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The Failures Of Desktop Linux 882

Posted by timothy
from the fails-to-play-well-with-bully dept.
PDAJames writes "Maybe Linux isn't quite ready for the desktop after all. After an earlier, very positive evaluation of SuSE Linux Desktop, ZDNet UK has carried out a more in-depth review, running the system in a production environment for two weeks, and found it wanting. A key problem area was interacting with the corporate Windows network. When will this stuff finally be ironed out?"
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The Failures Of Desktop Linux

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  • by 26199 (577806) * on Monday July 28, 2003 @07:29PM (#6554690) Homepage

    The review is pretty positive, really. They admitted they were testing the most difficult situation -- non-technical people using Linux in a Windows environment -- and were impressed on many counts.

    The fact is it's probably never going to be possible to switch operating systems without some minor glitches... switching will always cost money and time, so there's got to be a good reason to do so...

  • by Billly Gates (198444) on Monday July 28, 2003 @07:31PM (#6554700) Journal
    The problem with things like browsing is that MS changes Active directory and the smb protocal quite frequently.

    Novell is certainly not dead and has greatly fallen to the fud of NT. NDS and Novell provide the best NOS administration environment period! No lpdad is not an answer because its just a protocal and not a solution.

    I use to be a fan of Caldera now SCO because of the promissed Novell integration.

    Now lets wait for the next release of netware which is rumoured to have a linux kernel.

    Relying on active directory is writing MFC programs and expect to port them to Unix.

  • by DaBj (168491) <.ten.jbad. .ta. .jbad.> on Monday July 28, 2003 @07:31PM (#6554702) Homepage Journal
    This was the only stumbling block that prevented us from getting work done, but it is a serious flaw. The quick-moving open source community may soon solve the problem
    Considering the age of Samba, shouldn't this have been fixed ages ago?

    Then again, it is trying to implement a
    Microsoft Proprirety Protocol , and we
    all know how well documented (and static) they are...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 28, 2003 @07:32PM (#6554714)
    When will this stuff finally be ironed out?

    Exactly that moment when we see a rapid deployment of Linux in corporate desktops. When large companies start using it, it doesn't matter what software is missing. That 'missing link' software will be developed very quickly.
  • Not so strange (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 28, 2003 @07:32PM (#6554715)
    Hi, I'm a Slashbot. Linux isn't the problem, Windows is. So fuck Microsoft, but only when I'm not on my Windows partition playing games. And fuck the MPAA, only when I'm not buying the LOTR DVD. And don't forget to fuck the RIAA, but that's only if I'm not buying music in the stores or online.
  • Sounds like..... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nagatzhul (158676) on Monday July 28, 2003 @07:33PM (#6554719)
    It sounds like someone was trying to set up SAMBA without reading the documentation or they were lazy in matching the networks. Having used SAMBA in a mixed SUN and Microsoft environment, it was considered a godsend from both the Windows admins and the UN*X/SUN admins.
  • Linux readiness (Score:3, Insightful)

    by $calar (590356) on Monday July 28, 2003 @07:33PM (#6554720) Journal
    Every day I say "when this comes out, Linux will be ready" and then that thing comes out and I find something else to do just that same thing with. The problem is that if we say that coming to the latest advancements of proprietary OSes is all we need, as we have been there many times, then they (proprietary companies) come out with something else. I say Linux will be ready for the desktop when it can outpace the development of its competition. With as many people working on Linux as there is, I think that this shows good promise. I have seen so much in the two years I have used Linux, it is amazing that we have come this far in only two years. In the short term, I think that Linux 2.6 is very important and if you want to know why, then just read some of the articles on 2.6 and that will explain a lot. I think that the freedesktop.org standards need to be fully implemented and now the the linux standard base seems to have eliminated a lot of the RPM incompatibilities, we are on the road to easy software use and installation.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 28, 2003 @07:33PM (#6554724)
    Explain to your boss that your apps aren't 100 percent interoperable between customer machines. Who cares if it saves money if you've managed to frustrate everyone at your company.

    A perfect example is a sales and marketing type company with IT setting the standards. When your sales people have to spend more time re-learning the system and less time selling who's going to look stupid? Definitely not the sales team.

  • by IchBinEinPenguin (589252) on Monday July 28, 2003 @07:35PM (#6554737)
    When the target stops moving.

    Which will be roughly about the same time Bovines achieve lunar orbit.
  • by 73939133 (676561) on Monday July 28, 2003 @07:36PM (#6554741)
    and found it wanting. A key problem area was interacting with the corporate Windows network.

    Well, actually the real problem is that Windows server software is wanting: it fails to conform to standard protocols and formats. If Windows server software was built from the ground up around IMAP, XML, HTML, HTTP, WebDAV, and other such protocols, then Linux desktops and Mac desktops would work well with it. While Windows currently nominally supports many of those protocols and formats, they are second class compared to Microsoft's proprietary protocols.

    What's the solution? Get rid of the Windows servers. That also lowers licensing, administrative, and maintenance costs. And Windows clients can talk fairly well to Linux servers running open source software.
  • Re:Compatibility (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Magic Thread (692357) on Monday July 28, 2003 @07:36PM (#6554743) Homepage Journal
    That's what I thought at first too, but the review begins by saying:

    Can you use a Linux system successfully in a Windows-dominated environment? That's what SuSE's Linux Desktop is designed to facilitate.
    In other words, SLD is intended specifically for being compatible with Windows networks.

    I do object to the "maybe Linux isn't quite ready for the desktop after all" comment in the /. summary. If you use it in an environment that isn't Windows-dominated, the most major problems the review mentions will be eliminated.
  • No kidding... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by donnz (135658) on Monday July 28, 2003 @07:38PM (#6554757) Homepage Journal
    After a challenging start, the system generally performed so well that it was easy to forget the underlying technology being used.

    Let's see, after 20 years rolling out IT solutions I can apply that statement to how many successful projects...oh, that's right 100%.

    Haveing RTFA I can't see how they arrive at this conclusion...

    However, the problems we did come across (particularly the apparent limitations of Samba), and the amount of tinkering required to solve them, raised serious doubts about recommending Linux for widespread office use just yet.

    Quite bizarre.
  • Not exactly fair (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GigsVT (208848) on Monday July 28, 2003 @07:39PM (#6554767) Journal
    Try sticking a Windows box in a totally Linux environment, and see how that goes.

    No NFS support, broken kerberos support, no NIS support that I know of, no ssh client or server, no X server so no remote apps. Sure, some of these things can be purchased and installed, but most of the windows versions subpar when compared with the real thing.

    This study is like putting Michael Jordan on a special olympics basketball team, and then wondering why it didn't make the NBA finals.
  • by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) on Monday July 28, 2003 @07:41PM (#6554784) Homepage Journal
    Honestly, I don't see this as a joke. Linux, or any OS, should be evaluated by how well it does on its own merits. Complaining that it doesn't work well with Windows is like ... oh, say, evaluating an early automobile and complaining that there's no place to hitch up a horse. The question should be "Is the new technology inherently superior enough to what we've got now to justify changing?", not, "How well does the new technology mimic what we've got now?" And if the answer to the first question is "Yes" -- well, then, tell the carriage makers they're going to have to find a new job.

    I now expect to get inundated with responses telling me that I don't understand the real world, that companies have too much invested in their Windows infrastructure to just switch everything over to Linux on a whim, etc. To which I say: bullshit. Lots of people had a great deal invested in the horse-and-carriage infrastructure. Changing over to automobiles required throwing away a lot of existing technology. But the overall benefit was well worth it.
  • by Usquebaugh (230216) on Monday July 28, 2003 @07:43PM (#6554803)
    companies that is.

    You have this wonderful multi user OS and you use it on a single PC, arghhh.

    Centralised computing is where most companies should be at, cheap disposable terminals on the desktop and a beast of a server under lock and key.

    Linux will rule the enterprise desktop when companies grasp the mainfram had the right network architecture. Until then they're just wasting money.
  • by ACK!! (10229) on Monday July 28, 2003 @07:45PM (#6554817) Journal
    Not sure why the poster got so bunged up over two interoperability criticisms.

    The yahoo messenger thing and the outdated version of gaim is a bit of pain in the ass for a newbie but not a sysadmin. Good points all the way around on that one.

    The LAN integration thing was interesting. I always end of with minor annoying bits of trouble with Windows networks until I load up LinNeighborhood and set the permissions on smbmnt and smbumount correctly for that app to work. We do this on the developer's desktops. We have tried all the KDE and gnome browsing tools and all that stuff. No go. Only LinNeighborhood really fit the bill.

    Ok, what Windows browsing tools do you use?

    I am using the samba browsing tool with Nautilus on Ximian Desktop2 as a try-out but I am already feeling the itch to get LinNeighborhood back.

    What about you?

  • by ctid (449118) on Monday July 28, 2003 @07:45PM (#6554818) Homepage
    This isn't a very meaningful comparison, because you're focusing on installation problems. Try to imagine a world where Linux is installed before you get your PC. That's more like the world of the business desktop where Linux is heading.

    Having said that, my Suse 8.2 distro recognizes everything in my box, and I've got more software than I know what to do with. There always seems to be an alternative if I can't get what I want. I've recently had to do a lot of work in Windows, and day after day I find it a major struggle. This is because I've been using Linux at home since 1996 and I don't do very much in Windows. Believe me, Linux on the desktop is more a matter of your current experience. If you're not used to Windows' particular way of doing things, you wouldn't find Linux difficult. But you might if you were required to install it for yourself.
  • I kinda wish that existed.


    Microsoft, as much as I hate them, is everywhere. The agressive approach to converting people to Linux - forcing them onto Linux computers - isn't going to work all that well. People need to get over their fears of the alien OS, and, to do that, we need to co-exist, side-by-side, until that fateful moment when the M$ system crashes and we're the only one left running.


    Seriously, Linux needs to be there in front of the common end-users' eyes for a while for them to start wanting to use it. That means Linux has to be able to work in Windows environments, and it will be graded based on how well it works with other Windows machines and server setups.

  • by Ruds (86067) on Monday July 28, 2003 @07:47PM (#6554839) Homepage
    Apples and oranges. Linux doesn't revolutionize the desktop, as automobiles revolutionized transportation. Linux's big selling point is that it's cheaper than Windows. If it can't interoperate or be used without more training or something of this nature, then the price advantage disappears.

    Besides, the automobile took some time before it caught on everywhere--horses were still used for some purposes in WWI, and I'm sure the army wasn't the only one.

    Matt
  • by larry bagina (561269) on Monday July 28, 2003 @07:49PM (#6554854) Journal
    Well, Mr PDAJames, maybe you could start by telling use what you've done to help iron it out.

    What good is Open Source if you do is wait for others to fix things?

  • by dspyder (563303) on Monday July 28, 2003 @07:52PM (#6554866)
    Complaining that it doesn't work well with Windows is like ... oh, say, evaluating an early automobile and complaining that there's no place to hitch up a horse

    Actually a better comparison would be evaluating a car and saying it doesn't fit on the existing roads. That is a legitimate complaint when you have years and dollars tied up into your existing highway infrastructure. New technology won't be adapted unless there's no significant barrier.

    Nobody is going to design a new road just to be able to run Linux... especially not in the beginning stages.

    --D
  • by t0qer (230538) on Monday July 28, 2003 @07:53PM (#6554873) Homepage Journal
    I don't think you've ever had to support a corporate network in your life. When you get out of school and into the real world, you're going to find that end users and their superiors make most of the software/hardware purchase decisions based on their needs, and not the "bottom line"

    My favorite example to cite is a sales department that uses Palm Pilots.

    When you purchase a palm, it comes with software, written to interopolate with your outlook. All your contacts, notes, calendars are synchronized perfectly with outlook just by installing the software, connecting the palm cradle to the PC and putting your palm in the cradle.

    Linux on the other hand has about 8 groupware solutions out there, so the first question would be what to pick? Then you have to figure what you need so the linux PC can see the palm pilot. Then you have to either push the installations out, or roll your own distro that has all of the components you need to use your palm perfectly with the linux box.

    It's a lot more trouble than it's worth when you can just send the palm pilot retail box to the end user and he/she can install it themselves.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 28, 2003 @07:53PM (#6554874)
    " However, this also presented some mysteries: for example, the shared Linux machine was not visible on the network, and could only be found by performing a search."

    Well, had they ran rcnmb start or started it via the init scripts, it would've showed up quite fine. Oh, I'm sorry, rcsmb start only cries about not starting the nmb in cat sized letters. Can't expect the Zdnet guys to be able to read.. sigh.
  • by TheIzzy (615852) on Monday July 28, 2003 @07:53PM (#6554879)
    The only thing I found wrong with the article was that they assumed non-technical people would be system admins. Even in a Windows only environment, it's generally pretty tech-savy people acting as the admins. Sure, they're tech-savy in a windows sort of way, but they're not the average grandma trying to figure out wheere the power button is. The users would never see most of the problems they pointed out (except the mozilla cut n' paste), which is the real catch in any OS transition.
  • by theflea (585612) on Monday July 28, 2003 @07:58PM (#6554917)
    Organizations that went from all windows 95/98 straight to windows 2k had the same type of issues with things not working quite right, and users not understanding the changes.

    That's why you keep rolling up new ghost images that have the latest patches, tweaks, and workarounds needed to get your desktops working properly in a complicated enterprise environment.

    As for the Samba problems, most can be ironed out by reading the documentation and checking newsgroups. There are irritating things about linux, but samba isn't one of them.

  • eugenia must die! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 28, 2003 @07:58PM (#6554925)
    without even clicking the link, i immediately knew this article was written by Eugenia Loli.

    that stupid bitch is not exactly what i would consider a "knowledgeable" opinion in regards to anything involving computers. she was a blight on the beos community, and now she has dragged her odious self into the linux world.
    you may safely ignore anything she has to say.
  • by mhesseltine (541806) on Monday July 28, 2003 @08:00PM (#6554938) Homepage Journal

    Ok, there's plenty of posts that say "just get rid of Windows" as a solution to the interoperability problem. However, if I'm generous and give Apple and Linux each 10% of the desktop market, that still leaves 80% to MS. You don't throw out a product with 80% of the market just because you can't get your minority system to work correctly with it.

    When will Linux take over? When it interoperates with everything, so that people can get used to using it. Then, you can slowly migrate systems as needed, instead of going all out with one system, then having to re-train all your workers, and iron out all the bugs at once.

  • by GigsVT (208848) on Monday July 28, 2003 @08:01PM (#6554941) Journal
    I didn't discover something I couldn't automatically do in Linux, and would require a day's tinkering to get working.

    Barely a day goes by that I don't do something in Linux that is impossible (or very much more difficult) to do in Windows. Especially automatic things. An example: I want to check every hour to see if a website has changed. No problem, three lines of shell script in a cron job.

    Yes, getting hardware set up can be tough sometimes, especially if you have brand new hardware. Sometimes the community hasn't had time to write a driver, or in the case of video cards, the manufacturer has stonewalled requests for specifications.

    Getting closed source apps working on Linux can be difficult too, since there isn't much you can do to debug or fix them.

    Note that most of your complaints were with closed source software, quicktime, nvidia drivers, Opera. The reason you didn't get much help with those is because there's little the community can do to support such apps.

    A sidenote though, mplayer RPMs from freshrpms.net, and a quick grab of the hacked up DLLs from mplayer's site and you are set with most video formats. You can blame that one on software patents, since distros would be all over mplayer and the codecs, making it as automatic as possible, if it wouldn't open them up to huge legal liabilities.

    Anyway, I guess my point is, a lot of your troubles came from issues that Slashdotters are often railing against, software patents, and proprietary software.

    It's not all ideological, as you have found out, we do have practical reasons for our views. IP laws are harming Free Software development in real, tangible ways.
  • by mrscott (548097) on Monday July 28, 2003 @08:03PM (#6554950)
    An infrastructure is not ripped out and replaced in a day -- or even two. I doubt that we'll see Linux being used for wholesale replacements of corporate desktops in the near future. Until that day does come, Linux needs to play nice with the current prevailing technology. Environments are not necessarily rated as reliable or not reliable based on the individual components but on how well it works overall.

    You mention that you expect a number of these kinds of responses. This is because people who manage these kinds of environments understand that Windows is here to stay for the meantime. We have a lot of critical applications that only run under Windows for which there is no open source alternative, for example.

    I can't comment on how hard it was to convert from teh horse and buggy to the automobile since I have no firsthand knowledge of the event and it's problems and wouldn't presume to have such.
  • by xixax (44677) on Monday July 28, 2003 @08:08PM (#6554995)
    Reviewers found that green made an inferior purple, and that until green was purple, purple would be the superior purple.

    We had similar problems integrating Windows 3.11 PCs onto our Sun and Mac network[1]. They were completely crap at NFS and Appletalk. WindowsPCs will never be ready for the work environment until they can properly handle those two protocols.

    Xix.
    [1] Killed via CEO edict
  • by truesaer (135079) on Monday July 28, 2003 @08:08PM (#6554998) Homepage
    I now expect to get inundated with responses telling me that I don't understand the real world, that companies have too much invested in their Windows infrastructure to just switch everything over to Linux on a whim, etc. To which I say: bullshit. Lots of people had a great deal invested in the horse-and-carriage infrastructure. Changing over to automobiles required throwing away a lot of existing technology. But the overall benefit was well worth it.


    This may be the dumbest thing I've ever read on Slashdot. I use PCs, SUNs, and Macs on a daily basis and all three have advantages and disadvantages. To say that SUSE is so amazingly superior to windows, the operating system that 95% of the computing public chooses to use, is ludicrous. Linux has a lot of great advantages, but all types of machines on a network should be able to play together.


    Case in point is my university's network. We have SUNs, HPs, Linux boxes, Windows machines, and Macs all on the same network. They all rely on machines running various OSes for file servers, etc. It all has to play nicely together.


    You think its bullshit that systems should be interoperable? Well guess what, thats why Linux will be a second class OS for years to come. It isn't the top dog now, and unless it is pleasant to switch to it isn't ever going to happen.

  • by JayBlalock (635935) on Monday July 28, 2003 @08:12PM (#6555038)
    If you're not used to Windows' particular way of doing things, you wouldn't find Linux difficult. Ah, yes, of course. The fact that I've been working on Intel machines since 1984, knew DOS inside and out, kept from using Windows as long as possible, and was finally forced to switch in '95, all prevented me from understanding Linux. It all makes sense now. Come on, now. I'm not talking lack of intelligence or technical ability. If I wanted to spend a month digging through all the specs and documentation on kernal programming, I'm sure I could fix all my Linux problems easily. But I'd been hearing that Linux had finally gotten to the point of "plug and play," and I found it had not. You seem to be suggesting a hypothetical scenario where the boxes are customized by some Guru, set on my desk at work, and able to do everything required for a certain task in the workplace. That's not being "ready for the desktop." I wanted something I could install, work through a few startup quirks and "leaving curve" problems, and then be able to make Just Work. There were elements I loved. The Kernal stability. SuSE's Yast. The superior multitasking. But come on, I had to do a *kernel hack* and modify the Source just to get it to recognize video card drivers from the most popular manufacturer out there. That took me a week to work out, and NO user without my level of prior experience would have managed it. They would have taken one look, seen they had no 3D graphics, and 2D that looks like a slideshow, and run screaming back to Windows. And that's what I'm talking about. Maybe in another year or two.
  • Another problem (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 28, 2003 @08:13PM (#6555050)
    Computer: Libungif.so.012b conflicts with Libungif.so.013a, Unable to install software.

    User: What? All I wanted was this cute screen saver with the Linux Mascot.

    Linux is fast, Linux is stable, but Linux is far from user friendly.

    Do you think any Windows user will understand that the have to use the "Make" command just to install a KDE theme? They just want to double click the installer and run the damn thing. And some of them don't even do that.
  • by Kjella (173770) on Monday July 28, 2003 @08:14PM (#6555052) Homepage
    Did you know, that the early automobiles in London's cobbled streets, they were restricted to a speed of 4 MPH and were required to be preceded by a man carrying a red warning flag? All to not would not disrupt the horses and buggies on the road. That's not just an urban legend, and I'm sure you can see what that did to automobile performance.

    How Linux and Linux software and formats interacts with for example Windows is not just a question of infrastructure and sunk cost. It's also about what you can do with Linux in a (desktop) world where 90%+ is Windows. A company can choose that they want to run a car and not a horse-and-buggy. But they can't make everybody else do the same, and if they have to proverbially run around with a red flag at 4MPH (lack of applications, incompatibilities, format lock-ins, suppliers or customers using Windows), what is then the advantage?

    Kjella
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 28, 2003 @08:14PM (#6555053)
    The cornerstone of MS's monopoly is in thier proprietary file formats. If it were software only, we would either be using something else by now, or MS Office would retail for $99 bucks.

    If the US goverment would come out with a file format specification for standard documents such as word processing, spread sheets, etc and then mandate that the US Goverment use those standards, you would see the begining of the end for MS as we know it today.

    Its time for the US goverment to begin building highways so that ANYONES car can drive on them.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 28, 2003 @08:18PM (#6555091)
    Linux, or any OS, should be evaluated by how well it does on its own merits.

    One of the measurements of merit is playing well with others. You don't think that Linux sprung from Linus's mind fully featured with things that didn't exist anywhere else do you? TCP/IP? NFS? NIS? LDAP? GNU tools? compilers? X11? Most of the technologies used in Linux came from elsewhere. It has them for two reasons: 1. You need certain functionality for an OS to be credible or useful. 2. Linux needs them to play well with others.

    You don't think that Linux would be in use if it couldn't talk to any other computer do you?

    Linux is just getting the same inspection that practically every other OS has had. MacOS, MS-DOS, DR-DOS, BeOS, OS/2, Netware, Concurrent DOS, BSD Unix, System V Unix, Coherent, GEOS, CP/M, CP/M-86, Minix, UCSD P-System, PC/IX, forth, QNX, etc. etc. etc. They've all been there before. They've all been evaluated on how well they work, and how well they play with others. Now it's Linux's turn.

    Make no mistake about it, Linux either has to play well enough with others to be accepted / ignored, or it has to carve out a large enouch niche of its own to survive in isolation. Any other result will result in Linux going the way of most of the operating systems I listed: oblivion.

  • by wasabii (693236) on Monday July 28, 2003 @08:19PM (#6555097)
    What the poster wants is a pipe dream. Linux is not Windows, and it has it's own set of rules and design guidelines. A Unix network is a totally different beast from a NTLM/Active Directory network. THe protocols used are standard, and do not come in a package.

    What teams such have Samba have done is pretty amazing by all accounts. They have gone from NOTHING, to a product which can enable a Linux server to server a Windows network without loosing many abilities.

    The otherway is different. Yes a Linux computer can access Windows networks, and of course, no it won't behave just like Windows. But it does a damned mean job of accessing NFS shares.

    You have to keep in perspective what we fight against. Creating interoperbility with Windows is chasing a moving target. MS will keep adding new things, like differnet encryption in XP, different encryption in Server 2003, and we will keep playing catch up.

    This is a never ending cycle. For Linux to "win" the desktop, we need a clear goal of our own set that has advangates over Windows.

    Yes, we need interoperbility, and we have that. It's not hard to set up a Linux SMB server, move Windows shares to it, and map it out over Samba and NFS, but it isn't plug and play, and probably never will be.

    What it gives us though is a stepping block in order to migrate other boxes. Once Windows is out of the picture (as it is at my company), 100% interoperbility ceases to matter, and it becomes WIndows that needs to interoperate with us.

    My two cents.
  • by cmacb (547347) on Monday July 28, 2003 @08:19PM (#6555101) Homepage Journal
    "Can you use a Linux system successfully in a Windows-dominated environment? That's what SuSE's Linux Desktop is designed to facilitate. We find that you can, although there are plenty of glitches to iron out."

    Thats the article summary. Linux doesn't inter-operate with Windows perfectly just like Windows didn't inter-operate with the TSO editor and job-streams written in IBM's JCL language. So what?

    For Linux to succeed it doesn't have to be perfect, and it certainly doesn't have to inter-operate with Window perfectly. Anyone who EXPECTS it to do that has simply made up their minds to continue using Windows already and is doing the "test" to satisfy the requirement that they do some sort of comparison shopping.

    Nobody in the Open Source movement will be satisfied with Linux being adopted for any other reason than that it is the best choice. It's hard to imagin how it can be both the best choice and 100 percent compatible with Windows at the same time.

    If there were nothing wrong with Windows there would be no Linux in the first place.

    I don't think the article is saying "don't switch" they are just saying "it will involve some work". But we all kinda know that. Small shops or small departments switching will be a lot easier. For now, the most important switchers are individuals. As the number of people using Linux at home grows the argument at the office will get easier. Thats the way it happened with Windows too.
  • by Chordonblue (585047) on Monday July 28, 2003 @08:20PM (#6555110) Homepage Journal
    Until you try to hook things up to an MS domain. That's where it always falls apart.

    People forget, but there was a time when there were other word processors besides Word. In fact, many of them had bizarre and confusing interfaces (Wordperfect for DOS, anyone?) When people had to do the inevitable switch to something new, they may have been befuddled for a while, but eventually, they got the hang of it.

    I really don't think the issue is user acceptance near as much as ADMINISTRATOR acceptance. To get that, you're going to have to play nice with the existing infrastructure (after all, it was there first).

    People can adjust to OpenOffice - we've done it here. But to replace our domain system with Linux would be near impossible. Forget the investments we'd be throwing out the door - think about all the other things like mapped shares, home directories, etc. It would be a massive undertaking to recreate all of that for very little reward.

    I know MS plays their little games of half-assed interoperablility ("Windows 2000 is now based on LDAP and Kerberos! Well... Except for these little changes...") But if Linux is going to want to compete it's going to have to try harder.

    Xandros has done this, but it's closed source. Kinda defeats the purpose, no?

  • by Population (687281) on Monday July 28, 2003 @08:21PM (#6555117)
    The problems you encountered (sound card, nVidia) are 100% installation issues.

    They have nothing to do with Linux being ready for the desktop. I can install brand new hardware in an XP box and Windows will not know how to handle it. That is, until I install the drivers from the manufacturer. But that doesn't mean XP isn't ready for the desktop, does it?

    If you had purchased a computer with Linux pre-installed, you would not have had those problems. If you had only purchased components with good Linux support, you would not have had those problems.

    Those driver issues will only be solved when Linux has 50%+ of the desktop market. That's plain economics. The vidoe card manufacturers don't all support Linux to the same degree.

    And claiming something should work with Linux because it is "from the most popular manufacturer out there" shows your lack of understanding. It doesn't matter how popular a manufacturer is. It matters how well that manufacturer works with the Linux community.
  • by gilesjuk (604902) <.giles.jones. .at. .zen.co.uk.> on Monday July 28, 2003 @08:26PM (#6555152)
    This is why Microsoft needs to be forced to open up its protocols. The DOJ settlement partly does this, but I think you need to pay money to see the code?

    Samba is good but with each new Windows release they insert more proverbial spanners.
  • by spectecjr (31235) on Monday July 28, 2003 @08:26PM (#6555156) Homepage
    It sounds like someone was trying to set up SAMBA without reading the documentation or they were lazy in matching the networks. Having used SAMBA in a mixed SUN and Microsoft environment, it was considered a godsend from both the Windows admins and the UN*X/SUN admins.

    Why on earth should they read the documentation? It's not like you need to read the docs on the Mac or Windows to do exactly the same thing...
  • by NortWind (575520) on Monday July 28, 2003 @08:28PM (#6555169)
    Linux's big selling point is that it's cheaper than Windows.

    That't not the big advantage for me. The big advantage is that I don't have to *accept* the XP EULA [microsoft.com]. I want to own my computer, not just use it to house software that somebody else is letting me use for a while, under terms that they can choose to change at anytime. I won't tolerate that.

  • So what (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Bruha (412869) on Monday July 28, 2003 @08:30PM (#6555181) Homepage Journal
    Linux does not need to revolve around Windows. Windows is not the center of the universe. As long as a host of applications run under Linux that satisfy the requirements of the user then there's nothing to complain about.

    Almost every function with the exception of DirectX /Direct3D can be done in Linux as far as office productivity goes.
  • by bigbadwlf (304883) on Monday July 28, 2003 @08:30PM (#6555183)
    To say that SUSE is so amazingly superior to windows, the operating system that 95% of the computing public chooses to use, is ludicrous.

    Hold it right there, pal.
    To say that 95% of the computing public chooses to use Windows is ludicrous.
    Fact is the vast majority of Windows users did not choose it, it was simply preinstalled.

    Furthermore, the fact that most people use Windows does not make Windows superior, nor does it preclude another product from being superior to Windows.
  • by croddy (659025) on Monday July 28, 2003 @08:34PM (#6555218)
    You think its bullshit that systems should be interoperable? Well guess what, thats why Linux will be a second class OS for years to come. It isn't the top dog now, and unless it is pleasant to switch to it isn't ever going to happen.

    embrace & extend != interoperability
    don't blame unix, it's MS that's not POSIXly correct.

  • Re:Linux readiness (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 28, 2003 @08:34PM (#6555223)
    If the entire Linux community was focused on:

    - X86
    - Refining the OS and existing applications
    - Quality
    - Mutual support
    - Creative new applications
    - Fully documenting everything
    - Making information easy to find

    Microsoft would have a lot more to worry about.

    Instead Linux:

    - Keeps getting ported to every obscure platform you can find. (Xbox? Psion? Random obscure platform.)
    - Keeps reinventing the wheel:
    -- Yet another window manager
    -- Yet another graphics toolkit
    -- Yet another cdrom player
    -- Yet another minesweeper game
    -- etc etc etc
    - Ignores existing standards (Full POSIX compliance?)
    - Focuses more on grinding out new code instead of fixing existing code
    - Bashes Microsoft instead studying them to exploit weaknesses
    - Almost documents things
    - Fails to make information easy to find.

    Linux is far less formidable than it could be. Its strengths are also some of its weaknesses.

  • by eniu!uine (317250) on Monday July 28, 2003 @08:40PM (#6555253)
    Honestly, I don't see this as a joke. Linux, or any OS, should be evaluated by how well it does on its own merits. Complaining that it doesn't work well with Windows is like

    There's no reason to blame Linux for it's inability to operate with Windows. Clearly MS has a profit motive for not making their products work with Linux, blame them.

  • by Usquebaugh (230216) on Monday July 28, 2003 @08:42PM (#6555264)
    A start up doesn't need a large server, or indeed wiring. A central server, wireless networing and some xterms.

    A PC on every desk scales linear, so do the costs!

    Neither paradigm is good or bad, the uses to which they are applied make the choice good or bad. A $10m server for 20 people is probably a bad choice. A network of 10,000 desktop pcs is probably a bad choice.
  • Until you try to hook things up to an MS domain. That's where it always falls apart.

    Well, you may have to manually create the computer account if you are using Windows 2000 and not SAMBA... But Samba 3 is pretty good on all counts.


    I really don't think the issue is user acceptance near as much as ADMINISTRATOR acceptance. To get that, you're going to have to play nice with the existing infrastructure (after all, it was there first).


    To some extent I agree regarding interop. Note there are many ways of doing interop. For example, you can buy Services for UNIX 3.0 from Microsoft for about $100 and put it on your domain controller and walah-- you now have a NIS gateway to your ActiveDirectory infrastructure.... Not that this is the best solution but it does work.

    However, I think that if you offer compelling benefits to the admin (LDAB-backend for gconf will be one of these, IMO), it will gain acceptance on its own merits.

    But interop is only necessary to the extent that it helps to defray costs of migration, and spread those over a period of time. It is not the end-all-and-be-all but just a means to that end.
  • by Chordonblue (585047) on Monday July 28, 2003 @08:45PM (#6555282) Homepage Journal
    The basics of Active Directory have been around now for almost 4 years. I contend that it's not that it can't be done, but that it hasn't been the focus of the Samba group.

    Want proof? Xandros HAS done it. They have Domain support out of the box. Of course, it's closed source...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 28, 2003 @08:46PM (#6555295)
    I don't see what the problem is.

    My Mandrake laptop plugs in quite well. This box has run with Wins configurations, DHCP, and Netware with no problems. It's run on private sector and government networks. Anyone who's ever plugged in to a government network knows how quirky they can be. Yet still no problems

    In fact, I can't think of the last time my TCPIP stack got corrupted in Linux (or any major problems for that matter). Although, it happened to me in XP last week. It sounds to me that the people writing the article didn't have the tools needed to make a fair comparison. This is not the fault of Linux. Rather, the fault of the editors at C|Net for letting this stinker through.
  • by PygmySurfer (442860) on Monday July 28, 2003 @08:47PM (#6555306)
    Most medium and large-sized businesses purchase site licenses for Microsoft software, which means they DID choose to use it. And those businesses make up the majority of computer users.

    I would imagine most home users choose Windows, as well. Linux is too difficult for most non-geeks, and gamers would be unable to run most games. That trend is starting to change somewhat, with those Wal-Mart PCs that come with Linux pre-installed, however, I imagine the change has been minimal.

    Linux is still a niche product - fine for the majority of /. readers, but not necessarily a solution for Grandma to read emails with new pictures of little Timmy.
  • Not really (Score:3, Insightful)

    by metalhed77 (250273) <<andrewvc> <at> <gmail.com>> on Monday July 28, 2003 @08:48PM (#6555308) Homepage
    Firstly, AOL is on its way out. As broadband becomes more pervasive AOL is being cut out. Why pay for AOL on broadband (an extra cost) when broadband by itself is almost as easy to use now?

    The remaining customer base of AOL is probably technically inept enough to not even know what an OS is, much less have any desire to install it. AOL is not a target group at the moment, that doesn't mean it won't ever be, but right now, it is not.
  • by AntiOrganic (650691) on Monday July 28, 2003 @08:49PM (#6555318) Homepage
    The beauty of SQL is that it's incredibly easy to migrate from one database engine to another.

    You have an ease-of-use bonus because Access is so ridiculously featureless, so it's not like you're losing your stored procedures and triggers like if you were switching from SQL Server/MSDE to PostgreSQL or Interbase.

    As for training, I think someone else already mentioned, but most people don't really know how to use "Windows" anyway; your average computer user is too clueless to know how to remove a program he's installed. The issue isn't navigating the operating system itself, but the programs they'd be using. Mozilla/Konqueror do a beautiful job of intuitive use, and OpenOffice's look being not very unlike Microsoft Word/Excel eases that transition tremendously too.

    I think the real problem most corporations are having is finding a suitable replacement for group policies and user permissions. I know this is one of the goals of GNOME, so I'm going to lay off of them there, but most corporations don't want their users screwing with many settings -- it dramatically reduces IT department staffing needs. I mean, even ACLs aren't implemented in any stable kernel yet (though I'm aware they will be in 2.6.x), and these are important when you have 5,000 employees of different access levels accessing the same shares of a file server in the datacenter.
  • by Charles_Lamontagne (693237) on Monday July 28, 2003 @08:50PM (#6555330) Homepage
    I think we all seem to be forgetting that Windows didn't start off as the supergiant that it presently is. In fact, when it started, Microsoft was were many of the Linux developers are presently: Underfunded, making good software that goes unnoticed or marketed under different names, and building something that would make the world work a lot more efficiently, except that they can't get them out there!

    To compare Linux and Windows to the horse-drawn buggie and carriage may at first seem like a great analogy, but when you consider it more in depth, we easily see that it does not work. The problems listed previously about cost and interoperability are valid, but they're useless.

    We've already agreed that 90%+ of the world runs Windows-based systems, whether they be servers, desktop machines, portables or whatnot. To try to take on this market head to head will never work and I think that Linux developers everywhere are beginning to realize this. We can't sit back and say "Things ought to be this way or that things will never work because of Microsoft. To do so will only frustate us and get us no closer to our ultimate goal. Instead, we need to be smarter than that.

    We know that Microsoft will do everything in its power to lockout competition by giving us bogus source-code, faulty applications (that we must depend on), etc. In order for Linux to take a stand in this arena, what must be done is Linux must be created as an adaptable, usable and useful operating system that will not only work with what we've got already (saving users and IT guys time and money) but which will also allow us to expand and integrate what will come from Hell's Minions in the future.

    Anyway, the short of it is that in order for Linux to work on a desktop level, we (unfortunate) must adapt and accept the Windows environment in its entirety and build our systems in such a way that they can expand and adapt as quickly and easily as possible. We will not kill of Microsoft or Windows for those of you who made cost comments are right. Companies don't want to spend millions training their people or redoing their computers. Time and money aside though, if they could find free (or cheap), feasible solutions that would allow them to conduct business as they have every other day of the week, I'm relatively sure they'd go for it. Linux does not need to play nice. Instead... We need to play smart!
  • by einhverfr (238914) <chris.travers@gm ... om minus painter> on Monday July 28, 2003 @08:52PM (#6555344) Homepage Journal
    Why on earth should they read the documentation? It's not like you need to read the docs on the Mac or Windows to do exactly the same thing...

    Simple-- because they are paid to know the software. The comment was related to *admins* not *end-users.* Yes, this applied to Windows admins too.

    I used to to phone-based tech support, and I had a senior network admin call for support. Their PDC had been acting strangely, so they reformatted it and wondered where thier user accounts went.... After 15 minutes (mostly of repeating myself) I convinced them to take down the PDC and promote a BDC. The hard part for the admin to fathom was that the PDC had to be taken down first. Immedaitely their user accounts were back up.

    Face it, if you want an admin who doesn't read the docs, why don't you pay that person just above, say, minimum wage? No, an admin is paid to read the documentation and know his or her stuff. Otherwise, it is just a disaster waiting to happen.

    Yes, the admin should have read the docs first. And in a corporate rollout, who is going to install the software?
  • by Nagatzhul (158676) on Monday July 28, 2003 @08:52PM (#6555345)
    Because SAMBA is designed on the premise that admins actually know what they are doing, don't need hand holding to set up a secure network, and actually have an environment where user accounts have different levels of access. The problems they described pointed to them trying to use the default settings and then complaining that they didn't have full access to network resources.
  • by dreamchaser (49529) on Monday July 28, 2003 @08:59PM (#6555383) Homepage Journal
    Insightful??? Gee...that's funny...I could have sworn I was using SLIP and PPP to dialin to my ISP from a Slackware box back in the early/mid-90's. I must have been hallucinating.

    lack of AOL support != lack of dialup Internet connectivity.
  • by Pieroxy (222434) on Monday July 28, 2003 @09:13PM (#6555488) Homepage
    Another difference:

    With windows you don't need the "right tools". They're part of the system

    With linux, you need them, and if they , at C|Net didn't have them, it probably means they are not that obvious to identify and/or find for the average end user.
  • by IWannaBeAnAC (653701) on Monday July 28, 2003 @09:19PM (#6555533)
    Wht is this marked flamebait? I'll argue the case:

    Versatile: No question. Simply look at the number of architectures that Linux will run on compared with Windows. From the IBM Linux wristwatch to a scattering of top 500 supercomputers. Linux is well represented across the a wide range. API versatility is there too. From win32 (via winelib) to POSIX to Java libraries. Probably 90% of Windows software runs perfectly well or has a functional replacement for Linux. The converse is certainly not true!

    Reliability: No argument there. It seems to be a curse/truism that all large software projects have bugs, but the architecure of unix/linux is undoubtably more reliable than the mish-mash that is Windows. Not to mention the bugs the MS themselves introduce. DRDOS anyone? Does it concern anyone that MS's attempts at crippling competitors' products might have an unwanted side-effect of reducing stability of their core product?

    Security: Security wasn't even on the radar for MS, until recently. The notion of provably secure architecure is simply incompatible with closed-source, marketing driven software.

    Power: I think my comment on 'versatility' mostly covers this. For a more concrete example, take an arbitary shell script from Linux, and try to replicate the functionality from the Windows shell.

    NOT Microsoft: This is probably the point that caused the Flaimbait moderation. But, surely choice is good as an end in itself? Software ought to be a commodity, and even if Microsoft software was a bastion of technical excellence, having a choice is nothing but beneficial.

  • by Izago909 (637084) <tauisgodNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday July 28, 2003 @09:30PM (#6555598)
    Sounds like microsoft's strategy. Make subtle deviations in the networking protocols from published standards so other OS's don't play well together. Everyone knows that a standard that microsoft adopts isn't the exact same as the published standard.

    For example you have W3 HTML and IE HTML. You have Java and you have MS Java. If anyone using a non-windows box has problems running a java program or applet, and you can't figure it out, odds are it was written with a microsoft program.
  • Wrong problem... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by John Whorfin (19968) on Monday July 28, 2003 @09:43PM (#6555672) Homepage
    No, the problem is Windows doesn't integrate with Linux.

    This isn't Linux's problem, since Open Source projects often adher to open standards while Windows doesn't.

    The solution is to fix Windows... oh wait, we can't.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 28, 2003 @09:57PM (#6555758)
    Let's say that all microsoft gas stations had a special gas cap, this gas cap is patented so that only microsoft cars can be filled up at microsoft gas stations.

    Now, a new non microsoft company starts up and sells non microsoft cars. Now, since microsoft won't tell anyone how to create a gas cap that will allow the microsoft gas pump to fill the car the right way all the time.

    Sometimes the new cars spill gas all over and this is annoying for the user.

    Now, is the solution, get rid of the new cars? Or force microsoft to allow the cars to fill up without spilling any gas?
  • by King_TJ (85913) on Monday July 28, 2003 @10:11PM (#6555816) Journal
    Though I've known this for a long time, it keeps hitting home every weekend as I travel to a small town flea market and sell used systems + offer cheap system repair and troubleshooting.

    Most people out there simply want to buy a computer that runs "all the stuff I run across on the store shelves". I've tried selling perfectly good used PowerMac systems and run into this, just like I run into this if I have Linux pre-loaded on a PC that I put up for sale.

    You find roughly 1 in 100 people who praise the fact that you're using Linux (or a Mac for that matter), and they typically spend the next 5 or 10 minutes chatting with you about the superiority of your choice, etc. Then they walk off without buying. (They've already got plenty of computer stuff at home.)

    To the general public, Linux being "ready for the desktop" simply means it'll easily let them install and run all the "bargain bin" software on CD-ROM they picked up at Costco or WalMart, their copy of Microsoft Office they paid hundreds of dollars for a few years ago, and they really want to buy after they get their new computer.

    This is, ultimately, why Linux won't ultimately be ready for "the desktop" for years and years, if ever. Apple still can't seem to pull off even a consistent 5% market share, and they have hundreds of commercially available software titles!
  • Re:So what (Score:2, Insightful)

    by westneat (468491) on Monday July 28, 2003 @10:32PM (#6555899)
    I think that the argument can be made that Windows is the center of the desktop market though. If Linux can't interact with Windows then it is not satisfying the requirements of the desktop user, and for many users this is a major requirement. That being said, Linux does fulfil most of the requirements for most desktop users. Still, there is no need to bury ones head in the sand. As the article said, OS X had few problems with Windows network interaction. From my own experiences with Samba, I would agree that it could be easier.
  • by twitter (104583) on Monday July 28, 2003 @10:32PM (#6555901) Homepage Journal
    Actually a better comparison would be evaluating a car and saying it doesn't fit on the existing roads.

    A Microsoft road would only fit Microsoft vehicles. If we draw the compairison to other M$ bloaty things, such as a browser that has a 1G footprint or a text document that consumes 50kB to say "Hello World", a microsoft car would be powered by three horses in a squirl cage, have 6 steel wheels that only fit on M$ patented rails, gets 2 miles to the gallon. Yes it would consume M$ gasoline as well as M$ geneticaly altered hay. Of course only one person at a time could ride in it and they would have no control over where it goes. The driver would also have to prove their identity via tatoed barcode and RFID tags, though the thing is actually leased and owned by Microsoft. Windshields and a roof would be expensive extra purchases. The horse's diet would be so poor that their performance would fail in two years, requiring the purchase of a new car. There is no owner's manual. The rider would suffer daily crashes of horse dung and often the gasoline would ignite and kill both horse and driver. The express purpose of the vehicle would be to keep everyone where they belong and mindful of their property.

    There is no compairing Microsoft's hideous software to any practical device. Any physical device that was so difficult to use, performed so poorly, costs so much and worked so poorly with all established hardware standards would never be made. Ford made the automobile cheap and rugged. It was made to run on the poor roads of the day, be easy to fix and purchase by the common man. His express desire was to make it possible for people to get to know their neighbors, city and country.

    Nobody is going to design a new road just to be able to run Linux.

    No one ever designed anything to run Windoze either, despite the cute little marketing stickers. Microsoft's hand in hardware "standards" has all been negative, Winmodems, the destruction of unified graphics standards, web cams that require NetMeeting or don't work, sound cards that don't work, scanners and other devices that must be bought again on OS "upgrade". Their new software does not run on older hardware and their older software does now work with new hardware.

    In short, M$ blows and it has given everyone a terrible impression of home computing. People are afraid to install and use software much less write any to do useful things. Because Windoze is so touchy, ureliable and sensless, they imagine free software to be a thing of vast complexity impossible to set up, grasp and use. Idiots like these ZDNet people perpetuate these negative impressions when the reality is that free software is extensively documented, configured with text files, extreemly robust and far cheaper to run and use. Because of M$'s bad reputation, people continue to purchase $2,000 computers that are little more than $400 generic computers with Windoze installed and "configured".

  • by spectecjr (31235) on Monday July 28, 2003 @10:49PM (#6556005) Homepage
    Face it, if you want an admin who doesn't read the docs, why don't you pay that person just above, say, minimum wage? No, an admin is paid to read the documentation and know his or her stuff. Otherwise, it is just a disaster waiting to happen.

    Which gently misses the point.

    Both the Mac and Windows can do exactly what they were trying to do without anyone having to read the manuals, or do anything special.

    From the article:
    The only major roadblock we came up against was transferring files to or from the office server over the LAN browser, which runs on a technology called Samba that communicates with Windows networks. Samba had difficulty navigating the way permissions were set up on the network, and was unable to authorise us to read or write files on the server, although we were able to browse the network. After much tinkering, it appeared that the solution would be to change the way the network's permissions were set up -- something many companies would find unacceptable.

    This was the only stumbling block that prevented us from getting work done, but it is a serious flaw. The quick-moving open source community may soon solve the problem, but that will not be good enough for companies wishing to install Linux desktops today. It's worth noting that Apple, with its Unix-based Mac OS X, has already implemented a working solution to this problem -- OS X had no trouble browsing the office network and reading and writing files.


    Sure... turn off all network security, and it'll work. Or completely reconfigure SAMBA. Why doesn't it just do authentication automatically? If a user has privileges on the target machine, they should be able to access anything that they're allowed to. SAMBA's configuration should - by default - have absolutely squat to do with whether or not a user can access network resources.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 28, 2003 @11:16PM (#6556139)
    >> i love all the high-school reasoning that comes out of the mouths of the slashbots

    Funny, I learned how to capitalize and how to punctuate in grade school. If you are going to rant about how immature people are, first learn proper grammer and punctuation.

    5% of Windows boxes crash 2 times a day. The other 95% crash more than this. Linux doesn't crash. Every Linux box I have ever had has ran for years with no crashes. This includes computers that had windows installed that would crash a half dozen times a day.

    Linux doesn't get viruses. Windows does. Windows is not secure.

    The windows fanboys were the first ones to use the car analogy.

    I just bought new hardware and threw mandrake 9.1 on it. My new Linux box was able to play Divx movies. It also recognized the sound card, recognized the TV card, recognized the monitor and graphics card, reconized the scanner and printer. I ran grip and ripped my collection of CD's to ogg vorbis format. All from the default install. What was that about multimedia again?

    Yeah, you are pretty much wrong about everything. To be fair, that first sentence pretty much tells everyone that you are off your meds.
  • by LRJ (71361) on Monday July 28, 2003 @11:20PM (#6556160) Homepage
    Since the SAMBA team has been trying to get M$ to release the specs to SMB for years, without success, I would say that the limited LAN support is a problem with the Windows network - not the Linux desktop.
  • by Chiisu (462604) on Monday July 28, 2003 @11:21PM (#6556168)
    i switched from Windows to Redhat 9, then to Suse 8.2. I'm never going back. So what is Suse isn't that great on Windows networks. Who the hell wants to be on/run a Windows network anyway? I'll take OS X along with Linux, but that's it. ;)

    = chiisu
  • FUD non-review (Score:4, Insightful)

    by konmaskisin (213498) on Monday July 28, 2003 @11:25PM (#6556191) Journal
    Could the reviewer get any more *non-specific*?

    ...
    Samba had difficulty navigating the way permissions were set up on the network, and was unable to authorise us to read or write files on the server, although we were able to browse the network. After much tinkering, it appeared that the solution would be to change the way the network's permissions were set up -- something many companies would find unacceptable.


    Right, wow insightful, like that new happens on Windows networks. After your description I'm sure that bug will get fixed right away. Are you sure it wasn't a problem between screen and chair? Or maybe the network was designed to not let you have access unless ... uhh ... you logged in?? Did you do that? What exactly happened?

    Sheesh. What utter crud. Expect more and expect it often.
  • by Kurin (629086) on Monday July 28, 2003 @11:39PM (#6556272)
    Oh, for crying out loud. It's not THAT bad. Yes, the open source and Gnu/Linux communities have better intentions than a giant corporation, but that doesn't mean Windows is really all that bad.

    I will admit, during the Windows9X days, using Microsoft products was a joke. But I can honestly say Windows XP is a good operating system. What more do you want it to do? It does everything I want it to. The only times it crashed were when I didn't have the right drivers installed for my hardware (old versions). I can get the same thing to happen in Linux (or any OS) if I screw up the drivers. The OS detects USB devices immediately after they're plugged in. It doesn't hog all my resources (maybe if you have a 300mhz CPU, 64mb of RAM and a 2gb hard drive, it doesn't work too well... but if you have a 300mhz CPU, 64mb of RAM and a 2gb hard drive, you shouldn't be complaining that you can't run the latest software on your 6+ year old machine) and I have no problems installing anything.

    Microsoft supplies users with an after-distribution set of utilities called XP PowerToys, including a special calculator, web cam stuff, more system configuration (TweakUI), alt-tab replacement, "Open command window here" (like Ctrl-T in KDE). They make the OS easily more usable.

    Bootvis.exe makes Windows boot faster. A lot faster, in my case. The only thing that sucks is that you have to reboot when you install some things. That was one of the nice things about Linux, being able to restart the X server instead of having to reboot. Sometimes in Linux you didn't have to reboot at all. Kernel patching amazes me.

    I think the only thing that would make you zealots like Microsoft Windows was if you replace Microsoft with "Not Microsoft" and Windows with "Linux".

    Windows XP
    Pros:
    You can actually play games(when they come out).
    Cons:
    Costs money, you have to activate it, which is a pain in the ass

    Linux
    Pros:
    Free
    Whatever that other guy said, secure, versatile, yeah, yeah
    Cons:
    Can't play games (right away).

    All in all, I rest my case on the following: I can go to the store on the release date of any game and pick it up, bring it home, and find myself playing it within 10 minutes.

    That is one thing I cannot say for Linux. (And I'd like to say that I love Linux, I use it for a server for all my game images, installers for both OSs, and I'm trying to master using Debian at the moment.)
  • by Overly Critical Guy (663429) on Monday July 28, 2003 @11:57PM (#6556353)
    You're in a very, very small minority who actually chooses operating systems based on their EULAs.
  • by joelt49 (637701) <joelt49NO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @12:18AM (#6556481) Homepage
    >>The only alternative would be to legislate open >>standards which would then become practically >>unalterable... Uh, isn't the purpose of a "standard" to become just that, a standard, something that doesn't change at the whim of a greedy company so that many different products can use it? As far as open standards changing, look at the ISO. They have spent extensive time making the C and C++ standards, and revising them. With M$, they change the "standards" whenever they want, creating a bunch of problems and a lack of "interoperability" and then charge money to "fix" it, but it's just another slow, resource-consuming cludge. Personally, I'd rather have slightly dated standards that I know will work 2 years from now than closed standards that might not work tommorow, and requires a "software update" (which you have to legally let M$ do whenever they want) that just F's up your system even more.
  • by bigbadwlf (304883) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @12:27AM (#6556541)
    I work in tech support, and in doing so I've learned...

    most home users choose Windows
    a startling number of people have no idea what is on their computer, and.....

    Linux is too difficult for most non-geeks
    Windows XP is too difficult for most non-geeks.

    Linux is different than Windows, and only more difficult when it doesn't come preinstalled.
  • by bigman2003 (671309) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @01:09AM (#6556743) Homepage
    Most of that 95% didn't buy the computer because of what it is- but what it does. Most of the people bought it because it runs Windows, which runs the software they want to use.

    I don't think OEMs put Windows on computers because it is free, or cheap, or anything like that. They put it on computers because Windows is the REASON that people buy the computers.

  • by sheldon (2322) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @01:35AM (#6556841)
    Fact is the vast majority of Windows users did not choose it, it was simply preinstalled.

    I was not aware of Apple preinstalling Windows on new Macintoshes.

    No, consumers choose computers not for their hardware but for their software capabilities. One of the expected pieces of software is Windows. Your argument attempts to elude the inevitable.

    Furthermore, the fact that most people use Windows does not make Windows superior, nor does it preclude another product from being superior to Windows.

    The most popular product is ALWAYS the superior product, the consumers have made it so.

    You need to stop redefining superior so that it only meets your needs and consider the rest of the consumer base.
  • by Badanov (518690) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @01:59AM (#6556931) Homepage Journal
    Sure, once you make the change, it is incredibly easy to migrate from one Linux-based SQL module to another.

    But going from the kiddie software programs (we are using Lotus Approach) to Linux based databases is not easy at all

    In fact, since I am not a genius or anything, it has taken me about a year to obtain all the tools I need to move from Lotus Approach over the PostgrSQL. The changes needed to make this transition has not been easy either, but once we do switch to PostgreSQL, if the need ever arises again for a transition, it will be incredibly easy, assuming we never return to MS.

    But going from the kiddie software to Linux is never easy.

  • by Dalcius (587481) <chrism3413+slashdotNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @02:22AM (#6557002)
    "With linux, you need them, and if they , at C|Net didn't have them, it probably means they are not that obvious to identify and/or find for the average end user."

    What end-users at a typical company these days know how to manage a Windows network connection?

    Your analogy doesn't add up.

    And who the hell looks for Linux apps at C|Net anyway?!? I have a hunch this might be your problem -- maybe a little ill informed but making an opinion anyway?

    In addition, claiming that the "right tools" aren't "part of the system" (differentiate between a tool and the OS) in Linux is ridiculous. Windows has a number of services and tools built in, but nothing so specific that you'd have to hunt for a Linux equivilent in any modern distro.

    For example, a typical Red Hat installation (or anything else, really) has enough software (already installed and configured) to log onto a Windows network and happily share files and print. This isn't opinion up for debate, this is plain fact. I've been doing this since I got into Linux, actually, about three years ago.

    Just to help the logic-impaired, don't go flaming about "Ooh it's so hard to get SAMBA working." For one, these days, it's as easy as doing it on Windows. For two, again, what end-users do you know in a corporate environment that manage their network connection?

    Sorry for the rambling.
  • by Dalcius (587481) <chrism3413+slashdotNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @04:17AM (#6557325)
    "That's your problem: You assimilate your experience with other people experience."

    Huh? I was certainly a Linux newbie when I got into it. You can certainly expect a paid IT admin to learn something faster than I did when I picked it up.

    --
    "Which distro are you using exactly?"

    Currently Gentoo.

    --
    "When you make the statement "it's as easy as doing it on Windows", which distro are you referring to?"

    The last time I played with Red Hat (I believe 8), plugging in SMB information during the install got me up and running without a problem. I'm certain, with all the changes to SMB, that certain networks have issues with this, but I didn't.

    Printing has always been a breeze for me in Red Hat. Even on the SMB network at my office. :)

    ---
    "That has always been Unix problem, and Linux is only partially solving it: Disparity. Which shell are you using? Which window Manager?"

    Keeping this company centric, a company is going to standardize on one distro which is configured by one admin. This doesn't seem to be getting across. =\ Disparity isn't an issue in this thread.

    Here's something I hope you can give honest thought to: are you applying old fashioned methods and geek mentality to this? Most home users are using Red Carpet or the like to install programs (or have someone do it for them, comparable to how most folks probably do it with Windows). Most folks go with the default. Slack and Gentoo are in completely different ball-parks.

    Cheers
  • by RoLi (141856) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @05:35AM (#6557506)
    The most popular product is ALWAYS the superior product

    Wow, that would make Windows98 superior to WindowsXP.

    If everybody would think like you, we would still live in the stone age.... Nobody would ever try anything new because they would think the old way of doing it would be "superior"...

  • by boaworm (180781) <boaworm@gmail.com> on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @06:25AM (#6557629) Homepage Journal
    The beauty of SQL is that it's incredibly easy to migrate from one database engine to another.


    Unfortunately you are not entirely correct. It is true that basic SQL functionality follows either SQL92 sometimes even SQL99 in most DBMS. But rarely do you have a database which ONLY utilizes the very basic (insert, select, update) commands.

    There are triggers, active databases, temporal databases, rules, orders, transactions, timeliness, atomic actions etc. And these are often not "smooth transactions" from one DBMS to another.

  • by DNAGuy (131264) <brent@@@brentrockwood...org> on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @07:49AM (#6557828) Homepage
    I've heard this argument a bazillion times, and it only partially holds water. In most cases, if the developer wants to write to the standard, the Windows box will work just fine and so will the other OS's. For example, write some XHTML and CSS1, it'll work just fine on just about any box I can find. Write some MS specific markup, it'll only work with MS browsers. Whose fault is that? Microsoft's? Only partially, in my opinion.
  • by saskwach (589702) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @09:11AM (#6558191) Homepage Journal

    Mattress tags are not to be torn off by anyone but the consumer. It is actually a pretty big deal if someone is hawking mattresses without tags.

    Your other two examples do not have anything to do with the law, and as such are irrelevant.

    The big deal with the MS EULA is that they claim to own stuff that's on your hard drive. Nothing else that I can think of compares to that.

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