Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?

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.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

What's Keeping You On Windows?

Comments Filter:
  • Games (Score:4, Interesting)

    by D3 ( 31029 ) <daviddhenning@gmail . c om> on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:27PM (#4680161) Journal
    Games, interoperability with others at work (OpenOffice is good but not a perfect replacement), and the ability to maybe get a first post? ;)
  • Re:Games (Score:5, Interesting)

    by israfil_kamana ( 262477 ) <christianedwardg ... m ['l.c' in gap]> on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:29PM (#4680201) Homepage
    Pretty much. I just re-loaded win32 to dual boot with OpenBSD on my laptop so I can feed my addiction to Civ3. (No FreeCiv is not as fun in my view...)

    Anyway, where it counts (on servers) I push open solutions where they make sense, which is in most places in an enterprise config - at least as far as my previous work-places have gone.
  • by StillNeedMoreCoffee ( 123989 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:29PM (#4680209)
    Speed. My win98 system on a pentium 650mz still is still faster than my Linux on a 1.2g pentium. Go figure.
  • by tinrobot ( 314936 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:29PM (#4680211)
    We do lots of graphics work here. We need all sorts of apps -- Photoshop, After Effects, 3DS Max, Combustion, etc, etc... I can run all of them under Windows. Some aren't ported to Linux, not all run on the Mac, either.

    It's always been the applications that have driven things. Still the same today.
  • by Bonker ( 243350 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:31PM (#4680236)
    One App:

    Adobe Photoshop

    Photoshop runs under Wine, I've heard, but not well. Also, type support, which is highly necessary for any kind of decent design work, is miserable under most linux WM's.
  • by Planesdragon ( 210349 ) <> on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:32PM (#4680272) Homepage Journal
    The biggest reason is, of course, Office--OpenOffice still doesn't handle emdashes, which means it's not worth the time to learn for me yet.

    Ease of setup is the other big one--I don't want my computer to ever expect me to go into a command line to set something, and I don't have a desire to learn UNIX commands just to use my overgrown typewriter.

    (That reminds me--gotta give Linux its fair chance this weekend, which means no writing in Windows for me... I'll post a journal to let y'all know if it works out bearably.)
  • by Denver_80203 ( 570689 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:34PM (#4680303)
    I agree. While the 9x and NT machines were a little bumpy, they got MS in the door. Now 2000/XP are very stable and easy to use. All the applications that my company uses are in MS OS. Linux and Mac machines simply don't have the applications that an Oil Drilling company needs. Certainly are are /some/, but not nearly enough to support the company being "half on one foot". Finally: I don't care if Bill is rich enough. It's not my concern. I have better things to do than hate a company because it's "big". I'm certain that when linux grows large enough and starts serving every possible customer, things will bump into each other and cause problems, too.
  • Why I use Windows... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ccady ( 569355 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:34PM (#4680309) Journal
    1. I use Quicken.
    2. My Canon scanner is not supported by Linux.
    3. I have an Access database which I use.
    4. It looks better--the screen fonts are smooth and pretty.
    5. I do lots of .NET development.
    I'm switching, but it takes time. More things "just work" under Windows.
  • by 8282now ( 583198 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:34PM (#4680320) Journal
    You too can become an honest man/woman/AI too! Just remove all the WAREZ you've been running all these years and become a GNU/FSF convert and make MS, Adobe, Macromedia, etc,... happy! No more s/w pirates! Yay!! --- Support the end of warez, use free s/w! :)
  • Apple is proprietary (Score:2, Interesting)

    by skubalon ( 579506 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:35PM (#4680332)
    Why is everyone so anti-Microsoft and not so anti-Apple? Apple is just as proprietary as Microsoft is, and they have some dumb licensing practices too. Granted, Microsoft is the biggest and baddest and has some of the worst licensing policies out there, they are not the only one.
  • by Psx29 ( 538840 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:35PM (#4680338)
    The Asian Language Support. I can seamlessly switch between Japanese and Chinese input with windows. It is a lot more cumbersome in linux. Aside from that...there are certain programs that are just not available for linux systems and won't function under a windows emulator (or WINE for that matter) which are a neccesity(namely certain CD-R software, and file-sharing software).
  • by ruszka ( 456169 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:36PM (#4680358)
    Being a beginner to *nix (having only started running it for a couple years now), I mostly use Windows because of school. I am taking two webcourses at the moment, so I am constantly sending my instructors documents in Word format (correct me if I'm wrong, but I assume *nix can't save as Word formats). Also, I am in the programming curriculum and taking c# this semester so I am using VS .Net. As much as I enjoy slackware and learning about it, I am not comfortable nor knowledgable enough to go full-blown *nix only while I still depend on M$ apps.
  • by TellarHK ( 159748 ) <tellarhk AT hotmail DOT com> on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:37PM (#4680380) Homepage Journal
    I'm buying my second iBook today. I have two PC's, a 500Mhz iBook and a couple Sun classic-era workstations that I play with. Windows is for gaming, pretty much says it all. Sure, my Windows machine is more upgradeable than my laptops, but for the past month I've been using the iBook constantly on the job and have no problem whatsoever with it except that I really like what apple has done to revamp the line. So what did I do?

    Today I got a loan from Apple, and will be getting a new $1489 iBook. 800Mhz, 640M of RAM, 30G, and a 32M Radeon in it. Am I stoked? Fuck yeah, I'm stoked. My iBook is going to my partner on 'indefinite postponed payment' once I get my new one. He'll make the second person I've brought over into the Mac realm. And just about two years ago, I was bashing them myself.

    OSX is just incredible. No two ways about it, it kicks ass. Closed source GUI? Sure. I can live with that. Secretive API's? I can live with that too. It just works.

    And as soon as I get back from the Salem, NH Apple Store tonight, I'll be reading good ol' Slashdot from it. Happy as hell.

    Microsoft OS'es are lousy, but the games are okay. At this rate though, I'll be shelving Windows in favor of a PS3 or whatever comes next, and a desktop Mac.
  • Games and Work (Score:2, Interesting)

    by gheidorn ( 613169 ) <greg.heidorn@[ ] ['gma' in gap]> on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:38PM (#4680414)
    Games on the PC are dominated by the Win32 platforms. If there's ever a point where games are released for *NIX at the same time as the Win32 version, I would switch. As long as my company maintains systems like Lotus Notes and a Visual Age repository, I'll be on Windows at home. :(
  • Why Windows (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Shadow Wrought ( 586631 ) <shadow.wrought@g ... om minus painter> on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:38PM (#4680417) Homepage Journal
    At work I use the company issued Compaq with Windows 2000. At home, well we are working on that. We are looking at buying a computer for the house in the next few months but it will most likely have Windows on it.

    My fiancee wants to use it for Quicken, the kids for games. I want to use the games as well have having the option of working on documents from home. I am also, however, planning on getting the Amithlon as a secondary part of the system for my fun.

    I have talked to friends about Linux and, quite frankly, I just don't have the computer knowledge base to try and use it as the primary OS. Hell I'm not even sure I can pull the Amithlon off ('tis been a long time since I played with my A1200). I have seen people with far more experience than myself struggle to get things to work with it. They are happy when they do, but I don't want to spend my weekends fighting with the confuser.

    My $0.02.

  • by Anonvmous Coward ( 589068 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:38PM (#4680420)
    I'm an animator. I use Lightwave (PC or Mac, no Linux for at least a year or two), I use Photoshop, and I use After Effects. Right now, I'm stuck with Windows or even Mac.

    Would I switch to Linux if magically everything worked? Not today. I recently tried Linux. My biggest complaint was that there was no way I could be productive on it without knowing some obscure command-line stuff. I had trouble getting the network going, I never got sound to work, and I found installing some (not all) software to be difficult. This was Redhat 7.2.

    I enjoyed setting up a Redhat webserver. That went reasonably well, and it's behaving quite nicely. As a desktop machine, though, it was a horrible experience for me. I'm an artist. I'm right brained. I don't want to learn a bunch of commands when Windows' UI very elegantly manages the hardware. So yeah, I'm spoiled.

    I plan on re-evaulating Linux in a year or so, but I think they need to evolve the UI more before they convert me. In the mean time, I am a satisfied Windows 2000 user. It's hard to switch when today I have working machines that don't give me problems. I've never lost an overnight or even an over-the-weekend render due to an instability in Windows or Lightwave.

    I guess what I'm saying is: Not only does Linux need to be as good as Windows (particularly in the UI area...), it's also got to entice me some how. Film Gimp was a step in the right direction...
  • True (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ArchieBunker ( 132337 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:39PM (#4680423) Homepage
    I won't switch until linux can do all these jobs flawlessly:

    1. Run the latest games
    2. Capture/encode video into divx or mpeg2 streams using commercial quality programs such as Cinema Craft
    3. Play the latest media format (Sorenson, Windows Media, Realplayer(gag)
    4. Run about a million win32 programs dating from 1992-present

    Heres a good example of where windows wins and linux loses. I wanted a program for grabbing audio from my sound card and encoding to mp3 in realtime for archiving radio shows. In linux I had to fight with lame, cron, and some sketchy recording programs which produced files that skipped. In windows I downloaded a program, set the timer and picked my bitrate and had it working in minutes.
  • Yes it is the games (Score:3, Interesting)

    by avante ( 524777 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:39PM (#4680431) Homepage

    The only thing at this point keeping me with a very very old copy of Windows 98 at home is the fact that the games are all there.

    Unfortunately, this situation does not seem to be diminishing. What's worse, more games are coming out for XBox, and NOT on the PC platform, meaning to continue my lifestyle, I would need one of those... which is unthinkable to me.

    I will completely abandon Windows when I have outgrown computer games. All my favorite development tools are on GNU/Linux or are cross platform. In fact, I even like Netbeans (free/open software) better than Borland JBuilder, which I happen to like a lot. For graphics, I like Gimp, although it takes getting used to. Mozilla has finally reached a critical point in development for me (and I want to develop for Mozilla as a platform). OpenOffice does more than I'll ever need, and doesn't even give me enough problems with Word documents anymore. The chat clients are better, text editing better, etc. Evolution is better than Outlook for me. I've had it with that other MS thing.

    But the games...

    I used to work at home, and when I did, I used GNU/Linux. Now I work in an office, and I still use GNU/Linux there. In fact, we are working very hard to ensure that all of our clients use GNU/Linux. There are two reasons. One, Free and Open software does not cost money, that's obvious. Our clients are poor NGO's, often working in even poorer countries. But there is another... with the continuing introduction of new technologies to track and control content, computers and their use, it is concievable that it will become more difficult for our clients to continue working with Windows in the areas where they are working. Often, they live in places with oppressive governments and need to maintain a certain degree of anonymity and we must be certain that there computer does not communicate what they do to a third party. Can't do it with closed source stuff, and more and more it's harder to do with Windows.

    In short, our clients are only using microsoft for application compatibility, but that will change. In some instances, their lives may depend on it.

  • I made the switch... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Kintanon ( 65528 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:40PM (#4680459) Homepage Journal
    A few months ago I went completely over to Red Hat, pretty much right after the release of RH 8.0 I went fully over. I still have a windows box because this one specific poker client I use and really like doesn't run under Wine (it was made really crappy) and since I have the box there I also use it to play streaming mp3s so I don't have to tie my main boxes sound card up on that. I'll also occasionally fire up Kazaa on that machine to download something. But I do all of thse through VNC since the windows box is sitting headless and half naked behind my desk. All of my day to day gaming, web browisng, e-mail, etc... etc.. is done on Linux both at home and at work.

  • by wumarkus420 ( 548138 ) <wumarkus&hotmail,com> on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:41PM (#4680486) Homepage
    I have used Linux since kernel .99 and Windows since v2.x, I have also used OS X, OS/2, BeOS, and FreeBSD. I had a period in my life where I loved to multiboot every possible OS. But then I realized that multibooting was a hassle. Then I realized that I had to pick. And I picked Windows. Why? Still - after all the advances in Linux drivers, I found that hardware was my biggest problem. I have had so many different combinations of hardware that haven't worked - The MS Phone (not a surprise), the CyberGenie, the old STB TV Tuner, old webcams, scanners, modems, ethernet cards, TV out on my matrox, etc. Games were never a priority, but all my hardware working correctly was. And WITHOUT all the hacking. Other reasons: I like the XP interface. I like it BETTER than KDE, Gnome, and OS X. This is an unbiased preference. The look and feel to me works the way I want it to. I don't like virtual windows. I don't like windows being automatically focused on. I also believe that Windows gets easier to use with each release. This makes things easier for both the user and the person that has to administer the users. It is a lot easier for me to explain how to copy a file from one person's user folder to another on a windows machine using fruity, yet helpful terms like "Network Neighborhood." Network configuration is simple. Hardware installation is simple. Server configuration is simple. I also don't mind Office. I don't mind having my letters capitalized for me sometimes. I don't mind having a word like 'teh' automatically turned into 'the' - I even don't mind IE. I don't like tabbed-browsing. I don't like the ads in Opera. I even don't mind Outlook. I like being reminded that I have to turn in my timesheet. I like that it synchornizes with my cell phone and reminds me to attend meetings. So there are a few reasons for me. Every few months I download another distribution and put it on my second computer at home (2 comparably powerful PC's). Then I try to do the things I commonly do (which are different at home than at work, but not really). For some reason, I keep ignoring the Linux machine. CD Burning is better in Windows - I have a lot more options with CloneCD, CDRWIN, Easy CD, Nero, Fireburner, etc. I even like the effects in XP - I like the fading menus in Win2K. Sure, I can save on system resources by turning them off, but I think it makes my computer seem more pleasing to the eye.

    So sorry if that was a huge rambling, but I was thinking out loud as to why I do like Windows.

    And just to give you some background, I am a sys/network admin who administers both Unix and Windows machines for a group of developers and sales staff. I am not against Unix, it's just not what I want running on my everyday machine. Because it has features I don't need everyday. Network security? Unix. Internet services? Unix. Looking at pr0n? WINDOWS!
  • by simetra ( 155655 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:41PM (#4680493) Homepage Journal
    For the last X years, hundreds, maybe thousands of 3rd-party software vendors have been making all their stuff for Windows. As such, we utilize these Windows apps for which there are no alternative in the Free world.

    I still use Windows at home most of the time because it's easy for the wife to use, and easy to install and use various apps and hardware. I can, but choose not to, blow hours reading config files and man pages to get something running that would take maybe 5 minutes to set up in Windows. And no, it never crashes, because I only install software I want, and allow very, very few TSR's and unnecessary services to run in the background. Basically, it works.

    Yes, I know I CAN do all this in Linux, but I don't have as much free time as some people. It's still very far away from being user-friendly enough for anyone to actually use as an all-purpose OS.

  • by Nobody's Hero ( 552712 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:41PM (#4680498) Homepage
    I switched over recently. At least I switched my servers at work. (Can't really switch at home the gf would beat me with a stick!) It wasn't an easy task. Before now I had only haphazardly used Linux here and there and knew enough of the commands to get by. It's hard to learn new things especially new OS's getting my samba working and getting IP Tables to act the way I want was a hell of alot harder than simply turning on file sharing and installing some firewall software.

    I think for the majority of the users it's a case of the roadblock of pride. It's easier to use what you are used to then it is to ask for help all the time.

    Most of us are tech savvy enough to not ask for help with our computers at all. In fact for the most part we hate people asking us for help. I mean, how many users have you wanted to slap? It's hard to take that large step backward and put yourself into a situation where you know very little and in many cases have to ask for help.

    I've quickly picked up the linux stuff now and feel I am competent with it. It's a good solid OS and it doesn't die like my NT box did..

    It's not that I didn't want to switch it's that I didn't want to be a n00b!
  • by 1stflight ( 48795 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:42PM (#4680508)
    Nada! As soon as my new parts arrive (I'm waiting for after the holiday season), I'm building a straight RH 7.3 (skip 8.0) or Mandrake based system, with a subscription to Transgaming's software, OpenOffice and KDE 3.1. Windows, my wife can keep that box!

    P.S. As for the reason this message is posted from Windows, I'm at with most Slashdotters I'm sure have workplaces that still use Windows.
  • by McQualude ( 189360 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:44PM (#4680554)
    I wanted to switch. I tried. I read books, I installed, I participated on linux newsgroups, I tweaked, updated, etc, etc and I kept having to do it. The most frustrating part of using Linux is that you have to learn from geeks and geeks suck at teaching. It's like trying to learn guitar from a self taught musician. They can't teach what they know by instinct. My computer became about putzing with Linux instead of doing anything fun, so I gave up and installed XP. Now I can play games, all of my hardware works and I don't have an operating system for a hobby. Linux is for geeks and should stay for geeks.
  • by coryboehne ( 244614 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:44PM (#4680557)
    Ok, I can feel the flames already...

    I'm a .Net developer, I have chosen to use .Net for lots of good reasons (and yes there are some drawbacks, but most are minor in comparison) most of all being able to develop from start to finish so quickly, although the fact that debugging is made to be so easy is a major consideration as well.

    Now, I really do like Linux quite a bit, and as such my personal surfing/whatever I want to do with it system is running RedHat (oh boy! more flames) and I find it to be a great choice, but I know that I could never develop an application as complex as I need as quickly as I need and as easily as I need in Linux.

    The next concern is compatibility, virtually all of my potential user base is running Windows, if I were to ignore this fact I would be a complete idiot. If I plan on making money with my software I have to target this market, and I'm not ashamed to admit that I intend to charge a fair bit for my software (When you develop a product that is far better than anything else available you should charge well for it)

    Now, in defense of Windows XP, I have been using it for about six months and I have never seen a single crash (sure applications bomb, but the OS is as stable as any version of Linux or BSD that I have used, in some cases much MORE stable).

    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.
  • Applications (Score:2, Interesting)

    by geordie ( 258181 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:44PM (#4680566) Homepage
    I think Linux is wonderful, It's a great OS. But... while there are tons of great applications on Linux, the applications I need ( or rather, the applications my clients expect me to have) are nowhere to be seen.

    If a client drops a Quark, Illustrator, Photoshop, Indesign or publisher(urg) file lands in my mailbox I need to be able to :

    a) Open the file
    b) know that what I am seeing is what my client also sees.

    I think Linux is perfect for an average user who just wants to surf the net and check their email, do a bit of word processing etc ( It's the OS I would recommend to my mom ). But in a design environment where the applications are pretty standardized it just isn't ready for primetime yet.

    Get some of the big players on board (Adobe, Macromedia etc) and Switching would be incredibly easy for me to do.
  • by jenns ( 571323 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:48PM (#4680646) Journal
    Stability? Hahahahahahahahahhaha!

    But seriously, I'm the IT Director of a law firm, and the attorneys just want to jump on the bandwagon. I couldn't even put our new network on Novell instead of Win2K, something I regret every day.

    I tell people I love Macs, but I haven't worked on one in years. My primary computer at home is WinXP/Win98 dual boot for games and to work at home. I don't remember the last time I turned on the G3. And while I'd love to play with linux, with what time? I'm understaffed at work and as a result I'm never home.

    It's just so freakin' depressing...

  • by thatguywhoiam ( 524290 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:50PM (#4680700)
    I see a really commonly cited reason is games.

    My personal view is that a PC for games is a totally shitty value for your money. I have a Mac, which has a half-dozen games (mostly gifts). I use the Mac for my work. I have a Playstation 2, which I use for games.

    Now, considering that a PS2 will work 100% of the time (no patches/bugs/drivers/cruft), has a bigger screen, and pretty much the same number of games as the Windows platform (insofar as both platforms have way more excellent games than I'll ever buy).... and considering that the high-end video card you need to buy (for the PC you've already bought) costs nearly as much by itselfas a whole PS2/GC/XB.... why do you guys do it?

    It's not a troll, I really want to know. Is it certain games? Keyboard-based games? The supa-bleeding-edge graphics and sound?

    It's just a variant of the original poster's question, really, but I find my Mac/PS2 combination works really well. I don't want for many games.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:58PM (#4680849)
    To be perfectly honest, it is because I am a broke-ass who mostly uses copied software. Using Windows, any application or game (or Windows version) I want is easily available from a friend or p2p, or is freeware anyway. So the cost advantage of Linux doesn't matter to me, and to switch to Linux would mean giving up a plethora of great programs that I am familiar with and are usually the best in their class because of the huge userbase they already have.

    One thing that would change my attitude is tougher copy-protection of some kind, but this seems unlikely because of the difficulty of any such scheme, and because it appears that many software makers (M$) prefer to have pirated copies easily available so as to keep their userbase high.

    Yes, I know the world would be a better place if the cheapos like me used free software rather than pirating microsoft, but from my own selfish viewpoint, there are more programs available in the windows world.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 15, 2002 @06:00PM (#4680863)
    It's all about the warez. All of the games I own for PC are pirated and all of the games I have for Nintendo 64, PS1 and PS2 are legit. If I had to actually buy the games for my PC, I wouldn't do it because your right, if you don't already have the hardware, it would be a waste. Some games are PC only or better on the PC but the price difference is way too much of a hurdle to make it a wise choice. If you already have the hardware, and can pirate the games, why the hell not?
  • by Jerph ( 550853 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @06:01PM (#4680881) Homepage Journal
    The reason I stick with XP is that (a) it's consistently laid-out. The configuration and use of one application is nearly identical to the next. This is not so with Linux, where I have to scroll through giant man pages if they're there (and Google till dawn if not) to figure out how to use something. Or configure it. Or compile and install it. (b) Hardware. About a third of my hardware doesn't work at all in Linux (yet) and much of it I had to mess with it for hours before it would work. Sometimes, it would theoretically work, but I could never make it work in my case. (c) Software. This is a +/- thing. On the one hand there are tons of incredible, wonderful GPL software out there for Linux. I couldn't live without Emacs, for example. But quite often those things are available for Windows too (Emacs being a good example, along with Apache, OpenOffice, etc.) And, of course, there are the killer apps that are Windows only, like Word(the latest version has been incredibly stable for me, and otherwise amazing) and Photoshop. And don't even think about an easy to use video editor like Ulead's Video Studio on Linux. Or nice multi-track audio like Sonar. The list goes on. I guess what i'm trying to say is that, while I love Linux and will continue to dual boot for times when it's appropriate (school; i'm a CS major) Windows quite simply doesn't waste my time like Linux does. And note that Linux has many advantages I didn't cover, because that would be off topic. As soon as Linux is easy, or i become such an expert that it's easy for me, i'll surely switch for good.
  • by Geo-Mike ( 452663 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @06:04PM (#4680930)
    Software at work. GIS software in particular.

    Microsoft's redeeming quality is software uniformity....
  • by Fringe ( 6096 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @06:04PM (#4680933)
    I'm not a Windows basher. I bash 'em all. Windows has issues, so does the Mac OS pre-X, and 10.0, 10.1, I'm not a fan of 10.2 either and Mac charged full price for the upgrade from 10.0. I like Linux in concept but got really annoyed by libc versioning issues and other annoyances that other OSes simply take care of. And while I'm a technologist and developer, I don't want to have to keep an encyclopedic knowledge of the low level bits of the OS just to configure a mail server, for example.

    A lot of this is historical. I started with the Commodore PET, to the 64, CP/M, DOS, I made money programming for the HP 95/100/200LX, did "object-oriented assembly" for Geos, loved writing for OS/2, and play with a Palm these days. Every OS has issues. Which brings us back to the question... why do I primarily run Windows?

    It's where the shallow learning curve to do "enough" is, where the rest of the family is, and where all the money is. I have to sell my work, prostitute myself for a dollar. There are a lot more opportunities to get that dollar on the Windows platform. Sure, Linux is the purer OS, the more reliable, but what I need is customers who will pay actual money... and they run Windows. So I do too.

    Hey, I may be easy, but don't call me "cheap". Call me "economical".
  • Nothing better (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cpt kangarooski ( 3773 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @06:09PM (#4680998) Homepage
    By which I absolutely do not mean to say that Windows is the best possible OS, or even tolerably good. I hate Windows with the burning passion of a hundred suns. I find MS's business practices deplorable. I don't even care for the poor values in the Windows developer culture.

    The problem is a lack of superior alternatives. I'm only using this thing by default, after all.

    I used to use MacOS until pretty recently. It had a lot of heart. But it was also a very old design and was honestly at its peak in the early 90's. Apple should have pursued Taligent and replaced it by 1994 with something heads and shoulders better.

    OS X is the devil. While it masquerades as a Mac, it embodies none of the values or design goals that were responsible for the Mac being as well-crafted as it was. Without this, OS X is turning out to be very poor indeed. It isn't significantly advancing the state of UI. In fact, in many areas it is regressing. Where there are Mac carryovers they are usually half-assed; they are the result of a cargo cult of imitators, just as happens with Windows and Unix. Largely they are dominated by NeXT, which was also never any good. (I speak from experience here -- looking slick isn't the same as actually being good, and NeXT is a master of form without substance)

    Linux, and other Unices are popular here, but again, there's no dedication towards designing the entire OS and its attendant software around well-conceived and tested UI purposes. Without that, it's doomed to be bad. No one has ever delivered a good desktop Unix -- I don't think that it's really possible without so much work as to make it harder than it would've been to start from scratch with lessons learned and brand-new ideas to try.

    I DESPERATELY want something new and better. But at this point in time, no one is interested in doing so. I'd switch to something else in a heartbeat if there were only something to switch to.
  • by skeedlelee ( 610319 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @06:14PM (#4681058)
    My two apps...

    Adobe Illustrator


    the EndNote plugin as used in Word.

    That said, I just spent like an hour browsing around trying to figure out exactly what was up with BibTex. Sounds functionally good enough but EXTREMELY painful to use. You really can't beat the triviality of bibliographies with the new XP implentation of EndNote. Of course there's a bit of a crashing issue, but there's a work around.

    Let's say I go to the trouble of learning TeX/LaTeX/BibTeX etc. Then pretty much Illustrator is the only thing keeping me on Windows. Anyone run it under Wine and give it a good workout yet?

    And the usual "what about Mac?" Well, I'm a cheap bastard and when I looked, getting what I wanted meant a PowerMac, which I just couldn't afford. So far though XP hasn't been bad, VERY few crashes (like 5 in about four months, three of which were EndNote's fault). I would like a Unix command line though...
  • by Dalcius ( 587481 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @06:16PM (#4681078)
    but I know that I could never develop an application as complex as I need as quickly as I need and as easily as I need in Linux.


    Why? Because Linux doesn't support .NET? There are alternatives. If you choose .NET and that precludes you from using Linux, fine, but don't wrap it all up in a blanket statement saying Linux just can't do it.

    Please elaborate on this one -- I've found that the best programmers I know hate developing on Windows systems. In fact, I don't know *any* programmer who knows what he's doing that programs primarily in Windows. Maybe I'm just lucky or sheltered, but I do work for a software company...
  • by s_e_h ( 94248 ) <seh AT panix DOT com> on Friday November 15, 2002 @06:18PM (#4681093)
    At home, Quicken is essential. I consider it the most critical application I run. While verything else is entertainment, education, or just a hobby, Quicken is lifeblood. I'd be happy to run it on some other operating system (Macintosh may be a possibility), but for now I need Windows as long as I need Quicken.

    I don't mind using Windows, as long as I can have most of the Cygwin suite installed. Ideally, I would like Quicken on Linux.
  • Visual Basic (Score:2, Interesting)

    by orangepeel ( 114557 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @06:23PM (#4681148)
    I feel so ... dirty ... for having admitted that in public.

    I started working with Visual Basic back in 1997. I was working part-time while going to school part-time. The job was awful, and so was the pay. In order to improve conditions, I needed a language that would allow me to get small applications up and running in a hurry. Visual Basic allowed me to do that, and thus allowed me to tame some of the insanity that had been present at work by automating tasks that should've been dealt with a decade earlier.

    Of course, you can guess where that led ... to more and more complex applications. On occasion I would bump into VB's glass ceiling. I'd also been reading a lot over those years too, so I'd been noticing all the things that I'd been missing out on by having started working with VB instead of a different language.

    I really, really wish that I'd started with Borland Delphi. But back in 1997, MS was offering VB at a ridiculous discount for academic users, and I was dirt poor. Yeah, I hear you mockingly saying, "the first one if always free (or at least cheap)."

    Things have changed somewhat now. About a year and a half ago, I decided to switch exclusively to Linux and *BSD (RedHat and OpenBSD specifically) at home. I love them both and don't intend to use Windows anymore than I have to from now on.

    The problem is, there's that programming issue.

    I don't have the same job anymore, so the pressure's off, but there's still software that I want to write.

    It's ironic this article was posted, because I've just come from the "The Peon's Guide To Secure System Development" article on Slashdot's main page. Before I can completely drop Windows, I need to find a language that offers the following:

    1) If I'm going to switch from the Windows world, it's got to be worth it to the best extent: it's got to work on both *BSD and Linux systems.
    2) Compiled, not interpretted.
    3) Provides some way of creating a solid GUI.
    4) Offers some type of event-driven functionality, or a method to provide an equivalent.
    5) And it's got to be SAFE for a pseudo/wannabe programmer such as myself.

    Point number 5 is critical. I'm a good enough programmer to know that I'd be as dangerous as hell if I were to produce entire applications using C++. Because of that, so far I've limited myself to producing a few simple C++ DLLs that are used by my VB apps.

    At this point I have to say I've been incredibly impressed with Ruby. With the FXRuby library, it provides a slick connection to the FOX toolkit, so GUIs are a snap. And all three of those components work flawlessly on both Linux and *BSD. Furthermore, while it's not something I need, work on the "FreeRIDE" Integrated Development Environment is beginning to look really impressive. However, Ruby is an interpreted language. I'm going to continue using it whenever I can, but I still need a language I can compile once in a while.

    I haven't found an option that can do all that, so for now, I can't afford a complete switch from Microsoft. Visual Basic makes it too easy to work on their platform. Unless someone knows of an alternative under Linux/BSD....

  • Re:Visual Basic (Score:2, Interesting)

    by cmpalmer ( 234347 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @06:41PM (#4681291) Homepage
    I write mostly Visual Basic, too (although I started in C/C++). I like it and I'm not embarassed by it.

    I use Windows machines because that is what I have to use at work. We write applications that interface with a lot of Windows-only sofware using lots of Windows-only components. There are quite a few people at work who would like to use Linux/*nix, but, thanks the old chicken or egg problem, our customers just don't want it.

    I use Windows machines at home because my wife and kids use Windows at work/school (my wife is a teacher, so that's almost the same thing).

    If I was single and writing custom server applications or specialized sofware, I would use Linux/*unix. I started out in the Unix world and like/miss a lot about it.

    If I was not working as a programmer and didn't have to worry about money, I would use a Macintosh. I'd love to have one, I think they are really cool and easy to use, but I just can't justify having one unless I get enough disposable income to get one as a 3rd computer.
  • The Answer (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 15, 2002 @06:45PM (#4681330)
    Why do I still use Windows?

    Its fast, its easy, its simple.

    I am big into computers, but they are not my life. I want the ability to install and unistall applications and hardware quickly. I don't want to waste my time learning the layout of a config file so I can edit it in nano.

    The Windows interface is pretty uniform making it simple and easy to adapt to new programs. With QT/GTK and who else knows what I get a wide variety of nonsense to navigate in linux.

    Applications seam together. I can copy something from one program and paste it into Word. Double click it from Word to edit it. Simple, fast, and easy.

    I'd rather use mediamatch jukebox (no i don't like it thats why its my example) than mess with lame, xmms, recording software, and who knows what else. I want to get it done fast and simple. PERIOD.

    Commercial companies care about ME. They want to make my exerience the best possible. With OSS software I'm not sure what their goal is sometimes? Make sure there 6,000 options scattered all over so i can't find the 3 that matter to me?

    BLOAT! Personally, I think OSS software has tons of bloat. I mean why have QT and GTK and like 5 different libraries that all do the same thing? Plus its confusing to have 5 different style interfaces!

    An IM client. Lately Yahoo is the only decent IM client. Which is sad. The linux IM clients seem to be especially bad as they are all kind of ugly or have big buttons all over i never push and therefore wasting space.

    Files. c:\windows = system files. c:\program files = programs. c:\documents and settings = settings. SIMPLE. Winows gives me a desktop and makes virtual likes to My Documents et al stored away in my user settings. SIMPLE. Files are not burried all over.

    Windows explorer is still the best way to browse the files on your computer. Nautalis is close but there is something about explorer that just makes it easier to use.

    STABILITY. I must admit i run on really decent hardware and drivers before i say this. Windows never crashes for me. Some poor programming has crashed on my before but thats about it. Crashes have decreased 100 fold since the days of windows 98. Additionally its easier to find mature programs for windows in many areas. In linux, to get the latest features you might have to deal with an occasional core dump. I think techies are just in denial that Microsofts security and stability have surpassed their beloved OSS.

    Basically, when I'm on my computer I don't want to waste my time rebuilding the kernel and fiddling with installing programs I need. I wanna get my work done, packed, and wrapped with a ribbon on the top. So I can get on with my life. Check my email, play a game, or IM my girlfriend to tell her i'll be right over.

    The $150 it cost me for Windows is worth the time I save. If I have trouble I dial Microsoft and vent. Besides my computer cost me $2000+, whats a measily $150?
  • by oogamrm ( 624446 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @06:46PM (#4681339)
    Here's why I "still" use Windows, even though I love Linux and Solaris and have used Unix since 1979. Office and Outlook: Wine and Evolution don't offer the 100% interoperability I need for work. Palm applications: The PC "halves" of Palm applications exist and work. Easy, client based SPAM filtering. No need to be a Procmail or sendmail expert. Ad filtering. Super easy with AdSubtract and several other PC tools. You have to set up Squid or Privoxy on Linux. Trillian. Seems simpler than Gaim. USB support. The truth is, more stuff works on PCs, especially things like disks that require USB2. With everyone I work with using Windows, it would be encumbent on me to be 100% compatible with them. I just don't have the cycles to figure out how to do that. There are too many complex Word, Excel, PPT, Visio files I need to be able to quickly edit or view. There are VPN clients that only work on Windows, and the IT staff has no time to figure out a solution for Linux. Laptops. Maybe using VMware, but that's it. Printer support. It's gotten better, but try using a Brother MFC on Linux. Can you say, "No driver"? I love Linux, but I can't spend time everyday dealing with incompatabilities between Linux and Windows applications. If I had a superfast PC with a hunk of RAM, I might consider Linux as the Primary OS with W2K as a VMware guest.
  • Man, this is huge (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Apreche ( 239272 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @06:47PM (#4681344) Homepage Journal
    I can see this topic is going to go crazy, it already has, but I gotta say my piece, even if nobody is going to read it in the giant pile of crud.

    I run Win2k and Mandrake (the newest one).

    Primarily though I use win2k, and here is why. It is stable, it is easy, it works perfectly with all my hardware, it has features like windows file sharing, all the advanced features of my hardware are fully supported (I have a logitech cordless keyboard with a bunch of extra buttons on it that don't work in other OS's, Winamp makes mp3s sound good and I listen to lots of mp3s, the sound driver in windows makes things sound better, windows has working non-beta software for IM, video playing, VNC, etc..

    There are more reasons, but they are small reasons, though numerous. Note I use no other MS software other than Win2k, VS.NET, and IE. I have mozilla in windows, but I only use it when I'm browsing pop-up ad laden sites since it is slow and a memory whore (though not as much as it used to be). IE is fast, that's the only reason I use it really. As for VS.NET, it makes making windows software easy, quick, and powerful (with C#) and it was free from my school. I would never pay for a compiler.

    I DO run Mandrake in a dual boot. I use it to develop software. I am a CS major in college. The CS machines run Solaris. In a *nix environment with X-forwarding, shells, and compilers for java, C, C++, etc. it is much easier to write code. Especially with all the nice text editors in linux. When I'm writing code though mp3s sound like ass since linux has no idea how to make my sound card work right (it does work though), and it can't play games for crap, I need my Half-Life mods man. And its basically HARD to use linux. Even harder to change something. When the day comes where linux does everything windows does without me having to open a shell or edit a text based config file I may go all the way.

    As far as I'm concerned neither OS is technically superior. Linux is superior in it's free as in speechness, but from a purely technical standpoint win2k and mandrake are equally stable and fast, from my experience any way. Sometimes X messes up in linux, and sometimes windows gets funky. Those are due more to my crappy computer than the os's actually. But the only time I ever have to reboot really is to switch os's. Anyone who tells you that win2k crashes left and right is a lying sack of crap. They didn't set it up properly. They are probably one of those linux guys who only knows how to do things the hardware and can't figure out how to change settings through a GUI designed for someone with a 5th grade mentality.

    To sum it up, win2k is stable and fast, it does everything I want without extra effort, and there is software to suit all my needs. Linux does almost all of that, but to do everything windows does is either too much effort from me, or not currently possible. Linux is a good environment to code in windows is a good environment for everything but.

    PS: Mac OSX looks really cool. I really like their portable stuff, especially the ipod. As for beOS it appears to be technically superior to all the other OS's I've seen, but again it doesn't have enough software nor does it do everythign windows does or support all my hardware fully.

    The operating system I want doesn't exist yet. Read my journal for more on that.
  • by jonabbey ( 2498 ) <> on Friday November 15, 2002 @06:49PM (#4681377) Homepage

    This is silly. Do you think that Windows and Macintosh don't have protection boundaries between the graphics rendering layer and the applications (client)? X has used shared memory and event coalescing forever. The only possibly defensible issue regarding X's C-S architecture is the context switch/scheduling delay, and that's on the order of a hundredth of a second delay. Even those delays can be ameliorated with one of the low-latency/interruptible syscall patches for Linux.

    People calling for the rip-and-replace of X windows are simply not being realistic, either on a technical assessment level, or on a welcome to the real-world level.

  • Nothing anymore! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mt_nixnut ( 626002 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @06:52PM (#4681403)
    There was a day when I ran a 100% M$ shop (NT) and I led the charge for everyone to convert from Lotus to Office. 5 or 6 years later I have converted the same office to about 90% Linux (mostly X-terminals) and I have personally used Linux for years as my desktop. long before it was "ready".

    I understand the sentiments of many and why they must use M$ even if, in a perfect world, they would not. But there is no real reason to stay there at this point unless you run a multimedia shop or you need some custom VBA app (like our accounting office ;(.

    Things are good now and getting better every day. People ask why I would put up with bugs and rough edges. Well I put up with them for years w/ M$ and paid high prices for the "honor". Now that M$ has finally built an OS that falls into the exceptable range it seems everyone gets amnesia and forgets all about the last 10 years or so. When the biggest richest corp in the business either could not or would not make improvements that mattered. Today Word seems better suited as a virus delivery platform than a "productivity" app.

    On that note, the number of document born viri since conversion to Linux 0.( or any other kind for that matter)

    Prior to conversion, there was no way of counting.

    And still people remain faithful and after they pay M$ they pay Norton or who knows who else just to keep all that nonsense at bay and then smile and say "it's great, what's wrong?" pulease....

    Well, to each his own i guess.

  • by MrEfficient ( 82395 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @06:53PM (#4681416)
    Insightful? Have you actually tried to install it? It took me 10, maybe 15 minutes to install both the crossover plugin and quicktime on Mandrake 9.0.

    Does it come installed on Windows? It didn't on this Windows machine. Maybe when Apple makes a Linux version it will be easy to install. Until then, blame Apple for that, not Linux.

  • by dhsmith ( 624230 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @06:54PM (#4681420)
    Funny you should mention the Photoshop vs Gimp thing. Photoshop is the thing that keeps me on Windows. I've been using it for my graphics stuff for about 7 years now.

    Recently I needed to do some graphic work and didn't have access to Photoshop so I downloaded the Gimp. Honestly, I hated it. But I've been exploring it's features off and on for a couple of weeks now and I'm starting to find that the Gimp is not as weak imitation of Photoshop as I thought. All of the most important tools are there, and the majority of them work as well as the ones in Photoshop.

    Basically I'm finding out that the Gimp is indeed suitable for many kinds of real work.
  • by Alioth ( 221270 ) <no@spam> on Friday November 15, 2002 @06:57PM (#4681449) Journal
    Funnily enough, my experience has been pretty much the opposite (at least recently). A few years ago - yes, X was a bear to set up.

    But the recent installs I've done?

    RedHat 7.x seems to have BETTER graphics card support than Win2K, and the devices on all the machines I've installed recently have just *worked* with no fiddling at all - this goes from a Dell PII-266 to a new whitebox cheap component Athlon 1600+ box. We got some new machines recently - the ones I put RedHat on were in 1024x768 on the install. The Win2K installs required additional drivers. RedHat also supported the network card out of the box - Win2K needed 3rd party drivers.
  • by lvdrproject ( 626577 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @07:08PM (#4681565) Homepage
    Ok, i didn't even have an account on Slashdot before i saw the above two posts, but i completely disagree with both of them, and had to make my opinion known. Now, i am in NO WAY a fan of Microsoft, and personally i love the Mac OS and Mandrake, but there just needs to be something said here.

    "Saying "2000/XP" is like saying "MacOS X/BSD". The two are completely different beasts."

    No, they're not. Windows XP is just Windows 2000 + skins + better drivers + new Start menu + a few aesthetic details. In fact, i'm sure you've noticed, Windows 2000 is Windows NT "5.0", and Windows XP is Windows NT "5.1". That is to say, a semi-moderate update, but not a completely new product.

    "Windows 2000 is indeed stable, and all-around is the best OS M$ has ever put out. XP, on the other hand, is a nightmare at all levels. The UI changes are ridiculous and counterintuitive, the stability is a joke, and the mothership-calling/DRM/licensing/totalitarianism is insulting, painfully annoying, undesirable, and runs directly counter to the philosophy that made Microsoft, DOS, and Windows a success, which is putting more power and control in the hands of the end user."

    The UI changes that actually go any deeper than simple colour and logo changes are very few, and most of these can be modified to work/look exactly like Windows 2000. The stability is a joke? Bull. Windows XP is just as stable as 2000. I've NEVER, repeat, NEVER, had Windows XP (that is to say, the actual operating system) crash on me, and i've been using Windows XP since the pre-2600 build stages. In fact, i might relate a little anecdote here: a few weeks ago, i was attempting to get an old (500 MHz) computer up and running, and as my XP CD was mysteriously corrupted, i installed Windows 2000. Mere MINUTES (and i do not exaggerate) after my initial boot, i got a blue screen, and it died. In Windows XP, the operating system rarely crashes; instead, the programs crash, and the operating system continues on its merry little way. As for "mothership-calling", almost all of those features can be disabled, and if you still think that "M$" is HAX0RING UR IMPROTANT FILEZ then you can invest in a decent firewall. If you know how to work XP, you can make it work or look any way you want it to.

    As for the second post:

    "In all seriousness, I have found XP to be terrible both in general speed (crispness, responsiveness to clicks, etc.) and stability (especially in an environment where the machine is pushed hard)."

    Ok, i don't know what you're running on your computers (i have a Dell Dimension 4300 1.8GHz/512-MB RAM computer, which sounds like the same model, or a similar model, as yours), but XP is nothing but speedy for me. And i'm one of those people who loads his computer with every possible RAM-sucking gadget he can find, including transparent mouse cursors, transparent windows and menus, every single visual effect XP comes with, etc., etc.. XP is super fast for me. My programs don't load up slow at all. On the other hand (and i did notice that you didn't defend any other operating system, but let's use an example here), Mandrake 9 with KDE 3 runs noticeably slower, and this is the standard bare-bones install, with no fancy tricks or gadgets. On both my 500-MHz K6-2 and my 1.8-GHz P4, i have Mandrake and XP Pro dual-booted, and XP is MUCH, MUCH, MUCH faster.

    Now, why do i use Windows? Because i'm 15 and don't have the money to buy a Mac; because i was BORN in a house that ran MS-DOS/Windows; because i'm used to it; because it looks prettier; because it's more user-friendly (not so much as opposed to the Mac, but definitely so as opposed to Linux); because all of the great applications that i can't live without (Winamp, Photoshop, Flash MX, Nero, Exact Audio Copy) aren't found on Linux; the list goes on.

    I LIKE Linux, i LIKE the Mac; i don't use my computer for playing games (except frozen-bubble :D), i don't use my computer ENTIRELY for chatting with my school friends (like most 15-year-olds i know), i have a little bit of programming/scripting/"getting into the system" experience, and i'd like to think that i know what i'm doing.

    So, as an objective observer, i would like to just make my disagreement known.


  • by Fraize ( 44301 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @07:08PM (#4681570) Homepage Journal
    This is my number one complaint about Linux - VPN support. I can't believe the Linux developers think that what's out there is actually acceptable. It's unbelievable how stupidly complex vpnclient's config is compared to the windows (XP and 2000) equivalent.

    That, and Samba pisses me off. How difficult is it to be able to right-click on a folder, select Share, type in a few details, AND YOU'RE DONE?! Sheesh, last time I tried to fuck with SWAT, my eyes crossed and I lapsed into a coma.

    I think that there's a fundamental difference in the way Windows developers write software and the way Linux developers write software. A typical Windows developer writes code with a simpleton in mind for an end user. A typical Linux developer writes code with HIMSELF in mind as an end user. One will get you software that'll be very easy to use but not terribly customisable. The other will get you an absolutely customisable solution, but is only useful if you completely understand every option.

    That's what keeps me in Windows. I'm a simpleton, and I have work to do.
  • Because its a bother (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 15, 2002 @07:11PM (#4681600)
    I tried linux a few years ago (1998, I think) and I was unfortunate enough to have a winmodem.

    I did not discover this at first, because the linux "help" forums were less than what they claimed. I would hear "RTFM" at least twice per inquiry. I got laughed at for asking what RTFM meant.

    With such a friendly user base, who wouldn't want to use Linux? I finally gave away my distro CDs to someone who thought they could get use out of them. I know I didn't.
  • by 2muchcoffeeman ( 573484 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @07:14PM (#4681641) Journal
    You've hit one of the major Linux hurdles -- software considered basic to the computing experience by most users either isn't available, the Linux equivalent is clearly not ready for prime time (i.e. Photoshop -- The GIMP is far inferior and can't handle CMYK separations) or making it work needs more crutches than a roomful of knee surgery patients (Quicktime). Let me point out another.

    I had been following Linux for several years and grew excited as it became more ready for "prime time" and after a string of Blue Screens of Death earlier this year, I dumped Windows 98 from my old PC and switched to Mandrake 8.1 (which is basically Red Hat). And found some issues that are still hamstringing Linux. It autodetected my hardware just great, except for the things it had trouble with.

    I set up desktop icons for my USB Zip drive and portable CD burner. Problem: if those drives weren't plugged in when the computer was booted up, Mandrake would forget they were ever available, even after rebooting with the hardware plugged in. The solution turned out to be a quick trip to the /dev directory to remind the computer what options it had available, but I had to do it every friggin' time!

    Then it couldn't decide whether my CD burner was actually a burner or just a CD-ROM drive -- it changed its mind like a woman choosing between two pair of shoes. And let's not forget how it lost contact with the internal CD-ROM drive on a weekly basis.

    And as many /. readers know, Mandrake's included manual is laughable. I did RTFM -- it didn't help and none of the online assistance I found was able to explain the problems or how to fix them adequately. Mandrake's manual left me grasping at straws to try to figure out what it was saying and how to do some basic things. The distro might be aimed at *NIX newbies, but the manual assumes a level of knowledge that most new Mandrake users don't have. And because many of its writers speak English as a second or even third language, it's hard to interpret. It's not an intimidating volume -- it's simply a half-assed attempt at a manual.

    My new computer came with XP Home, and while at some point I plan to upgrade to XP Pro, the only problem XP's given me was due to an older version of Roxio's DirectCD software -- a problem that M$ actually found a solution for and posted on its web site.

    (Oh -- removing Mandrake from my old computer involved hacking into the master boot record to get rid of its proprietary boot manager, which refused to step aside in favor of BootMagic.)

    Linux? Nah. Had enough of it. Don't want to hear about it. Can't recommend it for Joe Lunchbox until the bugs are worked out.

  • by RevAaron ( 125240 ) <> on Friday November 15, 2002 @07:25PM (#4681729) Homepage
    Please elaborate on this one -- I've found that the best programmers I know hate developing on Windows systems...

    Along similar lines, the best programmers I've known, ones that really know what's up, hate developing for Java. They usually spend their time dreaming of Lisp, Haskell or Smalltalk. But then again, the ones that really know what's up don't waste their time with Java, knowing that efficiency and how much they enjoy their job is more important than the $5k/year difference in salary they might make if they sold out, sucked it up and got a Java job.

    The neat thing about .NET is that it should hopefully bring many types of programmers to the platform- "average" programmers that do Java [1] as well as enlightened coders who use languages like Smalltalk or Common Lisp. Regardless, you can run it on .NET, and not be alienated from a wealth of libraries available for Windows. But then again, until .NET matures some, a lot of the truly smart programmers won't move to it.

    No, I'm not dismissing anyone who does Java as an idiot. In a number of papers, Sun has stated that Java was meant to attrack "average" programmers, people used to C++ looking to increase their productivity just a little. Since the bulk of progammers are average, they'd still end up with the most bulk coding talent, even though coders with more experience and knowledge would rather stick with C or C++ because it was more appropriate to the domain, or would have already switched to something more mature, like Common Lisp or Smalltalk.
  • by facelessnumber ( 613859 ) <drew@pi[ ] ['ttm' in gap]> on Friday November 15, 2002 @07:26PM (#4681734) Homepage
    Photoshop kept me on Windows for a long time. The interface is the only thing that really bugged me about GIMP. Having used Photoshop for about as long as you have, it just never occured to me that I should right-click on my work to save it. Maybe it would if GIMP didn't have a "File" menu in plain sight already. Then I might have thought to look for the option that way, but at first I didn't. Once I learned that "works like Photoshop" doesn't mean "acts like Photoshop" I started liking it a lot more. I still prefer Photoshop, but it's not what keeps my machine booting Windows; it's what keeps me using VMware [].
  • The usual stuff... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by WWWWolf ( 2428 ) <> on Friday November 15, 2002 @07:26PM (#4681740) Homepage

    1) Games. 'Nuff said. Though, most of the games I really really like to play (SMAC, NWN, Myth II, Nethack, Ultimas) already run on Linux, or are coming. 2) Video capture and editing. (the fact that nvrec almost works and almost keeps sound in sync and almost does tolerable bitrate MPEG isn't enough. VirtualDub on Win98 works 100% =) 3) Um... yeah, and my scanner (CanoScan D660U) isn't supported by SANE. That's

  • by kemster ( 532022 ) <kem327@ms[ ]om ['n.c' in gap]> on Friday November 15, 2002 @07:27PM (#4681743) Homepage

    I've been a Linux user since 1996, and at one point used it exclusively. Now I exclusively use Windows 2000 on the desktop, although I still use a (GNU/) Linux box as a server of sorts. There are a lot of reasons why I switched back to Windows (on the desktop), but here are a few:

    1. X Fonts Suck : I know this topic has been beaten with a dead horse, and I know there are probably ways to make the fonts better. But the reality is that out of the box, the X fonts suck.
    2. No uniformity across applications : You can't cut and paste, drag and drop. I know people will flame me saying that if I use all Gnome (or all KDE) apps across the board then there's a way to do it among them. The fact remains that there's no standard way to do it across everything.
    3. Game support : Again, beaten to death. Some games are ported to Linux, but until all the best ones are then it remains easier to use Windows to run them.
    4. No good browser : I hate Microsoft as much as anyone (Bill Gates is the anti-christ), but IE is the fastest, most stable browser out there. I've used Netscape (mozilla), and Opera quite a bit, and they don't compare. Browsing the web with Mozilla/Opera in X just isn't as nice as IE in Windows.
    5. The wife: I'm not the only one using this PC. I don't want to have to explain how to use Linux to my wife, parents, or any other guest who may come over. Everyone knows how to use Windows.
    6. MS Office : It's the best office suite out there, and I'm biased against MS. Many people need Excel, Powerpoint, etc for work so are forced to use Office, but from my experience it's the best option out there.
    7. Work : We use Windows for mail at work, so when I connect to the work VPN from Windows at home I need to use Outlook. I know there are probably ways to do this in Linux with Evolution, but I assure you it's not as easy as doing it in Windows
    8. Hardware : I have a bunch of random cards like an ATI All-In-Wonder. I know Linux supports it for viewing television, but can I do video capture with it? Do I have all of the flexibility of the Windows video capture software that came w/ it in terms of recording format, quality, Digital VCR settings, etc? The answer is: I don't think so, and if it does, it is going to be a huge b#tch to set up. The Windows software that came with it works just great.
    9. This list is just off the top of my head. I'm sure there are other reasons, but it's past 5 on a Friday and I want to go home.

      No doubt a dozen people will reply telling me I'm an idiot and all these things are possible under Linux. I agree with you, however the last thing I want to do after spending 9 hours coding at work is come home and f#ck with my Linux machine trying to get everything working perfectly, only to have everything break when I upgrade it. I use Linux for my home server, but it's not worth the aggravation of setting up for my home desktop. IMHO Linux just isn't there yet for home desktop use. It isn't too hard to install Windows 2000 and get everything working perfectly. As long as it's behind a router or firewall it's reasonably secure, and I have the Linux server for all my needs that windows can't do. I'm not saying Linux doesn't have advantages over Windows, because it certainly has a ton. I'm just answer the question of why I use Windows on my desktop and not Linux..

      P.S. And don't think I gave Bill any money. My 2000 didn't cost me a thing.

  • "No Excuse"? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by aziegler ( 201013 ) <> on Friday November 15, 2002 @07:31PM (#4681770) Homepage
    this discussion turned out: "Use Windows, or use Linux". For most people Linux just isn't ready as a desktop OS, even if the apps are there.
    This is true. I use my Linux "desktop" box at home as a Samba fileserver and a test environment for my web-based development -- and even that isn't getting much use as a fileserver because the better CD burner is on my Windows XP Pro desktop (both laptops are also Windows XP Pro).

    Of all of the machines I have, the Linux box is the hardest to deal with (although installing SuSE fixed a lot of that, and some of it has to do with the security restrictions I've put on the Linux box; I tried Debian on it but removed it after four hours of trying to install the bloody thing and not getting a damned thing working).

    I find that I just don't use Linux desktop applications -- they're barely usable -- but I still want the graphical configuration because I don't *like* editing configuration files directly in 90% of cases.

    But there's NO EXCUSE not to use a Mac. And, no, they're not as expensive as everyone thinks. You can get a really fast iBook or eMac for $999. The apps, are there, stability, UNIX, ease of use and power.
    The apps *aren't* there, actually. Among other things, I'm a PalmOS software developer. The tools that I've chosen are primarily available and supported on Windows. They might work under WINE, but I don't have the patience to try. (I also play a number of games, and those are Windows only.)

    My new favourite language, Ruby, isn't as solidly supported on Mac OS X as it is on Windows (and it's not as solid on Windows as it is on Unices, but it's closer); this is in part because of the act that the windowing isn't X and it doesn't like competing graphical toolkits ...

    Of course, to me there is one HUGE reason not to get an iMac: they are the ugliest computers out there. They can't just "hide" -- with an integrated display, they MUST sit on the desktop taking up a set amount of space. Once the iMac is eliminated, the iBook and PowerBook are also eliminated because of the bloody single-button-mouse concept. I'm not 100% certain, but I also think that the rest of the Mac line is eliminated because I use a KVM and it isn't using an all-USB keyboard/mouse setup because my old Linux box doesn't support USB mouse/keyboard (and I don't think that it will support a mixture).

    To me, there are also other reasons that I prefer not to use Macs: I don't like the single menubar (this may be changed under OS X; I really don't know); I like the taskbar concept in Windows/KDE. There are others, but ... I might get a Mac ... to replace my Linux box.

    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.
    Windows XP Pro doesn't suck -- even though the EULA does. I've had *zero* problems with the machines I run (and I run Mozilla and OOo and a lot of non-MS stuff). Also, I prefer laptops at this point. I can get a wider variety of Windows-based laptop formats at this point than I can of any other type. I've got two laptops on the "purchase in the next 12 months" list: a micro-laptop (like the Fujitsu Lifebook or the Sony Picturebook) and another desktop-replacement where I can play the latest games (using the latest ATI or nVidia chip).
    My explanation why Windows is so popular, that noone has mentioned so far, is that people pirate software. A lot. It's extremely easy to find all kinds of windows apps/games without paying for them. Why do you think the filesharing apps are so popular? You can get the latest game within an hour and don't pay a dime for it.
    I don't have anything pirated on my system. I prefer Windows because it works like I expect it to do, at least in a graphical interface. I like Unix-style boxes for servers because they do excatly what I expect them to do there.


  • Re:well.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Jugalator ( 259273 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @07:32PM (#4681778) Journal
    Before you see decide to mod this as flamebait, it isn't *my* opinions, but the opinions of many Windows users:

    WC3: Runs fine on linux, see
    The Sims: Linux port available, see

    But... you need WineX... and does WineX come preinstalled with, say, Mandrake? If not, how do you install it? Type "install" or "setup"? Double click on an icon? It's harder than that? Do you need to configure it too?? Do you need more stuff as well? Do my video card driver work right with that... WineX? Hmm... I think I'll just dual boot with Windows. Yeah. I mean... It will work then and... Why bother? I want to play that game I bought this evening. I'll see about Linux some day I have more time. Yeah.

    Neverwinter Nights: Port is on the way

    But... I can play it months ahead if I dual boot with Windows... and who knows when it's out? It's on the way? Will it have bugs? Will it be less supported than Windows? Will its patches come later than the Windows patches? Do I need this... WineX thing for that too? Naahh... That sounds tricky, I think I'll stick with Windows.

    Unreal 2k3: Runs perfectly on linux, the linux native version is in the box you bought at the store

    Wow, that's nice if... Well, I like first person shooters.
  • by u19925 ( 613350 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @07:39PM (#4681825)
    "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"

    Slower by how much percentage? 0.1? It is like saying, you won't take bath in ocean because fish f**k in it. I not only use X, but use VNC client exclusively on my laptop to access all my unix/linux boxes at work and haven't felt it slow. I access the same sessions from home/work/travel etc. BTW, I do heavy development work on unix/linux. I use windows a lot, however not because of X on unix. In fact, I consider X to be number one point of using Unix. Look at VNC on PC and you would know (it typically eats 20-30% CPU on 1GHz PC vs less than 1% on 400 MHz Linux). My reason for using windows are:

    Lack of good fonts. They are improving and now a days a well tuned linux has quality comparable to PC. Still Unix boxes don't have good fonts or the apps don't use them correctly.

    Many stupid websites shut you out, if you don't use Netscape or IE. I hate Netscape as a browser (though it is my exclusive mail client and HTML editor). On windows, I use IE for those sites and Opera otherwise.

    I have a laptop which came pre-installed with windows and no media. Due to lack of time and media for XP, didn't feel like playing with Linux. Even if I could, the only use of this laptop is to browse, access unix/linux machines and view photo/video taken with digital camera/camcorder. Linux has no advantage in this space. For other machines, I use Linux/Unix.

    I guess, X has something which windows never had and most likely won't have for ages. It is stupidity of Unix/Linux marketing folks for not exploiting this advantage. Your second point: "There's no accountability for bugs, so they're only fixed when someone feels like it."

    You are comparing commercial apps in windows with free apps on Linux. I use almost all commercial only apps on Unix/Linux, and can vouch that there are far less failures on unix/linux than on windows. Just last night, my XP started acting weird on network (it was booted in morning), so I tried to shut down. Well shutdown hung too! I had to hard boot it. While I reboot my XP about once a day (haven't seen uptime more than 1 week on reasonably used XP and more than 2 weeks on NT) while all other unix/linux boxes that I remotely access, are booted once a quarter or so (typically for adding some OS patches) and they are used much more heavily.

    I guess, Linux/Unix folks would rather be without U than be without X (pun intended).

  • by ruriruri ( 566567 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @07:53PM (#4681973) Homepage
    It's not suitable for any real work.

    i think you're mostly right, but when it comes to designing icons for the web, gimp equals or exceeds photoshop. admittedly this is one of the simplest tasks (from a technical viewpoint) for a raster program.

    on the other hand, if you want to take full advantage of your tablet, photoshop is it.

    and speaking of that, two major improvements in the unstable 1.3.x gimp are redone XInput support and, finally, CMYK color space. what i'd really like to see is an improved bezier curve editor. raster and vector programs are evolving into single combined entities. be nice if gimp was there too...

  • by angel'o'sphere ( 80593 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @08:12PM (#4682115) Journal
    the interface is terrible

    Yes. Thats the problem. A friend of mine was telling me that I had at least to admit that at least GIMP was a GNU software wich rocked.

    Sorry. Its the terribelst thing I've ever seen.

    a) the UI is UGLY, *U*G*L*Y*.
    b) everybody claiming that GTK is FAST, .... we had that discussion in QT versus GTK ... well, GIMP on my machine is not only UGLY, its incredible slow in window redraws and menu openings.
    c) Linux simply offers NOTHING windows does not offer as well.


    I admined about 40 SunOS 4.3 and 20 DEC Ultrix machines. I worked with slackware linux kernel version 0.91 or 0.93. My first "big computer" after my Apple ][ clone was a Mac.

    I do not switch to linux for three reasons:

    i) everything which is unique on linux (and good working versus other OSes implementation) does
    -- not interest me (I do no video editing)
    -- is incredible difficult to use (e.g. GIMP)

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

    iii) everything which is similar on linux, KDE for example, I allready have on Windows.

    Well, I come from MAC. I go back to MAC now where it runs basicly NeXT Step/OS X (BSD).

    The whole GNU/Linux movement just behaves as if 30 years of user interface design research never had happened.

    One third just does what it likes.
    One third sticks to old standards because they think better a standard than nothing (X11/Motive)
    One third coppies primaryly the bad examples of Windows(KDE).

    None of them can get me into the hazzle of wasting 3 or 4 hours installation of a dual boot system.

    Furthermore: how to configure a linuy system?

    Its not like BSD, its not like System V, its not like AIX, its not like Solaris.

    Even worse: every linux system thinks it has invented the holy gral of how to admin a system.

    Today I try to work with Mandrake(my DSL router is a mandrake system) tomorrow I like to use Suse.

    I can not copy a single config file from Mandrake to my Suse System ... because both keep their config data in totaly different stores.

    BTW: GIMP, how do you draw a straight line? Start point -> End Point?

    You cant do that without reading the manual. The simplest thing, the first thing every user attempts, is impossible without reading the manual.

    And in the manual you can not look under: line, straight line or something. No, you have to read it from front to end to stumble over the point where you finaly figure that you have to use the alt key.

    I have to admind, I did not figure that my own, no, I had to ask one.

    I spend 3 or 4 hours with GIMP, trying to make some smal PNGs. I gave up.

    Well, now you come and tell me: most is OS or even GPL; take it and change it.

    Sorry, YOU wrote it. If you like ME to USE it, write it in a way that I want to USE it.

    If the surface of your software sucks, I do not even like to look into the source code.

    Yes, when I work on *nix I use VI.

  • by ravenskana ( 30506 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @08:17PM (#4682158) Homepage
    Just a few things off the top of my head, and not in any order...

    1) I think Mac OS X is better designed and works better for me than Windows XP. In my experience, things 'just work' or 'work as I expect' on the Mac. Also, this quality of design is in the hardware as well as software. The movable LCD on the new iMacs, the door on the PowerMac towers, etc. are nicely done.

    2) Apple does not go nuts with DRM stuff. My OS X install didn't require me to type in some extended license number. If I change my hardware by adding PCI cards, swapping the hard drive, etc. I won't have to worry about the OS choking because it thinks I'm trying to pirate software.

    3) Apple does not have a history of 'embrace and extend' to kill off competitors. Apple adopts standards when appropriate without playing games in trying to change how things work.

    In short, Apple makes quality products and while obviously a business, tends to play fairly. I certainly understand that not everyone will love Apple, but from what I've seen, Apple hasn't done excessively stupid things to get people to villainize them as Microsoft has done.
  • by amokk ( 465630 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @08:23PM (#4682200)
    Did it occur to anybody that some people just like windows, office, and IE?

    I personally like them... A lot.

    (Repeated for emphasis)
    Windows XP does not crash on my machine. Ever.
    The thing about Windows XP is that it doesn't ever seem to crash on my machine.
    I don't know where all this "linux is more stable" stuff is coming from. In my experience, Windows XP doesn't crash.

    Office is a fantastic package for which there isn't any good open-source competition. Even if star office were better I would not switch. I like office. It works, I can do things quickly, and it also doesn't crash.

    IE is a good web-browser. No, nobody has tried to attack my computer with whatever security exploits _may_ be present in it. If they want to more power to them. After they are done, they can tell me what a blast they had doing it and we might share a beer. I simply don't care.
    IE is snappy, makes a satisfying little "click" when navigating through web-pages, works with my mouse 5 button mouse, smooths fonts to make them easier to read, and is much faster than mozilla will ever be.

    My other computer is a mac. I love that machine as well. OS is a pleasure to work with and never gets in the way.

    The bottom line is that I like Windows XP and Mac OSX. Whatever my reasons, know this: I will not switch to linux any time in the forseeable future. Switching would only make my computer a pain in the ass to use.

    One other little note: I don't want to hear any bullshit saying that I only like windows, office, ie, etc. because it's all I've ever used and don't make an effort to look for better products. I don't want to hear how on your system, mozilla runs faster than IE despite being twice as slow as mine (I won't believe this statement, so don't bother telling me).

    I like windows. I like OSX. I won't switch to linux. No politics. No agenda. No hatemongering. Just personal preference.
  • You are right... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by agilen ( 410830 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @08:32PM (#4682261)
    It does take time to learn. Its not a walk in the park, especially if you know your way around Windows the way most of us do.

    I had always dabbled in Linux, but didn't make the switch for mostly those reasons. Then over the summer I had some time off, and I just decided, screw it, I'm sick of whining about windows going slow, crashing, etc. So I did. I spent a weekend installing Gentoo.

    It took some time, but less than you think. And it was every bit worth it. Now, I am more productive, no more crashing computer, freezing apps that take 5 minutes to close (there are still freezing applications but a quick ps -aux then kill is far faster than doing ctrl-alt-del and dealing with all that crap) I can do file management tasks on the command line in half the time you can do in explorer.

    Do yourself a favor, spend the time learning it, you'll be glad you did.
  • Simple answer... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Andy Smith ( 55346 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @08:37PM (#4682307)
    I choose Windows over Linux because I think Windows is better.

    And when I recently purchased a new computer I wanted to buy an iMac but after using one for a few hours I realised that OSX is basically an untidy, nonsensical wannabe, so I got a PC instead. I use WinXP and despite a few grumbles I'm happy with it.

    This week I lost three days to a corrupted driver. I had to spend one day running diagnostic tests, a second day running multiple repair attempts, and a third day reinstalling from scratch. So after three days of cursing Microsoft, which OS would I say is the best? Windows. Because despite its faults, it does much more right than other OS's and much less wrong.
  • by Saturnlcs ( 619087 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @08:46PM (#4682367)
    I've invested in RealOne's Superpass (newscasts and entertainment video feeds). If Linux had a *working* version of Real that could play the content that I purchase monthly, then I would have no other reason to use windows. Oh well, not as Often....I still need to run windows to use Solid Edge, a 3-d modeling engineering program for windows--for school. I do have both OSes installed though. Applications keep me from being a full time linux user
  • by ewieling ( 90662 ) <user AT devnull DOT net> on Friday November 15, 2002 @09:04PM (#4682479)
    I use Linux as my main OS, but I still have VMWare with Windows running inside of it for two reasons: pcAnyhwere (no, vnc just doesn't work as well or as fast) and Internet Exploder (for the occasional site I want to go to that requires it). I also run Windows as the only OS on my laptop. Now that I think about it, I'm not sure why I still run it on the laptop.....
  • I do support for people who fuck up their windows box. Often, windows can even fuck up by itself.

    For example, someone called me telling his XP won't boot. The error was : "unable to mount boot partition". Of course, the safe mode won't boot either, and booting from the CD won't work. I did boot at last but NO WAY this could have been done by a basic user.

    Thank you micro$oft, more easy money.

    So i use windoze to keep updated about what's happening with their OS. But all my data is on ext2fs.

    -- number of XP forced reboots today : 2
  • by corvi42 ( 235814 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @09:16PM (#4682550) Homepage Journal
    [...]being able to develop from start to finish so quickly[...]but I know that I could never develop an application as complex as I need as quickly as I need and as easily as I need in Linux.[...]

    Wow - what a totally different world you're from. I've had to work with .NET too - and I couldn't stand it. I found that it was always the main impediment to getting the application working. The .NET class structure, IMHO, is all the bad aspects of the Java class structure multiplied by a factor of 10 - bloated, cumbersome and highly restrictive. There are so many useless classes in that API it is unbelievable. I shouldn't say useless, but rather that their functions are so narrowly defined that they are practically useless for everything but one narrow task. That narrow task, in my experience, is always just incompatible enough with your objectives that you have to abandon the premade classes and code from scratch, and so you gain nothing over a conventional language.

    Trouble with .NET is that they've attempted to unify all levels of processing into one consistent API. The problem with this is that every layer has so many of its own quirky peculiarities, that .NET just becomes a convoluted mess of poorly documented classes, methods and properties that bury the underlying functionality from the programmer - this is exactly the opposite effect from its intention, which is to make it easier to work with. This happens because we simply don't have a theory of information sophisticated enough to make these kinds of leaps of logic to unify disparate processing tasks without making so many assumptions about the task as to limit its scope of use down to trivially few cases. This is, IMHO, the trouble in general with Windows in general.

    One project I was working on I actually went to a great deal of effort that I was not being paid for to migrate the code away from .net to something more flexible just so that I wouldn't have to put up with these issues.

    Anyway, I guess if it works for you that's great, but I was kind of dumb with disbelief that there would be fans of this thing out there.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 15, 2002 @09:39PM (#4682655)
    I'm a musician. I manipulate samples. My favorite tool is CoolEdit Pro [] [], but Sound Forge [] []is pretty popular, too.

    These are Windows-only tools. There is a project to develop a distro for musicians (DeMuDi [] []), but the best Linux can do is Audacity [] [], which is kind of like My Audio Editor by Fisher Price.

    Until there are serious OSS audio engineering tools, I'm fucked.
  • by runderwo ( 609077 ) <> on Friday November 15, 2002 @10:04PM (#4682781)
    I hope you were joking. Not only are you wrong, it's also way simpler than that.

    An X server provides the I/O interface to the program. It takes input from the keyboard or pointing device and outputs on a display.

    An X client is a program that simply connects to an X server to use its I/O interface.

    What's so hard to understand about it? That is, unless you're deliberately trying not to understand?

  • by ebyrob ( 165903 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @10:10PM (#4682817)
    And yes, I know how to use Word properly :)

    Really? You write everything in another editor and only cut and paste into Word at the last minute?

    Seriously, everyone I know that uses MS Word admits to losing documents at times due to screwed up formatting and the like (usually you can at least extract raw text, but that puts you back at square one for formatting). Also, every revision of a document and other heinous personal details are included in every Word document created. I assume you must regularly remove all of that? Also, you must know how to remove all the extra "cruft" that comes from having used a WYSIWYG editor to create something with all sorts of hidden codes you wouldn't normally see. I've seen HTML documents generated by Word and other WYSIWYG editors that are about 4 times the size they need to be, even having been created in that format, just because of how cut, paste and copy work.

    Personally, I wind up writing most everything in flat text files for my own consumption and I edit HTML in gVim when someone else is going to be reading it...
  • by epine ( 68316 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @10:25PM (#4682908)

    There might be aspects of Windows that Microsoft concedes internally are a POS, but it certainly isn't the NT kernel. I remember reading an interview by Dave Cutler around the time MS canned MIPS/Alpha portability. He said it was frustrating because other parts of MS didn't always get it, what the NT team was trying to accomplish in terms of portability and stability.

    I've read a lot over the years on both sides of the fence. Never once has anyone I respect claimed that Windows sucks because the NT kernel sucks. The NT kernel was SMP enabled from day one, was portable from day one, was Unicode enabled from day one, was modularized from day one.

    I have heard it claimed that they made some decisions in how they handle their threading model that negatively impacts their scalability at the Enterprise scale. I've also read Linus laughed at the cost and complexity of NT kernel transitions. They made a dubious move when the video subsystem was pulled back into the kernel (probably unavoidable with the breakneck advances in video performance), but I can't imagine anyone seriously thinks they couldn't yank the video subsystem back out of the NT kernel if they really wanted to.

    OK guy, tell me who those executives are spilling the beans with that gives you access to this precious channel of private communication between his Billness and his personal minions? It wasn't the Register. I read that. It wasn't the Inquirer. I read that. It wasn't the Microsoft Systems Journal. I read that. It wasn't Computer Reseller News. I read that.

    Let me think, who could it be? Larry Ellison? Scott McNealy? Carly Fiorina? Oh, yes, of course.

    From: Executive Minion of his Billness
    To: Carly Fiorina
    Subject: I send you this message for your advice
    Message: the NT kernel sucks goat

    The Sircam confession. Well, that's the best I could come up with for how you obtained your priviledged view of the inner sanctum that no other scribe anywhere has heard before.

    The problem with flinging vacuous insults is that pretty soon people will start to say MS isn't as bad as it's made out to be, and they'll be right.
  • Power Management (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 15, 2002 @10:48PM (#4683032)
    There are numerous reasons keeping me stuck with windows for now, but the main reason is Power Management.

    Most Linux Distro's have APM support, but not ACPI. APM on my notebook works only half of the time, the other half I need to reboot. In addition, hybernation does not work at all. I have tried to install ACPI and utilities numerous times in the past, but it was simply not mature.

    Other problems are related to the fact that I normally have VERY high-end notebooks with the latest and greatest hardware, which is usually not very well supported under Linux.
    - WinModems are problematic, even if a driver exists
    - IRdA is not setup by the distro, and does not have any easy to use gui tools.
    - Hotswap if IDE devices, for me to remote my DVD/CD-RW with a floppy or other device does not work
    - USB storage devices get a new /dev/sd? device each time you plug and remote it
    - No way to activate SVideo-Out on my model ATI videochip.

    The 2.5 kernel will hopefull make some things easier/better. Like the improved ACPI and ISA PnP support.
    In addition I was REALLY hoping for pcmcia to be integrated into the hotplug system, but I guess we need to wait until the next release.

    Now, I work in a pro-linux company, and my job is 100% Linux on servers, but the corporate directive for desktops/notebooks is windows.
    Nobody will prevent me from using Linux on my notebook, but the amount of time to get all the windows applications I need to use running is simply to much. And in addition, they don't always run very stable under Wine, so I would need to run vmware (which I have, btw) and use massive resources for it.

    I am really hoping that the next release of RedHat/SuSE will have the 2.6/3.0 kernel with ACPI, that will be a good starting point that might finally allow me to migrate.
  • by spike hay ( 534165 ) <> on Friday November 15, 2002 @10:48PM (#4683036) Homepage
    Not only is Windows itself a lot easire to install, but at least Windows has a built in installer program that makes installing any application much easier than its Linux equivalent (assuming there is any).

    Linux needs one thing: A source code installer, analogous to the Wise installation Wizard. This would do more to help linux become a viable desktop OS than anything else. I like linux, but I HATE fucking around with ./configure and crap like that just to install a program. RPMs are good, but most linux software isn't available as an RPM.

    PLLEEASE!! If there are any OSS developers out there, just start a project for a installation wizard.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 15, 2002 @10:56PM (#4683079)
    I use Win2K as well as various Linux systems for web development. I do not do print media, so find a large grain of salt as you consider my opinion on graphics software. In order, on Win@K only my preference is as follows:
    • Fireworks: quick, efficient graphics with nice any time editing.
    • The Gimp: I love the right click functionality, I can use PS filters, and the gradient and brushes are better than PS.
    • Photoshop: I only like it for color correction, that is all. I hate the interface, and the gradients are crap. Come to think of it, I like Image Ready better than PS.
    There is my not so humble opinion. To me, Macromedia has it all over Adobe for graphics production (admittedly with a strong web bound focus). The Gimp is more functional than PS for what I do and the interface is much better for me personaly. As for the Dreamweaver fans, I am only left to wonder why anyone would use this app for web design. It is only suitable for quickie mock-ups. Pick your colors, fake a layout, then code the thing by hand. Unless of course you simply do not care about the quality of the code.
  • Re:Different Goals (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cheezedawg ( 413482 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @11:35PM (#4683281) Journal
    Microsoft's top executives--the ones that report to Bill alone--admit that it's not stable (but not to YOU, of course)

    Bullcrap, unless these top executives somehow report to you also.

    That's part of the drive behind Palladium: the NT core is hopeless as far as they're concerned.

    That has nothing to do with the Palladium. Palladium is a totally passive entity that runs parallel to the kernel. It does little for stability. And the NT kernel is far from "hopeless"- in fact some people think [] that NT can "compete head-to-head with UNIX on high-end servers".

    but if you use it in a mission-critical system you're crazy.

    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% [] of the webmasters out there are crazy. BTW- you might notice that no Linux webserver is in the top 50 uptime stats []. What does that say about this so-called hardcore stability mindset that you seem to think Linux developers have?

  • by stinky wizzleteats ( 552063 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @11:36PM (#4683284) Homepage Journal

    Support the end of warez, use free s/w!

    Actually, that is precisely the reason I switched to RH8 on both my home and office desktops. I find it impossible as a professional IT person to use Windows without having warez of some kind. Since I can't afford to run clean and green with Windows, I am switching to Linux.

    Hear that, Bill?

  • Re:Here's my list. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by FLoWCTRL ( 20442 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @11:43PM (#4683312) Journal
    > 1. driver support
    Linux users have become accustomed to checking for drivers before they buy the product... As you say though, support continues to improve.

    > 2. Macromedia
    You say Zend is acceptable...

    > 3. OE
    Check out Evolution (

    > 4. Quicken
    Several business people have told me they'd dump MS-ware in their office if it wasn't for Quicken. Its too bad Intuit doesn't port it, but eventually GNUcash will mature enough that people can switch.

    > 5. things not working as expected
    I've never used Windows as a primary OS, and this is one of the reasons why! The issue of usability is probably pretty subjective, but I can offer an anecdote: I presently support ~50 UNIX users and ~10 Win2k users. 80% of support calls are from the 10 Windows users, and it is usually MS software confusing them. Its mostly quirky error messages and weird work-arounds to get things to work they way they want, and of course interoperability issues due to the "embraced and extended" protocols, even between different versions of MS products. All of these people have been using Windows for years, too. New UNIX users often have a bunch of questions when they start, then I rarely hear from them again.


  • by Phronesis ( 175966 ) on Saturday November 16, 2002 @12:21AM (#4683476)
    Three things primarily keep me on Windows.
    • The quality of the documentation. Nothing have used under Linux has the quality of documentation that I get with MSDN. Sure there is a much larger quantity of Linux documentation, but very little is of the professional quality that I get from MS. In particular, the quality of integration between the Visual Studio IDE and the MSDN documentation makes me cringe every time I need to fire up Emacs and info (or man).
    • The quality of the tools. Last time I checked, Visual C++ still blew the doors off gcc for numerically intensive calculations. Even my Linux-using colleagues have given up on gcc and use closed-source compilers for their numerically intensive work.
    • last, but most important, is device-driver support. Sure, Linux r0x0rs with a small subset of mass-market hardware, but try getting esoteric DAQ hardware to run efficiently with Linux...
    All this is very frustrating because many of my projects could benefit from something closer to an RTOS than Windows will ever be, and for that I could live with the primitive state of Linux development tools to play with the RT Linux variants, but the absence of hardware device drivers prevents me from even thinking in those terms.
  • Re:So far... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by onyxruby ( 118189 ) <<ten.tsacmoc> <ta> <yburxyno>> on Saturday November 16, 2002 @12:51AM (#4683694)
    Actually, I consider this to be an important issue. I have played with trying Linux off and on since Red Hat 5.2 and inevitably give up every time after a short while. Part of the frustration is that I don't have anything consistent for interfaces. It's one of the things that MS screwed up with XP, they changed the interface enough that it can be a real pain in the but doing what you've always done. In short, don't discount the whole kde/gnome consistent interface thing. It is important for furthering adoption of Linux beyond a certain crowd that has already embraced it.

    In short, I want to be able to "just use it". I want to go to a consistent place every single time and be able to enable a nic to use / not use DHCP regardless of flavor of linux I am on. That and the biggest thing that the linux community needs to do is have a serious attitude adjustment. The whole, holier than thou attitude and general unwillingness to help (with exceptions of course) have ruined it in many portions of society. I was working a very large gov contract position a few years back and when I asked why they didn't have linux in use (despite many of the workers privately using it), I was told bluntly, "because the community can't be bothered to step out of their white tower to help unless your a programmer". "The entire concept of anyone /other/ than a programmer administrating a machine has been lost on them". In short, I should not need to know "C" to admin a box. I am not, and have no interest in becoming a programmer, I simply desire to be an administrator.

    In case your wondering if it's the whole CLI interface thing, no it isn't. I've been using computers since the TI80, have 5 years professional experience, and have absolutely no problem with the Cisco CLI. I'm also in school to pick up Solaris, Cisco, and Unix once Linux is finished. Thus I am hardly a newbie that is scared by the lack of a pretty interface. hope this helps.

  • by Skid ( 38470 ) on Saturday November 16, 2002 @01:03AM (#4683762)
    Yeah, I keep waiting for someone to just hurry up and clone good ol' MS-DOS 6 EDIT.

    No, really. It was good enough for me to write complex QuickBasic programs in as a kid, it's good enough for me today. Screw all the complexities of the usual Un*x editors; DOS EDIT was fairly powerful AND simple!
  • by Tomble ( 579119 ) <{moc.liamresu} {ta} {elbmot}> on Saturday November 16, 2002 @01:19AM (#4683831) Homepage Journal
    ...Hmm, I was looking for the irony in that, but yeah, you have a point. Whilst DOS Edit was sort of part of qbasic* , I don't remember anything nasty about it. I'm sure the search that it had was far more primitive than anything on *nix, no regular expressions, etc, but it was prolly better than nothing.

    I seem to remember the version in qbasic had a lot of extra functions that I never used, like separate screens for separate "procedures" - I never used these because I used to write spaghetti code with Basic, the way Basic was supposed to be ;)

    Ah well, better days now, using a proper OS and a proper programming language. It's a shame that those editors that are so broadly considered to be proper editors, are such a pain to me.

    * - FWIW, I used to use the full version of quickbasic back when I was at school, and GOD that thing gave me a tough time- imagine trying to code stuff to be able to deal with 64K for all your data!! IIRC, there was some flag you could pass to let it maybe-possibly give you a few K more if you were nice. Gah.

  • by PotatoHead ( 12771 ) <doug@openge[ ]org ['ek.' in gap]> on Saturday November 16, 2002 @02:54AM (#4684179) Homepage Journal
    I hear a lot about X being bad, X being hard, X is this and X is that. All of it is bullshit plain and simple.

    The X window environment is likely the best feature of any UNIX and Linux is starting to do it really well.

    X is what gives Linux its true multi-user environment. Sure you can run command line stuff without an X server, but why bother?

    You don't have to be a CLI geek to make good use of X. Just know ssh, xhost, rlogin and how to set your DISPLAY variable for UNIXes that are not crafted to be display friendly and you are set. That is very little to learn really.

    X window setup is getting easier every day. When I started with Linux, X was hard. Now it is a whole lot easier. Give it another year and it will be no harder than dealing with win32 display issues.

    X is what brought me to UNIX. I was headed down the MSCE path until I landed in a situation where I needed to work with a few UNIX machines. The users there used all of the machines as if they were their own. To someone used to non X display systems, this was amazing, not to mention very productive from both a user and administrative standpoint. Client server is not the only computing model. Think about all the web applications out there. They work remotely and you just display and input. Lots of people seem to think this is great. Guess what, X is that and more and it is here today, working nicely.

    Before we had the networks we have now, X would have been a waste on most desktop machines because they were not connected enough to matter. Not to mention that if they were the OS was clearly not up to the task. So today we have a bunch of people who don't know what it is. This does not make it hard, just different.

    Today we live in a networked environment. X was designed years ago with this in mind, we are just now getting there. Why continue an old mindset just because it is comfortable?

    Take a little time to learn just a little about X, it is worth your time.

  • Ennui (Score:2, Interesting)

    by h0mi ( 135188 ) on Saturday November 16, 2002 @03:15AM (#4684252) Journal
    Actually Ennui is just one reason.

    I have 2 computers... 1 devoted to games and the other... essentially everything else. I browse, read email, read usenet, respond in kind. I use office products. I download videos/pictures from the net.

    The areas where I'd have some difficulty replacing windows with, say, Linux would be:

    1> Email. I'm not sure what linux client would work as "nicely" as outlook express does.
    2> Synchronization with my palm pilot. This is becoming less important at home, since most of my syncs and entry of data is done at work. But apps like Avantgo and the like are things I use every day at home.
    3> USENET. I started out reading usenet on trn, but I'm not sure I can move from Forte Agent & Xnews to TRN.
    4> Irc. Sure I can use Epic or BitchX, but mirc works fine for me and I'm very comfortable with it. I'm not comfortable with using BitchX to chat on multiple channels, or msg people as well.
    5> Office apps.
    6> "MultiMedia". From Winamp to Divx to every other codec under the sun used to encode avis, mpgs and the like. Much of that goes away when you abandon windows.
    7> Yahoo/AIM/ICQ messengers & chat rooms.
    8> Digital camera and CF reader

    While most of these things are doable in Linux, they're certainly not doiable with the ease I have in windows. Of these, I think email is the easiest to get over but the hardest to transition- I can deal with using pine for email, but how do I convert 60 megs of emails in OE into something usable in linux?
  • by Pooua ( 265915 ) on Saturday November 16, 2002 @04:00AM (#4684403) Homepage
    First off, I'm not arguing where their ideas / peices of source code come from, I'm only saying that they almost never take something without making significant changes to it (and these are generally very self serving, ie. make it work the way we want it to and the users want it to)

    Why do you differentiate between "we" and "users" in your statement?

    I would appreciate it if you would provide an example, because I am at a loss for one. In the examples I provided, Microsoft did not change the way the user interacts with the programs. Many of the changes that Microsoft makes to software is not to improve functionality, but to break compatibility (i.e., make the code proprietary).

    This entire thread is entitled "What's keeping you on Windows?" From reading the comments below, it seems that quality is a major player here.

    Quality has nothing to do with the fact that Microsoft is "leveraging" other people's work.

    Wow! I never knew that Microsoft was started around 1954! Because you do know that Linux is just another Unix [] (ohhhhh, gonna get flamed for that one) varient,

    You should be flamed, because Linux is not a UNIX variant. Linux is POSIX-compliant, and all POSIX-compliant OSes can interchange software (after recompiling). Coincidentally, most versions of UNIX are also POSIX-compliant. However, it is possible to make any OS POSIX-compliant (including Microsoft Windows). That doesn't mean those OSes are variations of UNIX. None of the code in Linux came from UNIX. Linux was written from scratch.

    "Linux is not Unix! Unix is a proprietary OS, and its code can only be licensed by large companies. Linux is close to Unix in terms of architecture, because the same concepts were used to design both OS's. Linux is POSIX* compatible, so it is able to run the same software as the other Unix variants (HP-UX from Hewlett-Packard, AIX from IBM or Solaris from Sun for example); you just have to recompile your source code on a Linux machine."

    Linux Pages for Beginners []

    and Unix was first created in 1969 by Ken Thompson.... Or maybe you did'nt know that and you really did think all this started in 1995......

    Actually, Linus began working on his OS in 1991:

    Date: 25 Aug 91 20:57:08 GMT
    Organization: University of Helsinki

    "Hello everybody out there using minix - I'm doing a (free) operating system (just a hobby, won't be big and professional like gnu) for 386(486) AT clones. This has been brewing since april, and is starting to get ready. I'd like any feedback on things people like/dislike in minix, as my OS resembles it somewhat (same physical layout of the file-system (due to practical reasons) among other things). I've currently ported bash(1.08) and gcc(1.40), and things seem to work....

    "PS. Yes - it's free of any minix code, and it has a multi-threaded fs."

    History of Linux []

    I wouldn't take such a shitty tone, but you're attacking my intelligence and creditability here and I don't take that so very lightly.

    I am not intending to attack you personally, but I am sensitive to the mis-portrayal of the computer industry by certain political segments. My own sister, who otherwise knew virtually nothing about computers, dogmatically asserted to me that the only reason that Microsoft was being sued was its competitors were jealous. The reason she took that position is her conservative leadership told her these things, and she believed them. This is the same line that Rush Limbaugh and Libertarian commentators take-- and it's all political hysteria, spread by people who don't know and usually don't care about the accuracy of their statements.

  • by mattle ( 626702 ) on Saturday November 16, 2002 @04:38AM (#4684501)
    Well, not really, but I was. The voices are fading since I left the Borg in 1999. I worked for Microsoft for 12 years and over those years had Windows everything pumped into my blood. I started as an intern in 1987 supporting DOS and Windows 1.0. I worked my way from support, to testing, to developer support, into IT applications development, and finally as a web developer for

    I started to get interested in Linux during the Internet boom. At the time, Microsoft was doomed because Linux was free and was going to take away all of Microsoft's revenue stream. I figured I'd get a head start learning skills that would keep me gainfully employed in the post-Microsoft apocalypse. Hmmmm....

    Now, before you think that I am a hard-core Microsoft fan, let me convince you otherwise. When I worked at the company, I ate blibit burgers, religiously attended the company meeting, and faithfully spread the word that Microsoft was good. While I still have an enormous amount of respect for the company, I too am nervous about the massive market power that the company wields. That power needs some sort of check and balance. People need to have choices, otherwise there is little incentive for Microsoft to improve their products. That's now why I'm interested in Linux.

    Now to the original question: What's keeping me on Windows? Here are some answers:

    • Drivers, Drivers, Drivers
    • Copy and Paste (CTRL+C and CTRL+V) works virtually EVERYWHERE - I have apps in Linux that SAY they support CTRL+C and CTRL+V but don't.
    • Two words: Keyboard interface (Well, in KDE and Gnome at least)
    • Microsoft Money (Quicken would cut it as a replacement - GNUCash doesn't for my purposes)
    • Microsoft Office
    • Windows 2000 and XP are stable, fast, easy to use, and secure (as long as you keep it up to date and firewall it properly - just like Linux [])

    Despite all of that, I am typing this message in KWord and will (hopefully) copy and paste into Mozilla to answer this post. I'm just about to throw out my commercial editor ($300 a copy) and replace it with VIM. The only thing holding me back is learning the VI keyboard interface - Still getting used to that. I'm learning Perl, Apache, MySQL, PHP, PostgreSQL, and a ton of other COOL stuff. I might even have a reason to get back into C++ programming, which I haven't done for years. And best of all??? I've spent only $24.95 to enjoy all of this. (Well, not counting the hundreds I've spent on Oreilly books)

    But I'll probably always have Windows on my machine. For the foreseeable future, it is just easier to use as a desktop OS.

    NOTE: When I say "Windows" I mean Windows 2000 or Windows XP. I'd be the first to admit that Windows 95/98/ME is a POS.

  • Re:Different Goals (Score:2, Interesting)

    by An Audience of One ( 554052 ) <mjj29-slashdot&srcf,ucam,org> on Saturday November 16, 2002 @09:18AM (#4685087) Homepage
    BTW- you might notice that no Linux webserver is in the top 50 uptime stats [].

    Umm, yes - but you might also notice that they are all running Free/BSD or BSD/OS, and all but one of them are running Apache. This doesn't say much for windows either - which was the point being discussed.

  • Debian uber alles ;) (Score:3, Interesting)

    by stevey ( 64018 ) on Saturday November 16, 2002 @09:20AM (#4685093) Homepage

    I'm a Debian developer, and I run Debian at home and work, as I have done for ~3 years. (I don't use kde/gnome though, I don't have the horsepower for it - just icewm).

    I'm quite rare though. In our company there are three people who use Linux upon their desktop, Me (a sysadmin), a web developer/perl coder, and an Oracle guy.

    So far I've not had any major problems, I can view PDF's/Java/DOC files etc, and generally operate on a par with other people within the office

    I used to have a dual boot setup so that I could run things like the Microsoft policy editor, but not any more - if I want to run something like that I'll walk to somebody else's PC and borrow it for a few minutes.

    Sometimes I wish I were running Windows - because it can be very hard to help one of our home works over the phone when I can't look to my machine and talk them through what options to select, etc. But apart from that life is peachy :)

  • by Twirlip of the Mists ( 615030 ) <> on Saturday November 16, 2002 @11:36AM (#4685421)
    No, you're misinterpreting. Linux, as a desktop operating system, won't be worth using until:

    1. It's stable. The nightmare that was the 2.4 release family must never be repeated.

    2. It's documented. There must be no more "coming soon!" pages in the documentation.

    3. It's easy to use. KDE and Gnome need to be scrapped and replaced with a consistent, intuitive desktop environment.

    4. It includes key features like color space management, intelligent typography, unified audio and video frameworks, a unified printing model, and some sort of display list rendering technology like PostScript or PDF.

    That's just the short list; I didn't spend any time on it, so I'm quite certain it's not exhaustive. Until Linux has these, and other, critical features, there's simply no reason to even consider using it.

    The hobbyists of the world will probably never understand that people don't want to use an operating system that's incomplete and inconsistent. Since the community has a terrible track record for completeness and consistency, Linux will never be more than a niche operating system.

    It just doesn't offer anything at all to compel one to use it.
  • by NitroWolf ( 72977 ) on Saturday November 16, 2002 @08:50PM (#4688040)
    I use Macromedia's Studio MX. There is simply nothing better than Dreamweaver for HTML editing... at least nothing I've found. Everything I've tried, and believe me, I've tried a lot, pales in comparison to the Studio. I'm not a big fan of Macromedia, but the MX products are absolutely top notch.

    The one other application I have trouble leaving behind on Windows is UltraEdit. There is not a better text editor out there, and I am a big VIM fan/die hard. Never did get into Emacs, but I very seriously doubt it has the ease of use and power that UltraEdit has.

    If studio MX and Ultraedit were available natively on Linux, I'd switch. The last remaining applications tying me to all my machines being Linux would be games.

    As it stands right now, however, my only "main" Linux machine is my secondary work laptop (the one I use the most), with my primary being forced onto 2000 because of our Exchange server.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 17, 2002 @01:15PM (#4691030)
    Windows = usability for the average no- and halfbrainer, and everybody that simply wants to use a computer system instead of making it useful. Lets face it: Installing a Windows program is a 2 to 6 click procedure that includes the ackowledgment of the commercial license terms. And afterwards the program is running. Generally stable. If you do not like a specific application, there is another one that does the same (but different). I believe, that this kind of competition does give the people what they want: Easy to use, featuresoaked applications. The "beauty" of a program in terms of stability or efficient code is not interesting for most of the people. The importance of the GUI is a factor that is NOW increasingly taken into regard under Linux. I think without such brillinat desktop environments like KDE or Gnome the battle for the home desktop would have been completely lost by Linux. This has a simple reason: a command line does not speak to me! A GUI with all the pull-down menus, buttons or whatever gives me a chance to exploit all the functions of this program without reading the man pages over and over again, and I do not need to remember all the commands and parameters. Seeing and clicking, the mind can do different things within that time. Under Linux I use both, the GUIs and the command line, but one should really keep in mind why Micro$oft gained its penetration of the marked. It was the usability for the majority. How it uses this predominance NOW is different story. The normal user does not need to re-partition the harddisk while the system is running.

    2nd thing: hardware. Everything comes with a Windows driver/software. And I mean everything: CDs with copy protection (I know U can rip them on the console), handphones, palms, 3D scanners, cameras, every (unnecessary) gadget that makes the world more colourful first runs under Windows.

    And why it is so good to have a Linux system running? Securely surfing the net. And I repeatedly rescued my data from the FAT partitions under Linux when the old Win98 (type "win" and you loose ...) simply refused to work.

    Linux and the future: I think Linux has to get a little bit more commercialized, although I know that the Linux community does not like to hear this. I do not mean the OS Linux but the application level. Most people do not use Linux because it does not run their favorite applications (and hey, its even very hard to tell somebody to use OpenOffice under Windows, and I like OO) and these are not offered by the manufacturers because Linux is run by to few people. So the issue will be to create a market or any other kind of competition that will lead to increased usability/choice and by this result in more users what therefor results in more competition, ...
    With Linux systems like tha actual ones 6 years ago, Gate$ wouldnt be the richest man in the world (or Windows would have been a far better system now).
    The nice thing of Micro$softs license policies is, that they are so restrictive that many (private) people are driven towards Linux, I think by this MS really does the best promotion for Linux! Please Mr. Gates proceed: monthly payments for the XP Office, a direct firewall proxy for the CIA (the fight against terrorism proxy), implemented programs for everything (CD burning, multimedia, internet and mail ... why not implemented office, PIM, kalendar, drawing program, vector graphics?) These software companies will love to enter a new marked: Linux!
    Thanks for your attention.
  • by genesplicer ( 314591 ) <sbuttars@ g m a i l . com> on Sunday November 17, 2002 @08:32PM (#4693299)
    Games is one thing ... I've gotten Q3A to run better under with X and Linux (Mandrake 9.0 currently) than it does under Windows ... But, the newest bestest coolest games always come out for Windows first and then, if the developers feel like it, are available for Linux ... Aggravating ...

    But by far the biggest thing keeping on Windows is one app - EndNote ... My work is all scientific writing (journal articles and manuscripts, research correspondence, grants, etc.), all of which require significant quantities of references ... EndNote absolutely rawks for this stuff (if you've never used it, it functions kind of like a plug-in for Word and is for managing all references and citations within a document) but it doesn't work properly under WINE yet (I've tried) and I haven't found anything for Linux/BSD that's even similar let alone remotely comparable ... If I could code, I'd work on something that would do the job, but I only know DNA and amino acid code - not software ;) ...

Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons.