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LinuxWorld Response to 'How to Kill Linux' 511

Posted by Zonk
from the them's-fightin'-words dept.
aneroid writes "In response to John Dvorak's "How to Kill Linux" column, LinuxWorld has a riposte to the columnist's assertations. From the article: "Because most of the time, with mainstream devices, I work out of the box. For the "savvy user" and OEM builder, the Linux driver "problem" isn't the problem it was. The days when my poor user had to sweat blood to get me onto a laptop are long gone. Sure, if I get slung onto some random old machine there are still wrinkles, but from what I see on the Windows support forums, that's hardly unique." <update> The story is actually from GrokLaw originally - credit where credit is due.
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LinuxWorld Response to 'How to Kill Linux'

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  • by grumpygrodyguy (603716) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @05:55PM (#11796704)
    The days when my poor user had to sweat blood to get me onto a laptop are long gone.

    The days may be long gone, but they haunt my memories and have me running XP.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I geuss you forget the days of windows 95/98/ME?
    • by Bazman (4849) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @06:09PM (#11796851) Journal
      The days when my poor user had to sweat blood to get me onto a laptop are long gone.


      Linux on laptops has improved. You can get a basic install working on a modern laptop, but getting all the things windows users take for granted can take work. Lots of work, including installing kernel patches and patches to those patches. You also frequently have to sacrifice goats to get certain features working.

      The worst offenders are (in no order of importance or difficulty): suspend (to disk or ram), accelerated 3d graphics, DVD playing, battery life monitoring (and general ACPI stuff), wireless networking, bluetooth, power-saving features (like CPU throttling) and making them extra buttons do things.

      We buy laptops for new students each year and stick linux on them, and it generally takes us a couple of weeks to iron out all the kinks, and sometimes we dont bother. If anyone knows a UK supplier of laptops with Linux pre-installed that do all the above things out of the box, let me know, I might want a dozen in October.

      Baz
      • by turgid (580780) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @06:53PM (#11797274) Journal
        ...but pretty soon Solais 10 is going to be a big competitor to Linux on laptops, especially the 64-bit AMD ones.

        It already works pretty well on the Acer Ferrari 3000 series. Most stuff "just works" (wifi, USB, firewire, card reader, dvd writer etc.) and JDS is a fairly tolerable desktop if you can put up with Sun's pointy-haired decision to replace a lot of the native GNOME applets with (inferior) ones written in Java.

        I think they are working on refining power management now.

          1. ...but pretty soon Solais 10 is going to be a big competitor to Linux on laptops, especially the 64-bit AMD ones.

          I just installed Solaris 10 on an Enterprise 450 (from scratch not an upgrade) and it's about as barebones and hostile as 9 or 8. The only difference is that Gnome can be chosen for the desktop...though it's not nearly as nice as Fedora let alone Ubuntu. The video also looks horrible.

          It's not a clean and simple configuration either. A Nessus scan of the system shows 9 known security hole

        • So Solaris is going to be a big competitor because it's nearly as good as Linux? How is that?

          If they had got here say five years ago, when Solaris was still dominant in large IT, then I'd believe you. Many developers/admins were forced to Linux laptops and desktops because it's close enough to commercial unix, and they couldn't justify $8k for a decent workstation or the hassle of Solaris i386. But that battle has already been lost; Linux is now the standard, not Solaris.
    • Same here (Score:3, Insightful)

      by melted (227442)
      >> The days may be long gone, but they haunt
      >> my memories and have me running XP.

      ACPI is not ready for realistic laptop use at this point, and all kinds of forums are littered with posts from users who had some major grief from setting it up. I'd predict that 95% of people who attempt to use Linux on their laptops revert to Windows XP/2000 sooner or later.

      Driver support for wifi is kinda there (with ndiswrapper), but setting it up is _well_ beyond the capabilities of a Linux newbie, especiall
      • I really can't figure out why someone can't set up a GUI config for ndiswrapper. It's not exactly rocket science. As long as you have the NT driver disk with the .sys and .inf file, it's pretty darn easy to set up.
    • But there are many, which have cleared up their mind. Just a few days ago TuxMobil has announced the 3.000th Linux laptop and notebook installation report [tuxmobil.org].
    • Those days are long gone , my primary x86 laptop( Gericom , not well known outside germany ) runs debian unstable, after a quick ftp install all i have to do is type "apt-get install acpid" it really couldnt be easier , well infact it could and can be.
      Simply use suse 9.2 , it fully recognised my laptop and configured it perfectly .
      also iirc it has predefined configs for hundreds of laptops
    • The days may be long gone, but they haunt my memories and have me running XP.

      To each their own. I've run Fedora Core 1 on a work laptop. I then, just for giggles, moved to SuSE 9.2 to check that out. Everything seems to do well with the exception of some dodgey support for LEAP - Cisco needs to give their Linux client some attention. Having said that, my WinXP-only coworkers tend to have their problems with our WAPs too... so I'm not so concerned about losing productivity over the occasional hiccups.

  • And even better... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ZiZ (564727) * on Sunday February 27, 2005 @05:57PM (#11796723) Homepage
    Linux doesn't do things for no reason. If something changed, it's because YOU changed it, not because Windows suddenly decided that, on this hour's autodetection, it would corrupt your IDE drivers.
    • by agraupe (769778)
      I dunno... I'm a linux supporter, but I can honestly say that I've had linux act like this at times. Sometimes audio on flash movies will play, sometimes it won't. It usually requires only a reboot, but it still shouldn't need to. But it's significantly less of a problem than corrupted IDE drivers, especially considering it could (and probably is) the flash player's fault.
      • If it "probably is the flash player's fault," don't go blaming it on Linux.

        rebuttle to the windows fanboys: If it's Internet Explorer's fault, it is Window's fault, becasue Internet Explorer is Windows.

        • It's almost certainly the fault of Linux, which has no unified or reliable software mixing solution. Efforts are being made, I think FC4 and Ubuntu Hoary have (different) solutions in place for this. But we'll be plagued by this problem for a long time - really until somebody implements a kmixer.
      • by theLOUDroom (556455) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @07:49PM (#11797755)
        I dunno... I'm a linux supporter, but I can honestly say that I've had linux act like this at times. Sometimes audio on flash movies will play, sometimes it won't.

        Sounds like a problem with flash, not Linux.

        It usually requires only a reboot, but it still shouldn't need to.

        Linux isn't windows and you shouldn't be rebooting for this. Whatever is crashing on you system can most likely be restarted with a one line console command.

        But it's significantly less of a problem than corrupted IDE drivers, especially considering it could (and probably is) the flash player's fault.

        Yep. If ALL your sound quit working, you might have a sound driver issue, but it sounds like you have an issue with crappy, probably closed-source flash software... part of the reason I don't have flash installed.
    • Linux doesn't do things for no reason. If something changed, it's because YOU changed it, not because Windows suddenly decided that, on this hour's autodetection, it would corrupt your IDE drivers.

      This is no joke, even in XP. I run DeepFreeze on a computer where I work. (If you're not familiar with DF, it is essentially a lock on the HD that prevents people from changing anything. You can reformat the harddrive, but when you reboot, everything will be back to the way it was, it's great.)

      Anyhoo, last W
  • Drivers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Timesprout (579035) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @06:02PM (#11796771)
    are not the problem they were, but they are still a problem and are severe enough to put a lot of people off. That said driver issues will never be the death of Linux. Dvorak was talking complete horse pucky there.
  • Right (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dedazo (737510) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @06:02PM (#11796773) Journal
    For the "savvy user" and OEM builder, the Linux driver "problem" isn't the problem it was.

    Because we all know that the majority of computer users are "savvy".

    I can attest to that actually - these "You visit illegal websites" messages that SpamAssasin has been dumping to the rate of ~50 an hour since last week must be coming into my Linux mail server from an alien civilization, not from stupid people that open ZIP attachements in messages written in bad engrish and then run the executables inside.

    Quite a riposte. Not that I thought the original "how to kill Linux" column was particularly insightful, in fact it was down right dumb. Microsoft can no more kill Linux than Sun or anyone else. But c'mon. Why legitimize it with this?

  • by Neo-Rio-101 (700494) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @06:03PM (#11796778)
    While I think the issue of drivers is an important one, WHY must some people even give credence to Dvorak's heated columns - knowing full well that he always writes something sensational and occasionally ridiculous - simply to work the ad banners on his site.
  • by antifoidulus (807088) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @06:03PM (#11796779) Homepage Journal
    This is the man that a year ago predicted that in 6 months, not only would OS X run on x86, Apple would produce a dual PPC/x86 computer to help ease the transistion. He wasn't even remotely right on either of these.
    IE he gets paid a decent amount of money to talk out of his ass, and it's not really even worth thinking about a response to the drivel that spews from his (mouth/pen/keyboard?)
  • by Mark19960 (539856) <Mark@freeq[ ]t.net ['ues' in gap]> on Sunday February 27, 2005 @06:04PM (#11796793) Homepage Journal
    here is a link [groklaw.net] to the groklaw story
  • Kill? Linux? How? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cubase_dag (827101) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @06:05PM (#11796800) Homepage
    How Can you kill a movement with thousands of members worldwide?
    Dvorak thinks that just because of a lack of drivers for some hardware, that people are just going to get frustrated and leave? I have just as much trouble, if not more, finding drivers for some of my hardware for windows.

    If anything we should just Kill Bill http://www.splitreason.com/productdetail.php?id=16 4 [splitreason.com]
  • Personal experience (Score:2, Informative)

    by ilyagordon (822695)
    This is nonsense. A friend of mine with a relatively new Dell machine wanted to install Linux. Fedora Core 3 did not recognize their mass-produced Dell-standard soundcard. Mandrake would not run without crashing every several minutes for absolutely no reason. Now, you may say that my suggestions for distributions may not have been very well researched, but these are two of the most popular personal desktop Linux distributions, and neither worked properly after a fresh installation. That's at least one famil
    • I know others who have given up on installing Linux because of that one piece of hardware that they just couldn't figure out how to work with any distro. Linux will not "be there" until there are one or two distributions on which ALL common off-the-shelf components install correctly the first time, or perhaps with another RPM install. No "./configure; make; make install", no tweaking text files, etc. Even when the drivers are there, the distros frequently aren't providing the updates quickly enough.
      • Linux will not be there (by your definition) until OEM's build systems that will run Linux and are tested on Linux just like they do with Windows.
        • Linux will not be there (by your definition) until OEM's build systems that will run Linux and are tested on Linux just like they do with Windows.

          Perhaps - or when Linux software companies start picking up the slack for them and putting much more effort into maintaining third-party drivers for the hardware in every major manufacturer's machines.

          It's unfortunate, yes, but to expect Linux to catch on as a mainstream OS when it only can correctly install 85% of your hardware correctly 85% of the time witho
    • by dbIII (701233) on Monday February 28, 2005 @12:34AM (#11799915)
      A friend of mine with a relatively new Dell machine wanted to install Linux. Fedora Core 3 did not recognize their mass-produced Dell-standard soundcard.
      The problem is you have to work out what hardware is inside the Dell cheapest bits of the week box - because there will be difference between it and other Dells produced at other dates. Dell have gone to the trouble to find all the drivers and install it for you, since XP cannot be expected to identify hardware produced after it was written, and may need help to install the drivers for other things. Fedora was written more recently, but may need some help to install the correct drivers. The basic thing with any operating system is to know what your hardware is, and while most of us just try an install and see if it works, that is not the right way to go about things. We cannot say that any operating system is "not there yet" if we don't tell it what it has to do during installation - we should do the installation properly before we complain. Just trying another distro is not the way to solve the problem - know what you want it to do (eg. finding out what the sound card is) is the way to solve the problem.

      It's not really all that complicated, so just seeing if things work is not the way to go about it. If there was only one type of Dell machine it would make it very easy to write the installation software for XP or linux - but you never know exactly what Dell has put in their boxes this week until you go to the trouble of reading the paperwork or looking inside the box.

  • and the attitute (Score:4, Insightful)

    by page275 (862917) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @06:06PM (#11796812)

    "Let me spell it out for you: I get used because I'm open, trusted, free and reliable"

    Are all us, Linux users, like that? My guess is "no", even my hope is "yes"

  • by Krankheit (830769) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @06:06PM (#11796816)
    It is good that LinuxWorld has dismissed Dvorak's FUD. Dvorak is more of a source of entertainment than real insight. I remember Dvorak ranting about the "System Idle Process" in the Windows task manager "eating" 98% CPU. If we want his FUD to stop, we need to stop paying attention to him and editors of Slashdot and others need to stop articles linking to his BS.
    • by Jussi K. Kojootti (646145) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @06:58PM (#11797316)
      This sounded so wierd that I had to google for it, and no shit:
      John C. Dvorak:

      "IDLE-TIME PROCESS. Once in a while the system will go into an idle mode, requiring from five minutes to half an hour to unwind. It's weird, and I almost always have to reboot. When I hit Ctrl-Alt-Delete, I see that the System Idle Process is hogging all the resources and chewing up 95 percent of the processor's cycles. Doing what? Doing nothing? Once in a while, after you've clicked all over the screen trying to get the system to do something other than idle, all your clicks suddenly ignite and the screen goes crazy with activity. This is not right." (link [pcmag.com])
      The dreaded resource-hogging Idle process... I hope my computer never catches that.
  • by fishlet (93611) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @06:07PM (#11796827)
    ...from those in the linux community who already insist everthings perfect. ...from the myriad developers who wanna do it 'their way' rather than supporting a existing project ...from all those who are so focused on making Linux 'like windows'... without thinking about making it BETTER than windows. ...from all the elitist snobs who's answers to newbie questions is RTFA. ...from all the newgroups you have to subscribe to even ask a question, for project leaders that are to lazy to set up a modern communication portal. ...for all those distro's you still have to manually tell when you've inserted a CD into the drive ... those vi and emacs preaching freaks (sorry couldn't resist :-) Yes they are fine if you like them but don't push them on the rest of us.

    You get the idea...
    • I have to agree with this.

      I think the kernel config as a whole needs a major revamp, or at least some of the things should be reworded and such. I've avoided the 2.6 kernel and use 2.4 because make menuconfig (yes, there's a plain text file too) because its too bloody confusing.

      Before the X.org project, people complained 'X was slow' ... and it has nothing to do with X protocol, its fine, blah, blah, blah. Whatever has been done with X.org makes X a lot faster now. I don't care of the technical details. W
      • I've avoided the 2.6 kernel and use 2.4 because make menuconfig (yes, there's a plain text file too) because its too bloody confusing.
        I find the 2.6 menuconfig alot better than the one for 2.4. Maybe you are just used to the 2.4 way?
        Whatever has been done with X.org makes X a lot faster now.
        Might be Xdamage and friends.
        I think binary, closed source drivers should be allowed into the main kernel.
        Will not happen (impossible license-wise).
        Maybe it would make installing the ATI drivers and Nvidia drive
  • 100% Correct (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nukem996 (624036) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @06:07PM (#11796828)
    Driver support on Linux is fine. I have always bought bleeding edge hardware I only run Linux and everything works fine. The last time I had a problem was when I bought my IBM Thinkpad T40, only the wireless card wasnt support, which wasnt even a problem for me since I didnt have a wireless router. It is now fully supported by an open source driver(ipw2100). I fix computers as a part time job and I run into driver hell more often on win then any other os. The other day I was updating a win xp computer and it said the ATI drivers had to be updated, so I let windows update update them. A few min later I could only get 4bit color. I had to uninstall the driver from windows update and revert to the old one. Going to ATI.com and downloading the offical driver said that I was getting a driver for the wrong graphics card. Even if a peice of hardware is reconized on win you have to track down the driver and many times if you lost the cd your screwed.
  • The article is released under CC license, written by A. Linux Kernel.

    So if A. Linux Kernel doesn't want to marry A. Windows Kernel, it won't. A. Linux Kernel has much more open mind than any Mr. Kernel I've met and I believe A. Windows Kernel would go red on some of his details, if they got out.
  • by JPriest (547211) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @06:10PM (#11796855) Homepage
    The point of the article was that you can run Linux as a layer on windows for drivers. The problem is that MS is not going to "kill Linux" by offering a Linux distro, if anything it would just bring more software and driver support to Linux. No to mention issues of cost, OSS, and people moving to Linux to get rid of MS in the first place.
    The article was just so retarded on so many levels it should have never been posted to slashot in the first place.
    Microsoft could probably write an OS that would give Linux a run for its money, but if they did then who would upgrade to the next version of Windows?
    Why are so many technical writers and journalists so fucking stupid?
  • Yes and No (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hauer (569977) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @06:12PM (#11796887)
    I have been using Linux for many, many years, I am really not the one who needs to be converted. But I have to admit that just this weekend I spent I dunno how many ours with kernel-recompiles and trying every possible settings, drivers to get MIDI working on my box. And I failed.

    On my Windows XP I fired up the utility which came with the driver and hit "Test MIDI" and there it was, out of the box.

    Thus while it might be true that the for most of the people and for the most generic cases the driver hell is hopefully gone, there is quite a bit left to go until hardware manufacturers ship drivers which work out of the box just as easily as for Windows.
  • by Thomas_C_Kelly (648793) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @06:13PM (#11796892) Homepage
    How to Kill John Dvorak's career ~ stop reading his articles.
  • Wireless on Windows? (Score:4, Informative)

    by ca1v1n (135902) <.moc.cinortonaug. .ta. .koons.> on Sunday February 27, 2005 @06:21PM (#11796963)
    Has anyone tried making wireless work on *Windows* lately? Sometimes it works out of the box. Usually, on the same machine even, with high-quality hardware and complete driver support, it fails inexplicably, or worse, the error message report conditions inconsistent with observed behavior. Wireless on Linux may be a pain, but at least it's deterministic.
    • I bought an ultra-cheap 802.11g card off eBay a month ago, and it works fine in Windows XP using the drivers provided on the accompanying CD and had no problems connecting to my WLAN. I didn't think to check that it was supported by FreeBSD, and it turned out not to be. Project Evil (the FreeBSD NDIS driver wrapper), however, allows me to use the same drivers there as well (not quite as functional as native ones, but perfectly usable). No problems on either OS (although neither was as easy to configure a
  • by rxmd (205533) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @06:22PM (#11796970) Homepage
    Sure, if I get slung onto some random old machine there are still wrinkles, but from what I see on the Windows support forums, that's hardly unique.
    My experience is exactly the other way round. With older hardware, the chance that it's still supported under Linux is much better than under recent Windows versions. With new hardware, problems have been much more frequent. There's a reason why people choose Linux instead of Windows for older boxen.

    With newer hardware, I think there's a future for driver wrapper projects. Look at FreeBSD's NDIS driver wrapper (aka "Project Evil"): that way, FreeBSD can use Windows network card drivers out of the box, it's convenient, and it's even reasonably fast.
  • by Ki Master George (768244) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @06:23PM (#11796984)

    The whole point of the article is that Windows has more drivers than Linux has, so if Linux was to get support for Windows drivers, everybody would use Linux. Right? Wrong (of course)! Why?

    The programs you are used to on Windows don't run (or don't look as good, and don't run flawlessly) on Linux. Wine is great, but Microsoft is starting to attack Wine, as Slashdot has recently pointed out. Until all programs are being built for Windows, Mac, and Linux, it is no easier to use Linux.

    Even if people aren't that attached to Windows programs, many Linux programs look very different and are much harder to use than Windows equivalents. The only programs that are up to or almost up to Windows's level of ease is Firefox (compared to IE, not AOL or MSN), Thunderbird, and, just barely, OpenOffice.org. Mainly this is because, again, everybody's used to Windows.

    Most people don't know what drivers are, and they shouldn't have to, as Paul Graham has said before! They just expect to plug-and-play. They won't pay for Windows drivers on Linux, because the significance of drivers isn't apparent to them.

    Finally, the reason more people write drivers for Windows is because more people use Windows. If more people use Linux, more drivers for Linux will soon follow. Drivers are not the cause, they are the effect.

    • Ok. First I have to say that application compatibility is a major reason why many of my custoemrs are stuck on Windows. So you have a point. But you have overstated it.

      We don't need every Windows Program to be compiled on OS X and Linux. What we need is a complete set of programs for every vertical market. We already have a reasonably complete set of productivity tools. Now, it is the vertical software market that needs help.

      My business helps many businesses use Linux. In some cases, some businesse
    • Even if people aren't that attached to Windows programs, many Linux programs look very different and are much harder to use than Windows equivalents.

      And many Windows programs look very different and are much harder to use than Linux equivalents. The point is: both platforms have crappy software. In fact, there is probably a lot more crappy software on Windows than on Linux.

      What matters is whether you can get enough non-crappy software on Linux to get your work done, and you most certainly can. And, un
  • by SendBot (29932) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @06:33PM (#11797067) Homepage Journal
    From my own experience, I can attest to two separate windows driver nightmare situations.

    The first is more of an annoyance than a nightmare. The place where I work has been buying new dell machines of various models. A fresh installation from the Windows SP2 cd it comes with does not have any drivers for the intel based network, video, and a couple other misc devices. I think the sound chipset is something else, and it doesn't support that either.

    Fortunately, dell packs a separate cd with drivers on it, and it refuses to run on non dell machines if you have the same hardware and are stuck in that situation. Plus, if you dig hard enough you can probably find drivers on the internet.

    I'd like to point out that in this situation, the mega trio of Dell, Intel, and Microsoft cannot provide a system that installs an OS off the cd and has working video/sound/network. Pretty lame.

    The second situation involves a coworker's recent purchase of a sony vaio that is rife with severe annoyances. For instance, if you uninstall norton internet security before it expires and nags you to death, your entire network subsystem eats shit and refuses to do anything. That was fun.

    But more relevant to this topic, windows has practically no builtin driver support for it, and it doesn't even come with any drivers on cd! They expect you to make a 10 cd backup (or 2 dvd's and one cd) so that you can restore your system if necessary. If you ask sony support for drivers, they direct you to purchase a cd (set?) that may solve the issue for $12. Absolutely no option to download drivers.

    I'm not entirely sure, but I think the sound won't even work properly unless you have some magic sony-blessed drm drivers.

    In both of these cases, knoppix and gentoo boot fine and support all of the devices (except maybe the vaio's wireless.. I didn't try).

    ps. don't buy sony laptops, they are crippled with drm services and shitware.
  • where is the data ? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by cinnamon colbert (732724) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @06:36PM (#11797093) Journal
    100s of /. posts, and not one saying, heres a web site lists 800 devices, cf the # with linux and the # with MS drivers... I can only assume that part of the core of the argument - that windows is better becuase it has drivers for stupid people like me (by the way what is a driver and why do i need them ...) Lotta snide, sarcastic, know it all responses, but very little int eh way of documentatin on what % of new devices are ok with linux, as opposed to MS.
  • L vs. W (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 27, 2005 @06:40PM (#11797131)
    I think they're both at the point that people prefer them for a specific philosophy more than one being 'better' than another. I think if you really got down to it and pushed, each side would have to admit that the other side got some things right.

    The thing is that in a few years, the technology is going to be to the point that both systems can do everything that the other system can.

    I manage 300 + Windows 2003 servers, and I don't have any crashing issues at all unless hardware actually fails. So the BSOD thing doesn't hold any water anymore because current Windows operating systems are fairly stable. The downside is you have to reboot for patches and stuff - which is something I think Linux should promote as a big upside that I don't see much. I care more about that than I do about the BSOD arguments for Windows 98.

    I think at this point one of the only real things I see as a drawback for Linux is that in a lot of ways it isn't one operating system. When I do get an error on something, I can't usually put in 'Linux' and the error (like I can with Windows) - because each specific build is like its own operating system. The setup of SuSE, Debian, Gentoo, etc is different enough that they're almost different operating systems from a support standpoint.

    I also think that Novell has realized that a big thing that Windows has going for it is you can go to one vendor and get a complete enterprise system that works, is supported, has a directory management system, email, etc. They're on their way to making that a reality.

    In short - they both have benefits, but I think THE benefit that I see is that as long as they both provide competition, it benefits the end user. I think most of us don't WANT to see either Linux or Windows dominate, because it would slow advancement - or at least to have 2+ systems as serious contenders (can Apple get there?).

    So many arguments you could make, but it is all relative. Maybe Einstein had something there ;)
  • Wrong (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Cereal Box (4286) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @06:47PM (#11797203)
    Because most of the time, with mainstream devices, I work out of the box.

    That's because you're either working with fairly generic devices (i.e., disk drives, ethernet cards), or of the more "exotic" devices, you're specifically buying the ones you KNOW have proper driver support.

    When you expand your scope of hardware to include things like multi-function printers, webcams, wireless ethernet cards, USB video digitizer boxes, etc. your chances of success are greatly reduced.

    To put it another way: if you were to be handed some random piece of hardware from a Best Buy store, you still don't have the utmost confidence that it'll work "out of the box" because there's lots of hardware in retail stores that either doesn't have a Linux driver or at best requires a long, convoluted install process in order to get reduced functionality (i.e., your multi-function printer can now print, albeit at a lower resolution and the scanner functionality doesn't work).

    By contrast, at least you know with Windows that that random piece of hardware should at least in theory work with Windows since there was obviously a Windows driver written for it.

    Linux, in my opinion, still doesn't win this challenge.
    • You're off topic (Score:3, Insightful)

      by haraldm (643017)
      or of the more "exotic" devices, you're specifically buying the ones you KNOW have proper driver support.
      Good morning! Nice you're woken up as well. Yes sure, if I need some piece of hardware I tend to pay attention that this hardware has Linux driver support. Would anybody seriously buy a piece of hardware for Windows that doesn't have Windows drivers?

      Duh.

  • Misses the mark (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jvalenzu (96614) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @07:34PM (#11797632) Homepage
    Drivers are only an issue for the desktop market, where GNU/Linux can't be killed - because it's been stillborn. There isn't any Linux market to kill. Support for high volume, low quality hardware is less important for the server and embedded market, which are the only ones with a significant Linux presence.
  • by theantix (466036) on Monday February 28, 2005 @12:29AM (#11799883) Journal
    Dvork had a point, but he vastly overstated it. But consider the case of binary drivers like ATI/NVIDA, and the ndiswrapper and captiventfs drivers mentioned in the article. How many of us can use an open source ATI or NVIDIA driver for 3d graphics? How many wireless cards work without ndiswrapper? And of course the open source ntfs is still read only to my knowledge.

    The open source equivilents of thse projects are not dead, but they are moving significantly slower than other projects that have no binary equivilent. Users are not forced to write their own drivers to get hardware compatiblity and people live with the non-free alternatives.

    What Dvorak is suggesting is that if such binary driver equivilents existed for other forms of Linux drivers, development on open source equivilents would slow down. Well, he said it would die which is of course not true, but still his trollery had a hint of truth to it. Esoteric hardware would likely never have native drivers written for it, just as most wireless-G cards do not today.

    It would most certainly hurt Linux for this to happen, but at the same time it would help in other ways. Increased support for esoteric hardware would have a lot of benefits for Linux too, and people could still write native drivers for more common hardware. It is hard to say if there would be a net benefit or not under what Dvorak proposes. Either way it's utter bullshit because Microsoft would never do this. Oh well.
  • Don't agree... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Domini (103836) <lailoken@gmail.com> on Monday February 28, 2005 @05:43AM (#11801088) Journal
    Drivers under Linux suck (compared to windows). Sure they are great... if you know how to manually tweak module settings. And I do... but I don't care to. I just want to do the basics... you know, like BOOTING and such.

    People here are talking about the random old piece of hardware not supported, but I'm having trouble with my standard DELL Inspiron 9100/XPS laptop. So much so that both the latest 3.7 Knoppix and MandrakeMove did not want to even boot up on this! Even Windows worked without any funky drivers!

    I still use Linux, mostly because of the price, but I have to test most configurations thoroughly before I can decide to use it. (Factor this into TCO?) When I hit on a stable combo, I just hope the MOBO does not stop being manufactured for a while at least.

    When Linux runs, I have to admit... it runs well. Still beats windows for server applications hands down. (I've had windows servers crash on me because I right-clicked on the desktop.... but this was because no drivers were installed on it... something I soon and easily fixed.)

    Also when I used to run Debian and upgraded to 'untested' I had some serious problems. I needed to do this because of certain USB support and proper Serial-ATA drivers. (I needed the 2.6 kernel) My machine sorta worked. (Well Quake 3 worked the best ever!) But most things were a pain... my removable 250 Gb external FAT32 USB/firewire drive was a real pain.

    For now, I am still only running Linux on my old AMD K6, Windows XP on my DELL Inspiron and TV media machine (3GHz P4) and OS X on my Mac (Just Love Apple/OSX's user experience... sucks with game availability though). Perhaps Apple (Amiga/C64/etc) had the right idea about locking down the hardware a bit... the variety of chipsets are the greatest cause of frustration for PC (and Linux in particular) users!
  • by pandrijeczko (588093) on Monday February 28, 2005 @06:56AM (#11801227)
    Does someone *really* want to try to convince me that maintaining a Windows PC is easier than maintaining a Linux one?

    One month ago, I rebuilt two PCs for my sister and her kids on Windows 2000. I showed them how to update and run virus checkers, spyware checkers, defrag and cleaning utilities. Each time they run one of these tools, they call me on the phone first and I talk them through what to do.

    However, one month later, both PCs are totally screwed - mainly because the kids play a lot of online games and sit in chatrooms. Both PCs are infested with "XXX Popups" and now cannot connect to the Internet.

    Sure, I run Windows 2000 at home and it runs smoothly without any real problems, provided I take the time to check the PCs on a regular basis. However, the time I spend on Windows 2000 maintenance is probably more than what I spend on my Linux PCs, after I've done all the security updates, scans, etc.

    The fact is that clever Microsoft marketing has convinced Joe Average that Windows is quick and easy to maintain when the reality is that most of the Joe Averages have to rely on friends, relatives, the local PC store and re-installation CDs to keep their PCs working.

    Let's be under no illusion - using Linux requires a degree of PC knowledge and a steep learning curve but Windows is no different by the time you have to start running virus checkers, spyware checkers and applying virtually constant updates.

    If Windows does kill Linux, then it will be as the result of clever Microsoft marketing, not because of drivers.

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