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Linux is a waste of time?

CmdrTaco posted more than 14 years ago | from the stuff-to-read dept.

Linux 351

Anonymous Bastard writes "There's an article in today's Chicago Tribune suggesting that the effort being put into the Linux operating system would be better spent improving Microsoft's software. The author says that Linux is trying to reinvent the wheel. Linux isn't a waste of time, is it? " Oh my.

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huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1916922)

I don't WTF he is talking about. How can u improve
M$ stuff if they keep the code locked?

What don't these idiots write something they have
a clue?

Damn Communist pinkos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1916923)

Oh my god, COMPETITION! We can't passibly have that. We can't possibly be horribly victimized by this great big evil capitalistic plot. I mean, we only have about 10,000 programmers working full time trying to better the world, slaving away at these horrible thingies calles *source code.* Help poor little us. Save us!!

He makes it sound like OSS can't be as good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1916924)

Makes you wonder if Redmond is putting the screws
to the media these days...

The guy makes it sound like OSS software can't be
as good as commercial stuff because it's "home
brewed". Standard FUD: you can't really trust
software written by hackers and student. Didn't
Gates say just that not so long ago? The guys is
a parrot.

The premise is flawed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1916925)

That assumes, of course, that the effort we put into Linux even *could* be put into improving Microsoft.

Well, guess what? It can't, 'cause I DON'T HAVE THE FUCKING SOURCE TO M$ WINDOWS.

Does this guy get PAID? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1916926)

I think most Slashdot readers could play devil's advocate on the side of Microsoft and make a better argument then this Coates fellow.

This was a jaw-droppingly weak article from a REAL journalistic enterprise....

PS But it was copy edited BEAUTIFULLY! (Yes, this is a sarcastic jibe at all you folks who bitch about copyediting and grammer on /.)

Damn Communist pinkos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1916927)

BTW,
Someone in a MIT mag. called RMS a pinko. :-O

continue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1916928)

But does he have some valid points. Sure windows code is locked- why mention it? it is a fact of life and ain't about to change. the facts are that windows IS running on 90% of the boxes out there. why is that ? - that is the real question - Because Ma and Pa farmer can't (and probably will never) be able to get *into* linux. So all the wonderful Zealotry being hurrumpt by this chain is just that. Zealotry. Get used to the fact that we can't effectively fight Microsoft it's just too big. We can't simply tout a supposedly better product and win. - what is the prize anyway ? world domination ? then what some new guy - lets call him toby invents a new kernel set based on the now defunct NT code called... TOBIX and these guys try to kill linux. Never happen ? Hmmm. My 2c

I have to start filtering Microsoft articles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1916929)

After I just wasted about 30 minutes reading the article and then all the posts, I am a slow reader. I know now I should just filter out all the Microsoft articles on Slashdot. I am so suprised that someone who works for a pretty large newspaper would write such an idiotic article. Does he think we should all get jobs at Microsoft and maybe they will let us work on Windows. That is just not possible. I really am a little too baffled by the complete ignorance by the writer, I can't even form a good comeback.

Sorry for the anonymous coward, I am not on my computer and I don't remember my password. That's how shocked I am.

LoRider

Column doesn't merit serious attention (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1916930)

Either this writer is a dyed-in-the-wool marxist (competition is unnecessary. Dissent is unnecessary), or his job is on the line if he doesn't write something that will get attention and to which readers will respond. The content of the column doesn't merit serious attention.

lack of ambition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1916931)

The author was obviously raised by a couple of slackers and now he himself is to lazy to learn or create anything new. My proof of this is the fact that he is a journalist and is simply writing his opinions. God forbid he should write something useful that others could benefit from. Instead he has no ambition and continues to write the drewel he writes.

Don't bother (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1916932)

As a Chicago resident, IT professional and regular Tribune reader, I could've told you along time before now this guy hasn't a clue! I've been skipping his column for years! He's just one of those marginally knowledgable PC Weenies who gives newbies advice on topics like how to AltTab between Windows apps. He wouldn't know a real computer if it bit him on the ass. Just ignore him and maybe he'll go away!

What was Linus thinking ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1916933)

What was Linux thinking when he started writing
Linux, pulling thousands, millions of people
with him. While he could have used his own time
for a far better cause then to learn everything
about real operating systems and enabling
the masses to learn it as well, for free.

Knowledge is power my friends, that is why so
many people are scared of Linux.

Windows is for people who don't know anything about computers, and will remain that way from
using windows. Windows keeps people dumb, and that
is exactly how some want them to be. When you
use windows, you are not in control, you don't have the right to know what is going on,
you are not free.

Some people don't want to be free. Others value
their freedom more then their life.

Linux and free software, is about freedom of choice, freedom to learn, freedom to know what is
going on your computer, freedom to be in control of your system.

Old technology vs. New technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1916934)

My point was that you don't see vacuum tube computers anymore and there's a good reason for that. I did not mean to bash vacuum tubes (though I must admit that I didn't know all the uses for them you listed). But the point is still the same. So as not to offend any other vacuum tube enthusiasts, I will now change my analogy. Rather than invent the car, scientists should have improved bicycle technology.

Oh great, now I got the bicycle enthusiasts all over me. Oh well, I'm sure you get my point that improving an old technology which is widely used rather than improve a new advanced technology which is not widely used is not a good idea.

James Coates' timing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1916935)

Isn't this article a little late for April 1?

I think I heard it all til: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1916936)

What do you get when you take Moore's Law and add it to P.T. Barnum's famous words?

The number of suckers born each minute doubles every eighteen months.


Well, Let's notch another one in the old idiot tree thanks to this writer!

Bill Gates is not a monster (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1916937)

You know, while there may be problems with Microsoft, I really don't think that Bill Gates is personally responsible for everything that Microsoft does. I mean, while he does control the company, I'm sure he listens to the advice of other people. To say that Microsoft and Windows is entirely Bill Gates's fault would be the same as saying that Linus Torvalds developed Linux(and all the GNU software) by himself. Bill Gates is just a geek who found a way to make money and exploited it, pure and simple. I wouldn't be that surprised if he didn't look at a single line of code in Windows 98. I think we have to take the blame off of one person.

Well said (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1916938)

This guy's just looking for hits and controversy. We should stop helping him sell newspapers.

The good, the bad, and the ugly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1916939)

Well, just one thing. You can't say that the Mac interface is the "best" interface, the interface to end all interfaces. It's not, and neither it nor any other interface ever will be. Why? Because interfaces, like beauty, are in the eye of the beholder. If I managed to make the absolute perfect interface for one person, the next guy would still prefer Win95. I hear lots of great things about the MacOS interface but I, personally, have found it to be one of the hardest interfaces to work with that I've ever tried (and I try them all and learn fast).
This is why I believe the X _model_, as opposed to the Win95 or MacOS model, has more potential because you can have any of dozens of interfaces to the same applications. (KDE, GNOME, Window Maker, AfterStep, fvwm95, twm, etc). It's probably true that, since more time and effort has been spent on the Windows and Mac interfaces, they are currently more easy to use for the most people, but the X _model_ has more potential and, with work, will be able to win.

Current Linux desktop reminds me of MSDOS 5.x (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1916940)

Gotta use the command line interface to get anything done. Lots of 3rd party add-ons with no integration or coordination. Same goes for the GUI interface - multiple GUIs that compete against each other, rather than cooperate. I've done this before ... I like the concept of Linux, and its a great server, but the desktop sucks, and this article was right on the money. Linux is interesting, but I get my work done using excellent tools by a variety of 3rd parties on NT 4. You don't have to suck Microsoft's butt to be very productive using NT.

Our right to reinvent + Software Quality Laws (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1916941)

Even if you take everything said at face value, and assume Linux is a waste of time - people have a right to waste their own time and a right to prefer linux to windows for no reason at all without being criticized. I also think that Bill Gates should be criticized for his marketing methods but not for the quality of Windows. I think as stated earlier he has no idea whatsoever how bad the source code inside of Windows must be. Instead of persuing an Antitrust case against Microsoft the government should create laws concerning the quality of commercial software which would not be unlike those requiring meat inspection. It wouldn't matter as much that M$ has a monopoly if it was helping people instead of making their lives hell.

Old technology vs. New technology (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1917019)

I will assume everyone reading this article will agree that Linux is superior to any Microsoft operating system. Given that Linux is the superior system, arguing that abandonment of Linux to improve Windows is equivalent to arguing that rather than developing transistors, scientists should have worked on improving vacuum tubes.

ahem. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1917020)

I couldn't find the author's email address on the page, so here goes.

After you've insulted every one of my ideals, and told me that your way is right, and mine is dead wrong, after you've tried to make a point that monopilistic business practices are ok, and that somehow, you are hurt by linux's existance, I decided to think up a response that was equally as intelligent as your article:

Fuck you.

Here's the e-mail address: jcoates@tribune.com (1)

abischof (255) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917025)

As noted on his " home page [chicagotribune.com] ", here's his e-mail address: jcoates@tribune.com [mailto] . Have at it :).

Alex Bischoff
---

Dinky, he says (2)

Shaheen (313) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917026)

Furthermore, Microsoft Windows 2000, which made its debut in Chicago at last week's Comdex computer show, is a much more useful personal computer operating system than the dinky feature-weak, application-starved flavor of home-brewed Unix known as Linux.

How could a dinky operating system be used as the major operating system for web servers on the Internet today? How could a dinky operating system be used to create a Beowulf cluster more powerful than a Cray? How could a dinky operating system be used to create the special effects in Titanic?

Another one that doesn't Get It. (2)

Joseph Vigneau (514) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917028)

I know going in that I'll take more flak for this column than just about any I could write

Here comes some..

the dinky feature-weak, application-starved flavor of home-brewed Unix known as Linux.

He actually makes that 'home-brewed' comment once more in the article. What he fails to mention is that that 'home-brew' is being cooked up by some of the best chefs in the industry.

Now, I feel that Microsoft is a big reason why hardware is so cheap these days. And that's definitely a good thing.

He doesn't seem to understand that for the most past, folks don't use Linux to go against The Man, they use it because the Microsoft Way isn't so great. I hate when people send me Word documents via email. I hate using Microsoft's crappy development tools. I hate having to use tons of memory for OS services that I never use.

Linux isn't for Joe Six Gig. It will never be, even with the efforts of the GNOME and KDE folks.

The Internet was working swell on traditional Unix, Macintosh and Windows NT before Linux was much more than a glimmer in Linus' eye

*plonk* Unix, yes. Mac, kinda. NT? When was NT 3.1 actually released? '93 or so? I remember running Slackware just fine back then.. I guess our intrepid reporter hadn't heard about Linux until very recently..

Meanwhile, they would have us reinvent the wheel by wasting billions more hours creating applications to take advantage of Linux and make Torvalds' colleagues at Linux software houses like Red Hat Inc. and Caldera Systems Inc. rich. I have yet to pay for a Linux distribution. If I had to pull a number out of thin air, I'd guess that less than 25% of all Linux installs were purchased from RH and Caldera. Seems that those 'billions of wasted hours' are running countless web servers, ISPs, NT file and print servers, etc. pretty damned well. And I thank those people who have 'wasted' their time writing quality software. I have yet to see a product from Microsoft that lives up to any reasonable quality standard.

Bill Gates isn't evil. He's not the problem. The roving masses of moronic brochureware IT rejects are to blame.

*LMAO*! (1)

DrSpoo (650) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917032)

Oh man, I couldn't get through the whole article because I was on the floor busting a gut laughing and crying at the same time!

I honestly can't believe some people think the way they do. Its really too bad he didn't give his email address anywhere on the page because I am really tempted to give him a (polite) line-by-line rebuttle for every FUD filled paragraph he spewed out.

If ignorance is bliss, this guy has got to be on clowd 9.

Thanks, think I will... (1)

DrSpoo (650) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917033)

As others have pointed out, no sense cooking this guy to a crisp with the old flamethrower, but a few minutes in the oven on low should do the trick ;)



Only 10% of RH users actually buy it... (1)

DrSpoo (650) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917034)

...or so I hear. Sorry I can't recall the reference, but I'm pretty sure it comes right from Red Hat themselves.

hahahahaha (0)

gavinhall (33) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917038)

Posted by The Mongolian Barbecue:

ok. open up the windows source. if it is at all possible to improve, people will. of course this will never happen in a billion years. even if the source were opened, it would be 100's of megs large, and impossible to work with. think mozilla * 1e6.

clueless reporter

maybe (0)

gavinhall (33) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917039)

Posted by The Mongolian Barbecue:

I've never really cared myself about "world domination" As long as enough people use linux to force vendors to open their specs, etc. I will be happy- I only want a stable system for myself.

Heuh (1)

gavinhall (33) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917040)

Posted by unpHEAR:

The only time wasted I see here. His to spend time reading this article.

He's right we are reinventing the wheel... (1)

gavinhall (33) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917041)

Posted by kenmcneil:

..for a reason!

Ready for the analogy?

Development of n OS : Evolution of n species

Both are very slow and often inefficient processes. But neither lead to a dead end like M$'s development model (if you're a little slow the "dead end" is 50E6 lines of code). Just another non-technical no-it-all reporter.

Another attention starved tech journalist. Yay. (2)

Kurt Gray (935) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917047)

He obviously attended the ZDFud school of
"how to draw attention to your work
by making asanine remarks about Linux."

Let me list some *real* ways to waste time:

1. Develop ActiveX controls

2. Write code in MFC

3. Use Visual J++

4. Install Windows NT with the intent on running
an enterprise web site.

5. Pursue an MS certification course

6. Use Visual C++

....and many other ways to waste both valuable time
and money can be yours for just $10,999.95! That's
right just $10,999.95 and we'll send you all
this plus the 5 piece stainless steak knife set!!!

Don't vote for the opposition - improve the rulers (2)

mtaneda (1087) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917052)

Imagine someone saying, "if you don't like the Republican government, don't join, vote or speak for the opposition; join the Republicans and improve them". (For "Republican", substitute your favourite ex-ruling party that seemed hard to beat for a while.)

In a way similar to the establishment of "green" parties, open source became a movement because enough people want it, not merely as a better product but a better way of "doing business". That's the generational aspect the writer notices but fails to understand (and therefore resorts to mocking).

That comment was, of course, once made towards green parties. Fortunately enough people didn't listen.

Reverse the question (1)

Andy Tai (1884) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917058)

Maybe the question should be reversely asked: why isn't Microsoft's source code (or any typical proprietary software) available freely to the world so everyone can work on it and improve it, like the way Free Software works?

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHA! (2)

narrowhouse (1949) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917059)

So we all can improve Microsoft products, without source, without complete API's, and then we can have the priveledge of purchasing the fruit of our labor? Good plan. Maybe re-inventing the wheel is only sane thing when the wheel is square.
Also, I would submit Microsoft re-invented the wheel first, DOS wasn't the best solution at the time, just the one that IBM threw thier weight behind due to convenience and some arcane back room deal. Here is to Linux, Round wheels, Free Software, and doing it right.

Old technology vs. New technology (1)

Q*bert (2134) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917060)

Or, as the man used to say, "You can't polish a turd."
Beer recipe: free! #Source
Cold pints: $2 #Product

Addendum (1)

Q*bert (2134) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917061)

" . . . especially when that turd is locked in a safe."
Beer recipe: free! #Source
Cold pints: $2 #Product

Which is the real waste... (1)

miro7 (2562) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917065)

the author of this article or the fact that Micropuff's *resources* should be helping fund Linux Developer's efforts?

Amen! (1)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917069)

I'll be brief- you're right.

And I agree, WE SHOULD NOT BE GIVING THIS CLOWN ANYTHING. He wrote this as a (f)lametroll- he really did. And he shouldn't be given the gratification of the roasting he richly deserves from it because it'll just give him ammo to use against us further.

Remember now, don't feed the trolls, folks... (1)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917070)

This guy would be called a (f)lametroll on USENET- it's no different when the tripe's spewed on a newspaper or magazine. It's an Op-Ed piece- and as such is beneath our consideration considering how at odds this clown is with reality. Don't bother sending him anything. If you feel a response is needed- let's all come up with a reasoned one, put it up on the WWW, and then send an e-mail to the Chicago Tribune telling them where our response is with full permission to re-print with attributions.

This tripe that graced the Tribune's pages and web site is nothing more than more FUD mongering- and the truth is the best weapon against the FUD.

Old technology vs. New technology (1)

dattaway (3088) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917072)

Improving vacuum tubes? I prefer to call these devices as valves, or electron valves, but never the equivalent of Windows Technology. You might have one of these gems in your house if you have a microwave. Powerful TWT tubes can be used for radar jamming in "peace keeping missions." Many hams and audiophiles prefer these square law devices to power radio transmitters and receivers. They are state of the art in electron control. Linux is the art of software and logic control. Please do not compare valves to Windows!

ahem. (1)

dattaway (3088) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917073)

I decided to think up a response that was equally as intelligent as your article: Fuck you.

Yuck. Bad word. That is what a parent would tell a child. Fuck is not a good word and procreation is not a good idea in this case. Windows programmers should not have the ability to spawn and father children.

you can't really trust software... (1)

thomasd (3336) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917077)

...written by hackers and students...

Hmmm, does anyone have a reference to this which can be cited properly? I find it very interesting, since surely that's just how Bill started out. *sigh*.

Like it or not, we must read on... (2)

LegoB (4672) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917083)

Whether the stuff reporters put out is !@#$ or not, we must read it and check it, becuase if we start ignoring all anti-Linux/Unix/OSS/FSF/etc, we'll miss an article where they bring up an important issue worth addressing.

i'm not sure if i should to laugh or not... (1)

bummer (5104) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917085)

i loved the opening lines of this article, i could only laugh, and i though that this must be a put-on. the sad part is that it isn't, the guy actually thinks this way. the end is especially telling:


Whatever the merits Linux might offer the highly technical specialists who use it to administer Internet servers or use turbo-charged text commands to perform complex file transfers, Linux currently offers mighty slim pickings for ordinary computer users

...

Meanwhile, billions of human hours have been spent writing the amazing applications that run on the Windows and Macintosh platforms.

...

Meanwhile, they would have us reinvent the wheel by wasting billions more hours creating applications to take advantage of Linux and make Torvalds' colleagues at Linux software houses like Red Hat Inc. and Caldera Systems Inc. rich.



To insinuate that Linux programmers are evil just because they make money off of it, yet to in the same breath exclude MS is incredulus. then he goes on to say that Linux is _forcing_ prople to rewrite apps for is is to completely overlook both Linux's standard Unix portability and ignore MS's history on the issue. who makes us completely rewrite every app every two or three years because they develop a new *standard.* Throw in some FUD about Linux being hard to use, and some more about how it's not *real* UNIX. Then he says that the internet was working well on NT before Linux was even thought of. I think some more fact checking is in order. i tried, but i couldn't find even _one_ correct fact in that article. if the guy wasn't serious, i'd be laughing my a** off.

Is Coates a committee? (1)

unitron (5733) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917092)

Coates on Microsoft:

"...prisoners of the Microsoft model..."
"... 50 million lines of bulky and balky code, bloated top-secret fatware that can crash out of the blue and that only works the way Microsoft wants it to work."
"...$89...for Windows 98...upwards of $300 that a box of office strength Windows 2000 can cost."

Coates on Linux:

"...2.5 million lines (at most) of highly flexible, free-to-use and free-to-modify software that almost never crashes and that works any way a programmer cares to make it work."

"...free, crash proof, flexible, (and) lean..."

"...the product of a ... man every bit as technologically adroit... as Gates ever was."

Multiple personality disorder maybe?


Hackers and students (2)

unitron (5733) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917093)

Hackers and students. Weren't there a couple of guys named Gates and Allen years ago who were sort of in this category who were trying to start a software company? Should be obvious from their rapid descent into obscurity that ahckers and students will never produce anything with a future.

It's "grammar." (0)

Booker (6173) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917096)

Thpbtht. :-)

Here's the e-mail address: jcoates@tribune.com (1)

itp (6424) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917097)

Flaming the guy is pointless. Make a coherent argument against him, and try not to resort to the kind of blatant assertion that makes his article so weak. So take "have at it" with a grain of salt. :-)

--
Ian Peters

It's the process as much as the product (2)

itp (6424) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917098)

Something which should be pointed out to the author (which I have done via private email, in as polite a manner as possible) is that the billions of programming hours put into Windows programs hasn't been anywhere near as efficient as Free Software promises to be.

By his own logic, companies shouldn't bother to compete, because we only really need one application to fill every niche. Anything else is wasteful of effort, right?

Free Software efforts tend to naturally select the most promising alternative(s) and focus programming effort on those. Programmers are free to borrow and share code as the license permits, making their projects develop at a staggering pace.

We may have already invested billions of programmer hours into Windows software, but if so, it's been a losing investment. At worst, Free Software fails to capture the mainstream market to any significant degree. Most of these programmers wouldn't (happily) code on a Microsoft platform anyway.

--
Ian Peters

The good, the bad, and the ugly (2)

itp (6424) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917099)

I'm glad to see some calmer heads in this discussion. I agree, flaming this guy is, at best, a waste of effort, and at worst, playing right into what he wants.

In large part, I agree with your breakdown of points for/against the GNU/Linux system. Where I have problems, though, is the slant he approaches this with. I think most of us understand current weaknesses with our operating system of choice. And steps are being taken to address it. KDE a very polished, useable desktop. GNOME, to which I contribute time and code (albeit not as much as I'd like!), is already impressive looking, if not as polished as KDE. Just the other day, I was playing with AbiWord, since it had been a while since I'd last looked, and was amazed by how far it has come. We're not there yet, but lots of people are trying.

The problem, for me, is his assertion that we're squandering valuable resources by trying. I have to ask myself what this man's point was in writing this article. It certainly isn't constructive to tell someone "Hey, your dinky little operating system is no good! Quit playing around right now and fall in line!", without making anything approaching a cogent argument. This isn't even very effective FUD, because it's so obviously biased.

Certainly, there are valuable messages we can take from this article, but these aren't new messages. The Free Software community, as a group, is a pretty smart bunch, and there are well-written articles in the mainstream press (maybe not as many as we'd like ...) which address the shortcomings of GNU/Linux already.

--
Ian Peters

Semi-old farts (3)

craw (6958) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917102)

This article is written from the perspective (and experience?) of the "average" older computer user. I have seen this type of person in the workplace many times. Here's their profile.

About 10-15 yrs ago, they are forced to switch from his typewriter to a PC; they hated it. Over time, they painstakingly gain experience with the crap from Redmond. Now they are in their comfort zone; scared to death that they might be forced to learn something new. These people, if they are mediocre, feel threatened by their youthful co-workers who are extremely productive and capable of doing things that they can't. Too young to retire, too old to start anything new.

The problem is that in many cases, these people are middle-management. They make decisions that will affect your life.

Reinventing the wheel.. (1)

bstadil (7110) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917103)

This guy forgot that MS office is a reinvent itself. Visicalc/ Lotus being first Spreadsheet. Remember Samna (later WordPro). Havard Graphics before Powerpoint Etc etc.

Does this guy get PAID? (1)

Logan (7529) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917105)

You misspelled 'grammar.' :P

logan

Home is where the Heart is. (1)

Accipiter (8228) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917107)

.....the great bulk of software that people can actually run on Linux is just as home-brewed as is the Linux operating system itself.

Guess what? Home-Made Chicken soup beats canned soup ANY DAY

-- Give him Head? Be a Beacon?

huh? (1)

thingy (8326) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917109)

Just because their code is locked isn't the problem you have to remember that even M$ doesn't even understand the code in windows 2000 at least a percentage of it. How does one improve something that they don't fully comprehend.

Amen! (2)

thingy (8326) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917110)

I agree that we shouldn't feed the fire but maybe an article or two of the latests comparisons with orcal and the survey from last week that reported that nt was used on non mission critical servers. There was a lot of coverage of the mindcraft article i think it was on cnet but non of the following surveys/tests that showed linux was better was there.

I do think that the IT managers have to be shown that linux is a great server operating system and that it beats out nt show them what apps they get (server end) and maybe it will help IT managers serch for better servers. Lets face it it's not the peons that wrote this article and the many like it that run the world it is the decision makers that have to be proven which operation system is better.

Every article that bashes linux that goes main stream will help show IT managers that Linux is bad. For every article written about Linux that doesn't go main stream will show the programmers of the world which one is better (and we already know which one is better).

The good, the bad, and the ugly (0)

flend (9133) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917116)

>The Good:
> * The truth is that Linux suffers from >a dearth of real usable applications. This is >changing rapidly, but at the moment, the lack of >apps is the truth for most purposes.

I'm not sure this is really true, as a statement. Perhaps Linux suffers from a dearth of office apps, but as a fairly `typical' programmer sort, I never use such things. As a student, the glut of free (in both senses) excellent programming tools, text editors and similar apps makes Linux the choice on apps alone.

Perhaps for the majority of the great unwashed this is true, but do we really Linux to be a mainstream operating system?

Blah (1)

Splat (9175) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917118)

Ladies and Gentlemen, set your flamethrowers to "scorch". This articles obviously just an attempt to goad everyone into flaming the guy like the open-source-brainwashed folks he tries to portray us as. The only semi-valid point this article makes is the "lack of software". While I agree you can go get a Windows program to do just about anything Joe User wants, saying they don't exist for Linux is just hogwash. Linux programs can't afford to throw $20 million behind marketing of something. Don't you just hate it when people spend time making a good product instead of pimping it to the public? This guy sure does..

I don't buy it. (2)

scrytch (9198) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917120)

> He doesn't realize that a lot of the GNU software is older than Linux itself, and older than NT.

One of those pieces of GNU (or at least GPL'd) software that's older than NT is ... Linux.

The column was just so much flamebait to spike the hitcount. Had it even a smidgen of editing, fact-checking (see timeline note above), or even issues of substance, I might have thought otherwise. All we did was make the Tribune happy with the hitcount. People don't read articles fawning over Linux as much as they read articles that are critical of it. The demographics beancounters checking the hitcounts and the referer logs know this.

So what. (1)

fliptout (9217) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917121)

Seems to me this article was written for incendiary purposes only. Just a newpaper columnist writing pulp fiction on a slow news day.

He doesn't know his history (2)

Irishman (9604) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917123)

The Internet was working swell on traditional Unix, Macintosh and Windows NT before Linux was much more than a glimmer in Linus' eye, and it will work better whether or not the true believers pull off a miracle and slay the dragon.

It seems that the author doesn't really know what runs the Internet. NT and Linux are roughly the same age, within a year or two. It has not been until very recently that NT was even used as a server on the Internet. It has mainly been larger Unix servers and as of the last few years, Linux servers.

As many have stated previously, this is pretty much a troll, probably intended to get this reporters name on the map and get hits generated for his papers website. It's people like this that have gotten the corportate computing world into the mess that it is in.

Does anyone... (1)

banky (9941) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917125)

..have a contact address for this freak?

An excallent example of ... (5)

Vesperi (10991) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917130)

This is an excellent example of common reporting practice - in any field.

The name of the game is "Pick the opposit to current thinking" - the trick is if you turn out right - you get herold as a genuis down the road.

When 9 out of 10 times it falls flat on it's face as the pice of tripe it usualy is, most just ignore you and move on. No reall loss.

I especially love the cicular logic "There arn't any "good" applications ( read MS branded ) avalible, therefore it's a waste of time to write for the platform"

I'd love to research and see how many people said the same thing about the choice of windows/mac vs dos programs. Games bring this to mind the most, for years even up to win95 era, games were dos based.

As with all things, it's not applications that will make any platform or operating system - it's the avalibility of games.

Game development has been the driving force behind faster cpu's for years, and with the current vendor community turn around to linux - it's going to drive home linux as a consumer operating system.

Nothing in windows or the latest intel proccessor lets you do "basic office tasks" such as write letters and spread sheads any faster in terms of real use then the old dos programs of the 80s gave us.

What let Billy and thirdparty people the room to give us "feature bloat" was due to gamers pushing the envelope. Now with ID shipping quake shrink wraped for linux, games will be the "killer app" (pun noted).

Some say that without a single entity behind it, linux will flownder under it's own hype - but looks at IBM and os/2 - we don't have one company to crap it up - only capable of holding still long enough to shoot themselvs in the foot - and the community in the head.
--
James Michael Keller

James Coates article. (1)

hwestiii (11787) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917132)

I read this guy every week on Sunday with his main column (of which this is one) and on Monday in his Q&A column. He is definitely oriented toward the teeming unwashed masses for whom logging on to AOL to get mail is a challenge. He is also quite enamoured of MS. Why he even bothered writing about Linux is beyond me since it is probably way off the radar screen of the vast number of his normal readers.

I wouldn't worry too much about this article causing much of a stir outside the /. crowd. I don't know how prominent it is online, but the print version runs at the top of page 4 of the Trib's Sunday Business section. Most people probably won't even know it is there.

I think, though, that he is emblematic of a divide in the computer world, the folks for whom the computer is a means to an end, and those to whom it is an end in itself. Clearly /.ers are interested in the computer as a computer. Mr. Coates is interested in it to the extent that it helps him get things done and the less he has to think about it the better. I think he is representative of the vast majority of users.

Stupid Comment (1)

Zonk (12082) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917136)

I know this isn't going to get a rating higher than a one, but, as a gamer, I have to say it.

Did anyone else at the end think he sounded like a troll from Shadowrun?

"By demonizing Gates and exploiting the natural
human fondness for the underdog, da yoot in da
Linux mob are wasting a lot of time that could be
better spent making nice with da dragon."

Application deficient? (1)

Saint (12232) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917138)

One wonders exactly what applications any Microsoft operating system has, that Linux does not. I am wondering if some of these journalists are getting paid by the hit on their newspaper's webservers. Throw up an anti-Linux story, let some /.'ers know about it and 25,000 hits later the newspaper web server has more attention than it has enjoyed in months. -Just a thought.

Where he get this stuff? (1)

Old Ben (14626) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917150)

What does he mean by "dinky, feature-weak, [and] application-starved"?

Linux supports virtual memory, TCP/IP, SMP, very large disks, and all the stuff Windows does (well, maybe not hardware wise... yet).

As for dinky? How many CS people honestly think making a program bigger makes it better? Just more places for bugs to occur.

I dont understand that! (1)

Misanthrop (15413) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917157)

Why are some people soo frightened of new, interesting and obviously better things?
I mean, to create better technology than MS is not reinventing the weel, but a very important step into the right direction.

misanthrop

I don't buy it. (5)

Fizgig (16368) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917158)

He has the quote: "The Internet was working swell on traditional Unix, Macintosh and Windows NT before Linux was much more than a glimmer in Linus' eye". But he fails to realize that the internet was running on Unix before NT was a glimmer in Bill Gate's eye. And it's using the same software that Linux is using. He doesn't realize that a lot of the GNU software is older than Linux itself, and older than NT.

Also, how are we supposed to be "making nice with da dragon" if the dragon doesn't let us? What are supposed to channel our efforts into, poking at Word with a dissassembler? We're not allowed to make Windows any less abominable. It's not wasted effort. It's effort that would otherwise not have bene made towards much of anything.

I get the feeling he wrote it to get Slashdotted, as he realizes that everyone will hate him and sent him nasty emails. I'm not going to satisfy him. All he wants is for a few hundred of us to send threatening emails so he can confirm his belief that we're all ultra-liberal hippies.

We ARE making MS better... (1)

mindslip (16677) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917159)

...it's sort of like a mercy killing, isn't it?

Ah James Coates (2)

fordp (16731) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917160)

For some reason everytime I read somehting by this guy it annoys me. Just last monday he was praising linux.

Though this time atleast he knows he's going to annoy me.

What I'm wondering did the fact ther MS does not make the source code for its software available to us slip his mind?

Perhaps if we COULD spend our time improving microsoft products, some of us would. Perhaps if this possibility was open to us those products would be more stable. Perhaps if MS's code was available we wouldn't have to "reinvent the wheel."

speaking of venting. I'll stop now. But I do have a few questions.

He quotes linux runs on "Maybe 7 Million" machines. Is close to accurate? I don't even know.

He also quotes that Linux is at most 2.5 million lines of code. How many lines of code is windows? And if we are going to compare on lines of code between windows and Linux shouldn't we also include the number of lines of code in X, KDE, and Gnome?

And if we went through all that trouble. What value would it be?


Vapid? (1)

GreyFauk (18632) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917175)

I would bet my last computer he's never used Linux before.
Obviously he was running short of material in his cell
starved cranial cavity.

You can dump 30K$ and 6 years of effort into a Yugo.
In the end.. it's still a Yugo. *shrug*

Anyone else think the only person who truly believes Microsoft
will ever get their OS running right is Billy boy?

he's trolling... (1)

nion (19898) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917180)

this guy is so obviously trolling for FUD it's not even funny.

he contradicts himself by saying that Unix was running the internet before Linux was a glimmer - doesn't he realize that Linux is BASED on Unix?

and just how, exactly does he propose to pry the source code for Windows out of Gates' fingers?

THAT i'd like to see.

Does He know What he is Talking about? (1)

attobyte (20206) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917181)

I found the Article lacking a little History.

I quote:
"The Internet was working swell on traditional Unix, Macintosh and Windows NT before Linux was much more than a glimmer in Linus' eye, and it will work better whether or not the true believers pull off a miracle and slay the dragon."

Was NT running the Internet back in 1991?

What percentage of NT boxes run on the NET now. Smaller then Linux/Unix, I bet.

I am not sure but i thought M$ only had DOS, Maybe am an Idiot like he his.

I found the Rest of his article this bad. A lack of facts never makes a good article.

Don't writers do research anymore...? (2)

Glitch_UAH (21032) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917183)

"Linux currently offers mighty slim pickings for ordinary computer users."

??--What do ordinary computer users use that Linux does not have? Linux has image editing software (GIMP), web browsing and email software (NETSCAPE), Office-type software (K OFFICE, APPLIXWARE, STAR OFFICE). Have I missed anything that an ordinary computer user would want to use on any ordinary day?

"Meanwhile, billions of human hours have been spent writing the amazing applications that run on the Windows and Macintosh platforms."

This is true. However, most useful applications for Windows are third-party. Eventually, these companies will be writing their software for Linux too. (i.e. Wordperfect)

"to CD-ROM shoot'em-up games like Doom and Quake"

--oh gee, wow, wish i could play Doom or Quake in Linux....oh wait...I CAN!

"
The Internet was working swell on traditional Unix, Macintosh and Windows NT before Linux was much more than a glimmer in Linus' eye"

So...now it's working better than before--and for free...

"Meanwhile, they would have us reinvent the wheel by wasting billions more hours creating applications to take advantage of Linux"

What the hell?!? Reinvent the wheel?? What is this guy smoking??


Why do people not do more research before they write garbage like this. This guy has probably never even seen Linux in operation. Never seen all the cool apps that run perfectly on it--that were coded for (oh my!) free...

And, I agree with someone's comment before mine -- What the hell is wrong with a little competition?!? It makes everyone's product better in the end...

No just a common IT reporter (1)

Misha (21355) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917184)

all the signs are there. bad grammar, sentences on the fringe of being run-on, every paragraph made up of a single sentence, 5 or 10 lines alike.

i really don't like this style of writing, and attribute it to lack of serious revision, just like my writing seminar teacher did. for comparison go to any ESR article and see that he actually has a structure in his writing. 8)

on usenet, he indeed would be a troll, but in chicago tribune he is yet another reporter who will be getting an invitation to the next geek party at bill gates' house.



The good, the bad, and the ugly (5)

Cysgod (21531) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917187)

Now before the flaming contest begins, it is important to note that the author was correct about a few things. And then he was wrong about quite a few things. And then there are some ugly truths...

The Good:
* The truth is that Linux suffers from a dearth of real usable applications. This is changing rapidly, but at the moment, the lack of apps is the truth for most purposes.

* Microsoft gets lots of mindless bashing from Linux (and *BSD and MacOS) users. Unfortunately people just call Microsoft bad and don't understand the reasons why.

The Bad:

* The author claims that his years of experience make him better able to analyze the operating system market. Unfortunately the computer world doesn't work that way, let alone the world in general. Usually it's the young kids in a garage throwing together a product that cause revolutions, particularly in this industry.

* The author implies that if everyone ran the same operating system there would be an overall benefit. This isn't true at all. Choice and competition causes the operating systems to improve. A capitalist society without competition is a Bad Thing (see also "Railroad/Steel/Oil Barons").

The Ugly:

* The ugly truth for the Linux community is that some users' rage toward Microsoft outweighs their ability to justify their anger. If you believe that all software should be free, then you might have some room for anger. However, programmers are not charity cases generally, and you can't feed your family or yourself by giving your work away. There is room for both free and commercial software to coexist happily.

* The ugly truth about Microsoft is that people are hating them for all the wrong reasons. Once all the anti-competitive practices become the object of the public's rage, rather than just their shoddy software, then all the anti-trust laws will be strengthened. Microsofts crime isn't that it sells lots of software, it's that it leverages the software to screw the little guys by not releasing standards, API calling conventions, etc. Stallman wrote a nice piece recently touching on the fact that it is the leveraging that is the real crime with MS.

* The last ugly truth is that dearth of applications I mentioned. The tools to do certain tasks in Linux simply aren't there. If I'm doing programming then it's all a little bit better because many programming tools started in Unix (not Linux), and were quickly converted. At the same time though consumer and small business applications on Linux (or *BSD) are either not as well-featured as the Windows equivilant, or they don't exist.
There is a steep learning curve coming too. If you have a superior operating system in some aspect, and the applications, then users will come, right? Wrong. Look at Apple folks. MacOS although not superior in it's low-levels, has a vastly superior user interface to anything else out there. (I'm sure I'll get flamed for saying it, but it is simply a fact.) MacOS has plenty of applications for any task that are parallel or more featured than Win32 equivilants, but they don't have the user base, because they don't have the users and purchasers out of the WinEverywhere mindset yet.
To get users out of this mindset, and to convince this columnist that your operating system is better you need a killer app, that no other platform has. And Linux, just like *BSD, just like MacOS, just like BeOS, doesn't have that killer app yet to break the Windows mindset in consumers.

Pardon the novel... this is probably my 10 cents worth.
--Cysgod

Sheep (0)

austad (22163) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917191)

This guy is a friggin' sheep. Buying into, and beleiving everything MS has to say. Pretty pathetic really.

he also contracted "copy editing". (1)

krog (25663) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917202)

sheesh. if you're going to complain about something, complain about the fact that the error in "grammer" is not grammar-related at all, and is merely a speling error.

-krog

Hah (2)

Milkman Ken (26074) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917203)

I really hate to see articles like this. Although there are a few valid points in the article, it is overshadowed with dripping sarcasm.

The author would rather see us all get hired by m$ and write windows 2000 instead of working on "the dinky feature-weak, application-starved flavor of home-brewed Unix known as Linux".

WTF?

I think what Mr. Coates fails to realize is that there are a LOT of programmers in the world.

What's more, taste is subjective. Asking everyone to adopt a single standard solely for the sake of conformity is ludicrous. America was founded on the ideals of freedom of choice. To say that all of us (which he generalizes as young, idealistic, anti-establishment hackers) are "wasting billions more hours creating applications to take advantage of Linux and make Torvalds' colleagues at Linux software houses like Red Hat Inc. and Caldera Systems Inc. rich" is insane.

I don't think he gets it. I'd suggest everyone send him email, but I can't seem to find his email address anywhere.

Troll? (1)

bafful (27467) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917204)

If that had been a usenet article, I would have been quick to say it's a troll.

Billions of hours wasted by GPF (3)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917205)

He mentions the large amount of hours needed to develop Linux applications. He does not mention the larger number of hours being lost every week as millions of Microsoft systems crash and waste the time of users, maintenance, and administrative staff.

Re: Does anyone... (1)

TJ99Guy (28455) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917207)

If you do have an address for this "freak," my suggestion would be to hold your tongue (or fingers, as it were). I have a sneaking suspicion that this guy is planning to write a follow-up piece ranting about advocacy, and he will quote any particularly hot flame mail that he receives as part of the support for that argument. I would like to believe that everybody would send a nice, mature response detailing the flaws in his ideas, but...

-Pierce

Quite (5)

Telsa (29774) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917209)

I do wonder whether it's even worth putting such links on Slashdot. It sends their hits sky-high, so the advertisers love it, the editor loves it, and enough Slashdot readers send unpleasant responses for the columnist to base their next column on the phenomenon. I don't see why we should give them more grist for their mill.

Yes, we are reinventing the wheel... (2)

pavon (30274) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917214)

but we are doing it so no-one else will have to again. That is where he completely misses the point. The current system of software development forces us to reinvent the wheel. Work done can only be reused and fixed to the extent that the original author allows. If we were allowed to fix and improve current software then linux would indeed be waste of time. But we can't and
in the long run linux and open software will greatly reduce the amount of wasted time and effort that the author is so worried about.
Linux is the solution, not the problem!

They are assuming Micro~1 is better (1)

Ender2 (32011) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917218)

I'm all for making a product better. But the article is assuming that Micro~1 software is better. And thus the world would be better servered by focasing on improving their products. But wouldn't it be better if everyone switched to Linux and worked to improve Linux software.

Quite (2)

Saltheart (32740) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917221)

It IS kind of annoying to think that anyone would feel satisfaction for putting out this kind of garbage. However, there is an ideological objective to be gained by proactively fighting FUD, error, and just plain stupidity. I'm just as tempted to passivity as the next guy due to the time and effort that proactivity entails, however I think that is a weak tactic.

Sometimes you have to start small fires to put out big ones. Sometimes you have to keep fighting the little skirmishes while you're perfecting the big weapon. :) Seems to me that anyone who has been given a public mouth has the potential to do damage, especially if their platform is built on pillars of non-logic and non-fact, etc. The way I see it, we have a moral obligation to straighten these guys out. And who better qualified for this job than slashdot readers? :)

"Know thy ignorance."


Or Vice Versa? (1)

npsimons (32752) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917222)

Maybe most computer professionals consider Microsoft sotware a waste of time. Perhaps the time put into Microsoft software could be better used to improve Linux (and other opens source software).

I for one believe that Microsoft software is a sinking boat that should be abandoned. In more commercial terms, if Linux and Windows were commercial OSes produced by the same company, Windows would have been dropped a long time ago because it is a losing investment. Why waste time taking all the bugs out of outdated software when you could be improving and enhancing a much more powerful, stable and bug-free product?

------------------------------------------------
for a good time, `finger npsimons@nmt.edu | less`
________________________________________________

Or Vice Versa? (1)

npsimons (32752) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917223)

Maybe most computer professionals consider Microsoft sotware a waste of time. Perhaps the time put into Microsoft software could be better used to improve Linux (and other opens source software).

I for one believe that Microsoft software is a sinking boat that should be abandoned. In more commercial terms, if Linux and Windows were commercial OSes produced by the same company, Windows would have been dropped a long time ago because it is a losing investment. Why waste time taking all the bugs out of outdated software when you could be improving and enhancing a much more powerful, stable and bug-free product?

------------------------------------------------
for a good time, `finger npsimons@nmt.edu | less`

Gimme an F! Gimme a U! Gimme a D! (1)

Vector Inspector (35504) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917239)

What does that spell?

Be constructive!!! (1)

CryptoMate (36473) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917242)

Idiot: JCoates@tribune.com

Jim Coates, Binary Beat Columnist and Computer Industry Reporter

Here (1)

CryptoMate (36473) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917243)

JCoates@tribune.com
-------------------
Jim Coates, Binary Beat Columnist and Computer Industry Reporter

Windows vs Linux (3)

Nightshade (37114) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917246)

It's true. Windows is an easier operating system to use. Don't get me wrong here, I'm not into Windows or Microsoft advocacy here. But neither am I into Linux advocacy either. I use whichever platoform and whichever set of applications make MY life easier and get MY job done. As economists would say: it's all a matter of utility. Does the cost of purchasing Windows and the frequent crashes and reboots of my windows applications outweigh the ease of use of the system? I don't know. Currently I am running a partitioned hard drive with both Windows and Linux. I have learned much about Linux and the ways of UNIX this past year and right now I will still say that even for the high tech of us, even for those of us who like to be in super control, Windows can do everything Linux can do and is much easier to make things happen. But I'm a programmer at heart and I certainly support the Open Source movement which seems to unlike anything else in society. I mean, where else do you have hundreds (sometimes thousands) of strangers uniting in a common goal with common objectives. I think if you take a step back and think about it, that is the amazing thing about Linux. Whereas Windows has hundreds of people working on the source code because they're getting paid, Linux has hundreds of people working on the source code because THEY WANT TO. And that is why I will continue to support Linux over Windows despite the fact that Windows is easier RIGHT NOW. But knowing the pace at which Linux has been developing, I have no doubt that Linux has the potential to outpace Windows in terms of ease of use and any other standard by which one may measure an operating system against another.

In the end I believe that choice is good because of the competition it promotes, and I will choose to support Linux and the ideology behind its growth and development.

maybe if microsoft would allow it (1)

ibex (39705) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917255)

People could stop "wasting their time" (assuming it is being wasted, which it is not) if microsoft would allow access to their code, so people could improve it. But since that will never happen....

Same Old (1)

bolsinga (41755) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917262)

James Coates is famous for being a MS apoligist. Don't pay him ANY attention.

waste? (1)

torrey (41764) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917263)

Since Microsoft is closed source, that means they do lot let help. Thus if it was not for linux, many peoples programming skills would have been left unused, that is a waste.

About that Article (1)

helfa (41768) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917264)

Whoever wrote the article in the Chicago Tribune, must be; evil evil evil stupid !!!
there are things so bad , they are unimprovable, and best let alone.

There is one quality Microsoft product (1)

Sean (111085) | more than 14 years ago | (#1917270)

And that's Microsoft Assember! I thought it was great. I never had a problem with it. The sad thing is, it's the only quality Microsoft product I've ever seen.
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