent $50 for a piece of Windows software ("DVD Copy Plus") for DVD burning. I thought it would save me some trouble. It did come with glossy documentation and a nice box. It promised push-button DVD-to-VCD conversions.

    Turns out, the software sucked. What was advertised as a simple two step process was a collection of obscure and complex dialog boxes together with a help file to walk you through it. It took 15 steps just to get the DVD ripped. And with all that, it kept crashing the machine.

    Turns out, the Linux equivalents worked better and were easier to use. For the command line, only three commands were necessary (vobcopy, transcode, and cdrecord) and a single web page told me what to do. There are also plenty of GUIs for people who can't read. "dvdrip", for example, not only turned out to be easier to use than "DVD Copy Plus", but also is more powerful.

    Sadly, this is the norm, not the exception, for commercial Windows software: it looks glossy, it promises a lot, but in the end, it just doesn't work well. Most people just never see the alternatives, so they think the junk they bought and struggle with is the best there is.

  • by crazyphilman ( 609923 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @08:29PM (#4682246) Journal
    But, and I know this is going to get me flamed, there's another thing. In the year and a half I've been in this job, I've found out that the Microsoft tools I'm using are really not that bad. Back in my dot-com Java days, I figured VB was a fate worse than death. It's not. It's pretty ugly at times, sure, but it's got a lot of nice points to it. I can whip up an application in no time at all, for one thing. I can integrate web sites, client-server components, MTS components, and databases with ease. It really is a piece of cake working with this stuff. And, I think a lot of the Linux-only guys miss this basic truth. When it comes to developer's tools, Microsoft is truly on the ball.

    Why aren't there equivalent, GPL'ed tools for Linux yet? I don't mean "functional" I mean equivalent. Sure, some of the Java IDEs are nice, but most of them run kinda slow, don't they? And, you're at the mercy of the JVM running on any given Linux box. Your apps are not going to run blazingly fast, ok?

    What's wrong with putting together something like Borland's C++ Builder and making it available, GPL, for Linux? Something where you have a GUI that lets you do UI design and then snap right into code, set properties, etc, without having to use multiple tools (like KDevelop and its UI designer, or am I thinking of a QT thing? It's been a while)? Maybe such an environment exists; if so I'd like to hear about it.

    Basically, I think Linux needs to address this. Borland's making some strides, which is nice. I'm very interested in their new environment. But I'd much rather see something GPL'ed. Sun offers Forte, but it runs SO SLOOOOOOW on my machine. Give me something I can sink my teeth into.

    I can't promise I'll use it at work -- that's not for me to say. But I'd use it at home.

    Note: as far as games go, that's a non-starter with me. My gaming platform is the Playstation II. I can sack out on my plush futon, ten feet away from a big TV, and fight my heart out without getting carpal tunnel or wrecking my eyes. And, it plays DVD's too!

  • by walterbyrd ( 182728 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @08:30PM (#4682248)
    but, since you asked:

    1) Difficulty, and expense, in supporting two or more standards. Dual boot, emulators, running two machines, or whatever, is a pain. It also kills of your cost advantages. Businesses can't just hire MS support people, they would have to hire MS and Linux support people. Windows exclusive users don't have to do this.

    2) Entrenchment. If I have a lot of Viseo files, and MS-Project files, then Linux isn't even an option. If I have already paid for the OS and applications, what's the point? It can be a pain to learn a new system, or application.

    3) Confidence in big names. Names that don't support desktop Linux. Many individuals and businesses like to buy from trusted name brands, like Dell, HP/Compaq, Gateway, or Apple. These big name brands usually have the OS installed. You could remove the OS, but there is no cost advantage. Dell used to sell server systems with Linux pre-installed, I don't think even Dell does that anymore. Having the OS pre-installed can save a lot of time, especially since you don't have to worry about un-supported hardware. I think a lot of potential Linux users would be more confident in using Linux if they could go to CompUSA, Circut City, or BestBuy, and find a Linux system set up and ready to go. Then they could try it out and know for sure that it works okay.

    4) ISP support. This applies more to individuals than businesses. A lot of ISPs may allow you to use Linux, but if call with a problem, no matter who is at fault, that ISP will probably tell you they don't support Linux. This is especially true with broadband.

    5) No compelling reason to switch. No "killer" Linux applications or anything like that. I don't know of any "must have" desktop Linux application, that I can't find the equivalent for in Windows.

    6) Convenience. I don't think many users want to have to order their OS from cheapbytes, or download. You can buy the full version from CompUSA, but you will bay about $80, thereby losing your cost advantage.

    7) Reliability advantage is negligible at best. MS is improving. At least, in some ways. XP and 2000 seem stable enough - much improved from Windows 9.x.

    8) Cost advantage is negligible at best. A PC with windows pre-installed only costs about $75 more. If you use that PC for three years, that comes to $25 a year. Just like Linux, there is tons of freeware for Windows, including OpenOffice and Mozilla.

    9) Performance advantage is negligible at best. I get better desktop performance with MS. I suppose you boost performance by using trimmed down, relatively obscure, windows managers. But, you lose functionality.

    10) Security advantage is negligible at best. Use decent AV software and your PC will be safe enough. Linux has also had virus attacks. The vast majority of security related problems is caused by user sloppiness, not an OS flaw.
  • by ANovick ( 464796 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @08:43PM (#4682352) Homepage
    I'm one of the non-vocal minority I guess. I like Windows and have had great success getting it to work for me both professionally and personally.

    I'll admit Windows has rough edges and Windows 98 and the Windows 3.1/95 generation crash frequently. But I haven't used '95 or '98 or 'ME at all. Since 1993, when NT came out, I've been using NT and it's successors Windows 2000 and XP.

    Windows success for me has three main factors:

    1) Microsoft's continued drive to reduce the cost of computing, putting more capable computers in the hands of more users and more software in their hands at reasonable prices. Remember when dBase cost $500. Microsoft countered with Access at $100. A no brainer, at least to try out and it was pretty good. And they always make their products better over time.

    2) Microsoft has also made great strides in making it easy to program a GUI interface. VB which so greatly simplified GUI development that it made it possible for so many more programmers to create GUI applications. And they did. I've programmed Windows at the API level, Mac and even a little X. In their early incarnations they weren't very productive environments.

    2) The availability of applications. I suppose it's monopoly power but over the coarse of the year I use plenty of applications, office, Photoshop, programming tools, quicken, CD writers, games, TurboTax and of course browsers. They're available for the PC. In some ways the desktop OS is somewhat of a "natural monopoly". Everyone benefits if code can easily be written for everyone's desktop. Cross platform is hard; I've tried.

    3) The alternatives aren't that great. I've used UNIX for several years as a software developer. I don't like it. Although I grew into computing using the command line (VMS), it's not like I really want to use it for everything. And I've tried Linux and let's face it, it's UNIX. Back in the Mid 80's I was a programmer on the MAC. That was great and innovative. But until OS X, the MAC hasn't had a serious OS so I haven't gone back to it. I had an Amiga for a while which was pretty nice with a great little OS but you know where that went.

    As for professionally, it's mostly my clients who dictate what I've used. Back in the late '80s and early 90's when I was pushing new technologies like GUI, client/server and imaging the only way they would buy it was if it was delivered on a PC. So that's how I delivered it. As far as I'm concerned they were right to demand a system that they could trust would get good support and be around for a while.

    So now I'm the not so silent minority. How about the rest of you?
  • by dargaud ( 518470 ) <slashdot2@gdarga[ ]net ['ud.' in gap]> on Friday November 15, 2002 @08:47PM (#4682373) Homepage
    I'm a software engineer and sysadmin. On my desk I have a G4 with OS-X, a Gateway with Win2000 and no less than a 4 processor SGI 2100. Oh, and also a Linux box used only as a server. Guess wich one I use ? The PC. Win2k is, once configured properly, an excellent no-nonsense user interface, and once completed with Apache, ActivePerl and Cygwin there's nothing missing.

    The Mac is a waste of time: software that you can't configure because you don't have any damn option or it's too 'experimental'... Sugary sweet interface that makes it unusable (semi tranparent windows ?!? Anti aliased [=blured] fonts !?!?!? are they on acid or what ?)

    The SGI and linux boxes are good for computations, grepping log files, servers and such but... user pleasure is just not there. Windows come with long delays and plenty of other UIR little things that tell you that it's just not quite right.

    Anyway, that was just one more opinion.

  • Why? The TV Card (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 15, 2002 @08:52PM (#4682399)
    Why is my main computer a Windows computer?

    I'd like to use a linux-based computer, but I've got the hang of this Windows machine. It edits my photos, codes up my html, creates my mpegs/mp3s to my satisfaction, and I pretty much understand how when what where and why by now.

    But Linux. Linux comes with one helluva learning curve. And all them 'helpful' how-to Linux sites ... what is it with geeks that their how-to's have to be as comprehensible as Latin? You know, you can pick out the odd syllable here and there that you may understand, but otherwise it's all ... unhelpful.

    So. We're slowly getting into Linux. We've bought umpteen manuals (God help me, 'Linux For Dummies' keeps putting me to sleep). We're trying to find Linux classes. We're learing by osmosis. There's this thing called Gimp out there. Mozilla is Linux friendly. I've heard geeks say that their tv card works under Linux. Someday, one day, in the near-ish future, the learning curve will plateau and I'll go Linux.

    But for right now, inertia has me firmly on terra firma.
  • by prisoner ( 133137 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @08:55PM (#4682422)
    Title says it all. Who wants to spend hours trying to get shit to work when you could just intall and play under windows. I think this is the most over-looked piece of the pie. Not all of us have endless hours to piss away trying to make things work. I use linux where it makes sense, for everything else, I use windows.
  • Pirated Programs! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 15, 2002 @09:02PM (#4682463)
    Just try to find a pirated copy of Mathematica
    for Linux!

    Mathematica for Windows/Mac is all over the Internet. The same goes for Maple, Matlab, etc.
    Besides, some programs , like Scientific
    WorkPlace, exist only in Windows (There was also a Mac version but they stopped developing it in 1996) Lyx and KLyx from Linux are WAY BEDIND
    Scientific WorkPlace!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 15, 2002 @09:04PM (#4682476)
    Bah. I thought you had some good arguments, but as soon as you put down vi, emacs, and make... at least for the reasons you gave... you lose.

    The fact that it's not obvious to a newbie how to use vi is utterly irrelevant to anyone who's going to spend thousands of hours a year editing text and has to choose an editor. It doesn't make sense to put down central tools that you're going to use all the time (and will continue to use for years) for being hard to learn in the first few weeks.

    Not that I'm going to try to teach my parents "vi" if they want to write an email, but if you're a professional programmer there's no excuse for dismissing it on the grounds that it's hard to learn.

    OTOH, for non-central things that you use rarely, you would have a point.

    However, once you've learned enough of the UNIX world, it all becomes very easy to use. There is some consistency and you can get quite good at quickly finding and understanding the right man page for the job.

    I could give the same reasons for staying with my standard UNIX development tools instead of going to some GUI IDE on Windows, the same reasons you gave for doing the opposite. I'm familiar with all the linux tools and conventions, like them, and don't want to spend time learning all that new stuff.

    But I won't, because it's just a cop-out. I actually have learned quite about software development on Windows. I tried out MSVC++ for a few months. I took the time to become fairly proficient with it before making up my mind to stick with my vi macros and shell scripts.
  • by Theom ( 567303 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @09:10PM (#4682524)
    Gimp is an incredibly weak imitation of Photoshop. It's not suitable for any real work.

    So movies [sourceforge.net] aren't real work?
  • by 1lus10n ( 586635 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @09:26PM (#4682597) Journal
    "I can not copy a single config file from Mandrake to my Suse System ... because both keep their config data in totaly different stores."

    thats wrong. if you switch from SuSe to Gentoo or Gentoo to Redhat , you can VERY EASILY copy/keep your (standard.) configs. if your having a problem finding it do '$ locate x.conf' wala copy your old config over the new one. [dont forget to make a backup]

    (obviously this only applies to things that are availible on EVERY distro. (and are standard) such as xfree configs , sendmail, or .bashrc etc....)

    copying a redhat specific config to slackware wont do you much more good than it would for you to copy a windows XP config to a windows 95 box. or a 3.1 config to a 2k box.

    obviosly the "well engineered" projects will make/keep standard configs/backwards compatibility (to a certain degree anyway.)

    oh and one more thing ---- once LSB becomes more common and people *cough* REDHAT *cough* stop bastardizing everything then what will your reason be ?

    "ii) I have a running Windows system. Why should I kick everything I have on it?"

    probably the same reason most people do - it sucks. face it windows is good only for people who turn their PC's off at night and use them one hour a day. (and gamers) windows allows you NO GROWTH. they think they should control your whole damn system. when you update , how you update, what you update.(even if it breaks the hell out of something) do they control everything yet ? nope. will they ? probably , has long has people like you keep paying to upgrade to the next security bug.

    and no i dont do windows. havent touched windows in over 2 years, and probably never will again.

    oh and let me ask you something.
    when you first started learning on a computer did you automatically "know" everything about it ? or did you have to learn about it ? did you sometimes get frustrated ? okay if you are like most people you got frustrated, confused etc. so why is it you expect to learn a completely new OS/setup and not have the same problems ?

  • by carlmenezes ( 204187 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @09:54PM (#4682727) Homepage
    I want my PC to work and to work well. I want security to be good without constant security updates and REBOOTS most of all...and I want to be able to run as many apps as I can without noticing a slowdown. Windows cannot do that for me. Even XP...the moment you even try to open PhotoShop things start slowing down. I hate the file system getting fragmented and constant defrags...need something better...What I need is a more EFFICIENT operating system...hence I switched to Linux.

    I'm now running Linux as the main OS. I do miss the great 3d Games on Windows, but I figure I'll just get me a PS2 or a GameCube (not an XBox :) ) and use that for the cool games till the market for linux games opens up enough so that developers release new games with Linux versions.

    Hell, I don't even feel like playing games that much anymore...there's so much great stuff to learn in Linux...so much to customize...I'm like a kid in a tub of toys. I love the speed and stability of Linux and the fact that it is already more secure than Windows by default. So my major concerns are taken care of...but I can now run more applications simultaneously...the CPU usage is distributed more evenly....I can chop and change anything I like...most of the software I need comes pre-installed...I HAVE BEAUTIFIED THE LINUX DESKTOP TO MAKE IT EASIER ON THE EYE - very important that....and now, in my opinion, it looks, runs and FEELS better than Xp did, albeit after days of tweaking. So I love it.

    So right now, as a former Windows power user, this is what I feel Linux is missing:
    1) Great 3d Games
    2) A Universal Partition tool that's the equivalent of something like Partition Magic.
    3) Improvements in the menu structure and GUI - a user shouldn't have to hack for hours or days. it would be better if it looked great out of the box.

    And since we're talking beautification, kudos to RedHat 8.0 - it's a step in the right direction.
  • by coryboehne ( 244614 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @10:00PM (#4682756)
    Well, we are definately from different worlds, but your comment stands out from the crowd, not because you make good points (hell everyone does sometimes :) ) but because you are so professional in your response, not flaming me for deciding to use .Net for my development, but rather stating your opinions and respecting mine, all without being even the slightest bit childish, Thank you a million times over.

    Note to Moderators and everyone else who reads the threads: This is the type of comment that I think makes slashdot a better place... It would be good to see more of them...
  • by cscx ( 541332 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @10:19PM (#4682875) Homepage
    Than what? PostgreSQL is pretty good from what I've heard, I am just sick and tired of all these hoser zealots running their mouths about "M$ and Oracle suX0rs - use MySQL!" MySQL simply can't handle the load that these other databases can, and fraudlently claiming that it can perform equally or as well as other, more mature database software is just ridiculous.
  • Where do I start? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by OzJimbob ( 129746 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @10:40PM (#4682993) Homepage
    Well to be honest, I use 50% windows, 50% linux. I really WANT to use Linux more, but there are just some basic reasons why I need to keep windows on my machine.

    a) Applications - windows apps are easier to install, don't have major compatibility issues (you never have to download and compile three different shared libraries to get Windows software to run, do you? You don't have to download a specific .exe file to match a specific build version of windows!) and generally are of a higher quality. I have yet to find ANY decent, truly stable and useable music creation and audio editing software for Linux. Audacity is pityful compared to CoolEdit, and there's nothing even close to FruityLoops.

    2. The construction of the OS makes software installation a pain - this point is touched on above. Yes, I know it's open source, and all that, but if Linux was constructed more intelligently, it should be possible for users to just download a single binary file and run it. There is too much dependancy on tiny little libraries all over the place, and too much dependancy on things like (a) Exact library version (b) C-compiler version (c) Kernel version (d) How the distribuion organises its file locations. You simply don't get ANY of these problems in Windows. Occasionally you'll have to download a newer version of a DLL to get software to work, but when you do, it doesn't break software that relied on the previous version of the DLL.

    Why is this happening? I call on Linux developers to start programming for the USERS, not for themselves. Aim to design software that is easy to install, that is configurable from within the program, that relies on only MAJOR libraries, and MAJOR stable version numbers. It is possible, you know. "Big" software releases for Linux (OpenOffice, Mozilla, Opera, many games) just install themselves simply and easily, and work, so why don't the smaller software projects work the same way?

    In the end, I use Linux when I just want to quickly boot up, get on the net, have a fiddle around. I boot Windows if I want to use actual specific, important pieces of software for which there is no equivalent available for Linux.
  • by yerricde ( 125198 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @10:46PM (#4683024) Homepage Journal

    Photoshop has good support for translation of the different color models and calibration to match colors as precisely as possible. Gimp sucks ass at that.

    Photoshop Elements lacks those features as well, and guess what? The reason it's $500 cheaper than Photoshop is precisely the same reason that GIMP doesn't support accurate color space conversion: it's patented, and the patent holders are not willing to license the patents royalty-free.

  • My reasons. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mindstrm ( 20013 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @11:06PM (#4683127)
    First, background.. I've been using linux since the wee versions.. .96 or so, 1992-ish. I was fluent in SunOS well before that. I've been through the whole zealotry phase, and used linux on just about every concievable machine I've touched.

    I use windows on my laptop. Here is why.

    - I like the way Windows XP looks. Cleartype rules on my laptop.
    - All the flash readers, usb devices, and everything else I can get my hands on just WORKS most of the time.
    - Games work better. All the games I play appear to be available on linux, but they just don't work as well.. this is most likely related to video drivers.
    - Software compatability. Sorry, but in this modern world, I NEED MS Internet Explorer.
    - Windows is NOT as bad as everyone makes it out to be; yes linux is far more open, but many, though not all, of the things that people whine about not being able to diagnose in windows are simply because they don't know how; they only know the unix way.
    - Windows 2000 was a large improvement, I believe in a large way because of the pressure the Linux threat put on MS. Windows Xp even moreso from a personal workstation perspective.

  • Re:Different Goals (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BlueF ( 550601 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @11:18PM (#4683185)
    >>> Interface... The real beauty of a program is
    >>> in what it does, not what it looks like.

    I don't care how fast, powerful, featureful, or otherwise sleek and sexy a program is, if it's a pain in the ass to (learn to) use. That is, while Windows may have the lion's share of issues, overall, in terms of speed, reliability, and interface, it is a pleasure to use. If I could say the same for linux, I'd never look back.

    When it get's right down to it, every time I try a new linux distro, it's always the GUI (or, lack of a truly usuable GUI... and I've tried quite a few) that kills it for me.

    As much as I love being able to do things through a shell and command line, the majority of tasks are more enjoyable in the GUI environment. Put another way, if I could, I'd love to be able to work in Linux, with only the features I need in each peice of software I use to get done what needs to be done. But, when it comes to relaxation and entertainment, I like my software (and OS) to have a polished, responsive, and intuitive _interface_.

    Hell, I'd love to use Mac OS X. But, at the risk of spawning another eternally unsolved agrument, I just can't get past the slow, expensive, PowerPC hardware. Give me an alternative OS, x86 version of a Un*x based OS with a mature GUI and I'd be an happy user. Of course, you'd have to throw in the ability to play most of the new computer games available today, and even the ability to change the interface settings around to be more Windows-like -- in terms of window and task management, rather than Mac OS like.

    Funny thing. The last point I made leads me to the reason I think most folks can't hack an OS switch. This is something that I'll certainly fess up to. It may have a bit to do with my failed attempts to swith OS (to linux). Fact of the matter is, when it really comes down to it, the factor that 90% of users care about IS the interface. Most folks I've found don't like windows, macs, or linux, not because of how it works, but because of how it does NOT work in the manner that they're used to. That is, those other OSes are NOT the OS that we actually, already know how to use.
  • by Radical Rad ( 138892 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @11:30PM (#4683242) Homepage
    Ithink that there is a very good chance that if I ran a large-scale company, that Windows would be on the desktop because of Active Directory

    If you ran a large-scale company you would be smart to use NDS not AD. It is one of the main reasons the big dogs have stuck with Novell, that and it just can't be beat for file and print services.

  • by AstroDrabb ( 534369 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @11:30PM (#4683246)
    M$ does _nothing_ to suit thier users.
    Are you telling me their DRM crap is for users?
    What about them forcing users to agree to a new
    EULA that gives them the right to control/access
    your PC? If you don't agree to the EULA, well
    no new service pack for you. When they change
    protocals or API's it has nothing to do with
    their users. It is to allow them to knock
    off any competition. This way no other software
    is compatible and people have no choice but to
    use M$. Name _ONE_ great product/protocal/etc that M$ has come up with? Look at their
    SMB/NetBIOS crap. It is the most insecure
    networking protocol around. They took BSD sockets and made them not standard. I am a programmer
    and work with this everyday. To someone who
    has used win95/win98, yes, 2k/xp is a big leap
    forword in stabillity. M$ has been around
    _a lot_ longer then Linux. Linux on the other
    hand is very new in terms of an OS. It has advanced incredibly fast. It is more stable,
    robust, and most importantly, it is non-proprietary. I have yet to encounter one
    thing I can do in M$ that I cannot do in Linux.
    People whine that Linux is harder to setup/etc.
    This is just not true. It is just _different_.
    People are so use to the M$ way that Linux
    seems hard.
  • Re:Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AdrianG ( 57465 ) <adrian@nerds.org> on Friday November 15, 2002 @11:38PM (#4683289) Homepage

    First, let me say that I do not want to discourage you from posting these opinions about developing on various platforms. But I must say, I am surprised to hear what seems to be an experienced developer who has used both platforms express a preferences for Windows. I hope you will read and reply to this message, and that perhaps I can learn something from your response.

    You began with a brief note about your credentials, so I will follow suit. I have been getting paid to write code for about 23 years, now, and have used a variety of systems and languages. I've hand assembled code for a 6502 based single board system, and entered it via a hex key pad; I've written assembly code for MicroSoft Assembler under DOS; for the IBM 360/370 family and run it under MVT, CMS; for the Motorola 6800, 68000, 6805, and 6811 families, and for the Intel 8080, and 8048 families. I've written code in PL/I, Fortran, BASIC, IBM EXEC, EXEC2, REXX, various Unix shells, PERL, AWK, C, TCL/Expect, and Java, amoung other languages. I love programming and learning new systems, so what I am used to will never keep me from giving other languages and platforms a chance. I have to admit that while I have done some substantial programming under MS-DOS, I have never done any substantial coding under Windows.

    While I understand why many normal users like MS-Windows and the user interface it presents, I am rarely asked to do the sort of mundane, ordinary user type work that Windows is designed to facilitate. I get mostly requests to do unusual things. I have often been required to use MicroSoft tools for a number of reasons, but I must say that I have not had a single experience with any of that appalling company's software that was not frustrating and unpleasant. I really hate having things hidden from me. GUI's are nice, I suppose, but I will never be happy with a GUI over a command line interface and flat text configuration files unless that GUI lets me do everything that I can do with the CLI and flat text config files. I find that such a GUI is extremely rare. I really hate hand holdy documentation, because it is almost always incomplete, and I really hate it when documentation says things that are not exactly correct, and I routinely face these problems with MS products. I don't have the words to describe how frustrating it has been for me to design my application to use MicroSoft's API as they are incorrectly documented, and then have to change my designed in the middle of a project to deal with how the API's really work.

    Unix, on the other hand, seems like a dream operating system for a programmer. (I'm using "Unix" to refer to all Unix-like systems.) If you forget, for a moment, this naive tendency that some recent Open Source Programmers have to use HOWTO's and "info" files as a substitute for "man" pages (they are fine in addition to "man" pages), Unix documentation is online, generally exact, and fairly complete. Most things are designed to be out in the open and easily understood by the programmer. The tools that are provided with a Unix System are designed to be versatile, because the programmers that created Unix knew that they couldn't anticipate everything that their users (other programmers) will want to do with their system.

    I realize that Windows has a number of GUI building tools that make it easy for people to create applications without having to know how to write a lot of code, but it seems like these tools do little to tell the programmer exactly what is going on at a low level with the resulting applications. Am I to trust MicroSoft to make sure the applications that results from my efforts with such a GUI will be secure? Also, how can a really serious programmer be happy with having all the details of what is going on hidden from him (or her)?

    Finally, I have done quite a bit of teaching about programming, and I must say that I am concerned about the effect that MS-Windows seems to have on programmers that use it as their development platform. I really think programmers are better off learning from the very beginning that it is important to understand, in very fundamental terms, exactly what is going on in the applications they create. To me, the very notion that one can get by without understanding their application in pretty exact terms is antithetical to good programming. The boundaries between the application and the operating system must be reasonably simple and must be clearly and exactly specified in documentation that comes bundled with the operating system. Getting a new programmer used to the idea that the operating system is a mystery that he is simply not supposed to try to understand is terribly counter-productive. When a program or an operating system has a memory leak, the leak should be fixed; Training users to reboot the system to fix problems sets a terrible example for programmers. When I first learned to write code, and when I found that my program didn't do what I expected, I had to learn that my own mistakes were the most frequent source of problems. Programmers that first learn to program under MS-Windows don't have the benefit of an OS that is stable enough and conforms well enough to its documentation to teach them this essential lesson, and as a result, I find that programmers that come from a MicroSoft background are much more likely than programmers from a Unix background to start off blaming the operating system rather than looking in their own code for the source of their problems. Of course, programmers are individuals, and make their own decisions about what lessons to take from the platforms they use, but the example that the operating system sets is one of the things that influences the decisions that programmers make, in this regard.

    So my question is this: What is it, exactly, that makes Windows a better platform for development?


  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 16, 2002 @12:43AM (#4683642)
    I may be AC but that doesn't mean I'm a dumbass...

    My reasons for staying on windows are numerous.

    1) First of all, people always say windows crashes, its unstable, its bloated, blah blah blah. That may be true, and I have seen instability in the past (win95 anyone?) but to be honest, my Windows 2000 machine is stable as a rock. Never a bluescreen, ever. I think the problem with windows' "instability" is that poorly written 3rd party programs tended to take the OS with it when it crashed. Win2k (maybe XP dunno) seems to be very good at isolating programs from the OS. If a program crashes (which has happened to me) it never takes the OS with it. No main-stream apps have ever crashed though. MSOffice, IE(yes IE), photoshop, etc. all work for me just fine.

    2)I like the GUI. Win2K seems well polished. It is functional and helpful but not TOO helpful (like XP is IMO) and its easy to use. Theres keyboard shortcuts for everything (not saying linux lacks this...) and I actually like IE being embedded into the OS. People say this is a horrible thing but isnt this what linux does a lot with integrated web browser/ file manager? Virtual desktops in linux is useful but I downloaded an app to do that in windows. IE is may favorite browser by choice. I am not a zombie who does not explore my options. I have tried opera, mozilla(a few types), etc but IE is the fastest rendering, has the best support, loads the fastest, and the GUI is streamlined. I hate netscapes GUI, its terrible. Opera's tabbed browsing is nice but its just inferior to IE in terms of web site rendering (although opera is my 2nd choice). And for those that say tabbed browsing doesnt exist in IE, and therefore it sucks, well... IE has a self contained activeX control so you can make your own IE with all of the functionality and WITH tabbed browsing with minimal effort. This is what I did.

    3) fonts and stuff. face it, linux fonts suck. and I dont want to edit tons of configuration files and mess with all this shit just to get nice fonts on my linux box. Windows already has them.

    4) Games. Does this even need to be explained? No, but I can add on to it - there's a ton of software for windows that can do virtually anything. Nix has a lot of software too, but I dont want to mess with configuration files, I dont want to compile/make it just to run it, etc etc. In windows i can download a utility in 5 seconds and run it 'out of the box' instantly. Things are harder, more time consuming, and much more annoying in linux. RPMs dont let me choose where I want to install programs and that REALLY pisses me off. I like the way win2k's file structure works.

    5) More gui oriented. This is a personal choice. My personal choice (an opinion, there is no right/wrong) is that I prefer to edit options in a program graphically as opposed to rummaging around in text files(much more common in *nix). I just go to a program's option screen, check/uncheck a few checkboxes etc, and its setup. In linux i have to fish around a 5 page conf file and find and edit the settings.

    6) Major software. Face it, linux is almost always behind on major end user software. I'm talking about office apps, imaging programs, etc. Sure Linux tries real hard to have replacements, but they just don't cut it for me. Last I checked open office didnt have spell check! All these big windows apps have a much more polished feel to them than their linux counterparts - like the GUI.

    I don't doubt linux's server capabilities and customization abilities. For some, thats a bonus. But for my day to day use of a computer, I prefer windows. Whatever floats your boat I guess. I'm sure a lot of the things I said were good about windows is exactly what others hate about it. To each his own.
  • by 0x0d0a ( 568518 ) on Saturday November 16, 2002 @12:51AM (#4683697) Journal
    Various scripting languages are archaic.

    Is it just me that wishes that Perl was a lot smaller, simpler, and didn't have the There's A Lot Fucking More Ways To Do It Than Anyone Uses? I'd much prefer to have a saner syntax (and thus a non-buggy emacs perl-mode) and easier-to-read code from other programmers. Just because people laugh about the fact that Perl is a "write once" language doesn't mean that it's a Good Thing. I mean, the speed and good regex support is nice...I just wish that the Perl folks had stopped there. Making it also work like BASIC, C, C++, and you name it is overkill.

    I disagree with the UI criticism. I come from the Mac world, and find that the UIs in most Windows programs are *awful*. The UNIX approach tends to expose more technical details (nothing's worse than a "user friendly" error message that doesn't let you *fix* what's wrong), but I generally think that the UI is better. Also...try troubleshooting a Windows box and then a UNIX box. *Hell* of a lot better tools and easier to track down what's wrong on UNIX.

    Then...the stuff you mentioned. Emacs is an advanced editor. It's for programmers, or people who are really into dealing with text. If you didn't use BBEdit on the Mac, you wouldn't care about Emacs on UNIX. There are plenty of easy-to-use editors for UNIX. Emacs is insanely powerful, and while I agree that it has about a three year learning curve of working heavily with the thing to get to the point where you can comfortably mold and extend the thing, it's worth it.

    I'm not sure I agree about GNU Make. You *do* have to understand waaay too much to learn the damn thing and work with other people's makefiles (I mean, *read* the manual sometime...no one uses all those features). It reminds me of Perl sometimes. However, it's also *very* powerful, allows you to specify what you want to do in a minimum of space, and is pretty fast.

    OTOH, since I can count the number of properly-written Makefiles (using .d files to ensure that header file modifications cause object files to be rebuilt, for instance) that I've seen on one hand, I agree that it's too complex.

    VI isn't really my editor, but it seems fairly logical, at least if you're used to UNIX conventions. I love ^ being "beginning of line" and $ "end of line". That's nice. I don't think billing VI as a great editor for people looking for a Win/Mac like editor is a great idea, though.

    After poking at the thing way more than anyone should have to, I've decided that autoconf is crap. Definitely crap. No two ways about it. It's a damn shame that the GNU folks back it. It's insanely complicated. The syntax changes regularly, and the autoconf people don't give a tinker's toot about backwards compatibility. The associated tools (libtoolize, and whatnot) do the same thing, break backward compatibility regularly. It's impossible to write a backward or forward compatible file in many cases -- you have to either cater to the people with one version or another. And that's pathetic, for such a fundamental tool. I'd much rather see the GNU Project withdraw their support for the project in favor of something simpler. Dammit, for an issue that many people already aren't concerned about that much (portability to other systems), you *must* make the cost-to-developer of using autoconf *low*. Instead, it's one of the most frusterating, annoying, complicated tools I've *ever* used. Oh, and on top of all that, it's *slow*. At least GNU Make is fast. It's reached the point where it's easier to do cross-platform work by hand than use the thing.

  • Well, games and... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by TaliesinWI ( 454205 ) on Saturday November 16, 2002 @01:00AM (#4683752) Journal
    Until Symantec makes PCAnywhere for Linux, I'll have to run Windows at work and on my work computer at home. Dual booting is out of the question - imagine explaning to my boss that I had to close my six SSH windows, my web browser, and my E-mail program so I can reboot to Windows to use PCA to fix a two minute problem, then switch back to Linux to continue doing my work.
    And running PCAnywhere under VMWare for Linux is...problematic. Certainly not reliable enough (last time I tried it) to rely on it working when I'm going to need it.
    Yes, I know about VNC, et al. I don't need something _like_ PCAnywhere. I need _PCAnywhere_.
    I don't need it to be free. I just need it to exist.
  • by Loundry ( 4143 ) on Saturday November 16, 2002 @01:49AM (#4683948) Journal
    So far though XP hasn't been bad, VERY few crashes (like 5 in about four months, three of which were EndNote's fault).

    This is XP's fault, not EndNote's fault. A user-space program should never cause the OS to crash. Hardware? Yes, possibly. Programs? Never. Anything less is a flaw in the OS design. People are still way, way, way too forgiving of Microsoft for their lackluster design.

    At least, this is my opinion. Am I being to hard on Microsoft?
  • Nothing (Score:3, Insightful)

    by White Roses ( 211207 ) on Saturday November 16, 2002 @02:07AM (#4684013)
    I have an iMac at home, Solaris and Linux at work. The only thing I've had to use Windows for in the past 18 months is updating the firmware on my Linksys router (did it from Virtual PC and W95). I think any future ones can be done from my browser now.

    How did I get out from under? Well, job-wise, I work as a technical instructor for a company that teaches Solaris, HP-UX and Java. Occasionally, I'll have to teach an onsite where they are using NT or 98 or something (I teach Java), but for the most part, I'm on Solaris. We have company laptops which are supposed to be NT/2000. Mine's Linux. Sorry, not using my laptop as a server at an onsite class for Java under Windows. I don't care what flavor of Windows it is, I'm standing in front of students who evaluate my performance. I'm not using anything that may crash in the middle of something important. So it's a credibility issue for me. Maybe if Microsoft supported Java better (at all), I'd use NT.

    Other than that? My choice. I don't have to use Windows for anything. There are alternatives. Can I play games on my iMac? Hell yeah. The top games are all available: The Sims, Warcraft III, Harry Potter (it's number 6 or soemthing like that), I can play them all. Sure, I just got Jedi Knight II, what, 8 months after the PC release? So what? I was playing Sims, Warcraft, Alice and Diablo for all that time. How many games do you need? More than that? Buy a console, they've got even more games than Windows. Can I run business software? Certainly. Word, Excel, whatever. Server applications? Check. Apache, SSH, name a service. Java? Roger that, too. Some Java gurus think Apple's JVM is one of the best ever. There isn't anything that I can do on Windows that I can't do on something else. Well, okay, VB. Why would I want to do VB, anyway? I don't program for Windows only.

    Sure, there's loads more software for PCs. The top sellers are Windows licences, virus scanning software and utilities packages to fix your system. Joy!

    I read a lot of stuff from both sides: Windows is better for business, Linux is better for stability. OS X is equal to both in both arenas (unfortunately, we're sometimes equal to Linux in driver support and Windows in eye candy that can bog down the system as well, but we're getting better - hey, our current OS is, what, coming up on 2, 3 years old?). Hardware's more expensive, maybe it's not worth the cost from the parts perspective, but the whole . . . ah, so much greater than the sum.

    Plus, we get ants in our laptops. And sometimes they catch fire. Clearly, we think they are pants (which means we may be lying).

    If your company forces Windows on you, erase the hard drive and install Linux if you can. Or even if you can't. Just do something. Take a stand! Have some reasons, and try to have some way to do everything they want you to do with Windows. It's not that hard for a lot of people. Take away the IT department's power. You might even be amazed at how much more work you can get done when you can ignore most of their e-mails and don't have to reboot as much. REVOLT! STEAL THIS OS!

    The only thing keeping most people on Windows is plain laziness. Plain laziness.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 16, 2002 @02:47AM (#4684145)

    "thats wrong"

    No, that's right. You can't tell someone they're wrong then proceed by redefining their statement to make it so. Which is what you just did.

    "probably the same reason most people do - it sucks ..."

    You might think it sucks. He doesn't. Many people don't. Windows actually needs a minimal amount of admin work once set-up. He doesn't want to have to deal with all that *again* for a desktop. Here's a newsflash for you. Most people don't *want* to be sysops. They just want to be able to browse, write email and use their preferred software. Much of this software doesn't run on Linux or involves learning different packages that do the same thing, and they don't *want* to learn to use software to replace what they already know.

    For many of us, computers are tools, not the be-all and end-all. We use them to accomplish our work then leave them. Yes, many people do just use their computer for an hour a day or whatever, though I've known people who just left it running 24/7 and reboots weren't frequent and crashes rare. For the vast majority of people, Windows is fine, but then for the vast majority of people, OS selection isn't a religion.

  • by kikta ( 200092 ) on Saturday November 16, 2002 @02:53AM (#4684173)
    Pico is very easy to use & is a spin-off of Pine. If your editing needs are simple, I highly recommend this editor. Some people bitch about the license, but that's up to you to decide for yourself.

    Check it out here. [washington.edu]
  • by Pooua ( 265915 ) on Saturday November 16, 2002 @03:03AM (#4684208) Homepage
    : 1) Is it just the 'vocal minority' that favors alternate OSes over Linux

    Probably only a minority of people favor alternate OSes over Linux. I am one of that number, but I am highly aware of the those other people. My observation of them leads me to believe that they favor Microsoft Windows either out of ignorance (maybe they don't know what an OS is) or job security (administering a Windows box requires specialized skill, which means the Windows-certified professional has a secure job in the Windows world), with most people having little concern beyond not having to buy and learn a whole new way of doing things.

    2) if not, what's keeping you from 'putting your money where your mouth is' - why are you using Windows?

    I have always been a fan of alternate systems. I ran my old computer on Novell's DR-DOS for several years, before finally breaking down and buying Windows 95. The processors that run my computers have been either Cyrix or AMD. About two years ago, I became so disgusted with Windows crashes that I vowed I would move to another OS, no matter what it took. Yet, I just bought a copy of Windows XP. Why?

    The main reason I still use Microsoft Windows is that I am highly familiar with both the product and the design philosophy of the product. I have been using PC-compatible computers since 1988, and it is difficult for me to get used to Linux. I have tried. I own over a half-dozen distributions of Linux, starting with RedHat 5.1 and going up to SuSE 7.2 Pro. I also have a copy of BeOS... for that matter, I have a copy of OS/2 Warp 3. I have never been able to get any alternate OS to function as it is supposed to function. I have spent several evenings trying to get simple things (like connection to the Internet) working, knowing the entire time that I could get it to work in a half-hour with Windows. It's not that Windows is that much better; it's just that I know it that much better.

    Recently, I decided to back up all of my pictures and home movies to a bootable hard drive. I tried using a few distributions of Linux, besides BeOS (and OS/2 Warp), but I could not get them to work correctly. SuSE installed OK, but I am not comfortable partitioning drives under it, and it does not correctly play most of the movies I've collected. If it has anything as functional as ACDSee, I don't know about it (no, The Gimp is not it). Meanwhile, I have about 2 Gig of photographs that I took that are waiting on a portable drive, with another Meg or 2 added each week. After a few weeks of experimenting, I finally broke down and ordered the cheapest copy of Windows XP Home I could find.

    I am required to use Windows in my workplace. I recently asked the head of the IT Department which version of Windows they planned to use for the near future, as I am considering certification (or, at least, training). He told me to get Windows XP, as the company would be moving to that in the near future.

    Many of my friends at work have Windows XP on their home machine. Only a few try alternate OSes. One is a Linux guru; another is an Amiga fan. Both also use Windows.

  • by 2short ( 466733 ) on Saturday November 16, 2002 @03:32AM (#4684315)
    Well, let me first say that I agree with many of your points. Now on to ridiculing thos I dont: :)

    "So they're blissfully unaware that MS is selling them (for the most part) bloated garbage"

    I would say what MS sells is what you would expect from a company that sells a dizzying array of different software: A little is garbage. Most is OK, if sub-optimal. A little is freakin' awesome. For me, Visual Studio falls in the last category, and it alone is enough to keep me with MS. There simply isn't an equivalent, and yes, I've looked.

    "Oh, we care. We always want more people to use Free/Open Source software. But only because we believe that OSS/FS is generally better and has (or will have) a better effect on society in the long run"
    I entirely agree. Being open/Free source is a positive feature. All else being equal, the open source software is preferable. All else not being equal, the open software will probaly become preferable if it is not already. You and I both want more people to use Free/Open software. So don't flame people for telling you why they dont, particulary in a discussion that asks that very question.
  • by Some Dumbass... ( 192298 ) on Saturday November 16, 2002 @04:58AM (#4684534)
    CHEAPER in terms of time too. [That] says it all. Who wants to spend hours trying to get shit to work when you could just intall and play under windows.

    I have to wonder, though, whether arguments like this really boil down to "lack of experience with Linux".

    Now I'm not trying to say anything about you personally. This isn't intended as an insult. For all I know you may know more about Linux than I do. I just wonder if Linux is harder for most people simply because they were brought up on Windows, not because of the complexity of Linux (or of Linux distros?) itself, and if this then causes them to say that it's harder to do things on Linux. After all, people who have used Linux more would say exactly the opposite.

    I suspect that this is true. I'm pretty knowledgeable about Linux - I've used it for about 4 years at home, and quite a bit at work too. Recently, I installed W2K Pro on a spare system to mess around with. Guess what? I ran into plenty of problems of the "not knowing how to do things" type. For example, since this system was hooked up to my DSL line, I tried to set up the built-in firewall. I seem to remember trying for a long time to figure out where it would let you make rules for outgoing packets. I also seem to remember having problems selecting multiple ports for one rule (Okay, it was a year ago, and my memory's a bit fuzzy). Of course, I knew that there were better firewall products out there, but to figure out which one would work best for me (would run well on a near-minimum specs system, would have all the features I wanted, etc.) I was going to have to "piss away a lot of time" doing research. Note that I can set up an iptables firewall from scratch fairly quickly.

    My point is, of course, that what people are really saying when they complain about the difficulty of Linux is actually the old "mindshare" problem. Much like most users were probably baffled by the difference between "User" and "Administrator" accounts in newer Windows versions, almost everyone is baffled by Linux at first.

    This is still a real problem for Linux. I'm not suggesting that it isn't. Instead, I'm trying to say that the whole "having endless hours to piss away trying to make things work" complaint might not be about Linux itself. Linux is relatively easy for people who are used to it. Rather, it's a familiarity issue. Most people are used to Windows, not Linux or Unix, and even with all the hand-holding which newer Linux distros do (esp. Mandrake and SUSE), it's still foreign to most folks. Perhaps that's what makes it hard, not Linux itself.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 16, 2002 @07:06AM (#4684839)
    I read :

    "software considered basic to the computing experience by most users"

    and then I read:

    "Photoshop -- The GIMP is far inferior and can't handle CMYK"

    Just asking - do you read your own submissions. CMYK is ONLY needed if you're sending stuff off to a printer shop which ONLY handles CMYK. These are probably the same places where you have to give them text in Postscript format only for typesetting.
  • Re:Different Goals (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Fross ( 83754 ) on Saturday November 16, 2002 @09:26AM (#4685106)
    If by mission-critical you mean something like a missile guidance system, then you would be crazy to use Linux also. But if you mean something like an e-commerce website, then about 28.89% [netcraft.com] of the webmasters out there are crazy.

    I'm sure you do really know that Netcraft does not only monitor "mission-critical" sites.

    BTW- you might notice that no Linux webserver is in the top 50 uptime stats [netcraft.com].

    On the other hand, there are no Windows servers in the top 50 uptimes either, so your point is redundant.

    Long uptimes are *not* the sign of a stable server. Stable and secure servers should be brought down for routine maintenance as necessary to install any relevant patches to ensure they *remain* stable and secure.

    I'm sure that if there were any Windows servers in that top 50 list,they'd get taken down in an instant through one of the dozen or so exploits found during their uptime.
  • by Elwood P Dowd ( 16933 ) <judgmentalist@gmail.com> on Saturday November 16, 2002 @01:21PM (#4685904) Journal
    Well, if it makes you feel any better, I'm not an OSS person. I run Mac OS X, and love it.

    On the rare occasion that I play with Linux, there is a huge increase in GUI speed. And it's a lot uglier.

    Are there problems with X Windows? Sure. Is it the client/server architecture? No. Is it the speed? No. Not if you think Mac OS X is better: Aqua is client/server *and* it's slower.

    The core of his argument... doesn't exist. Pick something I've said and tell me it's wrong.

The rich get rich, and the poor get poorer. The haves get more, the have-nots die.