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XPde 0.5 - A Linux Desktop for Windows Users 460

Posted by michael
from the sincerest-form-of-flattery dept.
Nissan Dookeran writes "From the website: 'The XPde Team today announced the immediate availability of XPde 0.5.0, a complete rewrite of the XPde desktop environment...XPde aims to recreate the Windows XP desktop environment on Linux in order to allow Windows users to "feel at home" in front of a Linux computer' Full announcement of release here with screenshots here. Might be a good transitional tool for Windows users looking not wanting to give up their eye-candy interface initially. The main page also has a good PDF document regarding legal issues when developing software that emulates Windows functions. A StarOffice version of the document also available."
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XPde 0.5 - A Linux Desktop for Windows Users

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 04, 2004 @06:07AM (#8760642)
    Shouldn't that be a Windows desktop for Linux users?
  • My experience (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Dunkelzahn (106055) on Sunday April 04, 2004 @06:10AM (#8760655) Homepage
    I tried this out one night when I was planning out a desktop for a person I knew who wanted to try out Linux. On a visual level, it was very well put together, and one could forget they were in Linux until one tried out the control panel, or wanted to get any work done. Menus and things still had to be assembled manually also, which didn't mean too much to me, as it was still 0.31 at the time. It wasn't ready for my friend's system, and I ended up putting Gnome 2.2 on there which they were more than happy with. I'd say this project definitely has a future, from what I see their mock-up of the Win2K desktop was pretty right on target, behaviors and all. The lack of some key features are what kept it from being ready, but I imagine much of it will be dependent on the distribution, placing icons in the start menu, etc when one installs a .deb, .rpm, or runs an emerge.
  • Migration? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by landrocker (560567) on Sunday April 04, 2004 @06:14AM (#8760661) Homepage

    I think that one of the areas that linux can really beat windows given enough effort is with it's desktop environments.

    Given this, wouldn't it be better for people migrating from windows to become acustomed to the more powerful desktop environment of linux, rather than one which sacrifices some good features for the sake of making windows users feel more at home?

    Also, if you shroud the differences between windows and linux behind a look-alike gui as soon as something goes wrong, or the user trys to install something the os will likely throw up a very un-windows like error, which will most likely confuse the user, leaving a sour taste about linux in their mouth.

    You may claim my $0.02 via Paypal or Direct Credit

  • by heironymouscoward (683461) <<heironymouscoward> <at> <yahoo.com>> on Sunday April 04, 2004 @06:24AM (#8760685) Journal
    Very few people have made a conscious choice for Windows and its UI, and few people will really base their future decisions on this.

    95% of the angst most people feel from using Windows comes from one single thing: security. I find it remarkably easy to switch people to a distro like Xandros by telling them: it is safe and will protect your photos and documents from viruses, trojans, and worms.

    All that is needed is a reasonable level of compatibility so that people can continue to make their documents & spreadsheets, download their photos from their digital cameras, and email their friends.

    Not a single person ever says: "but it looks nothing like Windows!" - the only counter objection is that "certain things do not work".

    Emulating XP safely may be an intellectual challenge but it is not part of the Linux sales argument. Distributions like Xandros - which install easily, and handle smoothly - are.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 04, 2004 @06:24AM (#8760686)
    Mimicking XP's appearance will mean they're constantly caught off guard by small differences, and they'll find that harder to cope with than bigger differences would have been.

    I'm an WinXP user and a frequent user of Cygwin. I've tried Linux (Slackware at that!) and didn't have much trouble. As long as I had access to a bash shell and the man pages, everything went fine. Of course, I'm not a typical user but Cygwin helps tremendously in the Linux familiarity arena.

  • Re:Here's an idea (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mcbridematt (544099) on Sunday April 04, 2004 @06:48AM (#8760744) Homepage Journal
    ReactOS already has their explorer replacement running natively on ReactOS and WinXP.

    KDE and GNOME wouldn't be that hard. It would really only involve usage of native ports of their respective toolkits (Qt Win32 non commercial edition and GTK+2)

    Keep in mind there are other alternatives like LiteStep etc.
  • by eclectro (227083) on Sunday April 04, 2004 @06:54AM (#8760759)
    Isn't this similar to the reason why Apple took Microsoft to court over the similarities between Mac OS and Windows?

    Yes, and they lost. So, if Microsft copied Apple (and don't forget Apple copied Xerox), what is wrong if somebody copies Microsoft?

    The only thing Apple gained from the expensive lawsuit with Microsoft is a copyright on the trashcan. So that is the reason you see a different icon for "trash" on all of the different operating systems there are.

    The only caveat is that the Apple vs. Microsoft was fought in the era without software patents. If it had been (like today), Apple most likely would have won.

    Microsoft does have a lot of money that they can cause a lot of pain for someone they don't like. They also have software patents on many things that people would not think of getting a patent for.

    But if Microsoft were to put the squeeze on somebody for making a windows look-a-like, there might be attorneys that would take the case on antitrust grounds.
  • by flappinbooger (574405) on Sunday April 04, 2004 @07:22AM (#8760821) Homepage
    I've used windoze on my machine since win3.1. I've done the 3.11 thing, 95, 98, 2000 and now xp. I'm an engineer and did tech support for my department. I grew up with computers, I remember playing with a sinclair when I was like 6 or something.

    I tried redhat 5.2 when it was current, got it installed as a dual boot, got X configured manually, got on the internet with it. Couldn't do anything else, thought it was a neat thing but not of much use, and removed it.

    Tried redhat 7.2, and while the install was SO much easier, I simply didn't have the patience and time to learn how to recompile the Kernel, compile my apps, and become a command line wizard just to get anything done. (I knew a bit about the command line, I had used sun boxes at work for CAD)

    Flash forward to this year, I seriously wanted to get linux to work, I want to have a fast, streamlined system with lots of good, free software. I installed Mandrake 9.2, and I *am* seriously impressed with this thing. I got so much of it working, the way it handles the rpm's is great, the desktop is great, the install was great, but why am I still using windows?

    I can't figure out how to maneuver around X to update my video drivers and I can't get Firewire working. My goal is to have a killer video editing machine, and I gots to have firewire. The hoops I jumped through to get the video capture software working was dependency hell, and in the end I couldnt get the 1394 subsystem working.

    Again, I don't have the time, I can install windows and have it all in just a couple hours. Maybe later... I promise, I will try again. I AM a power user. I AM competent enough. I HAVE programmed. I just don't have the patience and time to have to make things work that take a SINGLE CLICK and work OUT OF THE BOX in windows. Here's my point: Either give me to a single, difinitive guide that explains these problems or make it as easy as windows. I WANT To use linux, and I'm not alone. Help us.
  • Re:Wohoo! choice! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by FooBarWidget (556006) on Sunday April 04, 2004 @07:51AM (#8760882)
    How does this one more choice hurt Linux? XPde is not included in any distribution. Saying XPde will hurt Linux is like saying LiteStep will hurt Windows because it provides choice.

    We don't need one desktop to replace them all. We need different desktops to be interoperable.
    Nobody in Windows land complains that there's more than one widget set (MFC vs VCL vs Qt vs pure Win32 API vs resource controls vs .NET WinForms vs whatever weird toolkits Photoshop, Norton AntiVirus, ZoneAlarm, etc. use), or that there are more than one way to do something (Win9x and XP don't exactly look like each other, lots of things changed).
  • Re:Wohoo! choice! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nathanh (1214) on Sunday April 04, 2004 @07:54AM (#8760885) Homepage
    What desktop linux needs is ONE desktop to replace them all. That is; one set of widgets, one way of doing everything, and one interface for developing gui apps for linux...

    As long as there is choice, there will be no breakthrough. One more choice won't help either.

    Having programmed in the Windows environment, I know there are multiple competing widget sets there too, so I know your argument is fundamentally wrong.

    But even assuming you're right. Assuming that Linux will never "breakthrough" without a single unified widget set. A single desktop. My question is... so what?

    Does it matter? Who cares if Linux never gets bigger than this? It rocks pretty mightily right now. I'm really happy with it. I got started with Linux so I could get UNIX@home. Ok, admittedly I already had UNIX@home (Interactive) but Linux was simply better. So I was happy back in 1992.

    Everything since then has been gravy. If you had told me in 1997 that I'd be playing 3D games and using state-of-the-art word processors on Linux, I'd have laughed at you and gone back to nethack and LaTeX. But now I'm sitting in front of a GNOME 2.6 desktop typing into a modern web browser. I'm in utter disbelief that it's this good. I would have been happy with command line UNIX! This is way more than I ever expected.

    So does it matter if Linux doesn't take over 100% of the market? I say it doesn't matter. I think it will happen anyway, but I won't cry if it doesn't. Linux rocks already. I'm content. Aren't you?

  • by shish (588640) on Sunday April 04, 2004 @08:00AM (#8760891) Homepage
    Since when was XP eyecandy? Looks like they haven't looked at enlightenment [enlightenment.org] recently... You get multiple desktops *overlapping*, the bottom of the screen ripples and waves with a watery reflection of the windows, windows slide in smoothly rather than just appear, the list goes on!
  • Nice idea .... but (Score:2, Interesting)

    by hattig (47930) on Sunday April 04, 2004 @08:12AM (#8760913) Journal
    Whilst the idea of making something familiar to people switching from Windows is all very nice and that, there are some issues:

    1) It doesn't need to be exactly analogous in order for someone to know what is going on. Windows users appears to handle the change from classic interface to XP interface without suddenly dying!

    2) I can see that they have recreated some of Windows' worst aspects as well in the name of familiarity. I saw the old 16-colour drop down box in one of the screenshots, surely a relic from the 80's or something! Sadly this also means that Windows' nasty way of having configuration utilities spread everywhere is recreated - whereas a single configuration utility like KDE's is much better overall, especially if it was simplified.

    I really don't see why they have to recreate the frustrating aspects of Windows! Shouldn't they be striving to improve upon Windows whilst retaining familiarity?
  • Sure it may look like XP, it may even ACT like XP, but when aunt martha wants to upgrade Real (or Winamp, or Internet Explorer, or Mozilla, or Flash) she's gonna pick the XP version to download and the app will fail.

    She'll either call her service technician (you), or take it to CompUSA, where the tech will blow a gasket trying to figure out why his windows based diagnostic tools don't work.

    I'm not saying there aren't linux equivalent apps for most windows XP things, but there isn't a 1 to 1 correlation, and the Devil is in the Details.

    Case in point: I got my mom an iOpener one year. It worked well, it did what she needed, but she always felt there was stuff she couldn't do because the device couldn't accomodate 100% of the things her church buddies could do. (Quicktime? Windows Media? Get infected with Gator?)

    Granted, that's not all bad - especially the inherent security features, but it IS an issue that will arise.
  • Re:Wohoo! choice! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Kjella (173770) on Sunday April 04, 2004 @08:18AM (#8760947) Homepage
    It's real easy for the Linux kernel - you may benchmark algorithm A vs. algorithm B, or by flexibility, extendability and whatever. Usually it's very easy to say that choice A > choice B or at the very least, that property X of A > property X of B.

    Which is the best set of widgets, the best way of doing anything, the best GUI interface? The last one you might get most people to agree on, the first two are impossible.

    Depending on intelligence, skill, experience, work organzation, ability to multitask, ability to memorize, personal taste (skinning, urgh) and a whole lot of other characteristics, there is no "One size fits all" GUI. One straitjacket fits all, maybe.

    What we should strive to achieve is that the underlying layers cooperate - that stuff like copy-paste, application installation / uninstallation and so on works consistently across all applications and desktop environments.

    Remove the barriers of switching, and evolution will be speeded up tremendously. Let competition be purely on technical merit - not lock-in and incompatibilities, and let demand decide which alternatives deserve to live. Perhaps one will be dominant, perhaps not. But it can only become so by choice, not force.

    Kjella
  • Think Different... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by trboyden (465969) on Sunday April 04, 2004 @09:00AM (#8761054) Homepage
    This whole idea of copying the Windows desktop is one of the reasons I get turned off Linux. If I want to use a Windows like interface why wouldn't I just use the real thing? People in the Open-Source community do a lot of talking about being innovative but I just ain't seeing it with projects like this. The post yesterday about ROX [slashdot.org] (even though it does copy an older RISC type OS) is at least a fresh idea in the Linux world and I give cudos to the author for trying something different. Sun also deserves cudos for their work on a 3D desktop [slashdot.org] as mentioned last week or so. It's innovative directions like these that Linux needs to go to differentiate itself from the Windows and Mac OSes that are already out there. How about working on a graphical and gesture interface like in Minority Report [minorityreport.com]? Now that would be cool and would interest me in Linux. For now I'll just stick with my Mac.
  • Re:Wohoo! choice! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by LinuxRulz (678500) on Sunday April 04, 2004 @09:06AM (#8761071)
    What desktop linux needs is ONE desktop to replace them all.

    I think you don't get it. This is not a question of choices; it's a question of education. I'm administrator of a lan at my cegep called(clubinfo). we have some good machines on XP and had some old crashin ones on W98. When I arrive I replaced all the w98 ones by some xpde ones. And even if XPDE is not complete it's no problem.

    The thing is: students can use any machines without knowing the difference. The menus, progs and windows are the same(we use almost exclusively free software[gimp,oo.o]).
    So, even if kde or gnome or icewm are better, I just won't install them due to those questions from everyone: "where is the start menu?" "how do I start windows?" "What's that big K thingy?"

    LinuxRulz
  • Re:Eye Candy? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by bwy (726112) on Sunday April 04, 2004 @10:03AM (#8761240)
    What are the chances that Longhorn will get rid of the Classic interface altogether? That is royally going to suck. I can't imagine having to use the Crayola theme. Why do the damn titlebars have to be so big?

    What is odd is I heard with XP Pro, M$ was going to default the OS to classic but due to "overwhelming interest" in the new Luna theme or whatever the call it, they threw away the idea.

    What is also interesting is that Sever 2003 defaults to classic theme, although the Start Menu is pretty well screwed up IMHO.
  • by gubachwa (716303) on Sunday April 04, 2004 @10:30AM (#8761346)
    This whole idea of copying the Windows desktop is one of the reasons I get turned off Linux. If I want to use a Windows like interface why wouldn't I just use the real thing?
    There is more to an operating system than just a UI. There's this thing called the kernel that's making the whole show run. True, most users could care less about what's going on behind the scenes, and if you even mentioned the word kernel to them, they'll ask you what an army colonel has to do with their computer. (I've actually had this happen to me once when I tried explaining the inner workings of a computer to someone who was not terribly computer literate).

    With XPde, users now have a choice between two products that are visually identical, but are different under the hood. The one running linux under the hood is more stable and likely to perform better in the long run.

    It's like giving a consumer the choice between a Toyota Corolla and a Chevy Cavalier. Visually the two are not that much different, but one is likely to last you, the other to drain your pocket with all the repairs you're going to have to put into it. Which one are you going to choose? (I'm guessing from your comments about a Minority Report style UI, you'd probably choose neither the Corolla or the Cavalier, and go for some futuristic space looking car instead).

  • by polyp2000 (444682) on Sunday April 04, 2004 @10:49AM (#8761404) Homepage Journal
    Hmm .. Let me think ...

    Howabout

    Apache? or OpenGL ?

    Now let me see .. which Inferior proprietary alternatives made by a certain redmond company came after these ?

    What operating system is your favorite search engine Google built upon?

    How long was the internet/browsers around before Microsoft decided it better implement a web-browser?

    Are there any Movie players that beat MPlayer ?

    nope, not that i've come across.

    How long has GCC been around ?

    I could go on listing stuff here but then you are probably a windows troll having never spent any great deal of time using open source software. Go and take a look at freshmeat.net and see the hundreds of original projects there.

    You make generalisations without really having much knowledge about what you are talking. Yes, there are many open source project that copy ideas from other operating systems, but you seem to be living under the misconception that Apple and Microsoft never copied off anyone else.

    Yes KDE steals ideas from a few places and so does gnome , but as any long-time user of KDE or Gnome will tell you there a lots of innovations and cool features of these window managers that do not exist in other operating systems.

    There are reasons things like openoffice exist, howabout the fact that there is no Microsoft Office for Linux, or maybe the fact that Microsoft lock in their fileformats into windows. Heck considering the lack of documentation about certain Oses and there lock in fileformats; OpenOffice does a bloody good job considering. Okay so maybe its not strictly an original work, but i'd say there is a hell of a lot of innovation going on "under the hood" in order for the programmers to get the software to do what it does.

    So before you make such sweeping generalisations, consider what the world would be like, and consider your personal freedoms that maybe wouldnt exist if Open Source software wasnt there for everyone to use. You should appreciate that the computing world, the use of the internet etc would be a very very different place if it wasnt for the time and dedication of Open Source programmers. You are lucky that you have choice and that Window's isnt the "one os to rule them all".
  • by trboyden (465969) on Sunday April 04, 2004 @12:02PM (#8761730) Homepage

    The "under the hood" argument is the shortsightedness that keeps Linux off the desktop. These are the factors that make a product successful:

    • Brand Recognition
    • Visual Styling
    • Usefulness (ease of use also applies here)
    • Value

    Right now Linux has little to no brand recognition. That's changing with IBM's advertisements and the SCO legal case, however if you still ask someone walking down the street what Linux is, 75% of the people won't be able to give you an answer.

    Visually, Linux has a number of issues, however the most important in this case is there is nothing to visually distinguish itself from other Windows like interfaces. It's the beige box of the computer case world.

    Usefulness is where Linux has had a lot of progress and is why it has the popularity in the IT world that it does. However most of the usefulness is on the server side of things - cheap quick way of setting up www, network security, and file sharing. The desktop productivity applications - key to getting Linux on the desktop - have a ways to go before they are comparable feature and ease of use wise to their Windows and Mac counterparts.

    The concept of Free has yet to add any value to the Open-Source world, and beyond that the fact you can get Linux for free (no cost) leads to the point in this article [mit.edu] makes that money conveys value. We can go back to your car example to make this point - What will the consumer think is better, the $9000 Kia or the $13,000 Toyota? At least here the Kia has some value, Linux with no cost, is the car on the side of the road with a B/O (best offer) sign in the window, who knows what your going to get?

    Of course we have gotten off topic at this point, however the key to getting on track with Linux on the desktop, and the point of most of the comments, is to present a GUI that is innovative, easy to use, and that doesn't look like anything else. Doing this will bring brand recognition, and add value to Linux.

  • by toogreen (632329) on Sunday April 04, 2004 @12:20PM (#8761821)
    I've gave myself XPDE a try for fun and honestly I really cannot see why this could be in any way positive to mass migration to Linux... Sure it is fun to see how similar to windows it looks and playing around with it for a day and show it to your friends for entertainment sure is amusing...

    But let's face it... A new Linux user that has no clue about the power and advantages of Linux over Windows will just very quickly jump to the conclusion that "Linux sucks"! Why? Isn't it obvious? For example, one of the greatest things that Linux GUIs have to offer over windows is the virtual desktops. XPDE just dig deep down this feature by trying to "look" like Windows... So too bad cuz I think virtual desktops are a major feature that can help convince people the benefits of Linux (Personnaly that's one of the things I found most frustrating when I have to use Windows now, the whole windows all stuck in the same desktop, eww, awful!).. Anyways, that's just an example...

    The main problem with this sort of GUI is that new users will try it, quickly find out that yes it's similar to Windows, but they cannot do half of what they can do under Windows. So they think "What's the point of using Linux? Windows looks just the same and I can do much, much more with it... Why would I switch to Linux? I tried it, I cannot see what more Linux can offer to me at all..."

    To me XPDE is just bad news for Linux... The cool things about Linux are actually the differences, the choices, Gnome, KDE, Windowmaker, Enlightenment... Everybody has their favorite and that's what makes Linux fun and interesting! Personnaly I chose Gnome cuz it allows me to have the best of all worlds all-in-one... The virtual desktops, the windows style start menu, its intuitive drag-n-drop interface and last but not least the Mac OS 7-8-9 style "finder" ("Window Menu" in Gnome). I think that's a shame they dropped that feature in Mac OS X as I find it much more convienent than "Expose", which, imho, is sort of just a slow, eye-candy gadget that doesn'T really save that much time after all... I'm not a mac user but I do use macs sometimes and when I tried OS X although I thought its pretty nice I really missed the finder feature... it made it quite fast to find an "hiding" app..

    Anyways, I think Linux has LOTS more to offer than Windows and it's not by hiding its power and differences under a limited copy of a Windows interface that we'll get new users to switch to Linux at all... There are a LOT of people that switch from Windows to Mac, and is it because the Mac looks like windows?? No, it is rather the opposite, it's more because of a totaly different and fresh approach that people just end up being seduced by after playing around with it! That's why I chose Linux anyway, because I just got seduced by its power and its differences, not because I felt like "I'm at home", in a stripped-down, lame copy of Windows!!

    Alright, that was just my 2 cents...
  • by tverbeek (457094) on Sunday April 04, 2004 @12:25PM (#8761842) Homepage
    True. A significant minority of computer users learn to operate them by rote. They start with cheat sheets written by friends or coworkers telling them to "click Start, click Programs, click Microsoft Office..." Give them a different machine (even one with the same core OS but different configuration) and they're lost. They hate that, and they blame the computer.

    Power users can suffer from a similar problem. They might know their OS and apps well enough to operate them blindfolded, and have tweaked them to ultimate efficency. So if the menus are different, or the keyboard shortcuts changed (or worse, not available), then the OS "doesn't work". When I (a DOS/Win user) was required to get familiar with Mac System 6 many years ago, the inability to access pulldown menus with the keyboard led me to dismiss it as deficient. When I started experimenting with Linux, I muttered some very unkind words when I couldn't find anything comparable to AUTOEXEC.BAT (DOS), the Startup submenu (Windows), or Startup Items folder (Mac) folders (just an arcane init system in /etc/rc.d/). When OS X came along (finally fixing the "broken" pulldown menus) I was frustrated that none of the new window-control buttons equated to Maximize. Now, I've mostly gotten past this stuff, by simply accepting that the different OSes I use behave differently, and that I have to give up some reflex-based efficency for versatility. But the obstacle to acceptance was still there; I just got over it.

  • We shouldn't be so hard on ourselves. Look at the grandparent post's wording again. He was impressed by Mandrake, not disappointed. From what it sounds like to me, his problem had nothing to do with usability, but rather everything to do with driver support, which is completely understandable. What we need for him to be able to try it again is to make sure that the next release of Linux that has tries addresses these issues. That means we need hardware manufacturers to throw us a bone.

    1) Don't you think most of us have already gotten this part?

    2) Who's fighting except for a bunch of immature teenagers?

    3) What have we been doing over the last few years if not this?

    This is all my own personal view of what has been happening with companies like Mandrake, SuSe, Lindows, etc. from the last few years. We're going to continue to have some problems as long as hardware manufacturers, and some software developers (notably Adobe), refuse to help us out. For now, I believe those are our two biggest problems.
  • I want to use Linux (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Brad1138 (590148) <brad1138@yahoo.com> on Sunday April 04, 2004 @06:05PM (#8763891)
    I have installed Linux 2-3 times over the last few years (Mandrake 7.?/RedHat 6.2/RedHat 8.2). I really want to be able to use it and leave MS altogether.

    It usually stays on my comp. (dual boot) until the boot manager crashes or something then I reinstall Windows and decide to try again in another year.

    Reading these posts I am thinking maybe I'll try it again. I wanted to see Wine's support list to see if I could run my fav. games. Looking up "Diablo 2", yes it's there, great! A little lower on that page, a help listing, "In case that something's wrong with the screen size , that's due to the default depth , just vim /etc/X11/XF86Config and switch from 16-24 and vice versa" ......HUH?...... I am sure that makes a lot of sense to a Linux expert but you will NEVER get the casual user to learn it well enough to understand what the hell that meant.

    I am the local computer expert in my circle of friends/family/work but that part of Linux gives me a headache. Guess I'll wait another year.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 04, 2004 @08:16PM (#8764696)
    I have been a windows user for quite some time. I have toyed with different versions of linux for quite some time (at least four of them over several years).

    The point I would like to make is that I like Windows and Linux symbiotically. I like Windows because it's easy: I can install software with a double click, I can troubleshoot my system very easily and effortlessly, and the interface is straightforward. Linux (well, actually I use FreeBSD) represents the other half of the spectrum: I have trouble installing software (although that is beginning to change), I have no clue how to troubleshoot, and the interface for maintaining my computer is all commandline. Despite all of that, I really like it: it's stable, it does what I ask it to, and it's very cheap (i.e. free). But as I have said before, the reason I can appreciate both is by using both.

    Windows has plently of games, all the games I could ever ask for. I will keep a Windows computer until games are made for *nix systems.

    Windows supports my music software http://www.buzzmachines.com - I can't install this on *nix. Wine doesn't help either.

    *nix is optimized for older computers. I can't just expect XP to run on my pentium 100, but I can install flavors of *nix that will work perfectly (FreeBSD, for instance).

    *nix requires a higher technical proficiency, basically making every experienced user a hacker. A nice little benefit. I want to be a hacker.

    My point is that it's symbiotic. Both sides offer me something I want, and both sides make me really appreciate the other.

    The end.
  • by Angry Pixie (673895) on Sunday April 04, 2004 @08:52PM (#8764854) Journal
    Might be a good transitional tool for Windows users looking not wanting to give up their eye-candy interface initially.
    I'm not sure that's the salient issue. Windows user who are savvy to Linux know about the great eye candy that is available for Linux. Frankly, if it came down to eye candy, projects like Enlightenment offer no advantage over ObjectDesktop [stardock.com], WindowsBlinds [stardock.com], and StyleXP [tgtsoft.com]. And so far, Microsoft's ClearType [microsoft.com] anti-aliasing technology is subjectively better than anything I've seen on MacOS or Linux. Note, this is an admittedly subjective evaluation. I found a Q&A [grc.com] that speaks to the technical quality of ClearType that is beyond my comprehension. The fact is, my eyes have never been happier! I work heavily with numbers and text. Show me how to anti-alias old Linux apps like xv and rxvt, and I'm yours!

    As a longtime Windows user who does appreciate Linux, what keeps me from making the switch are three common issues that I and the thousands of Linux advocates and zealots still haven't resolved:

    1. I, like most Windows users, spend a lot on Windows software. Windows software typically costs about $40-80 online or in stores. That's quite an investment. In order to let go of Windows I would have to write off my investment in software as a sunk cost. But what if I want to keep using that software? What do I do, toss it out? Maybe I should sell it all off on eBay? This is why Linux is an easier sell to first time computer users; there isn't an established dependency. There is a good amount of good software that doesn't run on WINE or any of the WINE spinoffs. Testing to see if my apps will work under Linux can require that I pay good money for Win4Lin or VMWare. WINEX is a gamble since I have to pay before I can try it out, and according to the site, none of what I run works!

    2. I like my a Windows apps. I don't abandon my apps just because there's a new operating system in town. I still use a few DOS and Windows 3.1 apps. I also have MacOS and Amiga apps sitting around. Why should I abandon my favorite apps like MS Office XP or The Sims (I've bought all the expansions) just because there are shiny new alternatives available on Linux? At the end of the day, I bought my computer in order to compute, not so that I can fight a revolution. Being a Stallmanista is kinda cool too, but I want to use what I want to use... ultimately isn't Linux and open-source about freedom of choice?

    3. I need to use specialized proprietary applications like SPSS, and I happen to use some hardware that isn't support under anything but Windows. For some apps, I just can't use an alternative. And for the hardware, I'm not talking about winmodems, I''m talking about video capture devices and software that rely on the current DirectX and DirectShow. It doesn't matter whether an alternative exists, I won't use it for reasons other than stubborness.

    So far, the only solution has been dual-booting, which has its own problems, and purchasing a second computer.

How many NASA managers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? "That's a known problem... don't worry about it."

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