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Linux in the Enterprise: Fact vs. FUD

Hemos posted more than 14 years ago | from the beating-sense-into-the-world dept.

Linux 372

Kelly McNeill writes "When I first started touting Linux as a soon-to-be superior alternative to Microsoft Windows, almost no one at my company had even heard of the product. Nearly two years later, it's difficult to find a computer magazine that does not extoll the virtues of Linux. However, these praises are often laced with caveats: Linux is a "server OS", that it's difficult for novices, that it's "not ready for the desktop". To some extent these concerns are simply due to a reasonable fear of the unknown. "

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Linux? (1)

drwiii (434) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538045)

I've always thought of Linux as "the desktop" and BSD as "the server". To each their own, I suppose. Not a flame, just an observation. (:


Linux is becoming mainstream (1)

meckardt (113120) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538046)

Four years ago, I tried installing linux on my machine. The install was unhelpful, and I finally gave it up as a bad job, not having enough time to make it work.

With Redhat and others producing Linux for the market, there is support and competition to produce a user friendly product. When I get ready to install Linux on my new machine (the old one being to kludgy & loaded to bother with), I expect the install & operation to go relatively smoothly. Maybe not as smoothly as an WinNT install, but I haven't done dozens of them either.

Mike Eckardt

I agree (4)

jd (1658) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538047)

A lot of non-techies, when asked about Linux, aren't even aware it has a GUI. I think many would be pleasently surprised by X, when using KDE, Enlightenment or XFCE.

Also, many believe there are no GUI tools for doing anything (for much the same reason). Again, there are many, as anyone who browses Freshmeat - or even the menu options of many X11 window managers knows.

Many believe it doesn't support current hardware, unaware of just how much Linux 2.2 and 2.3 support.

Many believe that Linux doesn't have any software. Star Office, Applixware and KOffice all testify otherwise. But people won't know about these, if they never hear of them!

This, I think is the key to it. People have no real, reliable information on Linux. There are no ads on TV, no ads in the papers or the magazines, no posters in the major stores, no demo machines in the windows... These are major sources of information for a lot of people, and Linux doesn't have any of them. Instead, people only hear how Microsoft doesn't make it, how Microsoft doesn't write anything for it, how MS Office won't run on it, etc. All they hear is the negative.

If you get told often enough that the glass is half-empty, you will never see that it's also half-full.

Linux will rise up if it is worthy (2)

Pman (7362) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538048)

When I first took my current job, I suppressed the urge to push Linux at my boss, because I figured that the cream rises to the top. He told me before I got here that I could run Linux on my desktop, which I do. He let me know earlier this week that he had ordered, for us, a Dell PowerEdge 1300 with 2 processors & RAID & had ordered Linux to go along with it!
If you build it, and it is quality, they will come.

Where there is a will, there is a way. (2)

Silicon_Knight (66140) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538049)

I started out learning Linux about 6 months ago with a RedHat 5.2 installation, dual-booting with Windows NT. I have a P200MMX box that ran NT like a tank. Slow, *relatively* stable (stabibility is always relative - at least my box wasn't being rebooted 4 times a day like my roomies). But, every once in a while, my NT ball will go "balls up" on me, and NT bluescreens are a lot harder to remove than standard 9x bluescreens. I was blesssed with living on a floor with a few geeks on it, and 2 of these geeks were Linux users who showed me the door. They helped me with an install, with recompiling my kernel, etc. Within 2 months I found myself killing the old Windoze distro, and getting a bigger hard drive to mount my root partition on. I still have a dual boot machine, but the only time I boot into Windoze is to install software to run under WINE. Since I've switched almost fulltime to Linux, I've learned far more about my computer than any compsci class can teach me. I'll never have to hear the words "Our software is not designed for that", or "wait for the upgrade". I run a stripped down version of Win98 on my laptop, but that's only because it's out of necessity and because there are hardware that my Linux box doesn't support (parallel port scanners, etc + stuff that won't run under WINE, such as chem programs). As far as getting new users onto my box, the biggest hurdle is the login prompt and adaptation to the GUI. Adaptation to the GUI is pretty easy if I select a non-fancy theme that looks and feels close enough to windows. And, once that's done, about the only other thing that users miss from a Windows system is a blue screen 8-) I think in order for Linux to suceed in the desktop arena, it should have a standard, stock GUI that's easy to learn. For the newbies who have never seen a M$ box, Linux is not a bad choice, once the box is all configured and ready to go. With enviroments such as GNOME and KDE, it's quite possible that a person can do all their work without ever dorpping to a terminal/shell. Having worked for tech support, a standard GUI helps. I have enough trouble getting people to right click on "My Computer" already, could you imagine supporting the miraids of possible themes? Not saying that the configurability is a bad thing, but corperations should have standards to make IT staff's life easier. -=- SiKnight

redundent??? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1538050)

Haven't we seen this topic on slashdot 50000 times???????????????????? Why don't we just dig up the old archives rather than rehashing this shit once a week?

Who are we trying to kid? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1538051)

As a computer geek I love that Linux is open source and hackable and stable etc etc. But I see stories like this on Slashdot all the time where a Linux advocate is trying to persuade a non-geek friend to switch to Linux. It makes me wonder, how could an architect, artist, musician, or anyone else who isn't a computer expert be expected to use Linux? I have a computer science degree and 15 years of computer experience and I could barely figure out how to configure Red Hat. It took me hours to figure out how to get it to read a floppy and I never did figure out how to change the screen resolution without recompiling code, etc etc. It was immediately obvious that Linux is meant to be a server platform for people who have a good deal of computer experience, not a desktop platform for everyday users.

And this isn't something that is going to be fixed by slapping a few GUI fronts on some of the configuration files. Linux is not designed for non-geeks and it's silly to keep on pushing it as a desktop OS in its current form. Most of the people who hack Linux and many of the people who advocate it fiercely don't even understand Joe-average-user enough to understand why Linux is so hard for him to use.

As a computer programmer, there is a lot about Linux that I love. But I also know that designing software that is easy to use by anyone is one of the most difficult and important goals of designing good software, and this is an area where Linux doesn't even attempt to make an effort. And why should it? It makes a damn nice server for people who know what they're doing. Leave it at that and stop harrassing those poor dumb Windows users. They have enough problems.

Ok, you can start telling me how wrong I am now...

If there's one thing worse than ignorant FUD... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1538052)

...it's ignorant anti-FUD.

For example, taking Microsoft to task for claiming that Linux lacks a journaling filesystem, while making the counter claim that NT also lacks a JFS.


Hello! Ever heard of NTFS?

This kind of "pro-Linux" article we can do without; it only makes the OS look as dubious as the ignorant claims.

Desktop Linux (1)

slickwillie (34689) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538053)

I've been using Slackware as my desktop OS at work and at home for about 4 years. It especially makes sense at work, where I open a bunch of xterms to Sun servers. Most everyone else struggles with Exceed's X implementation on Windo$e. I never could get it configured right. With Linux, it works right out of the "box".

BTW, a lot of M$ zealots make claims like "Linux is command line based, doesn't have a stable GUI, etc, etc" I guess they don't know that the first X Window System release was in 1984, about the same time as M$ Windoze version 1.0.

Linux not suitable for the Enterprise... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1538054)

Captain Kirk said that he only runs Windows, even though Spock said that Linux was the logical choice, and all Bones could say was "Damnit Jim, I am a Doctor, not an operating system".

Re:Who are we trying to kid? (1)

kwerle (39371) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538055)

I absolutely agree! Until linux has something like "/Program Files" (universal place for user programs), "Start->Settings->Control Panel" (universal place for drivers/configs - linuxconf is getting there for config stuff), and a good, easy, standard way to install *and remove* software, it can't be considered a user OS.

My partner (non-techie) will run Linux because she has an admin onhand to config the machine. My folks won't because they don't. It's that simple.

Folks, we've gotten to the point where we have someone driving the OS - and we've arrived. We have a good OS now. We need someone to drive the user experience. I hope that RedHat will be able to do that for us.

I agree that it's best as a server... (2)

Rexifer (81021) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538056)

I'll get flamed for this, but...

I love kde, and the gnome and enlightenment combo. And the tools like netcfg and such that linux provides are useful... but people seem to be missing that you still need to know what's going on below the surface. I *seriously* f#cked up my system when python bombed netcfg a while back. And I didn't know what files were being touched. I eventually had to torch the box and reinstall. Kinda like NT. And I sorta knew what I was doing... I can't imagine my parents being able to cope.

Really, for the desktop, an OS needs to be built from the ground up around the user expierence. I *love* the Unicies, but user interface has *always* been a secondary consideration. And it shows.

Just my humble opinion, however. :)

Hardware compatability is a valid reason for FUD (1)

cybaea (79975) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538057)

that it's difficult for novices

It is difficult in particular, but not just, for novices. Given the dominance of Windows and the commitment of the hardware vendors to this platfor, a novice still has to worry about hardware compatability issues for Linux while this is largely a non-issue for Win98.

I don't think I'm a novice, but after three weekends I'm still trying to figure out how to get Linux onto my sexy new Sony Vaio N505X. It's an all singing, all USB and ilink, single PCMCIA slot laptop, and I can't for the life of me figure out how to plug and play the modem, the video controls only work in Windoze etc, etc. Even softboot from Win to Linux is more difficult than I thought. (But next weekend I'll get it working - I think...)

Enough about my woes: the point is that as a (novice) user you have to worry about compatability issues. People who are setting up servers are paid to worry about these issues - and presumably skilled - but my mom just wants to read e-mail. Linux is not a choice for her (yet!).

I think we're forgetting... (3)

The Wing Lover (106357) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538059)

I think we're forgetting something. A large portion of us have been using computers since we were 5 or 6. To us, everything seems obvious -- how to install new software, the difference between root and the rest of the users, why sometimes we have to use the keyboard to do things instead of the mouse...

But Linux simply isn't ready for non-computer-geeks to be using all the time. It's propbably okay for smart non-computer-geeks, as long as they have a bit of support once in a while. But it's still not ready for Aunt Helga who wants to check her email once in a while and run a word processor.

- Drew

in all fairness... (3)

tuffy (10202) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538060)

The article quotes explicitly: "somebody else set this up for me and I never have to touch it again because it never breaks" which is the mentality at work. Nobody expects Joe User to set up a Linux box, but the auther does believe Joe User can use one fine once it's set up properly - much like an average user can use properly installed Windows.

And if a Linux GUI is the user's first experience, there won't be any Windows training to undo. It seems reasonable to me...

Funny That... (1)

bifrost (45323) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538061)

I don't think I'd ever reccomend Linux as a server OS actually. While you all may call me a BSD bigot or whatever, I've never seen a Linux server widthstand the pressures of the serving environments I was in. You can all say that I needed to tweak it more, and I can counter with, "ok, show me the *SINGLE* tuning point that I can use to increase performance/capacity like MAXUSERS with *BSD". I've never had anyone come back with a reasonable response.

I've never seen Linux maintain a reasonable uptime while being a heavily loaded server. I've never seen Linux's file system handle a crash well. I still don't think its secure enough for me to want to deploy anywhere than a desktop.

Contrast and compare (1)

the red pen (3138) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538062)

I spent most of yesterday trying to get a Slowlaris machine to run with two NIC cards. (OK, full disclosure: I had one of my staff doing it while I surfed Slashdot and offered helpful manager-type suggestions like "Did you try adding a route?").

It was a pain. In the end, I don't even know why we got it to work -- it was one of those "fiddle with it until something works" kind of things. There were no GUI tools and the help was lousy. Sometimes, when we did a netstat -r, it would hang for 5-10 minutes. WHY?!

If you showed a novice the trials we went through compared to the ease with which you can accomplish the same thing using a simple Linux GUI (or even CLI tools that worked), they'd guess that Linux was the expensive commercial operating system.

We would have been better off installing Sparc Linux over Slowlaris and gotten some real work done. I'm totally serious.

I have an equally low opinion of HPUX. Nowadays, when I'm faced with the prospect of using a commecial OS (and not just NT), I cringe.

#11 is incorrect (3)

|DaBuzz| (33869) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538063)

Microsoft also claims that Linux has no journaling file system, ignoring the fact that the SGI's XFS is a journaling file system(10). They also ignore the fact that NT 4.0 itself lacks a journaling file system!!(11)

#11 Try this: go to http://www.microsoft.com, select Search, and search the Microsoft web site for NT Journaling File System. You'll get three hits, and the first of these in order of relevance is the "Linux Myths" page! One is a false hit in that it simply links to the "Linux Myths" page, and the third is the Server Operating Systems Newsflash, Volume 5, Issue 40, that quotes from the "Linux Myths" page.

A search for the exact phrase "NT Journaling File System" gives ZERO hits while a match on all words gives 62 hits.

In both cases, footnote #11 is completely incorrect no matter how you search.

It's this sort of thing which makes the analysis no better than MS's Linux myths page.

FUD by any other person is still FUD.

You are getting paid for your know-how (2)

LL (20038) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538064)

The fear of the unknown is precisely why RedHat, LinuxCare and other future support companies will be making money, certainly the IBM global service arm is not complaining. Let's face it, for the non-cognosti, computers are complex, difficult and tempermental (and that's just the installation :-) ). You, as the resident Linux expert, get paid for reducing risks of the IT budget being flushed down the toilet (correct me if I'm wrong but I believe the track record is 50% of major IT projects are a complete disaster and have to be scrapped). If IT is not their strength, it makes sense for companies to outsource the operation of their infrastructure to others, much like we just pay for water and electricity without worrying about the piping and dams. Given this model, the logical conclusion is that Linux would be the preferred choice as less of the profit disappears into their coffers. Expect their app-host hosting efforts to redouble once Linux starts taking big chunks of their developer/desktop market.

The internet does change things in that it refocuses efforts on the services and thus reduces hardware to supporting roles and software to enabling agents. As I've been telling people at this end, the cost is in the infrastructure but the value is in the services. Once the hype of e-commerce dies down, then you might be able to objectively measure the value-cost proposition and work out what needs to be done in redesigning corporations around the flow of information, much like old factories needed to be freed from the constraints of steam-driven belts and pulleys.


Okay, people. Oversimplfication is a bad thing. (2)

Rahga (13479) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538065)

Why do we constantly insist on oversimplifying the "Linux" package? Marketing reasons from the commercial sector? Whichever reason, here are the facts:

The entity commonly refered to as "Linux" is based on a kernel called Linux, which does all the low-level dirty work in the OS. On top of Linux we've got the basic GNU tools, and several free-and-stable programs that can make a copmuter running the operating system a hell of a server. Sysadmins like that.

But, GNU tools are optional. Add-ons. So is the server software.

And, the X windows system is optional. You can choose from a variety of X servers, or none at all. You can also use a completely different window system. you can use differnet GUI based end-user applications. Each one is unique, and completely optional. They might kick ass, and they may suck. But if they do suck, QUIT BLAMING LINUX AS A WHOLE. This is mainly directed to the thousands of clue deficient software reviewers and evangelists out there who couldn't tell the difference between a daemon and a watermelon.

Too many local "Linux experts" who have seen my computer, running Enlightenment in X, say "Hey, my Linux doesn't look anything like that." And most of the naysayers to the Linux movement have less of a clue than that. Frankly, I'm starting to care less. Don't get me started on how many people out there think Linux is a new company in silicon valley.

FUD is just the end result of ignorance and laziness on the part of members of the press trying to make a quick buck. The same press that keeps discovering "new" technologies like E-mail, multi-gazillion dollar net startups like e-lemonade.com (for all your lemonade needs!), and internet cell phones.

I'm not saying that Linux should be touted as complex, but that there are millions of parts to the commonly reffered to whole of Linux. Denying the individuality of different projects commonly included in each Linux distribution is akin to denying that your car has four seperate tires, and each on can be made by a different company or have different characteristics.

Linux != everything to solve your problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1538066)

Come on ppl. No OS solves everyone's problem, which is why I run three on one box at home. Use whatever choice when appropriate (just like a language). I think these articles should just stop being posted cuz ASM it has been discussed a zillion times already.

Re:Who are we trying to kid? (1)

slashdot-terminal (83882) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538067)

Well I think you should try debian then. Debian has a package called menu which creates a very nice version of the /Program Files concept. Under icewm (looks convincely enough like windows 95) and just hit the button that would be where start is. All programs that have the nice GUI interface are under categorized menus and are easily launchable. This can give even a newbie a chance to use the programs at first glance. Also given the fact that when xdm starts up it allows a user never even to have to look at a command line again after the initial install. Now this is not to say that a person will never need to use the command line but for most "common" tasks this will work. The commands dpkg -i and dpkg -r work great for upgrading software.

Linux Hysteria and fear of the Unknown (2)

cdmz1 (97535) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538068)

It seems to me, that there is a growing movement in the computer industry to sell your trade journals and attempt to attract attention to your publication (whether it be print or HTML): mention LINUX. But only mention it as a server and be sure to scare any users away from using it as a desktop replacement.

I just want to give some thoughts on the matter.

I am not going to say that Windows is the best OS possible. I won't even dream of it. However, I do have to say that there is some comfort in familiarity. If you take someone that has never used Linux before and plop them in front of a Linux running KDE or GNOME (or whatever you are using for an X-GUI) they will be able to do most of the GUI-related functions without problems. Launching apps, browsing the file system, change the background and all that. However...that is where the similarity begins to end. Trying to explain how the file system works or how the directory structure works to someone that is DOS-based can be quite a challenge. Basic things like the use of the slash are opposite. DIR is replaced by LS. The GUI isn't as "clean" or "neat" as Windows 95/98/NT4 to most people. It is different enough to have people who are used to Windows pine for what they had previously because there is a shift in preception that needs to ocurr...and most people are not willing to put the effort into making that change. Most users who use Windows don't even know that it is just a pretty DOS, nor do they care. They can point and click and that does what esoteric commands like "copy *.* c:\temp" does (said with tremendous sarcasm).

On the other hand, most (proficient) Windows users are steeped in DOS history. Something that has caused heartache all around the computing world because this fear to remove DOS from our everyday life has left us with Windows95/98, an amalgamation of old DOS and new "32bit" code which, honestly, does not work efficiently (or correctly at times as people on this group frequently point out). If only MS could have stepped away from DOS (kind of like OS/2 was going to) and created something new that worked better than just patching DOS up to a "useable" "32bit" level. I know most people here are not NT fans, but it is at least a step in the right direction for MS with an attempt to remove DOS from the day to day lives we all lead. All they have to do is mask what the "OS" is under the GUI of NT and you can convert all of the people who are relying on DOS to become "deDOSified".

Thankfully Linux is a nice opportunity to help us rid ourselves of good 'ol DOS and force people into changing their thoughts and mindsets on how things ought to be. However, I have to say that Linux won't make it to your average person's desktop until you can mask what is underneath of the GUI in a manner that they don't have to deal with the underpinnings of the OS to make it run like they are used to.

Of course, making Linux look and operate like Windows would take all the fun out of playing with it now....but if you want to reach the masses here is one of the many ways you can bring Linux to the desktop.....


Linux & Newbies (1)

xtal (49134) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538069)

I've worked in an environment where I tried very hard to get people to start using linux, and even among technical people, there's more resistance than you think, and some of it probably isn't linux.. it's just human nature to resist change, good or bad. Linux will have a signifigant curve to climb just here.

But, let's be realistic: Joe user cares zero about adminstration or even backups in most cases. They should, but that's just not the case. Linux is very much geared towards power-freak gadget-head techies, and that's why we love it so much!

This isn't a bad thing though! What we need is a idiot-friendly version of linux that installs from windows with 2 clicks. Something that makes redhat look technical. An installer that can automatically detetect common partition configurations, make linux a home automatically, and install away! Hell, I'd even like that.

But it doesn't stop there. You need to have a distribution that is 100% gui oriented. No complicated user add procedures - and adduser myname is too compliciated. Just boot into E or KDE or whatever, run a web browser and have a WHOLE $HITLOAD of GUI applications available in the start menu, with lots of eye candy.

Gnome and KDE are coming a long way towards this goal, but we're a few years off. Everyone working on their own little piece will bring us this goal - are you listening, Corel/Redhat/Debian?


Re:I agree (2)

otis wildflower (4889) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538070)

Then why not have the M$ penalty phase include a financial penalty that goes towards advertising OSS?

You won't get the eyeballs if they don't know where to look...

Your Working Boy,

Call me an idiot, but what does "FUD" Mean? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1538071)

I've seen it all over the place, I just don't know what it is. It's like when I was in 6th grade and when I saw 'Nuff Said. I kept wondering who 'Nuff was.

mothers (1)

arielb (5604) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538072)

"Microsoft claims that existing Linux GUIs are cumbersome and difficult to use. In fact, my /mother/ sat down and began using the KDE28 desktop with no training, no prior experience, and not one single problem. " Big deal. My mother uses VMS every day. But seriously, KDE is only one of several GUIs available for linux. Redhat is the most dominant linux distro and pushes GNOME. And most linux apps today are either command-line or designed for only x windows in mind. The only way linux is going to be "easy to use" is if everyone decides to stick with one desktop with UI guidelines so that you know when you press control-c you are copying. Or was that alt-c :) And that's never going to happen. It's not what linux is about.

anti-FUD inaccuracies (1)

churchr (24226) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538073)

XFS is certainly not yet supported under
Linux, and probably won't be for awhile (though reiserfs, another journaling
filesystem, is due in the 2.4 kernels and is
currently available as a quite-stable patch).

Also, the 4 gig file size limit is _not_
filesystem dependent. The 4 gig limit is in the VFS layer, which _all_ filesystems use. The VFS layer on 64-bit platforms supports 64-bit
file sizes, though.

FUD vs. FUD? (1)

tactic (28924) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538074)

"Microsoft also claims that Linux has no journaling file system, ignoring the fact that the SGI's XFS is a journaling file system. They also ignore the fact that NT 4.0 itself lacks a journaling file system!!"

Can anyone clarify the issue of journaling file systems? I took the author's advice and searched microsoft.com for "ntfs journaling file system". A new article popped up (November 1999 Technet) where the following claims are made:

"NTFS is a journaling file system with fast file recovery. Journaling file systems are based on the transaction processing concepts found in database theory. Internally, it more resembles a relational database than a traditional file system. It is comparable in function to the Veritas file system found on some UNIX implementations."
http://technet.microsoft.com/cdonline/content/co mplete/windows/winnt/winntas/technote/ntun ixvw.htm

Also, is there a version of XFS that will build on Linux? ftp://oss.sgi.com/www/projects/xfs/download/README
claims the following:
"The code in this directory is original IRIX-XFS xfs_log* code which has not yet been ported to work in Linux. It is intended for viewing, not compiling."

Hopefully, we aren't replying to FUD with FUD...

BTW, I'm typing this from my Linux desktop that is also acting as a file server, and a router -- only 22 days of uptime due to a power outage...

Re:Linux not suitable for the Enterprise... (1)

slashdot-terminal (83882) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538075)

Actually HAL was somewhat able to function correctly. The ability to have AI in an operating system would be a very significant advance. I cannot at this time see anything like that being developed for windwows; not even remotely. Basically if that were said that would mean that it W2k would be more advanced than linux. I realize that perhaps it was an unstable AI but never conceede any point to the enemy if you are to win in debate. If your position is important to your just stick to bare facts. A great deal of mishaps in this world are directly related to unintended consequences.

Re:redundent??? Yep. (0)

chubster (113098) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538076)

This gets old. The creator of this thread is correct. Same old crap rehashed. Everyone here loves Linux, Linux is read for "prime time" blah blah blah.

Linux is not read. It's *not* easy to install, *not* easy to use and *not* a seamless integration of software to hardware.

!!!Don't dismiss this as trollbait. It's not.!!!

I'm being sincere here. Linux is a pain in the ass. If I wanted trollbait, I wouldn't have posted with my user id and email.

mailto: hoppern@ad13310.sdstate.edu.
(USE PGP please)!

I went from the MacOS to Windows with absolutely NO PROBLEM. It took no time to figure out what was wrong and how to fix it.

I heard all the rave reviews from Linux fanatics with tunnel vision (read as: a vocal minority on /.) and I tried it.

What a hassle. I couldn't get anything to work. I putzed around for more time than was appropiate. Forget KDE and Gnome and whatever else there is. A GUI does help if all it hides is crap.

A GUI on a turd won't make it a bouquet of roses. It's still a turd.

Linux is stable as stable gets, fast flexible, robust and stout. But it's more than just rough around the edges, it's sharp as hell. And IT'S NOT FOR EVERYONE. IT'S FOR VERY FEW IN FACT. I don't want to make getting my computer to work a 'hobby'. If hobbies are your bag, then linux is your deal.

If you want to get real work done, with a full compliment of applications and utilities, and work with a familiar set of tools, then I'd recommend anything *but* Linux. NT seems to be pretty good and it's a hell of a lot easier to use.

Linux is a server OS. The FYI tidbit was correct. You pay for what you get. Linux is free. Do the math. The hidden costs are huge. The learning curve is a straight, vertical line that heads to the clouds.

If you think Linux is ready for the world, think again. You've got your head in the clouds.

Does that mean that anyone cannot install Linux. Hell no! It means it takes more time and effort than most people, including me, deem appropiate.

Linux can be used and operated by anyone. But not in the form it's in now. Mandrake is damn close. But there's still too much left. It shouldn't take a 500 page book from Barnes and Noble to get the damn thing to work.

I'm a clever person, but apparently not clever enough for linux. What that tells me is more work needs to be done.

I like plug and play, I like hundreds of thousands of apps, I like knowing that I can buy software to do ANYTHING. I like Windows, not necessarily everything --it's kind of crappy in fact. But it's, I'm sorry to say, easier and less intimidating than Linux.

And if you disagree, fine. But the fact is, it's true. Only an antagonist would disagree.

Re:in all fairness... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1538077)

groan. i dare the average joe blow to set up and use nt or 98 or 95 on their box either if their configuration is anything out of the very standard one. the only os that i have seen that happen with is mac os. it seems we have a dual standard here. the windoze crud is fragile and outright nasty to configure and "use" when it is presented with anything that grill bates & co don't control, but linux, etc. are supposed to work like a mac (up and running with no problems at all). somehow that ain't gonna happen. as far as the balance of the windoze os (of any flavor) is concerned, it has the smell of a sophmore summer project. sorry gang, but the rsx-11m operating system on my pdp-11 in 1980 was better and more stable than this slop.

Scalability (1)

cowmix (10566) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538078)

"Also, Microsoft, when charting throughput of Internet Information Server vs. Linux+Apache carefully refrains from mentioning that it would take at least 5 incoming T1 lines attached to your Linux server before this scalability becomes a factor. How many "common customers" have 5 dedicated T1 lines feeding into a 4-processorserver? I'm not sure I know of any."

This is very common now that people are saying that a X Linux configuration could easily saturate a T-1 (or multiple T-1s). For some reason this is still an acceptable benchmark. In the day of people having 10mbit cable connections and 1.5mbit DSL connections in their home, the bar for a server should be can it saturate a T-3 or above. This T-1 reference non-sense is antiquated and has to stop.

Re:Call me an idiot, but what does "FUD" Mean? (1)

Daffy Duck (17350) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538079)

FUD = Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt

New, hip, generic term for intentional misinformation.

osOpinion : overrated (3)

~k.lee (36552) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538080)

I don't mean this to be a flame, but when are we going to stop posting links to osOpinion? The general quality of osOpinion articles seems to be very low: I have yet to read a single piece that does not contain vague handwaving generalizations and even factual errors. For example, in the above piece by Dave Leigh, he writes:

  1. Microsoft also claims that Linux has no journaling file system, ignoring the fact that the SGI's XFS is a journaling file system. They also ignore the fact that NT 4.0 itself lacks a journaling file system!!

    First of all, wasn't there a thread a couple of weeks ago in which we discussed the journalling abilities of NTFS? Second, XFS has not been released for Linux yet. Third, there is a journalling filesystem for Linux, but it's not XFS: it's ReiserFS [slashdot.org].
  2. I've got Doom, Quake, and other multiple player games for entertainment (although I'm personally a board game fan).

    This is just silly. Game support under Linux is extremely sparse right now. In a world where even Macintosh doesn't get ports of even the most popular games (witness the recent Half-Life debacle), we'd be really foolish to claim that Linux has enough games for the average home consumer.
  3. Thirdly, even if other Unixes were cannibalized, what would it matter? Linux would remain, and the point I made in the above paragraph works in reverse. Those Unix developers that now exist will move to Linux with no effort, and there will be no discernible effect in the workplace.

    Clearly, this was written by somebody who doesn't know much about Unix. Linux is like Unix, and the transition would likely be easier for commercial Unix developers to make, but it's hardly going to be a transparent, effortless transition.
  4. An entertaining footnote (#40): Again, the Gartner Group plays tug-of-war with themselves. The same short report recognizes that SCO and SGI are competitors and supporters of Linux, but the Gartner Group never bothers to answer the question as so why this may be the case. Clearly, the study in question is severely flawed and displays a shocking lack of understanding.

    No, clearly Dave Leigh displays a shocking lack of understanding about the technology industry, where relationships of simultaneous competition and support are incredibly common. Sun, for example, supports Linux by releasing StarOffice under the GPL; on the other hand, it would be entirely happy cannibalizing the Linux market to grow Solaris/Java if it could. In fact, most astute observers believe this is exactly where Sun wants to lead us.
And the above list is just a quick sampling of Leigh's errors and misunderstandings. The mistakes are all the more annoying since they appear to be direct regurgitations of things that have been repeated countless time by the less-iformed zealots [0] here on /.

If I want to hear things like this, I'll read an old /. thread with my threshold down to 0. There's no good reason to link it as an article. Most osOpinion articles seem pretty much the same: they may be flattering to Linux, but they don't elevate the level of discourse, and they don't belong here.


[0] As opposed to the well-informed zealots, who are (unfortunately) all too rare.

Linux is terrible for desktop, and is on the rise (0)

Pike (52876) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538081)

This is a good article, but Linux is not ready for use as a desktop OS.

This is not flamebait! I would not think twice before choosing Linux as a server, but until the UI design improves I do not think it is viable for desktop usage. Please read the whole post.

  • Speed: X/Linux is slower on my machine for everything I do than Windows. I though Windows was a bit slow, now it seems downright perky! I can't even have start a second application (by which I mean even dinky KDE games) without having my hard disk grind forever. Often my screen powers down before the second program finishes loading. And I'm running 32mb ram, 166mhz cpu, 1024x768 16bpp, and KDE with no themes or wallpaper whatsoever. Why can't Linux GUIs be as fast as Windows? Sure, the thing is stable, but it is hard to get anything done.
  • Graphical Interface Design: Linux installation plunked about 87 applications into my KDE menus. Most of these are fluff. Nothing in the GUI tells me how to configure my sound card. (Yes, I did find sndconfig eventually.) Keep the console tools, but give me a graphical alternative and put it somewhere where it's visible.
  • Financial software. CAD. Lotus Notes client. Decent activeX counterpart to aid software design. Decent Browser. None of these are here yet; I'm not saying they're not under construction, but these are reasons why Linux does not yet make sense for the desktop. My company [ellerbebecket.com] would not even think of switching to Linux until it had a CAD that included LISP routines, xrefs, multiple line weights, etc. And that kind of CAD looks like its a long way away.
  • Software installation: just try upgrading the GNOME that came with your distribution. You have to download thirty-umpteen packages. Will it work with your distribution? Who knows!

I am greatly encouraged by the progress I keep hearing about (especially Mozilla), and I think Linux is the coolest thing since the saltine cracker, but it has a ways to go. Linux for the home desktop is at the point now where Linux for the server was five years ago. My advice is, give it a couple of years to get financial software, CAD, a good browser, Notes client, CORBA counterpart to ActiveX (for real), and UI standards, and then give it a shot.

Can't wait!

Re:Desktop Linux (1)

erlenic (95003) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538082)

I guess they don't know that the first X Window System release was in 1984

I thought that the GUI was invented on UNIX by Xerox. or was i just wrong? deatils, anyone?

Re:Linux IS desktop ready. (1)

slashdot-terminal (83882) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538084)

Ok I don't mean to be critical but have you done a simple task "A third grader in his first basic class" could do. Just fire up gdb or use strace and run apprunner specifically see where and when the code is crashing on your machine. Perhaps run the code from a command line and see if it outputs any error message. On the windows version of the code you can see specifically where the code fails if you just run the thing from a dos prompt. Yes I admit that Mozilla is a bit bloated but that is all optional bloat anyway. I take it you cannot improve the code with the arguments given thus far. Now I will admit that I have not contributed to the mozilla project but at least take an active part in helping them with some material. I see comments like these as nihilistic and nonproductive without valuable data backing them up.

It means... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1538085)

"Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt"

'Nuff Said.

Not such a great advocate. (1)

regs (18775) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538086)

It would be nice if people who knew what they were talking about would write these articles. This guy is way out of his league, and his ignorance of both Linux and the "Enterprise" computing space shines through like a cutting laser through Glad[tm] wrap.

To whit:

Also, Microsoft, when charting throughput of Internet Information Server vs. Linux+Apache carefully refrains from mentioning that it would take at least 5 incoming T1 lines attached to your Linux server before this scalability becomes a factor. How many "common customers" have 5 dedicated T1 lines feeding into a 4-processor server? I'm not sure I know of any.

Perhaps he has never heard of Dell? Or Barnes & Noble's? Those are two large IIS installations that I'm sure are using at least "5 incoming T-1 line". Which is not to say that there aren't Linux installations that are of the same scope (although they escape my mind in this moment). The point is saying that the Mindcraft benchmark is totally meaningless because most people don't need to scale that high is tantamount to saying, "Well, ummm, we do better on the low-end," which is true, but I wouldn't advertise it.

While the largest swap file size is 128 MB, you can mount as many as you need. However, most users do not use swap files at all; they use the more stable swap partition, and this is not limited in size.

This is flat out WRONG. Swap partitions, at least in 2.0.x could only be 128 MB. Yes, you could have multiple swap partitions.

Anyway... it just irks me, since this kind of sloppy advocacy just makes us all look like a bunch of idiots.


Re:Who are we trying to kid? (1)

Royster (16042) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538087)

My wife uses a Linux box that I maintain for her. She dosn't know what to do when fsck bails on a boot check or how to install software nor does she have the root password. I've had to walk her through some things over the phone. I added mount floppy/unmount floppy commands to her command menu so that she dosn't have to use a CLI. (I'm about to add a rm ~/.netscape/lock command to her menu :^P)

She does have a reliable system which she can use to do the stuff that she does: Netscape mail, Netscape for browsing, Applix for WP and a bunch of gnome card and strategy games. She can print her email and she's generally happy.

Problems are in reading MS files. Last night, Applix couldn't read a RTF file from Word 97 that she needed to print. Dust off the laptop that wins Win95, boot it up, plug in the printer (install the fscking printer driver) and print an 8 page document.

She is continually amazed when I telnet into the box and fix something broken without getting her up from her seat or even getting myself off the couch.

My wife, I think I'll keep her.

Re:TV Ads (1)

Shadarr (11622) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538088)

I smell a job for a non-profit society. I for one would chip in 10-20 bucks to see an ad in the middle of Futurama.

Re:Contrast and compare (1)

SkyWriter (12677) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538089)

>I spent most of yesterday trying to get a >Slowlaris machine to run with two NIC cards.

uh, sorry, it's easy. It's also easy with linux,
assuming you have two NICS that _can_ play
together - determining this is the hard part.
It's also ridiculously easy with IRIX too, I have
one machine with two ethernets, and one FDDI,
it was PAINFULLY EASY to do.

Re:Where there is a will, there is a way. (1)

Dwonis (52652) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538090)

about the only other thing that users miss from a Windows system is a blue screen 8-)

Both KDE and GNOME have a screensaver that emulates all sorts of crash screens from different operating systems, including Win9x and WinNT.

"I already have all the latest software."

A few minor corrections... (1)

kimo_sabe (114043) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538091)

Ok, a couple of minor technical notes: Swap files and partitions are NOT boundless, but they are not bound to 128M. That limit was done away with a while back. I beleive the current limit, on an i386, is 2G. I've tested that. It didn't care much for more than that. Of course I wasn't using the BigMem patch(64G Physical :)) Security: It's Plug 'n Play. If you don't like ext2's security you can always switch to a Kerberos/AFS or CODA security systems. That will give you much finer grain control. You would still need a traditional filesystem(or devfs) or /dev. But, with that type of setup you would only need to have administrators in /etc/passwd. Thus only they could access stuff in /dev once you remove other access. - kimo_sabe --- Free your software, and your ass will follow

Re:Desktop Linux (1)

slickwillie (34689) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538092)

The window GUI was invented by Xerox PARC in the 1970's. It was Smalltalk based, but I don't know what the OS was. Maybe their Smalltalk was also the OS. I'm pretty sure it wasn't Unix.

BTW, they also invented the mouse, Ethernet, object-oriented programming, and who knows what else. Talk about missed opportunities!

Re:#11 is incorrect (1)

JabberWokky (19442) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538093)

Having run an NT shop with five co-workers, we quickly learned that MS's search returns variable results -- a list of returns one day might be a completely different set, in a completely different order. It can be as bad as the time I looked up something, and told someone across the room what to search for, and he got totally different results - less than 90 seconds after I did my search. I did another search, and got the same results that he did -- by reloading the page.

In summary, the bad results for #11 are at worst mere egg on the authors face, and probably an honest mistake. In no way do I see that as an example of FUD.


What the hell? (2)

Brian Knotts (855) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538094)

Now, anyone who reads my comments knows I'm about as anti-MS as anyone, but...

Where the hell does this writer come off saying that NT 4.0 lacks a journaling file system?

NTFS has had journaling since 1993, as far as I know.

OTOH, It fragments very badly, but so does ext2.

Interested in XFMail? New XFMail home page [slappy.org]

Re:Linux is becoming mainstream (1)

FeeDBaCK (42286) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538095)

Just the fact that you've done "dozens" of NT installs shows me something... =]

Redhat, Caldera, et al have made installing Linux easier than ever. Do I think it makes a good desktop? No. I think it makes a good workstation, and a good server, but I reserve the term "desktop" for something that my mom would use. I find it funny how MS claims Linux to be competition for NT, then has the LinuxMyths page where they basically contradict themselves. I am not a Linux zealot, I run both Windows *and* Linux, and I like both for certain things, but even I can see how full of it MS is in this respect.

Linux is just moving too fast for MS to keep up. Yes, MS has a large team of paid developers, but they also have to release finished products (no comments on how all MS products are beta.) How many times have you seen programs for Linux that had limited functionality, known bugs, and inconsistencies? Of course, the author also tells you about these up front and promises that they will be fixed Real Soon Now(TM). I have found this to generally be true. I have seen bugs being fixed very quickly by open source application authors first hand. I know you guys usually don't get paid for your work, and I applaud you for your great work.

The speed of development is what has MS scared. They could probably care less if Linux grows *today*. MS is a long-term planner. They see the bigger picture, and I think it scares the sh*t out of them. At the current rate of development, Linux will incorporate all of the best features of *every* other OS, and have a great set of unique features, in only a few more short years. MS is worried about losing long-term contracts.

I personally don't think that Linux can survive without MS. The open source community needs someone to be the bad guy. They need someone to spread FUD. They need it to give them the strength to keep coding those great GNU programs. They need it to show the big boys that their program *is* better than a COTS package.

Once again, I applaud all the open source developers out there. You should stop what you are coding, take a break, and treat yourself to a nice cold beer.


You make me proud that Linux is my OS of choice.

Re:Linux will rise up if it is worthy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1538096)

> If you build it, and it is quality, they will
> come.

Wake up. If that were true we would all be using NeXT.

Re:I agree (1)

slashdot-terminal (83882) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538097)

Funny you should mention that I was browsing through a grocery store (fairly common one where I come from) and found something in their magazine area. Something called Linux magazine. It was quite good and appeared to be a nice mag for those in this world who want to get a head start in the world of linux with a user friendly guide.

Linux on the Enterprise: The Federation says no. (1)

Pac (9516) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538098)

The Federation spaceships computers will not be running Linux anytime soon. Lt. Coronel John Francwitz, the officer in charge of all in-board systems explains that "while Linux is pretty much stable and clean, the lack of a clear (and suable) corporate sponsorship makes it impossible for us to even suggest its use". Francwitz also points that the cost to port the thousands of apps present even in a mid-range spaceship would make it economically impratical.

But that may not be the end of the story. Some Earth government officials are now saying that with the recent acquisition of the last remaining Microsoft by The Borg, the use of Windows SE (Space Editon) 4000 as the Federation's main spaceship OS is probably going to be questioned. But the same officials are fast to say that even if the Federation decides to stop using Windows, the logical choice for its sucessor would be Mac OS 5977.3 (that powers the Fleet's planetside Virtual Reality Servers).

Inspired by:This fine Segfault piece by Rob " The Hitman " Cormick [segfault.org]

Re:#11 is incorrect (1)

lfd (101547) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538100)

Not to mention that XFS is still being ported to Linux by the SGI folks...

Linux FUD and Zealots (1)

NYC (10100) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538101)

I use a variety of OSes: Windows and Linux at home, IRIX at work. I understand the strenghts and weaknesses of each different OS. However, I am tired of hearing all these Linux zealots saying that Linux is a good user OS. It is not! More FUD comes from Linux users than from Microsoft.

In order to reduce the flamage, I will stop here and post only one reference: comp.human-factors. This is a newsgroup dedicated to people who know and pratice usabilty. Read the recent thread on Microsoft and Linux. All the experts agree the Linux falls way below the Windows GUI. There is alot of criticism of Windows, but the consensus is that Linux has not yet proven itself as a desktop machine.

--Ivan, weenie NT4 user: bite me!

fear of the unknown (1)

Jimhotep (29230) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538102)

I can understand that.

People get comfortable with things and don't want
them to change.

How many of you know someone who refuses to
learn another programming language?

Why, I've used this for years. Works fine for

just a thought

It's still FUD (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1538103)

Since when has malicious intent been a prerequisite of FUD or ignorance an exemption from it?

Re: FUD (1)

slickwillie (34689) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538104)

I won't repeat the definition.

As far as I know it was first applied to IBM, who invented vaporware, preemptive product announcements, etc. Micro$oft is now the Mother of all FUD Factories, but they stole that idea too.

Re: Aunt Helga (4)

Parity (12797) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538105)

But Linux simply isn't ready for on-computer-geeks to be using all the time. It's propbably okay for
smart non-computer-geeks, as long as they have a bit of support once in a while. But it's still not ready for Aunt Helga who wants to check her email once in a while and run a word processor.

Actually, I think that's -exactly- who it's ready for, if she can get it preinstalled. If Aunt Helga has a preinstalled Netscape and WordPerfect and either has KPPP set up or has step-by-step instructions like are handed out by ISPs for setting up windows... she's all set. The system won't crash, won't get viruses, won't re-mail worms to her friends via outlook... Okay, okay, I'm spreading FUD against MS now, I'm bad.

I think who it's -not- ready for is non-geeks who want to do a lot of advanced stuff. It's when you start doing Advanced Stuff(TM) that you start needing the command line. It's also true that Linux -doesn't- have all of the software that Windows does, and the more esoteric the application the more likely that Linux doesn't have it. (Though, we have some pretty esoteric stuff.) The print-seperations advantage of Photoshop over The Gimp comes to mind, and I don't think we have a professional CAD program yet.
But a friendly word procesing/web/e-mail environment? Sure. No prob.


Re:I think we're forgetting... (1)

WeeMadArthur (96586) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538106)

On the contrary, i think Linux is great for aunt helga who just wants to check email and use a word processor. you set up her box with kde or gnome, show her how to open the email and netscape, and koffice or staroffice. don't give her root access. perfect. she can do what she needs and can't damage the machine. she doesn't even need to see the command line. she can do what she wants and doesn't hurt the computer.

Re:Desktop Linux (1)

Score Whore (32328) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538107)

Bzzzt! Wrong answer. X is not a GUI. Never has been. Never will be. If you want to compare X to anything in the Windows world, think either GDI or device driver.


NTFS does "Logging" (1)

thedward (26360) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538108)

It obviously sucks for MS to spread lies about Linux, but we shouldn't spread lies about them.

NTFS is a logging filesystem, which to my understanding is basically the same thing as journalling (each transaction is written to a log (or journal) and then is only written to the appropriate place on the disk afterwards, then the transaction is marked as complete)

Also, AFAIK, XFS is not actually yet available for Linux, though it will be in the near future.

Linux advocacy is great, but we should make sure and get the facts straight.

Re:TV Ads (1)

Megaweapon (25185) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538109)

I would guess the average Futurama viewer has heard of Linux. An ad would be more benefitial if it were in the middle of Friends or Wheel Of Fortune (non-geek shows :-).

Re:Not such a great advocate. (1)

regs (18775) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538110)

Ugh... it gets worse:

Also, Windows NT clustering is limited to failover ONLY. Linux is capable of distributed clustering ("Beowulf" technology 12), which can enhance system performance dramatically. Several of the world's 500 fastest supercomputers are in actuality Linux Beowulf clusters.

*sigh* "Clustering" in the context of the "Enterprise", the perspective that this article is written in does not mean Beowulf cluster. It means load balancing. It's not many machines working on the same problem in parallel, but many machines doing the same types of tasks at the same time, and making sure that load of these tasks is evenly distributed so that the overall throughput can be raised. Granted, it is conceptually similar to parallel supercomputing but in practice no one is putting together a Beowulf to use as a middle-tier application server.

This isn't what Microsoft told the Department of Justice. In court and under oath Microsoft officials maintain that Linux is a threat to Windows dominance. Today the claims are different.

Of course they said that! Cornered animals do all kinds of crazy shit! However, the judge didn't buy it, if Leigh had taken the time to actually read the Find ings of Fact [cnn.com], he would know this. (Start reading around item 50 for the relevant items).

For internet access, my server runs Netscape Communicator 4.51, Realplayer G2, ICQ Chat, IRC, AOL Instant Messenger, and various FTP clients and other tools

Come on! Be honest, there is no way that you're running the Real Player G2 for Linux... it doesn't exist! Take a look at the Minimum Requirements [about] for the G2. You're stuck with RealPlayer 5.0 for Linux like the rest of us who don't like using Windows or Macintosh.

It makes me nuts. People who can't speak well would do better to remain silent than represent a group of people... badly.


Re:Contrast and compare (2)

tweek (18111) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538111)

Hrmmm I've never had a problem with SAM setting up two NICS. Of course I've never had a proble with SAM in general. SMIT is another story though.;)
"We hope you find fun and laughter in the new millenium" - Top half of fastfood gamepiece

Re:If there's one thing worse than ignorant FUD... (1)

Megaweapon (25185) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538112)

NT lacks a full JFS. It is only a partial journaling FS, which is good enough for the marketing department. Most people are referring to a full JFS when the word journaling is mentioned (which Linux still lacks until XFS or Ext3 comes out).

This guys mom may use KDE (1)

Commie (106979) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538113)

But I'll bet $5 she didn't install it, or Linux for that matter. I've extolled the virtues of Linux and have helped/watched a few friends attempt the installation process. These folks like computers, know their way around Win9x, and so they're probably a few levels above mom, but only one out of three went through with the entire thing and kept Linux on his system -- and I can understand. One continually had X lock up on him. It turned out, after many, many hours of trying everything else, that his "Logitech" Mouse was actually recognized as a Microsoft mouse. Even better, the Microsoft mouse choice he needed was only availible in xfree86config - none of the mouse options in RedHat's xconfigurator worked. Another was attempting to get sound working on his TB Pinnacle card. He finally suceeded, but the story behind it is as tedious and long as the previous one I described. Let's not even talk about package the extreme nightmare of unresolved dependencies (and conflicts between old and new versions of the same package). To be fair, I haven't seen RedHat 6.x's installation, which I've heard is much improved (and I would pick RedHat's installation as the easiest of the three I've had any real experience with - Slackware and Debian being the other two) Needless to say, none of my friends were duly impressed with installing it, and once running, it simply does the same exact things they do in windows... only with a far smaller software base to choose from. Anyway, I like Linux and I really hope it manages to break into the desktop market further, but it's not ready yet. It seems like it may be on the horizon, and maybe the day mom could actually go through the Linux install on her own is on the horizon, but not yet.

Why I cannot use Linux for desktop (3)

rjh3 (99390) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538114)

To be fair, I can and do use Linux as my primary desktop. And a mix of Linux and Solaris on production servers. But my "business desktop" remains NT. Because:

1.) Corporate file format requirements. I must be able to read, write, and modify documents that are shared activities. These documents are in MSWord format, MS Excell, MS Powerpoint, Visio, and PDF formats. I know and sometimes use Star Office. But it cannot modify MS documents without loss of formatting. There is no Visio. There is only PDF reader, not a full function PDF creator.

2.) Corporate communications requirements. I am required to have dial in and LAN access to Lotus Notes. No client support yet.

3.) Hardware variation support. Linux cannot support some of the highly integrated devices found in laptops and low-cost PC's. In my particular case it is a laptop. I don't get to pick the model. I have to take what the corporation provides. It is good quality, but has Linux problems. In general Linux support trails hardware availability by 6-12 months.

You can point in each case to a truthful "we are working on it". But working on it is not the same as available and robust today. These are reasons why I anticipate that within a few years Linux (and probably also *BSD) will be viable on the desktop. But viable in a few years is not the same as viable now.

Other people will have other particular problems, but the general categories of mandated file formats, mandated corporate communications, and hardware variations will keep coming up.

Re:Linux Hysteria and fear of the Unknown (1)

slashdot-terminal (83882) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538115)

Well now I am curious to know how you think that NT removes the command prompt from the users actions or how it's really visually different from 95 (Besides the little Name to the left of the start button. I am writing this message on an NT box). The same icon and the same commands are still in use with good ol' dos. Basically NT is 95 + (a whole lot of extra expensive network functions). Dos may be bad but damn was it efficient. I had days when I wondered why the same game or type of game screamed on my 386 and crawled or refused to run on linux on the same hardware. I think there is a level of diminishing returns with technology. You can only get so advanced before the old stuff dosn't work anymore. How about homes now. Why don't we have cheap homes that are based upon the victorian style of homes? How about castles? These styles were en vouge when they were around but now they just cost a great deal and are difficult (and consequently much, much more costly). If you want to give that ability to the masses then have it as an option in the boot mode or something that makes a really hand holding thing with gnome or something and then have on the "shutdown" option on the "start menu" have an option that "reboots" into guru mode. Of course all these terms are not correct and there really is no booting but people will think one thing is going on when indeed it really isn't and people will be able to use it flawlessly and people like me will be able to tolerate it enough to stomach it in the end and not have to go away to something else again.

Re:I agree (1)

WingCmdr (100480) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538116)

Funny thing is,... I met someone who thought that Linux was a GUI only type of OS. He thought of it as the latest fad techie thing. He didn't have time to get into it though.

Re:You are getting paid for your know-how (2)

zantispam (78764) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538117)

"correct me if I'm wrong but I believe the track record is 50% of major IT projects are a complete disaster and have to be scrapped"

It's closer to 80%. See AntiPaterns [amazon.com] for more info...

FUD-counter website (2)

Rik van Riel (4968) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538118)

There is a (new, still unfinished) website dedicated to debunking FUD by countering it with true, 100% provable facts.

Visit the FUD-counter site at:
http://fud-counter.nl.linux.org/ [linux.org]

The project is still new and we could use a few volunteers to help us out...

Re:If there's one thing worse than ignorant FUD... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1538119)

Yes, this article does far more damage as good, as it how *several* inaccuracies that are ripe to quoted by pro-microsoft authors. The author doesn't seem to have even the basic knowledge of ntfs or nt security model. And probably has never even heard of mscs, mts. Technical articles do need to be written comparing NT and Linux (or NT and other other major vendor's OS), but they *must* be technically accurate. Sorry to rip on this author, as obviously he has good intentions... but a little more research is necessary before publishing something like this.

Re:I think we're forgetting... (2)

overshoot (39700) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538120)

The Wing Lover flew in with:
But Linux simply isn't ready for non-computer-geeks to be using all the time. It's propbably okay for smart non-computer-geeks, as long as they have a bit of support once in a while. But it's still not ready for Aunt Helga who wants to check her email once in a while and run a word processor.

Coulda fooled me. The SO is about as antitechnological as it gets (a can of paint is close to the limit; the kitchen is way too Buck Rogers) and the kids are -- well, kids. Oddly enough, though, it doesn't seem to slow them down any, and they seem to take it for granted that they can do Stupid Net Tricks but not access each others' data (which they used to do for mischief.)

Now all I have to do is keep the daughter from finding out that I could let her have some of the messaging S/W that she wants but that it doesn't work because I have it blocked at the firewall....

Re:Okay, people. Oversimplfication is a bad thing. (1)

roomfull of blues (113363) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538122)

Exactly Correct!! I have had similar experiences and what you say is true to the letter.

Linux is *not* a stand-alone product like FreeBSD and should not be touted as one. "Linux" is just the kernel--the very heart of the operating system. But what most users see everyday is not "linux" it is /bin/bash or X or something entirely different. The problem is that most people fail to make that distinction and call anything with the linux kernel "linux", or even worse, "GNU/Linux".

In fact, in embedded applications, in which linux is becoming increasingly popular, all that usually exists is the kernel, some networking, and romfs. No shell, no GUI, none of the things most users associate with linux.

We need to keep reminding people: Linux is only a small part of what you see on your screen right there. A very essential part, but a part nonetheless.

(On a side note, I usually use the bash commandline, but some relatives/friends were over the other day so I showed them GNOME/Enlightenment. They all said that they liked it better than windows. :)

Techsupporting Linux (2)

Parity (12797) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538123)

An advantage of Linux is that if the customer is on the 'net, you can (if they give the authority) telnet/ssh into their box and, and start a remote X session that shows on -your- desktop. If you're logged into their user account, you'll see exactly the desktop they have.

I know that -I- wouldn't want to let tech support log into -my- account or root on my box... but, I'm a techie and perfectly capable of fixing my own box. I think the ordinary user would, in most cases anyway, be willing to compromise their privacy in exchange for tech support being able to just go in and -fix- it instead of those tedious phone conversations. "Click Control Panel... Click Gizmo-Driver... Select the 'Advanced Settings' Panel. Please read me the values from top to bottom... "

Anyway, my entire point being that customizable does not necessarilly mean less supportable.


Re:I agree (2)

dennisp (66527) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538124)

Agreed. KDE is surprisingly easy to use.


1) Both KOffice and Staroffice feel clunky to me (may be a matter of opinion). I'm waiting for the next staroffice.
2) no standard and reliable installation and de-installation methods a'la windows uninstall menus. You can argue for RPM, but its not exactly easy for a beginner. We need to be able to click on an executable, have it install like installshield, and be able to be uninstalled from a centralized and from e menu which brings us to:
3) wmconf; it's a good idea, but it needs a lot of work. a standard menu format that actually works 100% of the time (and is automatically added to) is a necessity.
4) lots of little applications that cater to the end user (not just techie toys). A good example is that application called CompuPic, recently released for linux. It caters to the end user, it works great, and it has an intuitive interface (probably because they stole it from ACDSee -- or was it the other way around). Also applications such as dreamweaver, quickbooks, quicken and golf games (hey, old people like them)
5) Games! We need current games to draw people to the platform. Hopefully XFree 4.0 will be all that it promises.
6) Video/audio codecs and some types of hardware. DVD, full quicktime with every codec we'll ever need, a reliable realplayer, all the various avi and mpeg codecs, and final non beta flash and shockwave players. These things in particular keep me bound to the windows world (well besides the games.

Linux (and *BSD) are going to get there soon enough. I wonder how many redhat releases we are away from where the user won't have to worry about ever looking at a command line (unless of course they want to), directly booting into x, and have a reliable and standard (not that non-standards will necessarily hurt) way of getting things done (or not done in the case of video games).

I don't see the problem with having commercial closed software on the platform. It's not like it's stopping open source alternatives from developing (though it may the other way around). People have to make money some way -- and quality software can't always be done where the only revenues are added services and support.

Of course, that's just my opinion, and I may be wrong.

Usability (1)

gillbates (106458) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538125)

The common consumer is totally screwed when it comes to using a PC. Consider the following:

My grandmother would like to get a computer. She says she won't get one because she doesn't know how to use one. Say I decide to get her one for Christmas. I have two choices. I could get her Windows, and hear her complain every time it blue screens or hangs. Or, I could get her Linux, and try to explain virtual filesystems, users, permissions, and a whole host of other things. Should she want to get any kind of additions (modem upgrade, software, internet, etc..), the local Best Buy would be absolutely clueless, and in all likelihood, sell her something she can't use. Chances are that either way, she'll get frustrated and won't use the machine. So much for a "Personal Computer". The fact of the matter is that most consumers can't use a PC; they aren't technical enough for Linux, and Windows keeps them from using their machines via the "random crash" feature.

Re:You are getting paid for your know-how (1)

Rick Franchuk (1324) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538126)

Hence my .sig.

Years in the making. Trite, yes... perhaps even a little over-simplified, but it does get the point across in these, and countless other, situations where people are too dumb/tired/lazy/occupied to inform themselves and simply pass the task off to other people.

rickf@transpect.SPAM-B-GONE.net (remove the SPAM-B-GONE bit)

Bady Guy Needed? Phshaw! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1538127)

the motivation behind OSS is to make tools that WORK... if there was "no bad guy" then we still wouldn't have the tools, now would we? no. so we'd still do it.

without the bad guy, we wouldn't be up against advertising-driven FUD, now would we? no. so our journey would be easier.

we'd be better off WITHOUT a bad guy in fact. too many people miss the point of OSS by assuming that we're aiming our missiles at Redmond, when in reality, a lot of us (if not most of us) don't give a rat's ass about it and it only distracts many from the real point of it all.

i use windows too, btw: when i have to go to the desk of one of the other people in the office here... but slowly they have started asking for Linux on the desktop, as it works better with what we are doing than windows does.. imagine THAT.

these people are not gurus by any means.. and they are using it as a DESKTOP.. even the president of the company now has linux on his LAPTOP. 6 months ago he had never owned a computer... and when we finally got him one, it was windows only. he now boots between the two and is slowly spending more time in linux... and less in windows.

without any coercion (sp). without any bad guys. just with superior product and the TRUE OSS spirit. namely... "hey, check THIS out! you're gonna just DROOL over this... heh..."

Aaron J. Seigo

ST II: MS Kirk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1538128)

Now I understand what he meant by "I don't believe in the no-Win scenario".

Re:Linux will rise up if it is worthy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1538129)

except that NeXT was a commercial concept, where more than just quality is required for success.

open source changes the playing field, one where consumer contentment and quality is tantamount. how do you think we ever even got this far publicity wise in the first place?


change the rules and you change the requisites for winning.

Aaron J. Seigo

Deeply discreditable article (5)

Jon Peterson (1443) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538130)

Here we have someone talking about NT, Linux and the Enterprise, who obviously knows very little about either NT or the Enterprise.

"How many "common customers" use 4-way NT boxes? Very few, in my experience"

We are talking about the Enterprise. We are talking about 1000+ users on systems - in these circumstances such servers would be common. Just because lots of Linux people work with single CPU linux boxen in small companies doesn't mean that multi CPU machines are at all uncommon in larger companies.

"(Linux supports many file systems6; NT supports far fewer). Among the file systems Linux supports is SGI's XFS, recently released to Open Source, with a max file size of nearly one million terabytes7. "

I was not aware that XFS was part of linux - perhaps it has been rolled into the latest kernel version. Or perhaps we are counting third party file systems that can be used with each OS. XFS is brand new to Linux, and I am aware of very few applications that make use of it - maybe Oracle 8 does?? NTFS has been around for years, and is well supported.

". Also, Windows NT clustering is limited to failover ONLY. Linux is capable of distributed clustering ("Beowulf" technology 12), which can enhance system performance dramatically. "

I'm not at all sure I see the relevance of Beowulf clusters in the Enterprise. We are talking about large corporate IT systems, not scientific type systems.

And do you _really_ believe that Linux failover clustering is as well tested as NT's? And have you administered both kinds of cluster? Or are you infact merely re-iterating a TurboLinux press release?

". While your support options for Windows are limited, your support options for Linux are not"

I see. So you are discounting the many many 3rd party Windows support operations? Are you really saying that HP's windows support is no good? Or that the many large resellers have no idea what they are doing? Are you saying that ICL doesn't support Windows when it uses it in projects?
There are far, far more people able to support NT than Linux, especially when 'support' means support of large, complex developments, rather than simply supporting a distribution, or providing general Unix Q and A style help.

"Although you can purchase local support for Microsoft products, such support is strictly limited to training and workarounds. "

This is utterly untrue.

". Microsoft Windows support is simply not in the same league.

Rubbish. Microsoft may be no good at supporing Windows, but there are plenty of 3rd parties who are.

netstat -r hangs (2)

roystgnr (4015) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538131)

Simple: you didn't have a route set up to your DNS server (or possibly had a route set up that was broken somehow; I forget which causes DNS lookups to hang instead of just break), so "netstat -r" blocked waiting to do a reverse dns lookup on something like your gateway. On Linux use "netstat -rn" to avoid reverse lookups; it's probably the same for solaris.

Re:redundent??? Yep. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1538132)

I've been using Linux for around 8 years now, since long before v1.0 of the kernel (in fact I think it was v.89something) and IMHO, Linux has never been a viable solution for a desktop workstation for the average joe. For us, yes, it's great, we can do most of the things we want, but for your average person, don't even think about it. A GUI is a great tool, but under it lies the huge mess of configuration files and tools that make linux what it is. All these new GUI's are is a big "User Friendly" patch, and not a good one. You can't configure everything with your GUIs. Heaven forbid you upgrade one of your programs and the configuration GUI suddenly doesnt work! As long as all these cool graphics front ends are written by different people than those who write the actual underlying programs, you're going to have problems. The fact that not all programs have gui's such as this, and that install programs, configuration programs and such all follow different formats makes it even more difficult for the average user to use Linux. Theres a growing group of computer users who have never seen a prompt before, and would be better off without it, imagine all the damage they could do to their system! :) Linux, and all other *nix based OS's will never be mainstream workstation OS's... they weren't designed for it. Only after the advocates decided they needed to compete with microsoft did Linux ever start heading that direction. Linux is competition for WinNT, because they are both SERVERS! It is not the best OS for all jobs. Each OS has its good points, I just wish all the slashdot linux advocacy freaks would realize this, realize that linux is great as a server, and leave it at that.... for now... maybe someday it'll be more, but right now it isn't. After writing that let me restate something, Linux is a viable workstation OS for just about anyone who ever comes to this site, but for the general public to ever embrace linux as a desktop environment is laughable.

MSFT Advocates please answer me this (1)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538133)

Allow me to beat my drum on one issue - we repeated hear how Microsoft is the system for the 'common user', the Aunt Edna's who could care less about techie details, the appliance users, just want to type a letter and fax it, browse the Web and send mail to a grandchild in college.

Now, MSFT is no Saint either! How do the laity deal with the MSFT obvious quality problems, particularly when adding/removing hardware/software? As one with a little reputation I constantly get people bugging me to try to get help for their home pc's running Windows 9x, and recently have been telling them I just don't do home pc's, sorry. Also at work I constantly have to go and reboot X's pc because the inbox got hung up - recently had to redo a Win95 install when another inbox would fail to start w/ "registry error" (-ugh-). Another guy told me recently how he'd d/l some kind of Japanese language enabler or something and it bunged up his browser, etc., etc. Don't most grannies depend on some family 'pc guru' to turn to when Windows9X hoses itself? Or do they, like I recommend to people, take it to a c shop where they have to pay $60/hr for someone to TRY to straighten out a hosed disk but with the usual software disclaimer (no backups? Too Bad!!). I get the feeling that a LOT of MS users are just 'suffering in silence' with glitches, weirdities, what-was-that's etc and just blame it on their own ignorance (impune the user) because it was made by a multi-billion dollar outfit so it MUST be good.

Granted, there are probably lots of Windows PC's that were setup for say Office97 and an Internet package that have been running for over a year or so - but, what do they do when something DOES go wrong?


Re:I think we're forgetting... (1)

moray (45630) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538134)

My grandmother didn't even know how to type. (I had to teach her how to get capital letters, for instance.) She's happily using Linux on an old laptop of mine for email now, and hasn't had any problems.

In this case there was certainly a big advantage in being able to tie the system down - there's no way for her to stop things working accidentally, which is helpful when she lives in a different country from me.

Re:If there's one thing worse than ignorant FUD... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1538135)

Are you sure you're not confusing journaled filesystems (metadata logging) and log-structured filesystems?

No... (3)

Parity (12797) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538136)

There are a few things that can be meant by a journaling filesystem. What NTFS has is -not- what xfs or reiserfs have.

What people mean by a journaling filesystem in this context is a filesystem that has a scheme whereby changes are written to the journal, then, in idle moments, marked 'in progress' in the journal, written to the filesystem, and then marked 'done' in the journal.

With this scheme, if you go down in mid-write, you simply scan the journal for the 'in progress' notation and re-do the right. Ta-da, stable filesystem. You -can- lose data, if a write doesn't get into the journal, of course, but you won't get filesystem damage. As a result there is virtually no fsck time on reboot.

Take an SGI/xfs machine, and a Windows NTFS machine. Start them doing some stuff, and then pull the plugs. Now reboot. NTFS needs to scandisk, because NT is not a true journaling FS. SGI checks its journal, and is up and running in no time.

I expect true journaling in NTFS-2K. If it isn't there, well... then MS will lose the server market completely in no time.


Re:Linux IS desktop ready. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1538137)

I don't get it. Why is the fact that this software is a piece of shit my fault? Why would I want to contribute this this mess, when I could write my own browser that actually worked in less time than I could fix this feces-ware Mozilla. I'm sorry but this software has SO many errors, I wouldn't know where to begin to debug. Basically, every time I click, something breaks. Lock a room of chimpanzees together for 24 hours and you will end up with a better program!

Well, overcategorizing is a bad thing too. (1)

HamNRye (20218) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538138)

I understand the point that sombody always ahs to make about "Linux is the Kernel!", but as an OS, the entire package does need to be evaluated. Bash, pdksh, tcsh, etc. are not "Linux", but then what? M$ can now tout that "You're getting an operating system that doesn't even have a command prompt!" Really...

I can understand where your coming from man, but geez! Save those comments when somebody complains about E crashing, or other such rot, but "Linux" to the rest of the world IS the entire distro.

Unless you're just running a router you NEED the rest of the stuff. Can you imagine the reviews of just the Kernel??
"We are fairly sure that Linux supported most of our hardware, We saw the bootup screen in glorious VGA, and of course we had no way to play sound, etc...."

Thats just my $0.02

P.S. Moderators, just label these both troll...

Re:Desktop Linux (1)

howardjp (5458) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538139)

The first GUI for UNIX was the Blit in 1981 from Bell Labs. MIT released X Windows in 1983 or 1984.

Re:Scalability (2)

sjames (1099) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538140)

Actually, the article and MS both have it wrong. I have seen Linux perform well on 100Mbit ethernet. That would saturate a T-3 or two.

What I want to know is what sort of crazy setup would have 4 NICS feeding into the same segment? (that's >8 T-3s BTW) The reason that configuration was chosen is because Linux doesn't scale well to 4 NICS. Had they chosen to use a single Gig ethernet card instead, the benchmarks would look different.

Re:redundent??? (1)

j a w a d (66763) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538141)

Where are the moderators with a sense of humor?

The parent post shouldn't have been moderated down due to "flamebait," but rather for being "redundent" [sic]. :)

In the same lines as this post [slashdot.org].

Re:Bady Guy Needed? Phshaw! (2)

FeeDBaCK (42286) | more than 14 years ago | (#1538142)

My comments here were based on the article, which is a comparison between FUDslingers and the Linux community. I understand that there are many developers who code for the sheer joy of coding, but your arguments are flawed. Many of the applications being created by OSS developers are simply a functional remake of a product that they were missing in Windows, or that they liked in Windows and wish to see in Linux.

I really did not mean to imply that we are "aiming our missles" at MS. I meant it more to be like this:

You say I cannot run a mile in under 6 minutes. I practice and practice until I can not only run a mile in under 6 minutes, but can do it in under 5, just to prove I can. There is no better feeling than accomplishing something that others tell you is impossible.

Remember, when Linus wrote the original kernel, he was only able to do it because he knew that writing an OS was supposed to be impossible. Guess he proved everyone wrong. =]

Re:Deeply discreditable article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1538143)

oh, poor microzombie. linux roolz.
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