Timely, as my wife’s hard drive went south the other day. I spent over an hour trying to reinstall XP and get it to recognize all her hardware. Finally said “screw it” and installed Intrepid in under 20 minutes. Of course it recognized everything right away. She used Firefox anyway, so WIN + WIN.
I sense it is time for another post on this. People don’t get that Windows does not install nicely unless you are prepared and that means being the designer of the system including hardware and software. But people demand this of Linux.
People don’t get that Windows does not install nicely unless…
This is because few people now even try to install an OS. Many people now can hardly spell computer let alone take care of one.
I marvel at the number of people who buy a new PC when the old one fills up will advertisements because they don’t even maintain a virus program.
I often see claims that a particular flavor of Linux won’t work “right out of the box” with some hardware used to support the idea that Linux isn’t ready for the average computer user. Using that as a benchmark, Windows isn’t ready either.
I’m definitely not an average PC user. Before building the two desktop machines that my wife and I use, I researched each component to ensure compatibility and ease-of-use with Linux.
In somewhat related news from Texas, I present evidence that not all state lawmakers in Texas have skewed views of reality: It could be “Hasta la vista, baby” to state agency purchases of Microsoft’s Windows Vista information technology under a proposed state budget provision.
The last time I had trouble installing windows, the floppy drive on the computer was going out, and windows did not yet come on CD.
I also remember having to manually set up monitor sync rates in linux because my sony CRT was not recognized. Thank jebus those days are over.
But hey, it’s fun to bash windows (no pun intended).
This matter is argued by those highly adept to computer use. However, an competing operating systems need to be common before it becomes inherently convenient. It is a bit of a chicken and egg problem. While linux variants are great, it will take a large period of time before the migrate onto enough home units that they will be accepted.
While linux variants are great, it will take a large period of time before the migrate onto enough home units that they will be accepted.
Yes, since most home computers bought as a unit already have Microsoft products installed as default, most people never think of other operating systems.
True questions from casual computer owners/users:
Yes, I think the average casual user has no idea about these concepts, let alone that there are alternatives. I think the only way a big change will happen is when the big-box stores will ask customers “Which operating system would you like on your new PC?”. People will never be able to make a choice if they’re never given an option. Can you even purchase a PC from a national retailer (brick-and-mortar store, not online) that does not have an operating system installed?
Best Buy’s web site has a category for operating systems, but only has two categories: Microsoft Windows and Mac OS. CompUSA (though not a very large chain) lists only Windows variants in its “operating systems” category, but does provide some machines with SuSE or Ubuntu pre-installed, and RedHat Enterprise installation services. WalMart sells a Dell with Ubuntu pre-installed, but it’s not in stores (online only), and it’s being discontinued. Funny that the web page for that product recommends “Microsoft Office Home & Student 2007” as an accessory.
Linux has made great strides as an operating system that nearly anyone can use well and be happy with. Lack of exposure for the general public is still going to hold it back for quite some time, I’m afraid.
Linux has made great strides as an operating system that nearly anyone can use well and be happy with.
How many video games are Linux compatible? A large chunk of PC users are gamers (the video game industry now earns larger profits than the film industry), and right now you can’t even find most games for Mac, let alone Linux.
We have replaced our need for an in house windows computer with a wii. So computer video games are no longer of interest.
But, there happen to be a lot of great video games made for Linux. It simply isn’t the case that the need to run on Windows is important any more.
Cross-platform availability is still an issue, however. Many game companies sign platform-specific licensing agreements for flagship games. Zelda and Mario bros. will only appear on Nintendo consoles. Halo is an X-box exclusive. Final Fantasy is made by Sony and can only be played on Playstation machines. And even when games do get ported, often the results are less than stellar. This has led some enthusiasts to purchase multiple rigs, including a PC and several consoles.
An upcoming technology called OnLive seems set to level the playing field by basically eliminating the need to run anything except the box itself. You don’t run the software, you just stream games it like a video. If it works out, I could potentially see it allowing for Linux machines to truly compete with PCs in the gaming market: http://www.engadget.com/2009/03/24/onlive-killed-the-game-console-star/
My wife and I are both avid gamers. We have a PS3 for our primary home console (with a PS2 still running well), as well as PSP and DS handhelds. Neither of us get fired up about most PC-only games, though Diablo III will be an exception. I’ve toyed around with PlayStation and other earlier system emulators for Linux and have been pleasantly surprised with most. Many PC games for Windows will work on Linux through Wine or Cedega (Wine plus licensed Windows DLLs).
The big game publishers have primarily avoided Linux. As much as I’d like to see this change, I’m afraid I’ll have to wait a while.
p.s. My wife is an excellent SPEC-OPS in Resistance 2 online.
Last week I wiped out the computer that my wife has normally used at home and reinstalled XP. This is an old computer and our niece has been living with us for the past few month. I hesitate to put too much blame on her, but the old computer has gotten really sloooooow in the past few months. I figured cleaning out the registry and all was an even worse alternative, so I backed up everything to a zillion CDs as well as to the 2nd hard drive in the box and spent most of 2 days reinstalling Win XP and MS Office and all the various applications without which Windows is useless (don’t make the obvious remark, I agree). And every one of those applications, has to be installed and configured manually, while sitting in front of the keyboard and the box has to be rebooted about 14 zillion times over the course of the installation.
This is far from my first windows install, but they always seem to take forever.
I have installed Ubuntu, but mostly I have tended to use Red Hat-based distros. The only time I ever had a Linux install go south on me was once when I had to install FC5 on an HP DL380 when the Fedora would not recognize the integrated RAID controller. (FC3 and FC4 had done fine.) I had to back out of that one, restore FC4 and eventually installed Centos. But even that (semi-)fiasco took less total time than virtually any of the Windows installations I have done. For that matter, I’ve had a couple of Solaris installations where I screwed something up on a couple of tries and had to redo the whole thing from scratch and even those have been faster (and overall less painful) than virtually and Windows installation I have had to do.
And why do I have to do Windows installations at home? The wife needs everything to be essentially identical between home and work or she gets hopelessly lost. The kid (ours, not the niece) plays games that don’t have Linux versions and it is just (barely) less painful to me to support Windows for that purpose than having him try to use WINE. Even then, I have been working on indoctrinating him on how much easier Linux is than Windows.
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