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What's Keeping You On Windows? 3212

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

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  • Why the Microsoft ads on Slashdot of course!

    Brought to you by the Friday Burn!
    • 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.
      • by dukethug ( 319009 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:57PM (#4680824)

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

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

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

        Does anyone else smell hypocrisy?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          Easy = good
          Hard = bad
      • Different Goals (Score:5, Insightful)

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

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

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

        • Microsoft
        • Interface - The human interface is the most important aspect of any program. Users will not tolerate a broken interface, and if the interface is well-refined, the user will naturally assume that the program itself is more refined. The interface should be fast, intuitive, and responsive, even at the expense of overall speed and stability. You can almost always give the illusion of stability and performance by improving your UI.
        • Hardware Support - The system MUST work with the user's computer, and the user's acessory MUST work with windows. Stability can be sacrificed to allow for more hardware.
        • Features - Users want features. More features means a better product. Features take predence over speed, stability, and security.
        • Stability - The system shouldn't crash too often. However, the user will tolerate the occasional failure if it means she can get the features she wants.
        • Security - The system shouldn't be overly insecure. Serious security issues can be dealt with in the future on an item-by-item basis, and most problems can be blamed on the technology rather than the software (case in point: Outlook scripting worms are called "email viruses").
        • Speed - Moore's Law. [webopedia.com] 'Nuff said.
        • Linux
          note that Linux is worked on by a much more diverse group of developers. Each has his own goals. This list represents the more common goals of the core OS develpers.
        • Stability - Premeditated instability will not be tolerated. Linus will not accept a patch that he doesn't trust, and features known to decrease stability are almost never allowed outside of development releases of pretty much any package.
        • Security - Linux developers absolutely hate the idea of an insecure computer. Security is almost never sacrificed for anything else.
        • Speed - Speed is sexy. Many OSS developers get a rise out of making stuff run faster.
        • Features - Features are added when someone who needs it knows how to build it. Features are still very important, but shouldn't be allowed to displace things like stability and security.
        • Hardware Support - The system should work with all the hardware possible, but adding hardware support most often involves reverse-engineering and a lot of tweaking. It's slow, difficult, and most developers would rather just "make the common hardware work, and the hardware that works common."
        • Interface - Lets face it, most Linux programmers absolutely suck at interface design. An interface should be good enough to make it work. The real beauty of a program is in what it does, not what it looks like.
        The reason why most users prefer Windows to Linux is because Windows was based on what the common user wants. That's who they develop for, that's who they impress. The rest of us are stuck with it because, well, that's what everyone else uses.
        • by 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.
        • Re:Different Goals (Score:5, Insightful)

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

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

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

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

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

          Funny thing. The last point I made leads me to the reason I think most folks can't hack an OS switch. This is something that I'll certainly fess up to. It may have a bit to do with my failed attempts to swith OS (to linux). Fact of the matter is, when it really comes down to it, the factor that 90% of users care about IS the interface. Most folks I've found don't like windows, macs, or linux, not because of how it works, but because of how it does NOT work in the manner that they're used to. That is, those other OSes are NOT the OS that we actually, already know how to use.
      • by 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 coryboehne ( 244614 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @10:00PM (#4682756)
          Well, we are definately from different worlds, but your comment stands out from the crowd, not because you make good points (hell everyone does sometimes :) ) but because you are so professional in your response, not flaming me for deciding to use .Net for my development, but rather stating your opinions and respecting mine, all without being even the slightest bit childish, Thank you a million times over.

          Note to Moderators and everyone else who reads the threads: This is the type of comment that I think makes slashdot a better place... It would be good to see more of them...
    • by PhaseBurn ( 44685 ) <PhaseBurn@PhaseBurn.net> on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:55PM (#4680799) Homepage
      Here's probably it for most people in a nut-shell...

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

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

      Just my $0.02.
  • porn (Score:3, Funny)

    by tuanjim_2001 ( 534921 ) <lordjim@gmailPLANCK.com minus physicist> on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:27PM (#4680160)
    porn is keping me on windows.
    • Re:porn (Score:5, Funny)

      by Mandi Walls ( 6721 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:56PM (#4680813) Homepage Journal
      Time for a Porn-on-Linux HOWTO. (or Porn-on-OpenSource, maybe...or Adult-Multimedia...)

      You send me your notes, I'll compile the docs.

      Think the ldp would post it? I have hosting space, though, if necessary.


      ps. I do not want you to send me porn. or spam. notes on how to set up software you use for multimedia viewing on non-luser platforms only.

  • Games (Score:4, Interesting)

    by D3 ( 31029 ) <daviddhenning@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> 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? ;)
  • by gambit3 ( 463693 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:28PM (#4680185) Homepage Journal

    Cuz most of the warez out there is for Windoze. ;)
  • Simple: (Score:3, Insightful)

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

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

    The fact of the matter is games are just a lot cheaper and more plentiful on Windows than on Linux, or even a Mac.
  • by 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 Anonymous Coward on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:30PM (#4680214)
    Same reason people are still using Windows. Change is hard for all of us I guess.
  • Two simple things... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Dalroth ( 85450 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:30PM (#4680224) Homepage Journal
    1. Games
    2. Work

    1. Until ALL games run under Linux without much difficulty, I simply don't have any choice here. Nearly all the Xbox and PS/2 games in the world don't hold up to a single quality PC game.

    2. I work at a Microsoft only shop. It's sad, it's infuriating, and I have little choice. To VPN into work, connect to source safe, upload code to the servers, run terminal services, connect to SQL Server 2000 (Microsoft's only GOOD non-gaming product) I have to use windows.

    • by Inoshiro ( 71693 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:49PM (#4680692) Homepage
      "Nearly all the Xbox and PS/2 games in the world don't hold up to a single quality [sic]PC game.

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

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

      If you're going to troll, at least try and be good at it.
  • by 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 green pizza ( 159161 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:44PM (#4680555) Homepage
      Works great on my iBook. It's overpriced, but it works better for me than Gimp or Corel PhotoPaint 10.
    • 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 Loundry ( 4143 ) on Saturday November 16, 2002 @01:49AM (#4683948) Journal
        So far though XP hasn't been bad, VERY few crashes (like 5 in about four months, three of which were EndNote's fault).

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

        At least, this is my opinion. Am I being to hard on Microsoft?
  • well.. (Score:3, Informative)

    by nege ( 263655 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:31PM (#4680246) Journal
    Its about the games, as I am sure it is for many ./ers. I want to be able to play WC3, Sims, Neverwinter Nights and Unreal 2k3. You cant do this on linux, no way. Not even with WINE, (good luch getting it to work, and its no where near as stable as XP). And while you have the OS up for gaming, its just easier to keep it up for surfing and email etc. Before you know it, its your full time OS, except when you go out of your way to use linux. I do coding on my laptop, which runs linux, but I am not a full time coder, so XP gets more CPU Time.
    • Re:well.. (Score:5, Informative)

      by Elladan ( 17598 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:39PM (#4680429)
      • WC3: Runs fine on linux, see www.transgaming.com
      • The Sims: Linux port available, see www.transgaming.com
      • Neverwinter Nights: Port is on the way
      • Unreal 2k3: Runs perfectly on linux, the linux native version is in the box you bought at the store
    • Re:well.. (Score:3, Informative)

      by Colin Walsh ( 1032 )
      Maybe you were just listing the games that you play regularly, and you already know this; but Unreal 2k3 has Linux support in the box on CD3 [linuxgames.com] and (hopefully) Neverwinter Nights should have a Linux client that you can download here [bioware.com] within the next few weeks.

      As a Public Service Announcement(tm) to anyone who's into gaming and Linux, or is considering installing Linux, you should peruse Linux Games [linuxgames.com] and The Linux Game Tome [happypenguin.org] every once and a while. Maybe if people are more aware that commercial games are ported to Linux we can have fewer people trying to run Quake III in WINE (Ugh!).

  • by Headius ( 5562 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:33PM (#4680282) Homepage Journal
    No matter how fast they make the drivers, no matter how much they optimize it - a client-server based desktop environment is ALWAYS going to be slower than a non-c/s solution. X continues to feel just a bit sluggardly on all my systems, even with the latest, fanciest drivers from whoever.

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

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

    Ditch X and come up with a really solid desktop environment that doesn't require it, and I'll be back in a heartbeat.
    • by glassware ( 195317 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @06:48PM (#4681365) Homepage Journal
      The part I like most about X is the sophomoric smirk:

      Me: Where can I get client software to connect to your server?
      Sysop: No, you need X Server software.
      Me: I don't need server software. I just want to connect to your server.
      Sysop: Yes, but your client provides a display surface to the server, which is a client to your server.
      Me: Huh?
      Sysop: You see, it makes perfect sense; your client machine is serving graphics to the server! So your computer is a server, and the server is a client! It's all backwards!
      Me: Yes.
    • by jonabbey ( 2498 ) <jonabbey@ganymeta.org> 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.

      • I could ask a more simple question: If X is the way to go and doesn't have the problems I mentioned, then why doesn't everyone building a new OS use it? It's Open Source, it's freely available, it's ported to scads of platforms, including Cygwin. How come QNX, Mac OS X, BeOS and others haven't said "let's go with X windows"? Because it did not fit the task at hand - developing a responsive, crisp, reliable desktop environment. Implementing a windowing system from scratch must surely be more work than porting the tried-and-true X windows, right? What drives these players to go with their own homerolled solution?

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

        I don't NEED to display the window from one machine on another, but running X, I don't have the option of turning that feature off. These days, a desktop environment should be dedicated to local applications FIRST, and then provide support for remoting windows SECOND. Guess what, I don't connect to a centralized server to bring up my desktop anymore, and I have no plans to. Allow me to run a desktop that doesn't carry along that kind of extra weight, and I'll show you a real contender.
        • by jonabbey ( 2498 ) <jonabbey@ganymeta.org> on Friday November 15, 2002 @07:20PM (#4681692) Homepage

          You're still arguing that it is X's C-S design alone that is causing the problems you're talking about. The C-S design is an easy thing to single out.. "the other window systems don't support network graphics, and they are faster, so it must be the C-S design causing the problem" is not a valid logical argument. That's not to say that it mightn't be the problem, of course, but it's not to say it is, either.

          Having to do context switches between the client and the server all of the time is a real issue, certainly. It is one that can be addressed through means other than simply throwing out 20 years of software developed on Unix, though.

          Keith Packard wrote a good presentation on this, Efficiently Scheduling X Clients [xfree86.org] at USENIX 2000.

          Something like the improvements to the X server's internal behavior mentioned in that presentation (or in the associated paper, see Keith's Publications Page [xfree86.org] for more), in conjunction with Linux kernels more optimized for low-latency multiprocess scheduling could help the performance issues a great deal without having to junk the whole system.

    • by IamTheRealMike ( 537420 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @07:16PM (#4681658)
      No matter how fast they make the drivers, no matter how much they optimize it - a client-server based desktop environment is ALWAYS going to be slower than a non-c/s solution

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • by 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 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.

  • by clem.dickey ( 102292 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:33PM (#4680284)
    Every so often a memo comes out reminding us that we must have the latest Norton Anti-Virus. NAV is not supported on Linux, so I have to power on the Windows box to update my virus protection. Except for that it stays off.
  • I find the community of sharing amongst Windows users and developers keeps me very happy on the platform.

    I'm not very technical so I have a tough time contributing to Open Source projects, but most Windows developers let me make monetary contributions to their projects. Each time I contribute, I get a nice CD and a glossy brochure. Those things make me feel special. I feel like they care about me and that I'm actually making a difference. It's like sponsoring a 3rd world child.

    I really like how Windows has a single website where I can collaborate with the techincal team. They have a knowledge base that I can search with problems, and they offer great suggestions about other things I can do with my computer. I started out with just Windows, but now I have Office, games, instant messenger and so much more. All from one company. Beat that Linux fans!

    So I guess I'd switch to Linux or the Mac if I thought their communities were open and accepting. But I find they're filled with fanatics who don't like newcomers. ROTFLOL! LOL! RTFM. What the fuck? Who the hell understands that crap?

    Yep. Me and Windows. We're like peas and carrots baby. I love this platform!
  • 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).
    • this is it's strange (Score:5, Informative)

      by ciryon ( 218518 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @06:45PM (#4681331) Journal
      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.

      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.

      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.

      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.

      • by jonnythan ( 79727 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @07:16PM (#4681656)
        It doesn't matter if you can get a Super-Athlon 2.6 Ghz at half the price of a PowerMac if the OS sucks.

        Not many people will say that Windows sucks. Windows XP and 2000 are quite functional, stable, and just damned easy. A P4 2.4 GHz with half a gig of RAM and a 17" monitor from Dell costs LESS than that eMac with a 700 MHz processor and 128 MB of RAM. And let me tell you, Windows XP, even will all the eye candy turned on, feels far, far faster on the 2.4 GHz P4 than OS X does on a 700 MHz G4.
  • by 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 Blimey85 ( 609949 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:36PM (#4680360)
    I use Linux for work and WinXP for games. I also use XP for doing some online shopping when I can't get Mozilla to behave but that problem has pretty much gone away for the most part, at least at the sites I frequent.

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

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

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

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

  • 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.
  • by disc-chord ( 232893 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:37PM (#4680393)
    Look I love FreeBSD, don't get me wrong. My server runs FreeBSD, my router box runs FreeBSD... but my desktop machine is running Windows 2000.

    For me Windows 2000 is just like Linux, except it runs desktop apps which is a nice bonus for a desktop OS. It's not the interface, believe me (I refused to go to Windows 95 for the longest time because of my preference towards CLI). It's just the simple fact that there are so many more exciting apps for Windows.

    Whenever there is a neat new technology out it always comes out for Windows first, then *nix, then Mac. (Recent Examples: P2P, PAR, Bottler, etc.) As a fan of technology I want to run the technology as soon as I can download it... not wait for a port! Sure there are ports for nearly every P2P protocol out for NIX, and there are PAR clients, and yes there's even Buttler... but these versions are always months behind in development compared to their Windows counterparts.

    Going hand in hand with technology is, of course, games. One can only play so much Tux Racer before going back to Windows for Mafia or the latest Half-Life/Quake Mod.
  • 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...
  • 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 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 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 work..as with most Slashdotters I'm sure have workplaces that still use Windows.
  • by agrounds ( 227704 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:43PM (#4680538)
    I have a Slack box on my desk at work for all my primary needs. It has all the tools I require to do my job and automate as much as possible. It is -in short- my life here. Sitting not three feet from it is my laptop running Win2K Server (server strictly for the network monitor). It's sole purpose in my day-to-day grind is to run Outlook 2000, the corporate standard, and grind out the Visio drawings for my PHB. We have no POP access to our exchange boxes, and no web outlook means no evolution+ximian connector. Thus the 2K stays on my laptop for email and Visio, and the real work gets done on slack.

    Now home is a different story. The primary machine runs Win2K Pro, for games, but more importantly to serve as a buffer from my wife's wrath. You see, I loaded Gentoo on it once after a drive crashed. My wife came home, saw KDE, and my consoles piled up on it, and blew her top. I cherished the sexual side of our marraige enough to put Windows back on it, and relegated my Gentoo install back to the crufty machine. I may be a geek-at-heart, and I love linux as much as the next guy, but uptime/tweakability/power/toolset/zealotness is just no substitute for sex.

    So.. in short, the reason I have windows on two out of four machines I use daily:
    Work - Corporate Standard + PHB
    Home - Sex

  • by ShakaUVM ( 157947 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:45PM (#4680582) Homepage Journal
    Like a lot of people here, I run two boxes, one Win2k, one Linux. You gotta play to their strengths.

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

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

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

    Bill Kerney

  • by limekiller4 ( 451497 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:48PM (#4680650) Homepage
    I have two machines -- one dual-boots Win2k and Debian, the other is dedicated Windows and I despise Microsoft.

    This machine, the one that dual-boots, only goes into Windows to play games (and if it wasn't for America's Army, that would never happen). The other machine is permanently booted into Windows and I use that exclusively for my media files; streaming video (news), audio, mp3's, etc.

    So I guess the reason for Linux is all my primary use. Surfing, email, developing PHP code. Everything else is booting into Windows because it is generally dirt easy to set up and handles media with no issues.

    I'm a linux fan but lord only knows that I'm still a bit hazy on driver modules, how they work, how to troubleshoot, etc. Anything but the most basic problem in Linux generally has me spending a good chunk of time trying to fix it. The difference is that with Linux it is fixable, but with Windows the worst-case scenario is a re-install. And since there is nothing important there and on a seperate partition, that's not such a bad thing.
  • by NanoGator ( 522640 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:48PM (#4680652) Homepage Journal
    I'm a Windows 2000 user. My computer is stable. It's easy to use maintain. It plays all my games. Well, long story short, I don't have any complaints about my computer. So why should I switch? Sounds like it'd painful for me to switch to Linux without a really compelling reason.

    Frankly, the benefit I can see to me switching to Linux is that suddenly I'd be popular here on Slashdot. "hey look! I can use a real OS. After a steep learning curve, I can do what people are already doing in Windows! Woohoo! Down with MS!!"
  • Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    It's been said many many times, but until Linux is considerably better than Windows on all these fronts, there is no incentive to switch. I (and most computer users I'd bet) are not political grand-standers, were tool users, plain and simple. Best tool for the job wins. For all my jobs, Windows wins.
    • Re:Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


  • by kiwimate ( 458274 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:49PM (#4680672) Journal
    Here goes with some honesty, so I fully expect hostility. Be gentle, okay?

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

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

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

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

    Those, for me, are the main reasons. Windows is just too important for me at work to not know it intimately, and Linux doesn't offer enough compelling reasons to dedicate a lot of time becoming better attuned to it. Remember, I'm just being honest!
  • by 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 dswensen ( 252552 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @06:30PM (#4681205) Homepage
      It certainly is certain games. If you have the chance, compare sometime Unreal Tournament on a high-end PC as compared to the PS2 version. The PC version is fast, attractive, a breeze to play, and very fun. UT on a PS2 controller is a complete nightmare. And the resolution stinks.

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

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

      It's a variety of factors, but for me it mostly comes down to the kind of games. And it cuts both ways, too: I own a PS2 and a Dreamcast and I love Soul Calibur and DOA2. But I'd never imagine playing either on a PC.
  • by mr_gerbik ( 122036 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @05:51PM (#4680715)
    Among other things, my primary OS is Windows because of the development tools. People who have not used Visual Studio (or people who have only touched the surface) have no idea how excellent Microsoft's development tools are.

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

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

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

    Anywho, that is my two cents.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Habit. Habit and Familiarity.

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

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

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

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

    I think one of the problems, in fact, is that so many Slashdot users are power users -- dedicated gamers, programmers, coders, designers, developers-- who have become accustomed to using their computers as an extension of themselves. For most everyday users, the biggest difference between a Windows machine, a OS X machine, and a machine running a GUI Linux would be the color of the windows and icons. They don't try to juice their programs as much. After all, if the most complex action you perform as a user is hitting the back button on your browser, it can be any browser on any software platform. But if you're used to coding in a specific text editor, moving to another can be a painful experience.
  • by circletimessquare ( 444983 ) <circletimessquare&gmail,com> on Friday November 15, 2002 @06:03PM (#4680907) Homepage Journal
    to some here, i am the lowest form of scum. i am a windows vb programmer. that makes me 1. evil and 2. stupid. evil because i support microsoft. stupid because, as we all know, vb is a horrible language, right? ;-P

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

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

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

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

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

    remember, the world of morons does not cater to your computer science genius. YOU cater to and serve computer using morons. accept that or be happy with linux being relegated to the smaller, rarefied world of high-end computing.
  • by IGnatius T Foobar ( 4328 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @06:04PM (#4680923) Homepage Journal
    There's nothing keeping me on Windows. I switched to Linux way back in 1997 and never looked back. I don't need to list the apps that make Linux a useful operating system -- you've heard the list a thousand times.

    The reason you can avoind Windows nowadays is because Microsoft lost the browser war. Yes, you heard me correctly: they lost. Microsoft didn't like the idea of applications shifting from Windows to the web. Remember when you needed special Windows apps for everything? You installed one to send messages to someone's pager, another one to do your banking, another one to track your FedEx shipments, etc. Microsoft wanted to keep it that way, but those pesky Netscape people kept pushing this idea of applications executing on a server while you viewed them in a browser. So they went into War Mode on the browser front. All they managed to accomplish was to destroy Netscape's ability to make money selling browsers. But guess what? Nearly all information-access apps moved to the Web anyway. And those apps are as easily accessed from a Linux or Mac desktop as they are from a Windows desktop. Microsoft failed to stop the migration of apps to the web. Say it with me, folks: Microsoft failed. Doesn't that sound good? It's true. Marc Andreesen's vision of web-enabled applications making the OS irrelevant has become a reality, and that's one of the things that has enabled folks like me to ditch Windows without ever missing it.
  • 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 Anonvmous Coward ( 589068 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @06:11PM (#4681025)
    I inadvertently made an agreement with MS about that when I clicked 'OK' one too many times during the SP4 beta install.
  • E.U.L.A. (Score:5, Funny)

    by jmoriarty ( 179788 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @06:43PM (#4681315)
    I keep using Windows because of the EULA. Specifically:

    5.23a - In the event that Leasee begins using another OS, Microsoft reserves the right to come into Leasee's home and immediately harvest all of Leasee's organs with a rusty spoon.
  • 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 gatekeep ( 122108 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @07:33PM (#4681786)
    Honestly, the biggest thing keeping me in Windows is that whenever I've tried to switch, I invariably end up with some questions and head to IRC, Chat Rooms, etc. to ask people. The flames and insults I get for being a newbie are incredible. I really don't care enough to deal with that while I'm figuring out the intricacies.

    Other than that, it's mostly games. Though there are a few other things... Photoshop, Office (Openoffice is close, but not quite close enough), Outlook (this is huge..), etc. I've got a linux box I use for a PHP server, and I've tinkered with it from time to time, but it's not my primary OS.
  • So far... (Score:5, Insightful)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    I use Windows on the "Main" PC, run RedHat and Debian on my two servers, and use Deb on my thick thin client laptop. I stick with Windows on the desktop because the amount of time it would take me to reach my current level of desktop mastery on linux is well worth the price of XP and probably the next Windows as well. Right now there's room for both in my world. After using linux as a server for near 2 years, I'm getting a little better learning my way around, and while I'm sure the Linux desktop is ready for me, I'm not yet ready for it.
  • by dargaud ( 518470 ) <slashdot2@gdarga[ ]net ['ud.' in gap]> on Friday November 15, 2002 @08:47PM (#4682373) Homepage
    I'm a software engineer and sysadmin. On my desk I have a G4 with OS-X, a Gateway with Win2000 and no less than a 4 processor SGI 2100. Oh, and also a Linux box used only as a server. Guess wich one I use ? The PC. Win2k is, once configured properly, an excellent no-nonsense user interface, and once completed with Apache, ActivePerl and Cygwin there's nothing missing.

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

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

    Anyway, that was just one more opinion.

  • Here's my list. (Score:4, Informative)

    by Mustang Matt ( 133426 ) on Friday November 15, 2002 @08:54PM (#4682410)
    Looks like everyone pretty much beat me to it for this thread so I doubt this will get read, but here goes...

    Before I start, let me say that I WANT to switch to linux and I'm almost there.

    I should also say that all of my servers except one are running some form of linux (usually SuSE). I keep one IIS server around for customers that need ASP and because I started on the Microsoft side.

    Alright here goes...
    1. The single biggest reason that I haven't switched 100% to linux is driver support. Windows has done this right, you plug in hardware and download a driver or pop in a CD and walah, your hardware works. I know this isn't 100% true, but it's at least 90% true. Linux hardware support has grown leaps and bounds over the past couple of years, but the problem is when you run into problems... If you've got an odd ball network card or other device that just doesn't want to work under linux. I think over time, companies will release linux drivers at the same time, but hopefully some of them will learn to release linux source for their drivers so that their products will rock.

    2. Speed... Windows XP on my old 650 MHz Sony VAIO w/256 mb of ram runs circles around KDE for the most part. I've never tried Gnome just because I don't know how to easily switch using SuSE's built in management (yast). Anyone want to point me in the right direction for a how-to?

    2. Macromedia Homesite... I really love how easy it is to use Macromedia homesite and have a nice easy global search and replace tool that doesn't require me to learn regular expressions but allows them if I know them. The color coding and various other features make it my ASP/PHP script editor of choice. Maybe it would run under Wine, but I want native speed and stability and macromedia hasn't announced a linux version yet.
    Zend Development Environment is the closest thing I've found that's acceptable but ironically I've never run it under linux.

    3. I like Outlook Express. It's fast, it's easy, it has all the features I need (except the ability to disable html, but you can buy noHTML for $20). I would use Mozilla but it can't tie multiple email addresses to one identity. I found the feature request for this on bugzilla, but nothing has really happened with it yet. Once Mozilla gets that single feature, it will replace the Opera/Outlook Express combo I use now.

    4. Gnucash is getting better, but there are a whole lot of things I need to do (Quicken) that it can't do such as recurring transactions and loan calculations.

    5. Usability... There are times when things just don't work as expected. Windows software generally costs money, but most software works as expected (most of the time.)

    A couple of the things I hate are that when I hit abort and nothing happens. Different applications behave this way. Sometimes I have this problem in windows as well, but on a slower linux system it's terrible!

    Also, sometimes I'll be doing things like running GNUcash's QIF import and suddenly the window I was working with gets set behind the one I was formerly working with... Little stuff like that drives me bonkers.

    I can't get Gnomemeeting to work... Ah, the list goes on and on. I like linux a lot, especially for server stuff, but on the desktop, it has potential and it really can do some great stuff (and the price is certainly right.) but I can't quite switch over yet...

The last thing one knows in constructing a work is what to put first. -- Blaise Pascal