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4 Linux Distros Compared To Win XP, Mac OS X

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the from-a-certain-point-of-view dept.

Linux Business 729

Morf writes "The Australian Consumers? Association has evaluated Xandros, Linspire, Mandrake Discovery and SUSE personal and compared them to Mac OS X and Windows XP in its latest Computer CHOICE magazine. The article is very much focused on "mums and dads", and concludes Linux is just about ready for consumers, although installing new software could pose some problems for those who aren't really computer savvy. The report is available free for a short time."

cancel ×

729 comments

"Consumers?"? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11548795)

Ah, yes, the great Australian Consumers? Association!

Brought to you by the Puzzled Slashdot? Readers Group.

Re:"Consumers?"? (2, Insightful)

js7a (579872) | more than 9 years ago | (#11548911)

Hm, I think it's supposed to be an apostrophe, meaning that the association isn't necessarily composed of consumers, but certainly belongs to them.

Someone tell the Australians that the rest of the English speaking world avoids apostrophes in titles and proper nouns.

Re:"Consumers?"? (1)

strider44 (650833) | more than 9 years ago | (#11548995)

You could just as easily say "Someone tell the Americans that the rest of the English speaking world don't have a u in colour, honour, etc". Anyway, if other people don't include the apostrophe, then gramatically, they are wrong.

Australian Consumers? (4, Insightful)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 9 years ago | (#11548916)

Nothing that 20 million people do is a big deal to US readers but Choice magazine has been around for a long time. A heap of (particularly older) people pay for a subscription and it carries a very good reputation.

They may not be as enthusastic as your average slashdotter but the fact that they even did this comparison means Linux is getting consideration by people who are very quality sensitive. Also retirees who like to fiddle with PC's and photo's but don't have heaps of cash will read it next year in the doctors waiting room.

Re:"Consumers?"? (1)

tez_h (263659) | more than 9 years ago | (#11548924)

Please. I *hate* the grocers? question mark. That *so* should be the Puzzled Slashdot Readers? Group.

Thank you

-Tez

Re:"Consumers?"? (1)

drakethegreat (832715) | more than 9 years ago | (#11548939)

Well its illegal to publish such reports in the US because Microsoft would lobby against it and get them shot. We have to be careful and I think that may be why its only available for a limited time... Duck and cover.

Re:"Consumers?"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11548984)

Somebody obviously tried to use Microsoft "smart quotes" style apostrophes. They always end up as question marks when a string with them in is transformed.

Re:"Consumers?"? (4, Funny)

91degrees (207121) | more than 9 years ago | (#11549024)

It's the Australian accent. They often raise their voices at the end of a phrase so it sounds like a question.

Not for long... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11548796)

The report is available ... for a short time

Okay, which one of you hosers told them we were coming?

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FP! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11548799)

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Does anyone want my pie? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11548857)

I bought two off the dollar menu and now I can't finish this one. Any takers? It's apple, the fried kind. It might get a little smushd in the mail.

Did the reviewer even try out the OS's? (-1)

Omniscientist (806841) | more than 9 years ago | (#11548802)

The Linux distributions fell short on some common tasks including installing new software, setting up an internet connection and the availability of help files and instructions.

What the hell is this guy talking about? Let's break this down:
Problem: Installing new software
Solution: Linux has much much more software available for free than the other OS's, and if its too hard to run ./configure and make install, then download portage or whatever you please.
Setting up an internet connection:
Yes getting started on the internet with Linux has always been a bit tough sometimes, however many distros will have your internet working upon install.
Availability of help files?
Did this guy even use the OS? It's called "man" buddy, and its definitely more than enough information.

Re:Did the reviewer even try out the OS's? (3, Informative)

rylin (688457) | more than 9 years ago | (#11548813)

man is not nice enough.
while the information is correct, man-pages suffer from severe information overload - something the average user certainly won't appreciate.

Re:Did the reviewer even try out the OS's? (2, Insightful)

cgranade (702534) | more than 9 years ago | (#11548824)

Think of Joe and Jane Blow... do they know how to use the command line? No? Didn't think so. They know that they download an application, and it runs and installs. Unfortunately, this level of transparency is dangerous for security purposes, but it is almost needed for usability. So which is more important? Is there a good graphical interface for these for installing packages? They shouldn't even be told what dependancies are being fetched unless they ask. (Make a giant More Info button.) That information confuses. Anyway, I don't know the solutions, but I know that man and portage aren't among them. They're great tools... for developers, sysadmins and other power users. Nor for Joe and Jane Blow.

Re:Did the reviewer even try out the OS's? (1)

mboverload (657893) | more than 9 years ago | (#11548874)

A command line doesn't make installing something more secure. It only makes it harder.

Re:Did the reviewer even try out the OS's? (1)

colinleroy (592025) | more than 9 years ago | (#11548914)

Lots of GUIs to install packages exist. For example Porthole [sourceforge.net] , Synaptic [nongnu.org] . (There are more than these, but I don't remember the names right now).

See also Autopackage [autopackage.org] for a nice attempt at easy installation across different distributions.

Re:Did the reviewer even try out the OS's? (1)

lachlan76 (770870) | more than 9 years ago | (#11548922)

You have RPM, and I'm sure that there are front-ends for apt and portage.

Re:Did the reviewer even try out the OS's? (2, Insightful)

Danimoth (852665) | more than 9 years ago | (#11548825)

This artical is reviewing if Linux is ready for 'Moms and Dads' can you honestly expect John D. Computeruser to know that when he wants to install his new tax software he needs to sure ./configure? or even that man exists? NO. Frankly this is knowledge that is gained through use of Linux, and anyone first trying to get started withit would not have the first clue where to look. This is verymuch like OS X or WinXP where its the simple doubleclick the install file or even autorun from cd.

Re:Did the reviewer even try out the OS's? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11548830)

Sitt any random person down infront of linux and tell them to look up man howToSetUpYourinternetConnection and see how well they do....

Re:Did the reviewer even try out the OS's? (1)

GaryPatterson (852699) | more than 9 years ago | (#11548842)

But people don't want to compile software - they just want to install it in a form that runs right away. And portage is something they have to know about, install and then learn to use. That's too much effort for an apparently simple process. Windows and OS X have the advantage that you can go into a shop, buy a boxed copy of software, take it home and install it quickly and easily. No compiling or mucking about with other apps to download the app for you. Sure, a lot of Linux software is free, but how much of it comes in a consumer format that people will recognise? If the solution is to train the rest of the world to come around, then the problem may be too hard. Wait a minute... calling 'man' a help file... this is a joke isn't it? man pages are a shade above useless when you present them to normal (ie non-technical) people... You nearly had me there! Good one! man pages are help files... heh heh... priceless...

Re:Did the reviewer even try out the OS's? (1)

GaryPatterson (852699) | more than 9 years ago | (#11548852)

Sorry about the formatting...

I'll stick to plain old text from now on.

Re:Did the reviewer even try out the OS's? (1)

mboverload (657893) | more than 9 years ago | (#11548897)

Even to very technical people, the man pages are useless. Beleive me, I tried.

Re:Did the reviewer even try out the OS's? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11548846)

Christ you are dense. Instead of accepting valid and constructive criticism and using it to identify weak areas and improve them, you and many others seem to think that instead it's perfectly valid to flame the reviewer.

Don't shoot the messenger you idiot.

Re:Did the reviewer even try out the OS's? (3, Insightful)

rich42 (633659) | more than 9 years ago | (#11548867)

> Linux has much much more software available for free than the other OS's, and if its too hard to run ./configure and make install, then download portage Ya - I was telling my dad that just last week. Didn't know what portage was, or where to get it.

Told him to google it and figure it out on his own. I mean - all the info is there in the HOWTO's. I think he's just lazy.

He told me to come back over and re-install Windows XP Home or he was writing me out of the will.

Re:Did the reviewer even try out the OS's? (2, Informative)

ErichTheWebGuy (745925) | more than 9 years ago | (#11548880)

Availability of help files?
Did this guy even use the OS? It's called "man" buddy, and its definitely more than enough information.


Um, don't (at least) KDE and Gnome both provide help icons right there on the panel by default? I don't know if xfce and other do or not, but damn man, did this dude even try clicking on things? What kind of geek goes blindly into something without clicking on whatever he or she can find, consequences be damned? Isn't that how we all learned how electronics, electricity, plumbing, etc works?

I hate to sound cliche here, but the point remains. You have no right to bitch if you didn't at least spend *some* time trying to figure it out.

I am sure they did (4, Insightful)

myom (642275) | more than 9 years ago | (#11548881)

'man' is absolutely not the solution.

The pages are outdated, archaic and written in a way that takes too much time to find out anything useful and of course teh few existign exampels vaailable in Unix and Linux documentation are totally irrelevant.

I do not want to read a cool example of how to use a potato as a galvanic element in order to create a serial connection to a tomato - I want to find out how to use my serial modem to connect to Internet.

Most people don't want to read gibberish, or manuals at all. If Linux can't be made as easy to use as Linux, at least the instructions should be made usable.

When I build together a IKEA furniture I rarely look at the instructions, and when I do it is for a quick reference. I do not wish to read a 10 page book describing the philosophy behind the use of screwdrivers and cool things you can do with a screwdriver, like using it as a throwing knife on the cardboards that the furniture came wrapped in.

The elitistic attitudes and documentation does nothing but harm Linux and delays its introduction to the mass market. And it doesn't make you that cool either to point out the 'man' command.

man how do I connect to to Internet?
No such page.

Re:I am sure they did (1)

tigga (559880) | more than 9 years ago | (#11549000)

'man' is absolutely not the solution.

The pages are outdated, archaic and written in a way that takes too much time to find out anything useful and of course teh few existign exampels vaailable in Unix and Linux documentation are totally irrelevant.

It's Linux experience - try FreeBSD - you'll find meaningful man pages.

Let's agree to disagree (2, Interesting)

Dancin_Santa (265275) | more than 9 years ago | (#11548907)

I don't see Linux as being ready for "mum and pup". But I also don't see this as a big deal.

As you get dumber users, you inevitably get a dumber system to hold their fidgety, trembling hands in every little thing.

You don't like the installer? Well, sorry you're not smart enough to grasp "./configure make". (Gee that was tough!)

You don't like the Help system? Oh, did you forget to read the MANUAL that CAME WITH YOUR PACKAGED CD?

Linux is not here to hold our hands. That's what Linux distributors are here for. If you are too cheap to buy the product and receive all the glorious documentation that these companies (Redhat, SuSE, TurboLinux, ad infinitum) provide, and instead you decide to save a few bucks by downloading the product, then how much do you really expect to get out of a system?

I wouldn't expect "mum and pup" to sit down with a Microsoft Windows CD either and be able to figure it out. But of course, Windows comes with a MANUAL. So if you can read (kinda a perquisite to using a computer, don'cha think?) you should be able to get through the basics of installing the system, installing apps, and getting help (hint: it's in the fine manual).

The same goes for any Linux distribution that you can buy packaged up at the store. They all come with manuals, they all come with help, and most come with a phone number to call when you have problems.

I don't feel sorry for "mum and pup" for not being able to work Linux, I feel sorry for them because they obviously can't RTFM.

Re:Did the reviewer even try out the OS's? (3, Insightful)

oceanclub (654183) | more than 9 years ago | (#11548912)

Oh lord, is someone bringing up "man" again? Let's ignore the total lack of features that any other help system have, and concentrate on the dense text. From a past post of mine:

--

Just as an illustration, try "man find". It took me years to figure out that "find . -name {file_name}" would find all files matching {file_name} below the current directory - which I imagine is the usage of 99% of users.

Check out the description of the tool:

"find searches the directory tree rooted at each given file name by evaluating the given expression from left to right, according to the rules of precedence (see section OPERATORS), until the outcome is known (the left hand side is false for and operations, true for or), at which point find moves on to the next file name."

Do you imagine that most users would know what on earth that meant? Why not at least prepend it with "This tool enables you to find files"? Then give one or two examples of common usage? _Then_ by all means bombard them with the myriad of possible parameters.

Re:Did the reviewer even try out the OS's? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11549011)

This (from FreeBSD) is better:

The find utility recursively descends the directory tree for each pathname listed, evaluating an expression (composed of the ``primaries'' and ``operands'' listed below) in terms of each file in the tree.

Re:Did the reviewer even try out the OS's? (1)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 9 years ago | (#11548962)

WARNING
This man page is an extract of the documentation of GNU
$program . It is updated only occasionally, because the GNU
project does not use nroff. For complete, current docu-
mentation, refer to the Info file $program.info which is made
from the Texinfo source file $program.texinfo.

I disagree (-1, Troll)

mOoZik (698544) | more than 9 years ago | (#11548805)

Linux still has a long way to go to become desktop-ready. For any "study" that finds Linux is suitable for "prime time," I'm sure there is one or two that says the contrary. Let's not forget that groups favoring OSS exist alongside those who do not and I don't know whether or not the people who made the study - regardless of their admitted lack of bias - are more favorable to Linux, etc.

Re:I disagree (0, Troll)

Junichiro Koizumi (803690) | more than 9 years ago | (#11548812)

Does Linux even have pf yet? Until it does, Linux will continue to be a niche OS.

Re:I disagree (2, Funny)

MarkRose (820682) | more than 9 years ago | (#11548843)

Does Linux even have pf yet? Until it does, Linux will continue to be a niche OS.

Pico-farad? No way man. Linux is way tighter than that. Linux uses femtofarads!

Re:I disagree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11548834)

I know this is slashdot and bashing Linux will get you instant karma, but _please_ could you elaborate why knowing both OSS and Microsoft and favoring OSS is considered biaised, while favoring and knowing only Microsoft is not ?

Availability (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11548809)

The report is available free for a short time.

Liars. It's not available anymore. They're down even through it's still 0 comments.
I guess they chosen the wrong OS.

Hope again (4, Insightful)

randallpowell (842587) | more than 9 years ago | (#11548815)

If Linux distros could enhance their drivers, use a standard package installer (like apt), make it easy for gandma yet her geek grandson could use it as a PHPBB server for a weekend, and advertise it on TV so people will know that it exists, we'd have more converts from the Darkness of Microsoft.

Re:Hope again (2, Insightful)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 9 years ago | (#11548902)

The thing is, to make a distro usable by grandmas, you need to dumb it down to a point where I wouldn't let it within a mile of my servers.

A man page usable by grandmas is a waste of disk space for me, and conversely, a man page I need is utterly incomprehensible for the grandma.
There is no way to fix this except by having two completely separate sets of documentation. This could by possibly done by putting the files next to each other, but I quite fail to imagine any good way of integrating that into a single distribution.

Re:Hope again (3, Insightful)

wolverine1999 (126497) | more than 9 years ago | (#11549006)

Make two distributions then with a common base perhaps? The base distribution being a normal one for those who are "advanced" users, and the extended one with lots of dumbed down explanations and extra guiding GUI stuff for grandmas... and everyone can be happy.

Re:Hope again (1)

natrius (642724) | more than 9 years ago | (#11549009)

There is no way to fix this except by having two completely separate sets of documentation.

Or man pages could just be written well. If they started off by explaing usage in the most common use cases, one page would be fine for everyone. The tar man page in Debian does a nice job of this by showing examples right after the description, then showing what each flag does afterwards. If I come to the page trying to extract a tar.gz, I just skim through the man page and come across this:
tar -xvvzf foo.tar.gz
extract gzipped foo.tar.gz

If they were all like this, there'd be less of a problem. All it takes is an email to the maintainer with how you think they should change the man page.

Re:Hope again (1)

marsu_k (701360) | more than 9 years ago | (#11548905)

Just how would you wish the distros would "enhance their drivers"? If you're talking about device support, I find it to be perfectly suitable for grandma to use, especially since it's likely she won't have the latest and greatest hardware.

Re:Hope again (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11548925)

In fact the report noted that none of the OS's installed, including all four Linux distributions, had no trouble with any of the test hardware on the two test machines. The even note that Linux came with drivers for their printer while they had to locate and install the drivers on WindowsXP, so Linux was actually "one up" on Windows in this case.

Re:Hope again (1)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | more than 9 years ago | (#11548979)

...converts from the Darkness of Microsoft.

You are new to denigrating Microsoft aren't you. That should be: ... more unfortunate enslaved souls would escape the dungeons of the dark land of Mordor.

Linux has been ready for a long time now (3, Informative)

SigmundFreud (656053) | more than 9 years ago | (#11548816)

From the article's conclusion: 'Linux fell short on common tasks such as installing new software.' This is the most important point. Joe Average wants a usable system, which includes being able to work in an intuitive way. the 'friendlyness' of most GUIs that I have seen (KDE, Gnome, OpenOffice, etcetera) still leaves a lot to be desired, which hampers accomplishing common tasks. These 'Linux is ready for the desktop' stories have been piling up for quite a few years now, but will it really happen?

Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11548826)

They'd rather been using better distros for example MEPIS or Ubuntu.
Those even don't cost a buck.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11548989)

or non-sucky ones like arch or slackware

Report Available Free... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11548831)

...until the server crashes.

compatible hardware quote :) (3, Informative)

Gopal.V (532678) | more than 9 years ago | (#11548833)

TIP

* Check the manufacturer’s website for a list of compatible hardware prior to choosing an OS.
I guess I always did that with Mac OS X ... :)

Jokes aside, I bought (ie assembled at home) a PC which I picked off the hardware HOWTO. Ended up being a charm to get Linux working on it. I would like to call that Voting with your Money.

These days you should check TuxMobil [tuxmobil.org] or some other Linux site rather than just the hardware vendor's site for the compatibility from the wild.

OS X Help Files (2, Interesting)

ibentmywookie (819547) | more than 9 years ago | (#11549010)

Check this quote:
Mac OS X lost marks for poor help files but was easier to use for most common tasks. Windows XP had excellent help files but scored lower for installation, which was complicated and time-consuming.
What? I find the Mac OS X Help to be really good. The help viewer absolutely utterly *craps all over* anything in windows. I don't get it. I've found one of the positive points about Mac OS X is the help system.

In breif summary (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11548837)

Apple Mac OS X (10.3) $229
Microsoft Windows XP Home $324
Xandros Desktop OS 2.5 Deluxe $135

Apple Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows XP were easier to use than any of the Linux distributions tested - but not by much.

Mac OS X lost marks for poor help files but was easier to use for most common tasks. Windows XP had excellent help files but scored lower for installation, which was complicated and time-consuming. You may also need to spend extra money on additional software for common tasks.

Xandros Desktop OS was the top performing Linux distribution. It was easy to install with very good help files but was more complicated to use for tasks such as burning a DVD and viewing digital photos. It didn't include DVD burning software and you need to find the correct folder for photo and movie files. However, at $135, it's a considerably cheaper option than Windows XP or Mac OS X.

None of the operating systems are ideal, however.

* The Linux distributions fell short on some common tasks including installing new software, setting up an internet connection and the availability of help files and instructions.
* Mac OS X could have more comprehensive help files and we'd like to see the inbuilt firewall switched on by default.
* Although Windows XP usually comes pre-installed on computers, the installation process could be easier, as could some of the common tasks such as playing a DVD.

We'd also like to see inbuilt antivirus software in all operating systems -- the tested operating systems don't currently include a virus checker.

In brief

* Microsoft Windows is the dominant operating system.
* The Linux-based operating systems we tested aren't quite as easy to use as Windows XP and Mac OS X, but they're not far behind.
* Linux fell short on common tasks such as installing new software.

Overall, however, Linux has improved in leaps and bounds over the years. It's probably not suitable for beginners yet but if you're a confident computer user, any of the tested distributions should suit you.

Prices (4, Informative)

cappadocius (555740) | more than 9 years ago | (#11549018)

Worth noting that prices seem to be in Australian dollars, so the price gaps are somewhat less in American $.

Not too off... (1)

Gorffy (763399) | more than 9 years ago | (#11548840)

Not totally off reviews, But the installing of software under linux being hard seems a bit wrong. Most home users probably don't want to compile thier own, but there's a lot of package systems to help with that. I care less about this right now though, seeing as I'm downloading Solaris 10 for FREE. (Thank you Sun!)

I installed Ubuntu on my Dad's computer (4, Interesting)

Simon (S2) (600188) | more than 9 years ago | (#11548848)

And he loves it. I first tryed it on my own computer and was really surprised at how polished and stable it was. It detected everything out of the box and I had very little to do to make it work like I wanted.
So I decided to make my Dad switch from WinXP to Ubuntu, installed Abiword and gnumeric (oo.org was to slow on his P4 with 96MB RAM), setted them as default editors, copied all his Documents over from the Win partition and made a shortcut on the desktop to his Documents folder.
He really likes Ubuntu. At first he was a bit bored because he had to learn some new things (for example the "Applications" menu is on the top left, and not on the bottom), but he got the changes quickly and adapted to the new OS in a few days.
I asked him yesterday if he likes more Windows or Linux now that he tryed both, and he told me that it makes no difference for him, as long as he can use spreadsheets, write letters, read his emals and organize his pictures like he did before (btw. he loves gPhoto and Gimp is his new favorite program :).
So to him it makes no difference, but now I don't have to clean his computer from spyware and viruses every few weeks.

So for me (and for my dad) Linux IS READY for the desktop. At least Ubuntu is.

Re:I installed Ubuntu on my Dad's computer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11548864)

Buy him some RAM for his birthday.

OFF TOPIC (1)

dave1g (680091) | more than 9 years ago | (#11548883)

A P4 with 96 megs of RAM? wtf? that is the weirdest combination i have ever seen. Even dell puts in 128. or is that 128-32 for graphics = 96 ?

Re:OFF TOPIC (1)

Simon (S2) (600188) | more than 9 years ago | (#11548936)

Yes i got that wrong. See here [slashdot.org] . He has 192MB + 32 for graphics.

Anyway, oo.org was to slow. But gnucalc and abiword just fly.

Re:OFF TOPIC (1)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 9 years ago | (#11548982)

can you work out this sum :

64 + 32 ?

Re:I installed Ubuntu on my Dad's computer (1)

nathanh (1214) | more than 9 years ago | (#11548890)

oo.org was to slow on his P4 with 96MB RAM

Pardon? A P4 with 96MB? My Pentium 100 from nearly a decade ago had 192MB. My current PC is a second generation Celeron and the video card alone has 128MB. What dumb bunny company is selling a P4 with a mere 96MB RAM?

Do your Dad a favour. Splash out and spend $100 on a 256MB upgrade.

Re:I installed Ubuntu on my Dad's computer (1)

Simon (S2) (600188) | more than 9 years ago | (#11548917)

Pardon? A P4 with 96MB? My Pentium 100 from nearly a decade ago had 192MB.



Yes, sorry. I got that wrong. He had 128MB of RAM and I got 64MB more from an other PC. That's 192MB in total. Sorry for the mistake.

Re:I installed Ubuntu on my Dad's computer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11549021)

512 if you want to run XP, according to the MS fanatics around here. And I must admit that XP feels a bit slow with only 768 MB.

128 MB for Linux, possibly more for full KDE or Gnome desktops, but on my old machine, upgrading from 128 to 256 made no difference, except for the number of tabs I could open before Mozilla running out of memory. The new one has a GB, so that's a LOT of tabs :-)

Re:I installed Ubuntu on my Dad's computer (5, Insightful)

_Hellfire_ (170113) | more than 9 years ago | (#11548900)

Here Here.

I installed Ubuntu on my gf's grandmother's laptop, a Toshiba Tecra A2. Setup was a breeze. It detected everything right down to the wireless eth card.

I also stuck a "My Documents" shortcut on the Desktop so the other Windows people woulnd't get lost and in addition made it boot straight into her profile with no password.

That was a few weeks ago, and I saw her the other day quite happily looking at photos of the grandkids and playing a mpeg clip with mplayer. Keep in mind she's 80 odd and has never used a computer before. She wanted to play some games also, so I stuck shortcuts on the desktop to Solitaire and minesweeper.

After using Ubuntu, my gf's dad now wants it on his computer because he says "Windows XP is too hard to use" and he "really likes it how everything makes sense on Ubuntu". Hmmm a logical desktop OS where everything Just Works(tm) is the exact reason I use Ubuntu on my desktop.

Is Ubuntu ready for the desktop? You bet your ass it is.

PS If anyone's interested you can read the blog entry here [cr0n.net]

Re:I installed Ubuntu on my Dad's computer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11548910)

oo.org was to slow on his P4 with 96MB RAM

I know how you feel man. I just recently tried to get MySQL running on my quad Opteron, but when I realized that it only had 64MB of RAM, I decided to go with a different app that has less overhead.

Re:I installed Ubuntu on my Dad's computer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11548996)

At first he was a bit bored because he had to learn some new things (for example the "Applications" menu is on the top left, and not on the bottom)
Just because that's the default position doesn't mean that you have to leave the menu there.

Article Text (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11548850)

"This report is free for a short time"? Hahahaha!

(That said, the site has some nicer formatting... although it is paginated...)

--BEGIN_ARTICLE

Operating systems tested

The operating system is the engine room of your computer. We put four versions of Linux up against the big guns — Windows and Mac OS.

All computers require an operating system (OS). It’s the underlying program that runs your software and controls the hardware and peripherals connected to your computer. You probably use a version of Microsoft Windows because it came pre-installed on your computer when you bought it but there are other operating systems available.

Linux is the most obvious alternative to Windows for PC users but there isn’t just one Linux operating system. There are many Linux-based operating systems (called distributions) because Linux is open source software that’s freely available to anybody to use and develop. Traditionally perceived as hard to use, many Linux products now claim to be pitched at consumers, but are they as user-friendly as you’d hope?

We set out to find out how some Linux operating systems and Mac OS X stack up against the market leader, Windows.
Operating systems on test:

* Apple Mac OS X (10.3)
* Linspire 4.5
* Mandrakesoft Mandrakelinux Discovery 10.0
* Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition (with SP2)
* Novell SuSE LINUX Personal 9.1
* Xandros Desktop OS 2.5 Deluxe.

This report is free for a short time.

The verdict

Watch out Microsoft and Apple, Linux is closing in.

What to buy:

Brand Price
Apple Mac OS X (10.3) $229
Microsoft Windows XP Home $324
Xandros Desktop OS 2.5 Deluxe $135

Apple Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows XP were easier to use than any of the Linux distributions tested - but not by much.

Mac OS X lost marks for poor help files but was easier to use for most common tasks. Windows XP had excellent help files but scored lower for installation, which was complicated and time-consuming. You may also need to spend extra money on additional software for common tasks.

Xandros Desktop OS was the top performing Linux distribution. It was easy to install with very good help files but was more complicated to use for tasks such as burning a DVD and viewing digital photos. It didn’t include DVD burning software and you need to find the correct folder for photo and movie files. However, at $135, it’s a considerably cheaper option than Windows XP or Mac OS X.

None of the operating systems are ideal, however.

* The Linux distributions fell short on some common tasks including installing new software, setting up an internet connection and the availability of help files and instructions.
* Mac OS X could have more comprehensive help files and we’d like to see the inbuilt firewall switched on by default.
* Although Windows XP usually comes pre-installed on computers, the installation process could be easier, as could some of the common tasks such as playing a DVD.

We’d also like to see inbuilt antivirus software in all operating systems — the tested operating systems don’t currently include a virus checker.

In brief:
* Microsoft Windows is the dominant operating system.
* The Linux-based operating systems we tested aren’t quite as easy to use as Windows XP and Mac OS X, but they’re not far behind.
* Linux fell short on common tasks such as installing new software.

Overall, however, Linux has improved in leaps and bounds over the years. It’s probably not suitable for beginners yet but if you’re a confident computer user, any of the tested distributions should suit you.

Where to get your system

Most new computers are sold with an operating system pre-installed. Microsoft Windows dominates the PC market, although it’s also possible to find computers with Linux pre-installed.

Apple computers come with the most up-to-date version of Mac OS X . If you choose Apple, not only will you get a new operating system, but you’ll need Apple hardware, as well as Mac-compatible peripherals and software.

You can also buy operating system discs from computer stores and install the software yourself. There are several Linux distributions targeted at home users. We chose products that are available as boxed products, but Linux distributions can usually be downloaded from the manufacturer’s site or open source software sites.

We recommend buying a boxed product because you should also get a paper manual and be entitled to some support for installation problems. If you can’t find a boxed product, try to download distributions from the manufacturer’s site rather than third-party websites — it should be easier to get support.

TIP

* Check the manufacturer’s website for a list of compatible hardware prior to choosing an OS.

Installation

Most systems have a wizard to guide you through the installation process.

A ‘single boot’, where the operating system is installed using your entire hard drive, is the simplest installation method for all the products. This will completely wipe the existing operating system and all the files and programs you already have.

If you’re new to Linux we recommend you keep your existing Windows operating system and install Linux along side, on a separate section of the hard drive. This is called a ‘dual boot’ install — your hard drive is divided (or partitioned) into two or more separate areas so that the two operating systems won’t interfere with each other.

We installed each of the Linux distributions side-by-side with Windows XP. With the exception of Linspire 4.5, the distributions include software that automatically separates the hard drive into sections, and keeps your existing operating system and data. If you plan to install Linspire but want to keep Windows, you must first partition your drive using third-party software. Xandros Desktop OS 2.5 and SuSE Linux Personal 9.1 automatically partition the drive. You must resize the Windows partition yourself in order to make sure there’s enough space for the Linux partition if you’re using Mandrakelinux Discovery 10.0.

We installed Windows XP and Mac OS X without partitioning the hard drive. Both operating systems include partitioning software that deletes your existing operating system and data. Both installations were straightforward but Windows XP lost marks because of the installation time (90 minutes). The other products only took 10-20 minutes.

LiveCD

Many Linux distributions can also run from a bootable, read-only CD so you don’t have install them on your hard drive at all. This is called a LiveCD. The operating system launches automatically when you insert the CD into your drive. Files must be saved to removable storage such as a USB key or CD-R. Your system will return to your existing OS when the CD is ejected and you restart the computer. Xandros was the only Linux distribution that didn’t come with a LiveCD. Windows XP and Mac OS X aren’t available on LiveCDs.

TIPS

* Perform a ScanDisk and Defrag before installing a new OS.
* Connect all your hardware (such as printer, scanner, keyboard, mouse, networking equipment, modem) before you install a new OS.

Security

New security vulnerabilities in Windows surface regularly but it’s incorrect to assume you’re safe if you use an alternate operating system. Security risks have also been found in Linux and Mac OS X. Hackers and virus writers target Windows and it’s by far the most widely used desktop operating system.

Using Mac OS X or Linux will give you a degree of protection against security threats but you’ll still have to be vigilant.

All the operating systems have inbuilt firewall software to monitor data going into and out of your computer. With the exception of the Mac OS X firewall, all the firewall software is switched on by default when you install your operating system. The Mac OS X firewall needs to turned on by the user but the settings are easy to locate. Most of the inbuilt firewalls offer adequate security, with the exception of SuSE Linux which left one port open. The other firewalls closed or stealthed all the test computers’ ports. Luckily, it was relatively easy to change SuSE Linux’s firewall settings. In contrast, the firewall settings for Linspire and Xandros were difficult to change, although you can use the Xandros Networks to download a separate program to adjust the settings in Xandros.

Easy-to-access software updates and security patches and fixes can save you time and hassle. Mac OS X and Windows XP automatically check for new updates and patches at specific times as long as you’re connected to the internet. You can change the default settings if you wish. None of the Linux distributions offer automatic updates, but you can either download patches and updates from each manufacturers’ website, or by using Linspire Click-N-Run or Xandros Networks. SuSE Linux and Mandrakelinux offer to look for updates during installation.

How they differ

Many operating systems, including those in this test, share a similar look and feel. But Linux, Apple and Windows all organise files in different ways. Switching to a new system may take some getting used to.
Differences

Unlike Windows, Linux doesn&#146;t have a C: Drive. It uses a root directory that's represented by < / >. Every file and folder is stored under the root directory, usually in subdirectories.

The use of permissions to specify who can read and write individual files, use certain programs and change specific settings is another key difference. All the operating systems tested allow for multiple user accounts, including an administrator account. This lets you protect your files from other people who may share the computer.

Unlike Windows XP, the Linux distributions and Mac OS X also let you restrict a program, such as ICQ, to a single user account. Additionally, in Linux and Mac OS X, the administrator is the only account with access to universal settings and files.

Mac OS X and the Linux distributions we looked at automatically prompt you to switch to the administrator account if you try to access protected settings when you&#146;re logged into a user account. You&#146;ll be asked for the administrator username and password before you can proceed.

Using your OS

Tasks such as customising the desktop, making and printing documents, listening to music, setting up your internet connection and email program and backing up data are straightforward using most of the products we evaluated.

* Windows XP was the only operating system that couldn&#146;t recognise and open an imported Excel file &#151; the included office software is very basic so you need to install Microsoft Office or another more advanced program.
* Windows XP and Mac OS X both required drivers in order to set up our printer; the Linux distributions included the drivers.
* All the systems included drivers for the other hardware we connected.
* Setting up the internet connection using Mandrakelinux, SuSE Linux and Linspire presented difficulties, largely because each followed a different process.
* SuSE Linux and Mandrakelinux also had confusing procedures to set up their email programs.
* All the operating systems were equally straightforward when it came it launching the browser and setting up the instant messenger.
* Mac OS X stood out as the only operating system that made it to easy to play a DVD &#151; the DVD automatically plays when loaded into the drive. Windows XP and SuSE Linux couldn&#146;t play DVDs at all &#151; they were missing codecs (see Dictionary) and software. Linspire doesn&#146;t include a DVD player.

Installing new software

All the operating systems come with a large range of software designed to help you go about your daily computing tasks without having to install additional programs. Some of this software is more advanced than others however.

See the profiles for a list of the software included with each OS. Each OS includes a CD player, movie player, CD and/or DVD writer, an email program, instant messenger, internet browser and productivity/office software.

If you&#146;d prefer to use other programs, it&#146;s important that your operating system makes it easy to install new software. Windows XP and Mac OS X outperform all the Linux distributions at this task. Both systems are able to easily recognise and install new software.

The Linux distributions we tested provide a range of compatible software available for download from the manufacturer&#146;s website or associated sites. Installing programs from these sites is generally as straightforward as using Mac or Windows, especially if you use Linspire&#146;s Click-n-Run technology or the Xandros Networks tool. Xandros also includes Cross Over Office, a program that allows some Windows applications such as Microsoft Office to be installed automatically.

Linspire&#146;s Click-N-Run claims to have over 1,900 different programs available for download. Some programs are available for free during an initial 15-day trial period &#151; ongoing subscriptions cost $US49.95 for a 12 month membership or $US4.95 per month for 12 month&#146;s access. Most of the software available at Click-N-Run can probably be found free elsewhere, but downloading and installing it won&#146;t be as straightforward &#151; all the pieces may not be packaged together. Xandros Networks works similarly &#151; it&#146;s free but it offers a limited range of software.

The difficulties with installing new software using a linux-based operating system arise when you want to install software from elsewhere. New file formats and Linux user permissions complicate the process, which may involve several steps:

* Login as Administrator
* Extract the file
* Change the file properties
* Double-click to begin install.

Windows XP and Mac OS X download the file and begin installing the program at the double-click of a mouse.

The test

Windows XP and the Linux distributions were installed separately on two PCs &#151; a new Pentium 4 3.0GHz machine and an older Athlon 1.2GHz system. Mac OS X was installed on an Apple G4 Mac.

The Linux distributions we tested aren&#146;t Mac compatible, although you can find Linux products for Macs.

We used each OS to perform the following common tasks:

* make a document
* print a document
* set up your internet connection (including set up an email program and instant messenger and check the computer's security)
* back up to CD-RW/DVD-RW
* listen to music
* customise the desktop
* watch a movie
* attach a digital camera and view digital photos
* install new software
* set up external devices

We also evaluated how easy each operating system was to install and setup, and the quality and clarity of the help files and instructions.

Dictionary

Codec: technology for compressing and decompressing data.
Distribution: the term used to describe the collection of software, programs and customisations bundled together with the basic source code of Linux (the kernel) to make a Linux-based operating system.
LiveCD: a CD that contains an operating system that you can load and use without actually installing it on your hard drive.
Package: a term used by the Linux community to describe software applications or programs.

Tables

Included software table

Included software
Operating system CD player Movie player CD/DVD writer Email prog-ram Instant Mess- enger Internet Browser Product- ivity/Office software
Mac OS X (10.3)
www.apple.com.au iTunes iMovie iDVD Mac Mail iChat Safari Apple works
Windows XP Home
www.microsoft.com.au Media Player Media Player (MPEG) CD writing wizard Outlook Express MSN Mess-enger Internet Explorer Write/ Notepad
Xandros Desktop OS 2.5 Deluxe
www.xandros.com KsCD Xine K3b (CD only) Mozilla Mail Kopete Internet Explorer Open Office.org
Mandrakelinux Discovery 10.0
www.mandrake soft.com KsCD Totem K3b Kontact Kopete Konqueror Open Office.org
Linspire 4.5
www.linspire.com KSCD Mplayer (MPEG) K3b (CD) only Internet Suite Gaim Mozilla Open Office.org
SuSE Linux Personal 9.1
www.suse.com KsCD Kaffeine (MPEG) K3b Kmail Kopete Konqueror Open Office.org

Performance and features table
Performance Features
Publisher/program/version (in rank order) Price1 ($) Overall (%) Tasks2 (%) Install- ation and setup3 (%) Help and instru- ctions4 (%) Auto detect Win- dows emu- lator LiveCD
Apple Mac OS X (10.3)
www.apple.com.au 229 (a) 82 87 73 75 &#149;
Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition (with SP2)
www.microsoft.com.au 324 (a) 82 84 75 90 &#149;
Xandros Desktop OS 2.5 Deluxe
www.xandros.com 135 80 76 83 90 &#149; &#149; (b)
Mandrakesoft Mandrakelinux Discovery 10.0 (c)
www.mandrakesoft.com US50 76 77 73 75 &#149; &#149;
Linspire 4.5
www.linspire.com US60 75 74 75 80 &#149; &#149;
Novell SuSE LINUX Personal 9.1 (d)
www.suse.com 48 73 72 80 60 &#149; &#149;

Table notes

(a) Recommended retail price.
(b) Cross Over Office (see Installing new software).
(c) Now verison 10.1. Includes Kaffeine movie player; no LiveCD.
(d) Now version 9.2. Personal version only available for download, without manual.
1 Price
paid in October 2004.

2 Tasks (60% of Overall)
how easy it was to perform the following common tasks: make a document, print a document, set up your internet connection (including an email program and instant messenger, and checking security), back up to CD-RW/DVD-RW, listen to music, customise the desktop, watch a movie, attach a digital camera and view digital photos, install new software, set up external devices.

3 Installation and setup (30%)
how easy the operating system was to install and set up.

4 Help and instructions (10%)
The quality and clarity of the help files and instructions.

5 Features
Auto detect whether it can detect hardware on install; Windows emulator whether it includes special software that allows it to run Windows programs; includes a LiveCD (see Dictionary).

Profiles

Prices are price paid in October 2004 unless otherwise noted.
Apple Mac OS X (10.3)
Mac OS X

$229 (RRP)

www.apple.com.au

System requirements: Apple Power PC, G3+, 128MB RAM

Support: 90 days reinstallation support, online help FAQ, forums

Included software: iTunes, iMovie, iDVD, Mac Mail, iChat, Safari, Appleworks

Good

* Easy install procedure for other software
* Good DVD player
* Comes with developer tools

Bad

* Firewall not on by default
* iChat only connects to AOL

Go to the top

Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition (with SP2)
Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition (with SP2)

$324 (RRP)

www.microsoft.com.au

System requirements: 450MHz CPU, 128MB RAM, 1.5GB hard drive

Support: FAQ, online help, forums

Included software: Media player (but only plays MPEG movies), CD writing wizard, Outlook Express, MSN Messenger, Internet Explorer, Write/Notepad

Good

* Easy install procedure for other software
* Lots of people use it so relatively easy to get help

Bad

* Unable to open Excel files without buying Microsoft Office.
* Instant messenger program only compatible with MSN Messenger
* No physical manual
* No DVD player

Go to the top

Xandros Desktop OS 2.5 Deluxe
Xandros Desktop OS 2.5 Deluxe

$135

www.xandros.com

System requirements: 233MHz CPU, 64MB RAM, 1.5GB hard drive

Support: FAQ, online help, forums, free installation email support for 60 days

Included software: KsCD, Xine, K3b (CD writing only), Mozilla Mail, Kopete, Internet Explorer, OpenOffice.org

Good

* Instant messenger program (Kopete) connects to several different clients
* Good install manual
* Includes a Windows Emulator program, called Cross Over Office, that allows it to run Windows programs

Bad

* Hard to install other software
* No LiveCD
* DVD player doesn&#146;t automatically start DVD, hard to find relevant files.
* Includes an earlier version of K3b which can burn CDs but not DVDs.

Go to the top

Mandrakesoft Mandrakelinux Discovery 10.0
Mandrakesoft Mandrakelinux Discovery 10.0

Version 10.1 now available. Includes Kaffeine movie player software, but doesn't have a LiveCD.

$US50

www.mandrakesoft.com

System requirements: 90MHz CPU, 64MB RAM, 500MB hard drive

Support: FAQ, online help, forums, 30 day free standard web support, 1 month of free Standard Level Mandrakeclub membership and Mandrake Online Personal Solutions

Included software: KsCD, Totem, K3b, Kontact, Kopete, Konqueror, OpenOffice.org

Good

* Good install manual
* Good LiveCD
* Good help files
* Instant messenger program (Kopete) connects to several different clients

Bad

* Hard to install other software
* You need to install the help files separately
* You need to install the games separately

Go to the top

Linspire 4.5
Linspire 4.5

$US60

www.linspire.com

System requirements: 450MHz CPU, 128MB RAM, 1.5GB hard drive

Support: FAQ, online help, forums, 3-5 days turnaround email help

Included software: KsCD, Mplayer (MPEG movies only), K3b (CD writing only), Internet Suite, Gaim, Mozilla, OpenOffice.org

Good

* Good LiveCD
* Click-n-Run technology makes it easy to install other software
* Instant messenger program, Gaim, connects to several different clients

Bad

* Hard to install other software
* No physical manual
* Click-n-Run costs extra
* No DVD player
* Uses an earlier version of K3b that can only burn CDs but not DVDs

Go to the top

Novell SuSE Linux Personal 9.1
Novell SuSE Linux Personal 9.1

Version 9.2 now available. The version tested is only available for download, without a manual.

$48

www.suse.com

System requirements:90MHz CPU, 128MB RAM, 400MB hard drive

Support: Limited free installation support for 30 days, no FAQ, no online help

Included software: KsCD, Kaffeine (MPEG movies only), K3b, Kmail, Kopete, Konqueror, OpenOffice.org

Good

* Good install manual
* Good LiveCD
* Instant messenger program (Kopete) connects to several different clients

Bad

* Hard to install other software
* Inbuilt firewall leaves one port open by default
* Confusing email program setup
* Hard to understand help files

--END_ARTICLE

We have tested... (5, Insightful)

michalf (849657) | more than 9 years ago | (#11548854)

We have tested the following pieces of food:

1. a snickers
2. a jam of pure honey
3. an apple
4. a carrot

We found out that snickers is the best food because:
1. it comes in a nice wrapping
2. has many calories and can give you an energetic boost
3. its taste is supreme to others

Some people say you need vitamines, you should not spoil your teeth etc. But for an end-user what matters is the ease of use! And the snickers is the ultimate winner here.

Although an apple and a carrot keep quite close they have a long way to go.

best regards
michal

Re:We have tested... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11548876)

If I were starving, I would go for the Snickers every time. It just depends on your point of view.

Re:We have tested... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11548931)

So is your "apple" their "Apple"? Or is "snickers" = "Apple"? Or...?

SuSE (3, Informative)

ErichTheWebGuy (745925) | more than 9 years ago | (#11548859)

I tried SuSE 9.1 when they made the personal ISO available for free. Since then, I have recommended it to anyone who would listen. YaST makes it easy enough to install software for almost anyone. It only takes a few times before people learn how to search YaST for whatever they might need, it resolves dependencies automatically, etc.

I know apt-get, emegre, etc do the same thing, but IMHO, those utilities aren't as n00b-friendly as YaST. For one, in my experience, "mums and dads" are terrified of the command line, and will avoid it like the plague.

Re:SuSE (2, Interesting)

_Hellfire_ (170113) | more than 9 years ago | (#11548947)

I haven't seen YaST so I can't comment on how easy it is to use, but Ubuntu has the apt-get front end Synaptic, which allows the user to browse through the list of available software for Ubuntu and download and install/uninstall it with the click of a mouse.

Although I'm not a n00b (far from it in fact - I'm a Linux sysadmin for a web-hosting company) I for one don't actually use the command line for apt-get on Ubuntu as I find Synaptic so easy. In fact, since I started using Ubuntu at home I don't use the command line for much of anything.

I will have to check out SuSE though, because everyone keeps raving about how great it is. I guess where there's smoke there's fire. I would recommend anyone who hasn't tried it to fire up the Ubuntu Hoary live CD. You may be impressed.

I do not like "Linux" (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11548866)

It is to hard to instal programs and you can't use certain printers etc. I like OSX it comes free witht he Mac plus macs are so small and quiet. Window has too much the hacking and spies ware.

Get a real distro (1, Redundant)

dsauron (829460) | more than 9 years ago | (#11548872)

Linux has really come a long way from the 90's. They should have tried using a real linux distrobution. Slackware is one of the greatest distrobutions out there. You can use swaret to keep the OS up to date, using the best 'FREE' software out there. You can use pkgtool to install software. Also, you can use netconfig to setup the network. NVidia has some of the greatest Linux drivers to help improve the benchmark tests. Everything can be setup with ease using just a few commands. Did I mention slackware is completely free to download It installs within 15 minutes and KDE can be setup with ease, ready to go out of the box. When people compare Windows, Mac OS, and Linux, they should be using a real linux distrobution to test with.

Re:Get a real distro (1)

idiotnot (302133) | more than 9 years ago | (#11548977)

I may be feeding a troll here, but.....

Huh? Slackware's setup is anything but easy for most people. It's no sweat for me, as I first used it in 1994, but compared to WinXP, OSX, or one of the fruitygui Linux distros, it's not at all intuitive. I even had a glitch with it after not using it for a couple of years (I use Debian mostly), as did a friend of mine who uses almost exclusively BSD (he needed to use a piece of hardware that FreeBSD doesn't support).

Don't get me wrong, I like slackware a lot. But it's certainly not for novice users.

News Flash (2, Informative)

classh_2005 (855543) | more than 9 years ago | (#11548882)

Linux is still not ready for Joe User. What I really think needs to happen is that there needs to be a "no-brainer" distro bundled with specific, compatible, low-end hardware. Optionally, you could purchase all the common, user-expected peripherals like a dvd-player, camera, etc. And make sure that they are assured to work on your hardware - no configuring required. Linux could be easier than Windoze, some installs are easier already! Make it cute and fuzzy and absolutely unintimidating for Joe. If you could walk into a Best Buy, or Frys, and get assurance that things would just work with this "Penguin Box" with a point and a click, the Penguin could really take off. Have it all displayed together in the same general area with an info kiosk or something. But, it's gotta be easy! Hell, I'd buy one just to not have to fsck around with configuration hassles. I'm learning how to program and really don't want to waste time on some configuration/imcompatibility issue when I could be coding. I mean, I still use Linux primarily, but "it just works!" is a heady thing, even for the technically savvy.

Where’s root? (1)

Hal XP (807364) | more than 9 years ago | (#11548884)

At least you can't accuse the writers of the report of a pro-Linux bias:
New file formats and Linux user permissions complicate the process, which may involve several steps:
Login as Administrator
Extract the file
Change the file properties
Double-click to begin install.
This is certainly not the way most GNU/Linux geeks install software. The approved ways of installing are (1) make; su ; make install; (2) su ; apt-get install foo (3) su ; rpm -i foo.rpm or (4) tar xzvf foo.tgz.

Ozzies? (2, Funny)

BenjyD (316700) | more than 9 years ago | (#11548893)

The Australian Consumers? Association has evaluated Xandros,

Is the "?" some kind of joke about the way Australians turn everything they say into a question by going up in tone at the end of every sentence? Or just an unescaped html character?

Because it gets really annoying? Trying to talk to people? When you're not sure whether they're asking a question or telling you something?

Re:Ozzies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11548955)

I guess the author of this doubts that the consumers association is really a consumer association, however i wonder however they managed to make windows xp need 90 minutes to install ... usually took me never more than 20 minutes on any box ...

Hot HTML. (1)

Kickasso (210195) | more than 9 years ago | (#11548966)

Unicode. Probably an apostrophe character inserted by Word or IE. Not the ASCII ' but something like U+2019.

Says something about our editors, eh?

Interesting quote (5, Insightful)

Craster (808453) | more than 9 years ago | (#11548896)

"We'd also like to see inbuilt antivirus software in all operating systems"
Yeah, then we'd like to sue for anti-competetive practice, and make them strip it out again.

Re:Interesting quote (1)

Phexro (9814) | more than 9 years ago | (#11548968)

I'd much rather see operating systems designed from the ground up not to be vulnerable to viruses. I'm tired of being plagued by popups, spyware, adware, and the sort.

Oh, wait.

(Goes back to his Linux desktop)

Re:Interesting quote (1)

4A6F656C (530559) | more than 9 years ago | (#11549016)

Besides that, anti-virus software is effectively necessary on Windows due to the lack of security and the buggy email and web browsing clients. However, Mac OS X and most Linux distributions don't suffer from the same problems, particularly when installed and configured properly (ie. don't log in as root!) I guess you could bundle ClamAV [clamav.net] and Dazuko [dazuko.org] with the Linux Desktop distros, just to give people a warm fuzzy.

Prefer Slackware (1)

rf0 (159958) | more than 9 years ago | (#11548904)

Why? It means my parents won't touch it and bug me for tech support every 5 minutes..

Rus

Re:Prefer Slackware (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11549008)

That's because whenever they bug you for tech support on their windows machines you yell back "I can't help you now; I'm rebuilding my kernel!"

Installing software: the bad way (0, Troll)

mboverload (657893) | more than 9 years ago | (#11548928)

It seems, to the consumer, the goal of Linux is to make things as hard as fricken possible. This is something they (me included) would say:

The install process is horid. I DONT want to extract a tar file. I DONT want to compile code. I DONT want to search through 4 places just to find the freaking configuration file. I WANT links to be added to the "Start Menu". I WANT links added to the desktop. I WANT a central place to uninstall files.

Sadly, linux just doesn't "do" this.

Re:Installing software: the bad way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11548964)

*sigh*

Yet another moron who's never used a modern linux distribution...

Re:Installing software: the bad way (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11548972)

You are right.
Clicking on the software you want to install in the graphical software management tool that comes with every distro targeted at "normal" users is soooooooooo terribly hard, isn't it?

I mean searching the web for the software you want, downloading it, uncompressing it, running the installer and then having the application write its files to some arbitrary places in your filesystem is simply so much more convenient.

And don't get me started about updates. Having a single update manager that updates _all_ of the software installed on your system is just pure hell, whereas keeping track of every bugfix and security update for all the software you installed by hand and by searching the web is just so much more convenient.

You're right, linux is hell on earth.

Re:Installing software: the bad way (1)

BiggerIsBetter (682164) | more than 9 years ago | (#11548988)

It seems, to Linux user, that trolls are stupid.

If you can't get your head around a software manager like this [mandrakesoft.com] , you should probably just give up on computers altogether.

Ironic (2, Insightful)

adderofaspyre (800203) | more than 9 years ago | (#11548941)

Windows XP was the only operating system that couldn't recognise and open an imported Excel file
How about that? Everybody has better support for Microsoft's products than they do. Not that it's unexpected, but still...

Re:Ironic (1)

BiggerIsBetter (682164) | more than 9 years ago | (#11549002)

I think it's more accurate to say the reviewer doesn't discern between the operating system, and applications.

Documentation (4, Insightful)

Neo-Rio-101 (700494) | more than 9 years ago | (#11548946)

True. Documentation for Linux is still pretty sparse in distributions.

Many average joe's expect there to be a help icon somewhere in the distro. I know Linspire has one, and Windoes always has it's "Help" tab and chm files.

Frankly who the heck is going to bother with the man pages and the command line? I know I will cause I'm a sysadmin, but my mother would have a heart attack upon seeing the command line! Anyone who intends to use the command line will have to learn about it from a GUI first, and quite frankly, I can't see the documentation for that in Gnome at the moment.

Maybe it's time the distributions (or Gnome or KDE or whoever) provided us with some decent pdfs from tldp and stuck them in their packages. Maybe it's time that all the linux zealots stopped posting on slashdot so much and helped out....

The Gnome "help" function is really sparse and doesn't go into enough detail. I'm using the latest version, and the "find" function is hidden in the menu bar. To add injury to insult, a search on "mp3" yields nothing.
Now imagine you are a cluser who wants to know where the mp3 app is....

An amazingly bad artcicle (4, Interesting)

Andy_R (114137) | more than 9 years ago | (#11548960)

The author doesn't bother explaining that Linux is free, that updates to Linux are free, or that Windows is a thousand times more likely to suffer from trojans and viruses. That article continues by marking down OSX for not having a 'live cd' despite there being no conceivable reason for a Mac owner to need one, marks OSX down further for lack of help files without commenting that it needs them less, marks Windows down for lack of built in Excel support (jesus, how monolithic do you want your OS?), then adds marks to a Linux distro for having a windows emulator without saying how well it works, or that Windows doesn't need one! Most of the marks are dependent on the bundled software, not one word is given to the possibility of adding more software, and practically no marks are given for stability or security, which leads me to wonder if the author even knows what an OS is - certainly any non tech-savvy readers won't know after reading the article.

Re:An amazingly bad artcicle (5, Insightful)

killjoe (766577) | more than 9 years ago | (#11549028)

I just don't get this "software is hard to install" crap. I use xandros and let me describe the process for those who don't.

There is an icon on the desktop, it says "get software"

You click on it and there is a list of hundreds of pieces of software. Each software has a description along side it. SOme have pictures too. Most are free, some you have to pay for.

When you want something you just click on install and it does, the icon shows up in your menu when you are done.

This is far easier then anything else including mac and windows. All the software that is compatible with your system is in one place. It's right at your desktop. 99% of it is free. It installs with one click.

None of this hunt the web sites, download something, unzip it, install it, click a licence agreement. Just click and install no problems with dependencies or anything.

How much easier could it possibly be?

WTF (0)

DarKry (847943) | more than 9 years ago | (#11548961)

Why is this on slashdot? I come here for the informed opinions and intelligent environment, not to read "linux" reviews written for the technically inept. Do I really need to spend my time reading about how the Windows XP install process is "somewhat complex". So I repeat slashdot. WTF

Xandros uses IE as default browser? (2, Informative)

cyxxon (773198) | more than 9 years ago | (#11548971)

I don't know, I never tested Xandros myself, but please tell me they do not use a Wine'd Internet Explorer as the main browser, instead of say Konqueror, Firefox, Mozilla or galeon. Or might the table on page 8 of the report [choice.com.au] be slightly flawed, like the rest of the article? Talking about the ease of use of installing software on linux here, the call for antivirus software onlinux as a necessity for everyon with linux viruses being as rare as you-name-it (yet), the statement that none of the linux distros keep the installed software up to date (the last Suse I installed sure did), etc...

Well researched article, I'd say.

Article wrong about OS X (0, Redundant)

Brian Brian (849676) | more than 9 years ago | (#11548975)

They got the price for OS X wrong by $100. They also said they would like to see the firewall on by default. Well it is in the sense that all sharing is turned off by default. So you have to turn on the sharing and then decide what to not let through with the firewall. And it continues to make errors. They say that Apple computers come with the latest version of the OS. Not always. You should update it as you would update any OS. But maybe they mean if you buy a PC box you can choose something other than XP and then not have the latest OS. They say that on XP you can't limit a program to one user account. I am thinking a 3 year old wrote this. This all reminds me when NewsWeek did a review of an old word processing program I worked on. Because so many things were wrong in the review I called them up. Turns out that the reviewer was a computer newbie and had never used a word processor before.

Re:Article wrong about OS X (1)

Brian Brian (849676) | more than 9 years ago | (#11549005)

OK, open mouth and isert my foot. I stupidly assumed prices were in American dollars. Being an Aussie site means Aussie rules - especially for money. No need to mod me down. I will just do the Unhappy Dance

No live CD? (3, Insightful)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 9 years ago | (#11548986)

They noted "No Live CD" as a negative point of Xandros, but this isn't listed as a negative point for windows or osx, since these don't include a livecd either...
(MacOS9 used to include a livecd, infact the installer involved booting to a full macos desktop from which you ran the installer)

Installing software (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11548999)

Linux needs to come a long way before installing software is as easy on Windows. On Windows I just need to plug in the network cable to get Netsky, Klez and a bunch of other software installed automagically. I don't need to click on anything.

Compare this to Linux, where installing software requires complex things such as clicking or even double-clicking an icon, which in turn requires learning to use a "mouse", a very counter-intuitive device, that you need to move while looking at something completely different, and when you reach the edge of the mouse mat, you need to carefully lift it and move it back to the center, such that the little arrow doesn't move, and then continue moving it where you already moved it once.

Partitioning for Dual Boot (5, Interesting)

micolous (757089) | more than 9 years ago | (#11549001)

I noticed they commented [choice.com.au] on how some of the Linux distros couldn't resize the Windows partition down to do a dual boot. I've yet to see a version of Windows that allows me to size down my Linux partition and add a boot menu so I can easily choose which OS I want to run on startup.

Microsoft's website seems only to be able to tell me how to remove Linux (1 [microsoft.com] , 2 [microsoft.com] ) and not have a Windows bootloader installed to allow me to run both. All the other Linux-related KB articles [microsoft.com] are to do with Virtual PC and SMB problems.
installing.

The article authors... (1)

paulatz (744216) | more than 9 years ago | (#11549004)

..have to check better next time. They messed up old and new software. For instance the past versions of mandrake and suse with the brand new version of macosx. Even their price listing is not clear.
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