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SuSE 7.3 vs XP 350

rutledjw writes: "This should be good for some flame wars. A story on HPWorld that I read about on NewsForge gives an interesting comparison between XP and Linux. I personally think the story wanders a little and wouldn't call it comprehensive, but it is interesting. It does point out a particular bottleneck in how the 2.4.x kernels handle asynchronous IO. Apparently this is being addressed in the 2.5 kernels..." It actually appears quite low-flame and balanced, and unlike some Linux vs. Windows comparisons, goes into decent detail rather than just glib generalizations.
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SuSE 7.3 vs XP

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  • I stopped using Suse when they kept releasing broken distros- e.g. gnome apps have user-interface issues in 7.2...

    graspee

    • Re:Suse go bad (Score:5, Informative)

      by AgTiger ( 458268 ) on Wednesday February 13, 2002 @09:27AM (#2999460) Homepage
      The 7.2 SuSE Distribution had definite problems. At our company, we kept all of our servers at 7.1, after hearing about and then experiencing problems with upgrades and installs with 7.2.

      Because we waited a bit, and did some tests first, we weren't bitten.

      However, seeing these kind of "not quite ready for prime time" errors ALMOST soured us on SuSE. Almost.

      We concluded that from time to time _every_ distribution is going to have a less than stellar release, and well, that's just life and business. We concluded that we'd follow the same cautious pattern where 7.3 was concerned when it came out.

      When 7.3 was released, we purchased it and did a bit of initial testing. We waited until it was available via rsync from the major mirrors and set up an in-house mirror of the 7.3 tree, and waited a bit longer to allow many more users to install from the ftp sites. Then we waited to see what kind of horror stories about installs/upgrades would show up on the SuSE mailing lists or the usenet news groups. There were very few.

      We upgraded most of our main servers to 7.3, all of our workstations, and so far, everything's been running _really_ nicely.

      Now for the fun part: Using VMWare 3.0 Workstation for Linux, we can run Windows operating systems like Windows 2000 Professional or Windows XP Professional if that's what a project we're working on for a client calls for. We refer to it as "Windows, in Jail", complete with the jokes to "Hi Dad, I'm in Jail" from the Was-Not-Was song. :-)

      For us, it can be SuSE 7.3 and XP at the same time, but we let Linux control the underpinnings.

      Oh: Tip to those wanting to go this route: Use the IDE-SCSI module, and configure your CDRom and DVD-Rom drives as SCSI drives and access them as virtual SCSI devices in Raw mode. This solves the infuriating problem of horridly slow access to the drives under VMWare when accessing drives in raw mode.

    • Re:Suse go bad (Score:3, Interesting)

      by DocSnyder ( 10755 )
      SuSE's success is based on the distribution's quantity, not its quality. A few years ago, my coworkers and I made industrial servers based on
      SuSE.

      Very soon it was quite clear that you can't rely on any release of SuSE's distributions. Good choices in 1998/1999 were 5.3 and 6.2, in between that there was a major libc change (6.0 to 6.1) which messed everything up.

      My nowadays coworkers tried SuSE 6.4 to 7.3, with especially the 7.3 sucking hell. They complained about (GNU/)Linux being slower on a P800 than Windoze on a P100. As I know that in such case something must be wrong, I checked it. After startup, "updatedb" was running, eating plenty of system ressources away from the user's frontend while indexing a 20 GB harddisk. After about 20 minutes ("updatedb" was still running), the user gave up and rebooted into Windoze... After me stopping that job, the box was about as fast as it is on Redmondware.

      Our old file servers still run SuSE (dunno which version), with the system being about in the same state when the box was installed. No matter how easy it could be to upgrade the packages to current versions, nobody dares to risk fscking up a box with inconsistent packages obtained through auto-upgrade.

      Now I'm using Debian and the problems are gone. You can rely on _any_ release, that is, from the stable (Potato) branch and in most cases from testing (Woody). Even the Unstable branch is more consistent than some SuSE distributions I used to play with. Debian is more difficult to install than SuSE, but it is much more easier to maintain if you know what to do.

      People migrating from SuSE to Debian is only bad for SuSE, but people migrating vom SuSE to Windoze is bad for us all.
      • "updatedb" was running, eating plenty of system ressources

        I have an old box that is running an older version of Mandrake Linux. The "logrotate" command runs at odd intervals (frequently during the work day, not in the middle of the night) and the computer is extremely slow when that happens. (I'm looking forward to installing Debian on that computer. I understand Debian, and I've never had a problem with logrotate on Debian anyway.)

        The worst was when the hard drive filled up. The logrotate command was running continuously; the hard drive was rattling nonstop. I discovered that I had files like this:

        auth.log.gz
        auth.log.gz.gz
        auth.log.gz.gz.gz
        [...]
        auth.log.gz.gz.gz.gz.gz.gz.gz.gz.gz.gz.gz.gz.gz
        [...]

        I managed to kill the logrotate process. Then I ran a find command to find all files that had a ".gz" in the name, and delete them. It took over 10 minutes to find and delete them all! There were thousands, many whose filenames were over 80 characters from ".gz.gz.gz.gz..." extensions.

        Once /var/log was clean, I nuked some junk I didn't need, and the computer was decently fast again.

        (Now I understand well why /var should be on its own partition! When /tmp is full, bad things happen. If you only have one partition, when /var is full, /tmp is full... and when you have too many .MP3 files, you can set off an unpleasant chain reaction.)

        steveha
  • better? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by spottedkangaroo ( 451692 ) on Wednesday February 13, 2002 @09:12AM (#2999418) Homepage
    Who cares which one is faster, or better, or more stable. Seriously. I just plain don't like Windows. I dare them to address that. I think I can sum it up: I was typing the other day... a window poped up. Something had happened. I inadvertantly hit enter (since I was already typing) and as a result, still don't know what the message said... Well, that and I lost what I was typing. The irritation factor was a 9.6.

    Cygwin almost works... I use that at work. But it's all slow and icky. I've known for a million years that ext2 is slow, but I like that filesystem a shatload more than some of the faster ones... Mostly, I think that's because I know how it works. I can look it up. ls -l shows me a bit more under linux, ya know?
    • I thought ext2 was pretty fast. How you've known this for such a long time is beyond me, but obviously you know something that I don't.

      And which one is faster, better and more stable seems to count quite a bit. If the tables were turned and Linux cost lots of money but Windows was free, and stability issues and things were solved, I would probably be a Windows user today. What you complained about, some message popping up and you losing all your text, tends to be a stability issue. No?
      • No, I was saying that linux is stable enough, it's fast enough, and windows irritates me to no end.

        I can't really tell which one is faster... and for me, windows crashes a lot, linux stays up forever... I keep hearing that XP is more stable...

        Who really cares was my point. Windows irritates me and I'm happy with linux. *shrug* So I keep reading these blurbs and wondering ... who really cares? Use what ya like.
    • Re:better? (Score:4, Informative)

      by silvaran ( 214334 ) on Wednesday February 13, 2002 @09:24AM (#2999452)
      Microsoft addressed that in Windows 2000 - the dialog must have popped up as a child of the active window. In 2000 and (I believe) ME and anything later, the window will appear in the background, while its title bar and taskbar will flash indicating that there's a new window that needs addressing.

      You'll get the same problem in X apps under Linux - provided the dialogs popup from the active application; other than that you can always adjust your window manager preferences so new popups don't get the keyboard focus.

      I had an identical problem back with Windows NT4; I was typing in ICQ and two dialogs, entirely separate from ICQ, popped up. I incidentally hit the spacebar in the midst of typing and dismissed both of them without reading what they were.

      Essentially, if dialogs are popping up while you're typing, it's probably an interface issue with the application, not with Windows XP. I'm not a GUI wizard or anything, but I prefer text entry fields to validate when you click "OK" as opposed to while you're typing.

      I dislike Windows as much as the next person, but I need it for development. If it wasn't for my job, I'd eliminate it entirely. But putting up with Windows is less grief than going without a job, especially with the current economy.

      Other than that, complaining about intermittent dialogs is just nitpicking, and shouldn't decide your final decision on any OS.
    • Re:better? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by CatherineCornelius ( 543166 ) <tonysidaway@gmail.com> on Wednesday February 13, 2002 @09:26AM (#2999456) Journal
      I think I can sum it up: I was typing the other day... a window poped up. Something had happened. I inadvertantly hit enter (since I was already typing) and as a result, still don't know what the message said... Well, that and I lost what I was typing. The irritation factor was a 9.6.

      This is a serious usability problem in my view, and one that isn't restricted to Windows. With task bars and all manner of other ways to display important information nowadays, there really is no excuse for a GUI system that permits applications to grab focus for a modal dialog whilst the user is typing.

    • Re:better? (Score:3, Funny)

      by iapetus ( 24050 )
      You think that's bad - a friend of mine borrowed his brother's PC to check his e-mail. While he was typing a response, the huge download his brother had been carrying out in the background finished, and IE popped up the dialogue copying the file from its temporary location to the selected download location - of course, this appeared over the telnet session my friend was using, and the next time he hit space the cancel button was pressed, resulting in the whole download being lost (no it wasn't cached - the file was much larger than the maximum cache size). A triumph of good user interface design. :)
    • Not totally sure if it's what you want, but TweakUI (part of XP Powertools) handles something like this.

      In the General->Focus screen there is an option "Prevent applications from stealing focus".

      According to this [microsoft.com], MS has decided to pull them for now though (speculate speculate :)
      You can still get them at the usual places, download.com etc.
  • Can't read the article. That was quick!
    • OK, then we have only the article subject:

      -Everyone who thinks XP is best post on the left.
      -Everyone who thinks Linux suse with patch xxx.xx is just as fast post right.
      -Everyone who thinks DMCA is bad post on an other article. 8)

      By the way, the article loads, but some link on the page fails. just press cancel and the text is there. or disable images and it goes fine

      Don't mod this up(i am already karma capped), just post a good mirror
      ------------

      Home >
      Publications >
      HP World >
      Lab Report
      Volume 5 Issue 2
      Wizards and Windows
      XP and Linux Go Head
      to Head on Two HP OmniBook 6000s

      by Jack Fegreus
      While releasing Windows NT 4.0,
      Redmond's Hexenmeisters were already dreaming of code convergence
      with Win9x. But such black magic often goes beyond what apprentice sorcerers can handle.
      Long, long, long before that
      upstart Harry Potter, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote "Der
      Zauberlehrling," a poem about a sorcerer's apprentice. Just
      over 100 years later, that poem would inspire Paul Dukas to compose
      his tone poem, the "Sorcerer's Apprentice." And some
      50 years after that, Walt Disney, Leopold Stokowski and Mickey
      Mouse would forever immortalize the tale of the hapless student
      of the black arts in Fantasia.
      It's a tale now playing out in
      real life with the release of Windows XP, which for the first
      time extends the reach of Windows NT technology into the consumer
      market via the Home Edition. Like all good Gothic tales, this
      one begins with the protagonist being driven from his home in
      a swirl of deep and murky politics. As the Hexenmeister of DEC
      West walked away from the Prism debacle, he turned his attention to the even bigger mess with OS2 at Microsoft. Once again, the
      wizard worked his magic, and there arose an extraordinary, modern
      IT operating system that evolved into the utterly rock-solid
      Windows 2000.
      Nonetheless, the success and
      extraordinary adoption of Windows NT technology by IT is hardly
      resounding compared to the mass consumer market for games and
      other entertainment. And so the keepers of Windows 9x lusted after the stability of Windows NT just as Goethe's sorcerer's apprentice longed for the power of his teacher.
      The Linux revolution greatly
      exacerbated the Windows 9x problem as the master's thesis project
      of Linus Torvalds turned first into a cult phenomenon and then
      into a successful commercial OS. Now, with open source rising
      up as the business-alliance tsunami of the century, Microsoft
      for the first time in a very long while faces both fundamental technology and business model challenges.
      The Convergence Challenge
      The technical challenges to converging
      Win9x and WinNT were prodigious. Just consider the polar-opposite, fundamental assumptions that underpin both architectures. Win9x
      was designed for just a single hardware architecture: Intel.
      As a result, it was also designed to permit driver developers
      to tweak the underlying hardware right down to the iron. And
      that's just what all those makers of the video, sound and game
      port cards that proliferate in the home computer space did.
      On the other hand, Windows NT
      was born in an IT market that was trying to rationalize an explosion
      in RISC technology that seemed to be racing away from Intel.
      The problem was not how to get down to the iron but, rather,
      how to avoid getting near it. The solution was to create a Hardware
      Abstraction Layer (HAL) that would prevent any software--especially
      drivers--from directly manipulating physical hardware. In this
      way, Windows NT could be easily ported to Alpha, MIPS and PowerPC,
      as well as Intel. It is, therefore, not without some irony that
      Windows XP runs on Intel, while Linux runs on everything from
      handheld PDAs to classic mainframes.
      So the first major technical
      hurdle was to create a unified driver model. To gauge Microsoft's
      success with this part of the challenge, OpenBench Labs set up
      a pair of identical HP OmniBook 6000 systems, which are representative
      of typical high-end business laptops. Each system was powered
      by an Intel Pentium III CPU clocked at 700 MHz. Each was configured
      with 256 MB of PC133 SDRAM and an IBM TravelStar Ultra ATA disk
      drive. In addition, technicians further complicated the equation
      by setting up three hardware configurations for each laptop:
      standalone, a simple port-replicator dock and a fully equipped
      dock with embedded SCSI and ATA adapters.
      On one OmniBook 6000, lab technicians
      installed Windows XP Pro, the successor to Windows 2000 Professional
      for business client computers. On the other OmniBook 6000, they
      installed SuSE Linux 7.3, which is the latest distribution from
      SuSE and is built on the Linux 2.4.10 kernel and version 2.2.1
      of the KDE desktop.
      Good News for SuSE
      This HP World Lab Report
      will be looking at SuSE 7.3 and RedHat 7.2 in much greater detail
      in a future review. For now, simply running the various OpenBench
      Labs benchmark programs on each OS allowed technicians to gauge
      how closely Linux and the open source business model have evolved
      in providing OS distributions with equivalent performance at
      a fraction of the cost.
      As a side note, SuSE 7.3 installed
      effortlessly and, more important, flawlessly on the OmniBook.
      No need for an exhausting "installfest" with the latest
      version of SuSE--if you have a DVD drive, the installation is
      downright trivial.
      A lot of this good news is a
      direct result of a number of enhancements to YaST2, SuSE's configuration
      tool. A number of the noteworthy additions include a Logical
      Volume Manager for partitioning an active system and ISaX for carrying out windows configuration while the X Windows system
      is active. (Microsoft has touted similar features in Windows
      NT since the launch of the OS.) For IT, there is support for
      a second journaling file system, JFS, as well as ReiserFS, which
      has long been a SuSE staple. There is also a new module for software
      RAID support. Not to slight home users--after all, the big seller
      for Microsoft will be Windows XP Home--SuSE has included a setup
      for TV cards and the automatic detection and configuration of
      IDE-based CD burners.

      CPU Benchmark
      With both laptop systems configured,
      lab personnel were ready to calibrate the OmniBook's base CPU,
      memory and streaming I/O performance under each OS. Technicians began with their CPU benchmark, which executes 34 numerically
      intensive kernels, both integer and floating point. The results
      here were very much in line with OpenBench Labs' first tests
      of the Linux 2.4 kernel near the beginning of the year.
      At that time, HP found the performance
      gap between Linux and Windows 2000 to have been closed to about
      18 percent from previous observations, which had been in the
      range of 20 to 25 percent. Once again, the difference between
      the geometric means for the 34 kernels was on the order of 18 percent, with Windows XP Pro clocking in at 240 and SuSE 7.3
      clocking in at 203. Nonetheless, within a 95 percent confidence
      interval, performance was almost identical. This is a function
      of more variability in performance among the 34 kernels when
      run on Linux. The variability is especially prevalent on the
      high end since a number of kernels execute significantly faster
      on Linux than Windows XP.
      On SuSE 7.3, technicians utilized
      a logical volume formatted with the Reiser File System (ReiserFS),
      which is a journaled, extent-based file system. In theory, a
      journaled file system should have an edge in performance when
      checking the file during boot-up and when issuing writes. Reads
      are supposedly more vulnerable to degradation due to fragmentation
      of the extents. Nonetheless, for small block transfers, Linux
      now held an advantage over Windows XP Pro. For sequential disk
      I/O, it was Windows XP Pro that rapidly converged on SuSE 7.3,
      which delivered throughput on the order of 15 MB per second as
      read sizes grew larger than 8 KB.
      I/O Benchmark
      The final benchmark characterizes
      the system's capabilities for transaction-processing database
      operations. The fundamental goal of the load benchmark is to
      determine how many I/O requests per second a given disk subsystem
      can reasonably support.
      The OpenBench Labs' load benchmark
      suite systematically launches an increasing number of I/O-intensive
      daemon processes that read data in 8-KB blocks from a physical partition rather than from a file. I/O operations are performed on both hot-spot regions, which simulate database indices, and
      randomly across the volume, which simulates a large database.
      When the average access time of all of the processes exceeds
      100 milliseconds, the I/O subsystem is deemed saturated and the
      benchmark terminates with a report to the user.
      As the graph shows, large volumes
      of asynchronous I/O requests are currently a weakness in Linux
      performance. On the OmniBook's simple ATA drive, Windows XP Pro
      was able to deliver 70 I/Os per second with an average access
      time of only 40 milliseconds. In comparison, Linux was able to deliver only about 32 I/Os per second. With hardware RAID and
      storage on a SAN, this performance differential worsens dramatically.
      The problem lies squarely within
      the block I/O layer of the Linux kernel. In the current version
      of the Linux kernel, 2.4.x, the I/O subsystem works with a single
      spinlock, called io_request_lock. As a result, in a TP scenario
      with hundreds of independent I/O requests queuing up, this spinlock serializes operations that have no dependencies and creates a
      significant bottleneck.
      This is all being addressed by
      those working on the I/O subsystem in the 2.5 kernel now under
      development. The new block I/O code eliminates the central spinlock
      and provides each request queue with its own lock. In addition, the new kernel will work more with page structures, which can
      be particularly advantageous when handling clustered requests
      from the raw I/O layer.

      The Dangers of Wizardry
      The labs' experience in actually
      using Windows XP Pro was not unlike that of Goethe's hapless
      student. The problems all stemmed from Microsoft's "soft"
      problem in converging Win9x with WinNT: How do you give naive
      home users an OS as powerful as WinNT and expect them to properly configure and manage the system? The answer from Redmond's Zauberlehrlingen
      was to create automatic wizards to take care of all the problems.
      These wizards should work nicely in a simple SOHO environment;
      however, in a complex, heterogeneous business network, they can become a very dangerous bunch.
      A prime example of a wizard run
      amuck is the upgraded Connect-to-the-Internet wizard. Once a
      very innocuous fellow, this wizard has been put on steroids in
      Windows XP. The new wizard looks for multiple Ethernet connections,
      such as the built-in 100-Mbit port and the wireless Ethernet
      PC Card that are in each OpenBench Labs OmniBook 6000. Once a wizard finds more than one NIC, the fun really starts. Without a moment's hesitation, the wizard assigns one address to all of the NICs and proceeds to bridge the offending LAN segments.
      Imagine the effects of that cavalier action as the desktop PC
      tries to build bridging tables for the LAN. On HP's network,
      which has a number of Macs running AppleTalk in the art and production
      departments, all of the Macs were instant goners.
      While dramatic, that was the
      least of the problems. At least that could be fixed by blowing
      up the bridge. Not all of the wizardry was so easily reversible.
      On each laptop, technicians had installed AT&T WorldNet for
      dialup Internet connectivity while on the road. All configurations
      were explicitly set to "Never dial," since most of
      the time these systems are used in the office with a LAN connection. Unfortunately, Windows XP, quite unlike Windows 2000, treats
      "Never dial" as merely a suggestion that can be ignored.
      Whenever a networking application is launched, the OS may--or
      may not--decide to launch the dialup application.
      Another annoying gotcha for business
      users is the dropping of support for Netscape-style plug-in modules
      in the XP version of Internet Explorer 6.0. Just try to download
      a PDF file from any site on the Web. It's easy as long as you right-click on the link and choose the option to "Save target as." The alternative is to make Opera your default Web browser.

      Unfortunately there are even
      more bundled add-ons, such as the home movie maker and the MS
      Passport Messenger app, that make no sense whatever on a business
      laptop and that you can't get rid of no matter how hard you try. Compounding the annoyance factor of these indelible programs
      is the need to conserve disk space with Windows XP.
      One of the really useful add-ons
      for IT is the ability to checkpoint files under Windows XP. Once
      again, however, there is a problem with introducing a sophisticated
      IT tool to home users. Once again, XP is back to the mystical wizards. Worse yet, the checkpoint wizard, which should be on
      steroids, is on sedatives. The only parameter that can be set
      for this important function is the maximum amount of disk space
      that will be made available for this feature to consume. When
      the system creates checkpoints and when the system purges those
      checkpoints is pure black magic on Windows XP.
      Not-so-simple Solutions
      For Goethe's young student, salvation
      from the golem brooms came only upon the return of the great
      sorcerer. Only the sorcerer knew how to stop the brooms in their
      tracks. For Windows XP Pro users, the solution is not quite so
      simple. To avoid the chaos of having a robust WinNT system that
      is as quirky as Win9x, your best hope is to exorcise every automated
      wizard that can be found.
      That solution, however, raises
      an intriguing issue concerning Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)
      for Windows versus open source systems. Until now, conventional
      wisdom held that Windows wizards were a key factor in holding
      down TCO by countering the initial licensing costs with lower
      maintenance costs and lower skills requirements for the maintainers. OpenBench Labs' initial foray into the unconventional world of Windows XP puts that conventional wisdom about TCO into serious
      question.

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      *
      • In the article they are talking about this readahead [lwn.net] problem in the kernel. Just something they found. You can work arround it simply by setting you readahead to a higher value. This is not ideal for everyone.
    • <flashback>
      I belive it was:

      The time has come, the walrus said, to speak of many things. Of shoes and ships and sealing wax, of cabbages and kings. if the sea is boiling hot or whether pigs have wings.

      Thanks Mr. Wetherell!
      </flashback>
  • "That solution, however, raises an intriguing issue concerning Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for Windows versus open source systems. Until now, conventional wisdom held that Windows wizards were a key factor in holding down TCO by countering the initial licensing costs with lower maintenance costs and lower skills requirements for the maintainers. OpenBench Labs' initial foray into the unconventional world of Windows XP puts that conventional wisdom about TCO into serious question."
  • Why SuSE? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Wednesday February 13, 2002 @09:13AM (#2999423) Homepage
    I guess you have to pick one, but RedHat, has a more Windows-esque hardware detection system. Hell I can yank out the video card and change it and on reboot the RedHat 7.2 machine will autodetect it and change the X config for it without asking for any technical information. something that SuSE, Mandrake and the likes dont have yet.

    Granted a RedHAT install is really bloated compared to the others but if you want to compare apples to apples.....

    The whole article could have used a second going over before it was released.
    • Re:Why SuSE? (Score:5, Informative)

      by joestar ( 225875 ) on Wednesday February 13, 2002 @09:19AM (#2999440) Homepage
      For your information, Mandrake Linux 8.1 has the same autodetect mechanism at boot time.
    • That is very true...Does it reconfigure the Nvidia driver if you upgrade the kernel? Not nit picking as you're updating the kernel and should really know how to do this fix it step...

      I prefer SuSE for all the other things it offers, but thats a good point :).

      Matt
    • Re:Why SuSE? (Score:5, Informative)

      by noodlez84 ( 416138 ) on Wednesday February 13, 2002 @09:38AM (#2999493)
      As Linux becomes more and more popular, the question becomes more and more important: which distribution should I use? I use SuSE Linux [suse.com] for several reasons. Firstly, it is the most LSB [linuxbase.org]-compliant distribution. It comes with huge amounts of software (6 CDs of binaries for the Professional [suse.com] version, and (arguably) SuSE has the largest security team. SuSE updates [www.suse.de] are free and released often. Announcements are even GPG-signed. According to LWN.net research [lwn.net], SuSE has the best security after TurboLinux (which much less security-related bugs than RedHat.

      On a more subjective note, many consider SuSE to be the most polished distribution, and YaST2 is considered one of the best all-around system configuration utilities.
      • Except of course, their installer is not GPL'ed. Why escape one proprietary OS for another? Red Hat, Mandrake, and Debian for me, thanks (laptop, desktop, and wearable, respectively).
    • Re:Why SuSE? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by CynicTheHedgehog ( 261139 ) on Wednesday February 13, 2002 @09:58AM (#2999549) Homepage
      SuSE prefers KDE, which is arguably more "window-esque" than Gnome, in terms of integration and user interface (Specifially DCOM, and applications such as Konqueror, KOffice, and KDevelop). Furthermore, RedHat lacks GUI tools such as YaST2 (SuSE) and Control Center (Mandrake).

      And probably to be fair they picked the distro that you have to pay for (if you want the pretty install).

      I've tried all three of the latest offerings from RedHat, Mandrake, and SuSE. In terms of desktop use (not server use), RedHat is seriously lacking in comparion to the latter two, and SuSE is beating Mandrake by a narrow margin with all of its YaST2 modules (NIS, NFS, and LDAP setup wizards, especially).
      • When you say that RedHat lacks GUI tools, you probably are talking about old RedHat versions.

        I use and like Mandrake. A lot.

        But let's be fair. Red Hat Linux 7.2 has GUI configuration tools:

        From the "About MySelf" to the "Firewall Configuration", I can count 40 GUI tools under the "System" entry on the KDE menu.

        Being a Mandrake User, well, I do not dare to say that Red Hat lacks GUI configuration tools.
    • A slight correction, Mandrake 7.2 (and I presume later versions)does this as well (it uses the Redhat hardware detection program, if it works, why invent something different?)

      It worked for me going from a Duron 900, Iwill Mobo, Geforce 2 MX400, Realtek 8139 NIC to an old P166MMX, Intel mobo, Ati Rage IIc and Intel nic flawlessly, only asking for the disk when it came to reconfiguring Xfree86 at the end of the process.

      Against this, a Windows 2000 Pro installation gave me nothing but blue screen hell after swapping from Abit KT7 RAID to Iwill KT266(I think) mobo with no other hardware changes.

      It's taken a while, but now I find I have fewer hardware configuration issues in Linux than I have with any version of Windows I've used.(still not used XP and thankful for small mercies!)
    • Re:Why SuSE? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Mister Snee ( 549894 )
      I remain a Slackware addict as of 8.0 and the only hardware autodetection it handles is for network cards (which is undeniably handy for getting a new box online quickly), which is implemented basically through a crude "modprobe *" which ends when a module loads happily.

      Everything else -- configuring X, compiling 3rd-party drivers, hunting down the module and parameter combinations for sound cards, even manually editing isapnp.conf for legacy devices -- somehow feels like a natural part of the process for me.

      Of course, I'd probably feel different about it if I spent most of my time setting up desktops rather than servers. Either way, Slackware works fine for me, and it does it without being either presumptious or patronizing. That's all I can ask.
    • My mother uses SuSE 7.2. I switched the video card from a Matrox G200 to a G400 and SuSE didn't so much as mention it. It just worked, immediately. (upon reboot, of course)
      It may not have better or equal hardware detection compared to RH (I don't know, I don't use RH. Or Linux for that matter) but its hardware detection is there and seems to work pretty well in my experience.
      My preferred OS FreeBSD, OTOH, could definitely use some work in the automatic hardware detection front.
  • GLib? (Score:3, Funny)

    by iworm ( 132527 ) on Wednesday February 13, 2002 @09:13AM (#2999424)
    I didn't see any generalisations about GLib, and certainly no details on it.
  • by Splat ( 9175 ) on Wednesday February 13, 2002 @09:17AM (#2999433)
    A very fair assessment and a good article. One minor caveat - Can someone clarify this quote from the article?

    "Another annoying gotcha for business users is the dropping of support for Netscape-style plug-in modules in the XP version of Internet Explorer 6.0. Just try to download a PDF file from any site on the Web. It's easy as long as you right-click on the link and choose the option to "Save target as." The alternative is to make Opera your default Web browser."

    The last one or two versions of Acrobat Reader I've used have a little "save" button at the top of the toolbar that the PDF opens inside.

    Any clue what they're referring to? Sounds like an interesting UI issue if it exists, but I wonder under what conditions it occurs.
    • It means that IE 6 doesn't support Netscape-style plug-ins anymore, it only accepts Microsofts own ActiveX-control format. So you can't open a .pdf in IE6, you have to download it and then start up Acrobat viewer and open it from your harddrive. Maybe Acrobat is available as an ActiveX-control by now, I'm not sure about that
      • IE 6 under XP must be different than IE 6 under other versions, because my Adobe plugin works fine.
      • We've known IE6 and IE55SP2 don't support Netscape sytle plugins for months. That's old news.

        There are two ways to view a PDF in IE. Through Plugins, which open the PDF inline (in the browser window), and through MIME Types, which opens the associated application. Both work with IE6/XP today. For a short time it didn't while Adobe worked to create the ActiveX plugin. While the plugin was not available, you had use the MIME type to open the file in the associated application. No big deal, you click on the link and it opens the file in Acrobat Reader outside IE. It is pretty simple, and I don't believe anyone trying to compare XP and Linux would get slipped up by something as easy as that.

        What is he talking about? My guess is he's saying you can't just save PDFs easily to the hard drive without right-clicking. As if you had to download a lot of PDFs from a website, but not actually have to open them and clicking "save" or right clicking the link and hitting "save as". I don't know, sounds pretty lame to me. Either that or there was a legitimate complaint that got hacked to this nonsense paragraph by the editor.

    • I believe that they are refering to MS going with only Active-X style plugins. So, it may be that Adobe hasn't released an Active-X Reader plugin yet (I don't use windows, so I don't know for sure). There was a big hulabulu about this because it broke Apple's QuickTime plugin.
    • I don't quite understand this, it seems poorly researched. I have NEVER had a problem with viewing PDFs under IE; in fact, I can either right-click and "Save Link As..." or click on the PDF and hit the save button in the title bar, as you mentioned.

      I can't remember a time when the save button wasn't there. I haven't used Netscape for a very long time, and I find it hard to believe they would stick with strictly Netscape plugins (I've never heard of a PDF Netscape plugin, but I'm probably uninformed), when the Acrobat Reader has such nice integration with Internet Explorer -- even the Netscape-plugin-less one that comes with XP and is touted on Microsoft's download sites.
    • PDF's work, but not all. We have a issue at work where we have a small (1/2 to one page of mostly 10 point text and a small grey bar background) PDF and it will not open in IE at all. Larger ones, even onse of similar page size, but larger because they have more graphics on them print fine, but the small ones don't. It works perfectly in Netscape, but IE it's a mixed bag. We converted the report to HTML instead since most folks look at this report online anyway.

      This is not with any specific version of Acrobat either. It's this way on 4 and 5.

      Also, I have noticed that once you view a PDF in IE, the acrord32 (I think that's the name) program is still running even after you close the browser. You have to kill it thru the Task manager. This is on 98 and ME anyway. Not sure about XP but I can't see it being any other way.

    • The alternative is to make Opera your default Web browser.

      Why would you suggest that opera is the only alternative to IE? Try K-Meleon [slashdot.org] for a change. I've been using it for months and it rocks my world.
  • Was to say how easy it was to install as Linux is percieved very differently in this case. They even mentioned TV card install on SuSE (with a slight jab to Win XP).

    Hopefully 2.6 won't be too long in its incarnation, rather than the 2 years or so with 2.4, but 2.5 doesn't seem to be the huge re-write that took place with 2.3.

    Matt

  • make no sense whatever on a business laptop, and that you can't get rid of no matter how hard you try
    Perhaps this says something about the direction MS would like to go with Passport?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Very easy to remove, although the method is a complete 180 to the usual windows check box. Edit a file, remove the word "hide", then you uninstall.
      • Well, give us the rest. Edit what file? I'd love to remove that stupid ass messenger thing from my laptop. Frankly, I'd love to install Mandrake on my laptop, but then my boss would be pissed. sigh...
        • Install Mandrake 8.1, Texstar's KDE 2.2.2 [eastwind.net], KDE-Look [kde-look.org] WindowsXP themes and there you go!

          Check it out this theme here [kde-look.org] with those icons here [kde-look.org].

          He will surelly be fooled :)
          • Damn, those look good. To bad we're still an NT shop. There're people here that would have a cow if I even started to install Mandrake on any work owned machine. If you've ever seen a cow get born, you'd understand where I'm coming from. Then again, I could copme in on a Sat. and install Mandrake on my main workstation, then vmware w/ NT 4 in it so I can run that marvelous M$ product called Outlook. One of the most evil products of human creativity ever assembled under one compile.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 13, 2002 @09:28AM (#2999462)
    As the battle lines are drawen between the Linux and Microsoft armies I would like to offer our new range of services.
    Now in stock are our extensive range of pitchforks, which may be ordered with the Tux logo, Microsoft logo, or if you're in the wrong group BSD logo.
    Additionally if you order 5 or more pitchforks we will throw in our newest release of "Flaming and Trolling in the Modern Computer Society".
    Our final special offer, exclusivly reserved for moderators who are kind to this message is to go round to the zealot of your choice's house, build a huge bonfire and burn them at the stake.

    WinLux inc : Making religous wars more fun
    • As the battle lines are drawen between the Linux and Microsoft armies I would like to offer our new range of services. Now in stock are our extensive range of pitchforks, which may be ordered with the Tux logo, Microsoft logo, or if you're in the wrong group BSD logo.

      Do you still carry the Basket-o-rott'n-fruit? The three I bought from you at last year's emacs-vi-off were the best purchace I made all year!

      -- MarkusQ

  • by Rogerborg ( 306625 ) on Wednesday February 13, 2002 @09:30AM (#2999470) Homepage
    • Until now, conventional wisdom held that Windows wizards were a key factor in holding down TCO by countering the initial licensing costs with lower maintenance costs and lower skills requirements for the maintainers. OpenBench Labs' initial foray into the unconventional world of Windows XP puts that conventional wisdom about TCO into serious question

    Well said. I have to admit, when I moved to Suse7.3 about six months ago, I really missed the handy-dandy pop-o-matic wizards that made Win98 such a no-brainer. It was a bitch having to figure everything out from scratch, with FAQ's either stopping too low down the clue scale or starting too high. I very nearly gave up (as I had done with RedHat 6.x a while back), but I stuck with it, and now I'm starting to get a clue.

    Then two months ago, I upgraded from Win98SE to WinXP on another machine. I realised that I was suffering Linux cognitive dissonance (overvaluing the utility of it simply because it was hard to learn), and resolved to come to XP with an open mind. I was particularly looking forward to returning to the "one way to do it, it's our way, and we'll do it for you", which (be honest) is what Jane Homebody or Garry Gameplayer(me on that machine) really needs.

    But oh dear. What's with the vile animated crap? How do I turn it off? Stop asking me if I want a passport account. Where's the network info? STOP ASKING ME IF I WANT A PASSPORT ACCOUNT. OK, I've set up TCP/IP, but how do I change the workgroup, it's not on the identification tab any more? STOP ASKING ME IF I WANT A PASSPORT ACCOUNT. Where's my single click interface? Hey, I thought I told you to stop animating those menus. No, I've already set up TCP/IP, stop asking me if I want to set up a connection to the internet. It's right there! STOP ASKING ME IF I WANT A PASSPORT ACCOUNT!

    Even coming from Win98SE, it took me a long time to get WinXP set up the way I wanted it. If I'd come in cold, it would have been much worse, because I wouldn't even have known the right questions to ask. In all honesty, it's still a little easier than KDE on SuSE7.3, but it's not much easier. The gap has narrowed significantly, and - significantly - it's narrowing from both ends. Linux distros are getting better, but Windows really has got worse.

    By trying to hide the inescapable fact that you do need to know what you're doing with WinXP (as you need to know with Linux), Microsoft has actually made it harder for those who do actually have a clue to drive it. How curious.

    • While I agree that the animated crap and super-friendly-bubbly-UI is annoying as hell in XP, anyone with any NT/2000 experience won't have a problem in upgrading to it.

      If I'd come in cold, it would have been much worse, because I wouldn't even have known the right questions to ask.

      In all honesty, coming in from the cold probably would have been easier as you would not have been looking for settings in the 95/98 locations. Anyone who has ever made the switch from 98 to NT or whatever would probably agree that once you learn where the settings are, they are much easier to maintain.

      Oh well, just my opinion.
    • My pet peeve is the bit that keeps asking me to set up auto-update; you actually have to "set it up" to tell it to sod off and not bother you again.

      Added to this was the hassle I had getting it to play nice with my iPAQ which ended up with me having to use a serial connection, otherwise it would corrupt the filesystem requiring a reinstall. I still have no idea why an application using USB manages to screw up a computer so easily.

    • by The Pim ( 140414 ) on Wednesday February 13, 2002 @10:08AM (#2999599)
      I realised that I was suffering Linux cognitive dissonance (overvaluing the utility of it simply because it was hard to learn), and resolved to come to XP with an open mind. [And then XP sucks.]

      That was a really nice revelation. However, I often develop the opposite illusion. When using Linux, and having to do some tedious, unintuitive tweaking, I can't avoid thinking, "It would be so easy to take care of this with a sane config system. I'm sure I wouldn't have to do this in Windows.". But on the occasions I use Windows, I invariably find myself wasting just as much time tweaking, and further getting frustrated at the many things I can't tweak, and the arrogance of a UI that supposes to know better than I. Sure, the baby stuff is easier and more polished, but every foray into Windows reminds me that providing an enjoyable user experince is still a difficult and unsolved problem. This gives me some hope that the race is just getting started.

      • I just installed mandrake 8.1 on my laptop, and i was quite impressed by the ease of installation and how well it worked out of the box. The GUI-based configuration system also seems reasonably feature-complete for most use. Most.
    • by pubjames ( 468013 ) on Wednesday February 13, 2002 @10:17AM (#2999641)

      I agree.

      I'm an XP user (Linux too!) and one thing that really pisses me off is that they've taken away the little icon that used to be bottom left of the screen that would give quick access to the desktop.

      Personally I think that it is a good thing to have a simplified desktop for my old ma and pa, but I am what Microsofties might call a 'power user', or I prefer to call an IT professional. I think it would be simple to make it so that when you set up your account on your machine for the first time they ask you "Do you have difficulty using computers?" or whatever and if you reply yes then they give you the simplifed desktop.

      I have Windows XP Professional. When I set up my user account it assigned me an icon of a yellow plastic duck. I mean, a bloody yellow plastic duck on a professional level computer! That will really impress my clients. What are MS thinking? But thankfully, this is one configuration option that is easy to change. I can change it from a bloody yellow plastic duck to a fucking green stuffed frog.

      • Yeah, I just got XP Pro on my new 'puter as well. I agree with the first poster's complaints, but yours are pretty easily rectifiable. Under the properties (right-click) of the task bar is a check box to allow you to show the quick launch bar, which contains the "show desktop" icon. There's also a lock/unlock taskbar checkbox that will allow you to move it to another side of the screen, and perhaps more importantly allow your to resize the amount of task bar allocated to the quick launch bar.

        Oh, and as for the little yellow duck, I use that for my sys admin account, which I titled "root". :) And it shouldn't be that hard to figure out what folder those images are in and add your own of a skull if you need to.

        cheers,
        Scott
      • If you were really a power user I would hope you'd be able to figure out how to get that icon back. I have it on my WinXP install.
    • Anyone who was moving from WinNT/2k experience to WinXP would find it trivial.

      "By trying to hide the inescapable fact that you do need to know what you're doing with WinXP (as you need to know with Linux), Microsoft has actually made it harder for those who do actually have a clue to drive it. How curious."

      I question whether you have a clue if your only previous experience with Windows is Win98.
        • Anyone who was moving from WinNT/2k experience to WinXP would find it trivial. I question whether you have a clue if your only previous experience with Windows is Win98

        OK, you caught me. Note that I said Win98 to WinXP on "another" machine. Off the top of my head I have: 2 x Win98SE/SuSE 7.3 dual boots (one laptop, one 24/7 DSL router/fileserver), 1 x WinME/WinXP games machine (which has previously been Win98, then Win2K, then back to WinME), 1 x Win98SE machine (technically my girlfriends, but I tech support it). My work machine in NT 4.0. I'm a software developer, and I write the occasional winapp.

        My point though is that if you come at WinXP through newbie or Win9x (or "other GUI") eyes, it's just not that friendly, and it tries to hide things that you really need to know about like administrator access, a completely new and alien concept to Jane Homebody. You don't even know how much you don't know until something goes wrong.

        Don't misunderstand me, I actually like WinXP now that I've turned most of the bells and whistles off, I just think that the retail version is an awkward compromise between fully featured and user friendly - like KDE/SuSE. As I said, WinXP is still just better, but the gap is closing from both ends.

    • if you just clicked:

      NEXT->NEXT->YES->ACCEPT->NEXT->ACCE PT->NEXT->NEXT->MASTERCARD->5499840000 000121->billg@microsoft.com->SUBMIT->REBO OT

      then you wouldn't have any trouble at all installing WinXP. It's about limiting choice.
  • by ACK!! ( 10229 ) on Wednesday February 13, 2002 @09:41AM (#2999498) Journal
    I am not sure where these comparisons are going.

    Each major operating system has its advantages and disadvantages depending on how it is implemented.

    Listen there is no way I would want to move a brigade of secretaries over to Linux. I remember how much trouble my wife's law firm had getting those folks off of WordPerfect 5.2 for god's sake!

    However, if I want a solid inexpensive server with lots of GUI tools to help me set things up then I go with Linux any day of the week. If I have a bunch of sysadmins, developers and geeks and I want to stop the endless bitching over the limits of WinNT as a desktop environment I tell them to install linux on their own and don't call IT when they screw it up. They love it. They get all the power they want and the corporate IT boys get a whole group of people they can tell to screw off when they call in for support.

    Each OS has its own set of issues and strengths. Listen, if I had a rich aunt who never used a computer before and wanted to get on the internet I would tell her to get a mac.

    Everything has its place. The trick is for Linux to clue in on its target audience of small server implementations and geek IT desktops.

    ________________________________________________ __
    • by Anonymous Coward
      moving a herd of secretaries to Linux is easy. you just have to have management behind you and some guts. make the change, and help them through the tiny differences. but not put up with crap.

      Office workers are the laziest people on the planet. if something changes a tiny bit, they whine and bitch, and whine more.. you need to tell them that this is the way it is and if they dont like it there are many temp companies that would like them to work for them.

      Basically, I had to tell them to "SHUT UP, this is the way it is and get used to it. I will start calling you a STUPID MORON if you whine about something stupid like the color of your desktop or your screensaver." gladly I had a upper management person that backed me up and we now save Tens of thousands every year. and quite possibly saved the company.
    • by nagora ( 177841 ) on Wednesday February 13, 2002 @10:00AM (#2999556)
      The best successes I've had moving people off Windows and onto Linux is with the various secretaries and temps we've had here. I simply don't tell them that they're using Linux and Star/Open Office! It works a treat.

      The hard ones are graphic designers and the worst are DTP people who can't handle the Linux command line and automatic document production via piped commands chains.

      TWW

  • I'm very pro-Linux, biased if you like. However comparing XP to SuSE is a little like comparing a mountain bike to a racer. XP is geared toward home/business use, Linux tends to be geared toward technical and back end users.

    They are both good for different reasons, and have a lot to learn from each other. But do we really have to compare chalk and cheese every time?

    Can't we just accept things on their relative merits?

    I don't see how Linux and Windows can be compared. They are both good, but for different reasons. Everyone should just calm down and do there own thing based on what they need.
  • PERSONAL OPINIONS:

    I have noticed that back in the 90's the UNIX OS was the best network operating system.

    Nowadays I do not know anymore. I see that most Linux distro's somewhat looks more and more like Windows, thus one can see that the two OS'es are making a convergence, where they finally probably would make the inevitable 99,99% similarity.

    I know you guys say that "We'll go for the free OS!", but I allready have Windows XP and it was free for me (I've not payed anything). So untill Microsoft do something really stupid like blocking piracy completely, I guess the normal @home workstation would contain a "free" OS.

    The next logical step for Microsoft would be to secure its OS, and the Linux must become more User-friendly and, as some might say, more open. I still would like to see that my 6year-old neighbor able to install Linux like the Windows 2000.

    I feel that some people who like Linux really likes that they can use the OS on old boxes like pentium 2 400mhz or similar. This is because Linux is normally an OS that most people actually upgrades every now-and-then. However, when it comes to Windows, Microsoft have seen that they only sell their OS with new PC's (99,9% sales i guess), thus they do not care about older PC's like the P2 400.

    Now back to topic,
    Cost of Ownership (TCO) for Windows versus open source systems. Until now, conventional wisdom held that Windows wizards were a key factor in holding down TCO by countering the initial licensing costs with lower maintenance costs and lower skills requirements for the maintainers.

    My main point was that the relevance of TCO and other stuff is not that high anymore, and in the end we just have to say: Know your OS and do what you want the best way. There is no Best OS and there is no Best Way.

    • My main point was that the relevance of TCO and other stuff is not that high anymore, and in the end we just have to say: Know your OS and do what you want the best way. There is no Best OS and there is no Best Way.
      Back in the 80's PC XT days, friends used to ask which computer should I buy. What I told them still aplies today. I said find the software you need to run and get the hardware that will run it. I have a Linux box for Netscape which is immune out of the box to .VBS scripts. It fits my needs on that count. I have a WIN laptop as the National Goegraphic Topo maps require it. It's the best map interface I have for my GPS. I haven't found a replacement for it in a non-WIN format yet.. I'm still looking. Hopefully soon I'll ditch the requiremet to have 3 computers. (Wildflower/Topo/National Geographic, are you listening?)
    • Nowadays I do not know anymore. I see that most Linux distro's somewhat looks more and more like Windows, thus one can see that the two OS'es are making a convergence, where they finally probably would make the inevitable 99,99% similarity.
      A nit-pic, but an important one.
      with Linux, The GUI is not Linux. I can have several different kinds of GUI, some just like Windows, some real different then windows.

      TCO is very important, important in the corporate world. The money spent to "retrain" a usr to a Linux Desktop GUI will be saved in maintainance and upgrade costs.

      The people who write free software (bless there souls) need lessons in GUI design, and human/machine interaction. Both real and percieved.
    • My main point was that the relevance of TCO and other stuff is not that high anymore, and in the end we just have to say: Know your OS and do what you want the best way. There is no Best OS and there is no Best Way.


      There's the rub...if only you could get Gates and Ballmer to accept this FACT then the world would be right. Instead, we have the two megalomaniacs seeking to control everything on YOUR computer, everything on the net, every means of doing anything on the net. Given this, there is a war. A just war to eliminate the bastards.

  • by Flavio ( 12072 ) on Wednesday February 13, 2002 @09:59AM (#2999554)
    I can't read the article (it's slashdotted), but there's something about Windows (specially XP) that I rarely hear people talk about: it uses outrageous amounts of RAM. Yes, RAM is cheap, but I find it extremely suspicious when simple applications consume so many resources.

    I have 128 MB of RAM and with Linux it's enough for everything I need, _including_ Mozilla (which as we all know, can use a lot of memory).

    I find it ludicrous that I can't even boot XP without swapping and it takes forever to open up apps like the media player. Should I face this with a smile and say "well, I'm at fault because 128 MB of RAM clearly isn't enough"?

    I can't bring myself to respect an OS which needs this many resources to do nothing. Yet I know people with 64 MB of RAM who praise XP in favor of Linux. I firmly believe that they either don't use their computers for anything productive or they lie.
    • "I firmly believe that they either don't use their computers for anything productive or they lie."

      They lie.

      I use XP and Linux daily, among other OSs, and I am sure that XP@64 MB would be unusable. I am not sure you can even install it on a 64 meg machine... let's see ..

      IEEXPLORE @ 29.004K
      explorer @ 14.404K
      Navapsvc @ 10.998K

      that's about 55MB for three out of 39 visible processes in the task manager - yes I picked the largest ones, but the point is, XP @ 64 MB would be all but unusable.
    • I disagree. We've long last got past the point of no return in the absurd-amounts-of-ram game. Once upon a time we worked with perfectly usable word processors that ran in 32K of RAM. They weren't WYSIWYG, but they were entirely usable for 90% of what people do with word processors today. We just trained people and, guess what? They were able to use them.


      My point is this: a modern word processor takes something like 8K times the memory to run on a modern operating system. Does that somehow make the old software 8192 more virtuous than the new? Especially since that 32K probably cost 10x as much in uninflated dollars as the 128MB we'd need today.


      I say if you have a use for it, use it!


      • I say if you have a use for it, use it!

        Your point is well taken. If the RAM doesn't cost a great deal of money, then who cares if the secretary's copy of Word, IE and XP chews up more RAM (and uses a more powerful CPU) than was used to forecast weather on a supercomputer in 1973?

        Likewise, if given enough RAM, the Linux kernel will just gobble it up caching for the filesystem and improving performance thereby. That's fine.

        But, I would say that having some flexibility is a definite plus, for two reasons.

        1. Older hardware, especially in donated computers sitting in the Third World (that would include, of course, U.S. public education).
        2. Embedded and application-specific devices.
        where you would rather not have a magic frog/prince cut-off value for RAM and usability. A smooth degradation of performance with less capable hardware is classier in my book.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Someone else may have already pointed this out, but I'd like to stress that the biggest difference between Windows and Linux has always been the licensing -- and that gap has only gotten wider with XP (more favorable to Linux, that is), according to:
    http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=02/02/09/234525 8&mode=thread
  • by dgb2n ( 85206 ) <(ten.tsacmoc) (ta) (n2bgd)> on Wednesday February 13, 2002 @10:03AM (#2999570)
    I've got two computers at home and I currently use both Linux (Mandrake 8.1) and Windows XP Home. I need both boxes to accomplish what I need to do.

    The Windows box is still a necessity. I have a 4 year old who likes educational games and without Windows, they simply don't run. Windows XP has also proven very adept at guiding my non-techie wife through moving pictures between the digital camera and the hard drive. XP is a huge improvement over ME in both stability and capability. Before, emailing pictures from the digital camera was an ordeal for her. Now, she just selects the picture out of a "filmstrip" view and clicks "Email the Picture". XP automatically resizes it for her (if desired) and attaches it to an email in her preferred email client.

    I also wouldn't do without Linux. I use it as a firewall/proxy/Samba server and occasionally run a webserver on it with DHCP. Windows doesn't come close to being as capable for these services on my home network. I use the Linux box whenever I want to automate something through scripting or to use the superb open source utilities that come preinstalled. Got to automatically crop a bunch of pictures to a specific file size, hard to beat Imagemagik from the command line on Linux. Please don't ask me to get it working on XP.

    I don't think of it as an either or. I look forward to the day when Linux can meet all my needs. I've long since given up or even looking forward to the day when Windows can.
    • Let's not get applications for an OS confused with the actual OS here. I haven't actually used Windows XP, so I don't know if the imaging software you are using is installed with XP or not, but this software has nothing to do with the XP OS other than the fact it was written to run on that particular platform. This is more a question of the availability of user friendly software, which is obviously vastly in M$'s favour due mainly to their HUGE market penetration as well as hardware support from the vendors.

      There is nothing stopping Linux from having the same easy to use software, it just hasn't been done because almost all Linux users are more technically adept than the average Windows user, and software is made with that in mind. Why spend weeks/months tweaking the UI for your application when you know all your users will be very capable of using your product to its full potential without all the bells and whistles?
    • The Windows box is still a necessity. I have a 4 year old who likes educational games and without Windows, they simply don't run.
      I don't want to start any OS-wars. I'm not saying that you shouldn't use those Windows educational games you have, but you may want to check out these projects as well: Your kid would be in much better situation when she/he grows up, than other kids of the same age, after playing with few different operating systems and enviroments.

      When I was a kid I used my father's computers, but he didn't know much about OSes, he was just buying what they told him in the computer store.

      As a resuld, when I was still a kid, I used to know the most important functions of MS-DOS interrupts 10h and 21h by heart. When I was about 12, we were writing programs for computers class, some simple calculations. It was boring, so I wrote a TSR, which after taking over the clock interrupt, and after few minutes from ending, was starting some virus-like visual effects on the screen. My teacher phoned my home that night, asking how to turn it of.

      My point is that I really mastered the MS-DOS, and everything I had was a DOS box and lots of free time. I often wonder, what if I had Linux when I was 10 years old, instead of DOS? Would I know Bash and Perl, like I knew Command.com and QBasic? Would I know low level Unix system calls, like I new the DOS interrupts? Would I master Emacs and GCC, like I mastered Borland IDE? Unfortunately, I will never know that. But I would have much easier start as a Unix sysadmin, that's for sure.

    • "I also wouldn't do without Linux. I use it as a firewall/proxy/Samba server and occasionally run a webserver on it with DHCP."

      Wow, that's some heavy duty processing!

      "Windows doesn't come close to being as capable for these services on my home network."

      Hmm, I bought a Linksys firewall/router last year for $80 which pretty much covers half your use. I don't see why you think WinXP can't handle an occasional web server or file sharing. Maybe you need the Pro version, but other than that.

      I use Win2k server at home for these services and much more. It's more than adequate for a home network.

      "Got to automatically crop a bunch of pictures to a specific file size, hard to beat Imagemagik from the command line on Linux."

      Yeah, Imagemagick is pretty cool for some things.

      "Please don't ask me to get it working on XP. "

      Why? It works the same on XP as it does on Linux.

      "I've long since given up or even looking forward to the day when Windows can."

      Weird, because Windows does everything you've talked about in this article and a whole lot more.

      • I guess I should clarify my one statement.

        Win2k is much more than just adequate for a home network, it's complete overkill but it is what I use.

        WinXP Pro would make a more than adequate file and web server for a home user. Actually with XP's built in firewall and internet connection sharing you wouldn't have a problem with that route either.
  • by Juju ( 1688 ) on Wednesday February 13, 2002 @10:07AM (#2999590)
    They are talking about *laptops*

    I don't think they are interrested in changing the video chip ;o)

    But I guess the main reason for SuSE is that they have some kind of agreement with SuSE.
    Besides, IIRC they also mention something about everything being recognized directly by the SuSE install whereas there were some glitches with Red Hat...

  • Uhm ... ? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Cynical_Dude ( 548704 ) on Wednesday February 13, 2002 @10:13AM (#2999616)
    It actually appears quite low-flame and balanced, and unlike some Linux vs. Windows comparisons, goes into decent detail rather than just glib generalizations.

    So why exactly is this story on /.?

    =)
  • Personally, I use XP as desktop OS and Linux for the DSL-router.
    XP *really* is a hundred times more stable than the 98se, 98, 95b, 95a, 3.11, 3.1 that I used before. the only thing that sometimes totally crashes it is the damn openGL driver for my old Voodoo3 (a hacked version since 3dfx is dead long before xp was even thought of - 16MB, 350MHz, it still reaches 30fps in 1024x768). everything else is stable, no crash no BSOD, no nothing.
    And that *hibernate* feature is nothing less than perfect. xp takes over the powerswitch, one press, system saves RAM to HDD, power off. powerswitch again system loads HDD-RAM back, ready to work.
    from power-off to your last edited spreadsheet with continued dvd-rip in background in less than 30seconds. show me that in linux.
    press reset on running linux, will check ext2-fs'es forever. press reset on xp, ntfs'es don't even notice. though I dunno how to check uptime in xp like in linux, it must have been at least a week since last real restart (not hibernate). ok, linux servers have months as uptimes. but not on a desktop where you frequently change or tweak something. and if you have to shut it down to have some silence in the evenings

    linux is by far the best for servers. linux desktop I tried and it sucked. but as server, its cool. I'm using linux-router-project distribution on the server, fits on one floppy disk and converts 486dx50 junk to a lpd-printserver and dsl-router with ~20W power consumption. (2000/xp can access lpd printers with no problems) Put that onefloppy-distribution on an old 100mb hdd and set hdparm to hdd-off 1 minute and the server boots in 20secs from off to lpd/dsl-online. impossible with windows. (that with stripped down-windows and connection-sharing on pentium 133 was like being in slow-motion-HELL) = router cost: 0.00$

    conclusion: use windows for desktop, linux on any other (server, networked, embedded)machine.
    that way windows can't be hacked from the internet and can't send anything to the NSA/BSA. Plus the server with the first client starting from off to ready in 30-40secs. All your customers can read your documents. All your family (except grannie) is able to use the desktop.

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