| It doesn't require new hardware and the setup takes a couple of hours, for
| most of which you can go off and groom the cat or something. Yes, there
| some specialized applications that are only available on Windows but how
| many casual users have them installed? Browse the web, do email,
| LibreOffice, and so forth and Linux has it covered. If you absolutely,
| positively have to have Quicken and will accept no others, stay with
As a box with a web browser, yes, Linux might
not be bad, but it's far more than a couple of
hours to learn an entirely new OS if one really
uses a computer beyond web browsing and email.
I wouldn't discourage anyone from experimenting
and exploring, but it's misleading to present Linux
as a great, simple, Windows alternative. It's a
perennially half-finished geek project, maintained
by people who have religious devotion to the project
but who really don't get the importance of finished
software that works properly, with a properly made
installer, and with good documentation.
As Dan Espen tellingly said: "I can get by in GIMP."
Probably he can. Apparently he doesn't do much
with graphics. But that's hardly a convincing sales
pitch. I'm not religiously devoted to Linux, so I'm
not satisfied with "getting by". The last time I tried
GIMP it wouldn't even save files in normal formats.
It only saved in GIMP format. Files had to be "exported"
to save them in other formats. A separate menu option!
Why? Because the Gimpsters are hard-nosed and
humorless about trying to convert people to their
been the answer from Linux fans for many years now,
when presented with the paucity of Linux software.
The problem is that their attitude comes from the
angle that one uses Linux first, and figures out how
to make it work later. It's Linux as religion when it
should be Linux as tool.
And that's not even getting into the other half-
finished aspects of Linux. After initially exploring
Linux many years ago I went back twice to see
how it was going. I thought that if I could get a
basic setup going easily then maybe I'd stick around
for awhile. Both times I set simple goals: Get the
system set up and get a clear, easily usable firewall
that would allow me full control over incoming
and outgoing processes. Then maybe get something
that would allow me to make disk images, so that
time I spent setting it all up wouldn't be wasted if
it crashed. That would be the basic requirement so
that I could plug in the network cable and begin using
the OS. That was my aim before even considering
whether there might be enough software to do anything.
My other basic setup requirement was that I should be
able to get that setup done without having to resort
to primitive command line operations in a console window
and without having to dig through obscure config files
in /etc. Both times the experiment was short-lived. One
can hardly do anything without needing a console window.
That's inexcusable in a post-1995 OS.
Even if Linux had pleasantly surprised me, it's
a very long journey to go from being intimately familiar
with Windows to feeling similarly comfortable in Linux
or any other OS. There are a thousand little details.
Just going from XP to Win7 I spent a couple of weeks
learning the details of the new OS. There's no such thing
as "a couple of hours" to switch OSs.
But I'd agree that if someone just wants a consumer
device for web browsing, and they only use webmail,
and if they can somehow keep the creepy spying
and control of Eric Schmidt and Mark Shuttleworth out
of the equation, then some kind of Linux device might
not be a bad option.... as long as it's dirt cheap. :)
Oh, one of those. I stick with gVim and makefiles for the most part. If I
want my fortune told or want to play a game of Go I'll go elsewhere than an
editor. At least with the graphical version of Emacs I can get out of the
damn thing without having to hit more keys simultaneously than I have
Don't install KB3034229 or you will lose your start button's
The current preview is still Alpha stage code. (M$ usually
releases their Beta code on the public for them to debug
That being said, Son-of-Frankenstein (w10) preview is a
good twice as fast as Frankenstein (w8) on my virtual
| Obviously you've never worked with a modern Linux distro. Try it sometime.
| Perhaps GIMP sucks but I've used it about twice. That's not my bag;
| development is.
You demonstate my points. I explain what I
find lacking in Linux and you imply that it's perfect
by definition. I tell you it doesn't run the software
I use and you discount that: You write software.
What else would someone do on Linux?
That's the essential Linux problem. The fan
club wants to evangelize, but they dislike the idea
that the product should serve the audience. They
want to convert people to Linux, but woe to anyone
who then asks for a functioning software installer
and a good help file. That person is almost certain
to hear something like, "Hey, it's free software made
by volunteers, Swifty. Why don't you volunteer to
write the help file?" Even finished software is a rare
bird on Linux. The programs are mostly like the
cars that some teenagers like to have on their front
lawns: It's got a corvette engine, scoops, a jazzed
up trannie.... Does it run? Well, no. But it will someday.
I'm still working on it.
It's true that I haven't tried Linux for awhile. I
think I have Suse 12.0 installed. (As I recall, Suse
is on a 6 month release cycle, with .5 release
numbers. One year, v. 13, would have been when
my install of Suse 12 became obsolete and
unsupported. The current version minus 12 would
represent how many years ago I installed it.) But
not long ago some evangelists rode through one of
the Windows groups and I mentioned the same minimal
requirements I had in mind. The responses essentially
boiled down to: If you don't want to live in
console Windows then you're wrong, an idiot, and
a detestable computer "newbie". No one ever did come
up with a clear, easy-to-use firewall that provides
per-process/per-port blocking in and out. There are
several free ones on Windows. The Linux evangelists,
again, just made excuses: Linux is safe and pure, so
you don't need outbound firewall functionality.
I also write software. And I do web design. And I
do a bit of office work -- writing contracts,
estimates, etc. And I edit photos in Paint Shop Pro.
Before I bought PSP16 I tried the latest GIMP, 2.8.
After I managed to set up the help, which was a
funky, separate install, I was ready to try it out.
It was usable. It was not good. I wrote my HTML
editor myself and also use it for VBScript. All of that
would only work through WINE. And I wouldn't be
able to test pages in IE. Visual Studio 6,
which I still use and which still compiles software in
VB6 and VC6, supported on virtually all Windows
systems, would probably not transfer at all. VS6
came out in '98 and the software I can write with it
is still arguably the most widely supported on Windows.
Meanwhile, my relatively recent Suse test system is
a dinosaur. If I tried to install anything on it now I'd
be stuck for the rest of the day running command
lines to install library updates.
If I was lucky I might be able to automate that through
a software library online. But that presents another Linux
problem: In Suse 12 it was already starting to make my
decisions for me. I don't want the OS deciding how to do
things and going online by itself. When I first tried Linux it
was at least fun as a project. I thought of Linux as a car kit,
while Windows was like a normal car that one could work
on and Mac was like a limited-functionality car with the
hood welded shut. Linux now seems to be going straight
to the Mac model, not stopping in the middle at all. What's
always been fun about Windows is that it can do nearly
anything because of the vast software available, and it's
just about as customizable as anyone could want. One
can tinker with it on any level that one wants to get
involved at, and there are plenty of docs to help. With
Windows now headed for lockdown it looks like the
landscape may end up being populated by 3 restrictive,
spyware systems; all of them expecting to call home
freely. (I think I read somewhere recently that Ubuntu
is starting to show ads.)
So, for me, I'd want to see Linux first get cleaned
up, with modern conveniences like dialogues to replace
"console Hell". Then I'd also want to see it *not* treat
the users like "consumers". I haven't given up hope
of that happening. But I've been hoping since about 2000,
so I'm not on the edge of my seat about it. :)
Can't imagine what you are going on about.
First you are magically tuned into the developers motives and you have
reached an unlikely conclusion. You think someone has something
to gain by creating a less than useful product.
On it's face, that conclusion is ridiculous.
Second, all the major distros have had fully graphical installers
for ages. Just click a couple of buttons and install the software.
Or uninstall it. Imagine that.
Don't like typing in complex commands like:
yum install gimp
Go ahead, bring up the graphical installer.
Select install, click on multimedia tools, click on Gimp.
If that floats your boat, that has been working for years.
So, anyone else reading Mayayana's rants, I suggest you take them
with a grain of salt. And remember, you don't even have to install
Linux on your hard disk to see what it runs like.
You can burn a CD or create a boot USB stick.
No change to your OS at all, all you do is boot up and run.
| Second, all the major distros have had fully graphical
| installers for ages.
I never said otherwise. You're twisting my words.
When I installed Red Hat 4 in 1999 it had a graphical
installer. That didn't make it a useful OS. What I said
was that it's difficult to go far in Linux without needing
to open a console window, and that such primitive
functionality should not be required.
| Go ahead, bring up the graphical installer.
| Select install, click on multimedia tools, click on Gimp.
| If that floats your boat, that has been working for years.
Again, your not being entirely straight. You're
talking about being able to install GIMP from a
stored selection of installers that come with a
Linux distribution. (Most of which are usually
I did use the graphical installer for GIMP 2.8 on
Windows. First I had to hunt down the Windows
version. The GIMP people didn't actually take
responsibility for that installer. Now they do at
least have it linked from their site, but one has
to understand FTP indices to get it. Do you really
think the average graphic artist knows how to
navigate the FTP site and understand the difference
between a .exe and a .tar.gz?
Then there's the help. A different install, from
a different FTP site. Hopefully it integrates.
Actually I don't remember now whether the help
actually worked once it was installed. It may have.
I tried GIMP mainly because I'd heard it was
finally going to have MDI design. (Tool windows
docking in a parent window, rather than floating
all over the Desktop.) It turned out the MDI
functionality was less than impressive.
You don't seem to understand just how far all
those little quirks are from the functionality that
has been taken for granted in Windows for decades.
Many people can't find a downloaded file after they
| So, anyone else reading Mayayana's rants, I suggest you take them
| with a grain of salt.
I'd suggest that, too. :) I'm just trying to provide
the caveats that are missing from the evangelist's
sales pitches. By all means, try Linux. Just don't
go spending time or money with the expectation that
you'll end up smiling and Windows-free, with no
cost, in "a couple of hours". Be prepared to "put on
your work clothes".
Maybe in 1999 you had to do that.
Do you think things might have changed a bit since then?
The installer (you only need one), goes to the repository.
You get the latest fully tested version.
Are you now criticizing Linux because you had to use
t tar.gz file on Windows?
Once again, Windows.
On Linux, just click on gimp-help.
Separate help is a good thing.
I find web searches much more effective than local
Looks fine to me.
But then I don't walk around with the delusion that
the Gimp developers actually want their package to
be hard to use.
After you download a package the menus are updated to
include an entry for the package. Why would you be
looking around for any files?
How do you determine which files a Windows installer
On Linux I have command line tools that tell me which
files are in a package. I don't know (or care) whether
the installer GUI can show the same information.
I never implied Linux was perfect. If the tools you prefer to use are only
available on Windows, stick with Windows. Many graphics people cut their
teeth on Apple.I've never owned or used an Apple computer. I don't have
anything against them but they've never filled my needs.
What else would someone do on Linux? Perhaps respond to posts in this
newsgroup using KNode. Maybe handle their email with KMail. Or browse the
web with Firefox, CHrome, Konqueror or several other browsers. Read
downloaded comics with Gwenview. I don't have the need to do Office type
stuff and haven't figured out how to use a spreadsheet since they were
loading SuperCalc on CP/M machines, but if that fluffs your fur, there's
Oh, and there's Eclispse and Googles new Android Studio that are cross
platform but that's back to programming I guess. Then there's the Banshee
media player, among others. Reading eBooks with FBReader, or converting them
to different formats with Caliber. Then I can sideload them into my Kindle
if I want. I generally use the Dolphin file manager. It sort of resembles
Funny thing is I fire all these off from a Start menu, never touch a console
window. It's obvious you've never put more than 5 minutes into a Linux
system so use Windows and prosper. I feel your pain with VS 6.0. I've got to
use it to build one legacy application that's heavily dependent on MFC 4.0
but I'm going to drown that peice of crap one of these days.
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