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Linux Software

Follow Up to "Linux's Achilles Heel" 533

donheff writes "Fred Langa has posted an Informationweek online followup to his "Linux's Achilles Heel" column that drew a lot of attention on slashdot recently. He responds to several of the most common criticisms and 'posits that high-priced commercial Linux vendors are on a suicidal course, unless they lower prices to accentuate their advantages over Windows.'"
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Follow Up to "Linux's Achilles Heel"

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @10:01AM (#9182949)
    This is Linux FUD week [linuxworld.com] it seems
  • by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) <{akaimbatman} {at} {gmail.com}> on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @10:02AM (#9182954) Homepage Journal
    ...that future Linux distros will move away from being "Linux" and toward being independent OSes. They'd still retain the Linux kernel, and perhaps some of the CLI userland, but the GUI and standard programs will be proprietary.

    Apple has already accomplished this with BSD and OS X. Looking at the Java Desktop System [slashdot.org], I think that this is Sun's endgame as well. For now they'll leverage everything Linux, then slowly replace all programs with Java ones, and the Desktop with Java Looking Glass. It's hard to say how it will work out, but I wish them the best.

  • Are there any... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dijjnn ( 227302 ) <bwthomas@noSpam.cs.uchicago.edu> on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @10:03AM (#9182964)
    ... Legitimate TCO analysis studies out there? Obviously it's different from company to company, but it would be nice if there were something we could point to when we tell our various employers that they should be using Free Software.
  • lowering prices (Score:4, Interesting)

    by lcde ( 575627 ) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @10:08AM (#9183023) Homepage
    To me, it seems to me that RedHat would be the kind of company that would lower prices and haggle with you just to get your buisness. A lot of people just look at the price and think it is too expensive. I bet if you got a sales rep on the phone you could make deals.


  • by GMill ( 734492 ) * on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @10:08AM (#9183024)
    High price commerical Linux distros are appriopriate for value added components useful for servers, e.g. ldap, mail servers. Nobody expects such a computer to support every sound card or other peripheral.

    PC users don't need high priced commercial Linux distros.

  • How about both? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Bandit0013 ( 738137 ) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @10:13AM (#9183089)
    My company has a .NET shop for development with many of our internal applications going to ASP .NET. We're actually exploring only using windows machines for developers and managers/executives and turning all of the lower level end user machines to linux clients since all they really need is a browser.

    Not sure how it will work out, but it seems to me a good way to leverage the power and ease of the .NET environment with the cost savings of linux.
  • by MtViewGuy ( 197597 ) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @10:14AM (#9183113)
    I think there are two issues that plague Linux:

    1. Will the software and/or software driver be able to be loaded and unloaded easily without a complete system reboot? They're getting better but we're not there just yet.

    2. Will we get Linux drivers that take FULL advantage of the hardware? That means something like supporting all the soundcard functions of the Sound Blaster Live! and Audigy sound cards, all the graphics-processing functions of the graphics card chipsets from ATI and nVidia, and all the functions of all-in-one printers like the Hewlett-Packard OfficeJet 6110.

    It's the hardware driver support issue that is currently the bane of Linux, though of course this is less of a problem with very recent Linux commercial distributions.
  • Time waste (Score:2, Interesting)

    by alex_tibbles ( 754541 ) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @10:17AM (#9183147) Journal
    Since Windows is the dominant desktop OS by a significant margin, it is the only OS for which you expect all hardware to work. (This expectation will be violated from time to time, of course, and we all have anecdotes to show it). That much is pretty damned obvious.
    The original article was annoying because he "didn't want to make this an issue about tech support", but it is just that. Not everything works straight off. Some people need to be told to turn the volume on. This can take a while for a tech support person to suggest.
    Grrrr. This is just more of the same: mentioning a specific case, then arguing to the general. He is annoyed that people look at his particular problem and try to solve it for him! But his general point is either completely unjustified, or so painfully obvious that we don't need to be told (since he provides no evidence or argument to support anything more).
    Stop posting this stuff!
  • Exactly (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Stevyn ( 691306 ) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @10:21AM (#9183205)
    Exactly. Every time someone brings up an experience they had of not being able to get some stupid piece of hardware working in linux that they easily could in windows the typical response around here is "well I got it to work so you must be dumb!" I would have switched a while ago however my printer doesn't work and in school I needed to use a specific software title only available for windows and I didn't feel like switching back every time homework was due or I needed to print something.

    But I'm not complaining, linux is free and so I have no right to complain as I didn't pay a dime for it. It's just that whenever someone says linux should be on everyone's family living room computer there are a lot of things in the way. People getting offended and the mods posting trolls and people getting +5 insightfuls make this whole free software movement seem really childish. It's sad because I'm sure the people who develop linux, gnome, kde, mozilla, ect. are not here bitching about windows all day long but are actually doing something. I'd do something myself, but I'm still just learning software and I don't have the skills to write a driver for the printer or port PSpice over to linux.

    I'm really impressed with KDE3.2 and it's amazing how fast it's updated that is very much beyond Microsoft. There is definatly a window of several years here until longhorn debuts and I think that linux could very well make its way into more people's houses. I just wish something just like apt-get existed for the rpm world that made it just as easy to update. However, I've read of projects in the works just for that so I'm sure "rpm hell" will be over a lot sooner than "dll hell" lasted.
  • by harikiri ( 211017 ) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @10:23AM (#9183231)
    When Linux is free, or nearly so, there's no reason to complain if its hardware support isn't quite up to Windows' level, or if there are other rough edges: You're getting a great price on a very good operating system, and the low cost more than makes up for any shortcomings

    Linux distribution vendors only have the right to charge equivalent costs to Windows if and when their distribution is equivalent or better than Windows in all respects, out of the box. This has yet to happen for the desktop market (which appears to be what he's referring to in the article).

    In the server space, Linux is definitely "there". Just look at what you can do on some of the new blade servers that HP, SGI, IBM are selling.

    However, even the most rabid Linux advocate will agree that you can't typically get a Linux desktop-focused distribution to work across the board, out of the box. Efforts are definitely being made, with most of the commercial vendors producing better-integrated desktop offerings that tie together the various open source projects (evolution, openoffice, mozilla, kde) into something cohesive and easy to use. Problems however, still exist. Partly due to lag-time between getting drivers for cutting-edge hardware, and secondly, because work still remains to be done in the whole "integration of the desktop".

    As I read in a fellow slashdotters post a while back, "Linux will be ready for the desktop when users don't need to understand mount(8) parameters" (paraphrased).

  • Look who's talking. Does your exceedingly high user id mean that we should not take your post seriously? Or does it automatically mark you as a troll? Or perhaps your just despondent over the fact that you're missing a +1 modifier?

    Evaluate peoples opinions for their content, not how soon they signed up for an account on Slashdot.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @10:39AM (#9183382)
    Why would anyone buy more than 1 copy of Suse Linux? I'd understand paying for more support, but those DVDs and CDs are a little expensive to have them pile up in the cabinet.
  • Fred Langa is "right on" when comparing Microsoft OS offering against the attempted commercialized Linux offerings. From the perspective of a consumer.

    He had the expectation that "all would work", and be "supported" (um... work) at least as well as Windows; given the the price was comparable.

    From another perspective, that's wrong. If it doesn't work, get your money back -- that's what he paid for. But, Linux is a hobby system. If (or when) it works for Mr. Langa, he will know it, and use it.

    What ticks me off is that Mr. Langa is being critical of Linux! You know, that hobby project. Get pissed at Suse, Redhat, Mandrake, (___ fill in the blank). Leave the hobbyist alone! Linux, Debian, et al. I am sure that Mr. Langa (as most of us) hs two standards -- one for professional atheletes, and another for amateur (Olympians, etc.). Yes, the professional bar is higher, as it should be.

    If the F/OSS stuff is good enough, it will be used. Sure, criticize, but also give that community positive feedback. We aren't in it for money -- so some positive feedback would be useful.

    The vilest thing that has happened to me in the Free Software world was a program I wrote (EMUL87). Distributed on SIMTEL; thousands of users. Not a word of positive feedback. Until one day (actually, 5 years later), when one consultant mailed me, and DEMAANDED I fix the software (because his client needed it). And if I didn't fix it IMMEDIATELY, I would be SUED. I told him to 'f off.

    That nearly ended my relationship with F/OSS. But, I changed my mind. I like sharing, you see, and I get stuff from the community.

    So, I feel that the F/OSS community is maligned and demotivated by the constant comparision with commercial software. The journalistic tack should be to take the commercial vendors to task if their offerings are so weak that F/OSS is actually competitive.

    I understand why some people got defensive. Mr. Langa should CLEARLY state that the comparision is *not* with Linux or F/OSS, but with particular distributions or support organizations.

    Enough of a rant.

  • I think he's talking about the fragmentation caused by multiple non-interoperative desktop APIs.

    That's the thing though. From everything I've seen of Looking Glass, it supports GNOME and KDE apps just fine. It's actually less of a Desktop Environment (like GNOME), and more of a Window Manager (like Metacity). I don't know where Sun is going with this, but they may decide to integrate GNOME and Nautilus into Looking Glass. They've certainly hinted at it by saying that "Looking Glass is a technology demo. Expect to see parts of it slowly migrate into the Java Desktop System."

  • by SharpFang ( 651121 ) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @11:09AM (#9183729) Homepage Journal
    Okay, let me see...
    If I have an IT company that needs to provide services to, say, 100 customers a second. Say, a big database or such. I can pick Windows servers for moderate price. They will crash under the load about once a day. Because of being unreliable my company goes bankrupt.
    Now if I use "overpriced" Linux services, I keep my company running smoothly. It brings profit, it exists. Uptime nearly 100%, with downtimes for upgrades etc announced a month ahead.

    I pay what it's worth.
  • by Improv ( 2467 ) <pgunn01@gmail.com> on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @11:10AM (#9183740) Homepage Journal
    I don't think the criticism about pricing is valid, because when one buys a distro, especially on a server, one isn't buying it because it could run on all the hardware in the world you might toss at it -- generally people make some effort to make sure that they're using compatible hardware (and, on the server, often that they're using 'industrial-grade' stuff). Further, as Unices have several areas where things are better than Windows, it really is a crapshoot as to which is a better value (or, more accurately, it depends on what specific features you/your IT folk want). On the other hand, he does post some letters he recieved that are quite likely knee-jerk responses, especially the person who suggests that people who like playing mp3s shouldn't use Linux.
    Further, it is a point that, depending on the hardware available, Linux might not work, or not work well on some systems. My present laptop, for example, has built-in wireless that was dead to me until the driverloader compatibility layer was written, and so I was using a PCMCIA wireless card until then. Still, for me using windows wasn't an option -- I'm just not comfortable on non-Unix systems because, so long as hardware support is acceptable, the other advantages far outweigh graphics/sound/whatever not being as fast/capable.
    Even now, I could download vendor drivers for some of my hardware (Dell Inspiron 8500), and maybe get a few extra features or a bit more speed, but I just don't care enough.
  • by barryfandango ( 627554 ) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @11:14AM (#9183794)
    The users. I'm a regular linux evangelist, but when i see feedback like this guy got from us - accusing him of lying, being an idiot, working clandestinely for Microsoft, SCO or the Christian Right... I just feel ashamed and want to distance myself from the whole thing. These knee-jerk reactionaries, zealots and narrow-minded elitists make us all look like fools and tarnish the image of Linux far more than some guy who can't get his soundcard to work. It has to stop.
  • by holy_smoke ( 694875 ) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @11:31AM (#9183995)
    If Linux wants to supplant Windows, then you have to cater to the target audiences that comprise the Windows world. Linux can easily target the system admin crowd, as system admins are technically savy enough to deal with its nuances and actually will appreciate its complex beauty.

    Linux cannot, today, target the home user or even small business category _effectively_. This is because this market segment demands different (more simplistic) criteria (the pointy-clicky crowd).

    So the trick therefore is to retain the technical prowess while providing for the pointy-clicky types. The system admins should be able to command-line to thier hearts content, but the average users should be able to install, use, and upgrade Linux software AND hardware without being attacked by the command line demons. When we have achieved that nirvana then Linux will conquer all.

    Until then, its a hobby OS for anyone other than the hardcore non-nOObs.

    That said, I am looking forward to the day when I can be Linux only, but for now its to much hastle for the benefit.
  • Re:Not insightful (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Cereal Box ( 4286 ) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @11:47AM (#9184192)
    It's not always explicitly worded as RTFM, but if you look back over your forums I'm sure you will see a large share of "advice" that boils down to:

    * You can make your hardware work, but it's not easy. Next time, buy better (but more expensive) hardware.

    * Linux can't do whatever it is you're trying to do. Therefore, don't do that or do this other thing, which is kind of what you're trying to do, but not really.

    ... And endless variations on the above. These aren't RTFM replies in the most explicit sense, they are just nicely (or not!) worded advice that is about as helpful as RTFM.
  • by doinky ( 633328 ) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @12:03PM (#9184367)
    He said he identified the hardware in the InfoWeek forum. You are exactly the kind of bad actor he's been complaining about.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @12:07PM (#9184407)
    Erm, and if you went into a busy Windows forum and started posting messages about flaws in Windows, you wouldn't get flamed either?

    I have absolutely no idea why people think only Linux users can be zealots. I've seen Windows zealots, Mac zealots, BeOS zealots, AmigaOS zealots -- they're everywhere. Windows zealots are often far worse than Linux ones, because they're often uninformed about technology and think anyone who wants to use Linux is a total nerd.

    So while Linux zealots suck, it has nothing to do with Linux per se. Windows zealots suck too. We just see more of the bad side of Linux "advocacy" because we follow Linux more.
  • dumb question (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Mr_Silver ( 213637 ) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @12:18PM (#9184517)
    You HAVE to unmute the sound on any Linux distro that uses ALSA.

    Is this true? If so ... why?

    Why on earth does the system once it's worked out, configured and primed your soundcard feel the need to gag it before it's even had the chance to make one note of noise?

    Why would you want something that makes people immediately think that the installation and configuration process of their soundcard is broken because their OS claims it works, but they can't hear a damn thing even with the volume on max? Yet it works just fine under Windows.

    Sure, "all you need to do it un-mute the volume", but if the solution is so simple, why couldn't the system do it for you in the first place?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @12:24PM (#9184606)
    "He has every right to complain, tell everyone what happened,..."


    "...and not be ridiculed, called an idiot, or accused of spreading FUD for doing so."

    bullshit, no one has a right to not feel the consequences of their actions or the things they say, you can disagree with the responses all you want but to say that he has a right to express himself and that others don't have the same freedom is pure rubbish.
  • by Cereal Box ( 4286 ) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @12:28PM (#9184655)
    I think it's telling that half the items you list as remedies include downloading third-party software.

    And nearly all of the functionality that Linux has depends on third party software that just so happens to come on a couple CDs, instead of being downloaded. I fail to see the big deal with getting a CD or two that has a bunch of free apps that anyone could download, because you're going to make that corporate disk image first, and spending a few minutes downloading and installing the software on a Windows machine is not a big deal really. But hey, you guys like CDs so much, maybe the sysadmin could just hand everyone a Windows CD and two or three extra CDs with all the third party software they need. Same net effect as what you're getting with Linux distros.

    Also, your comment about Linux being insufficient on the corporate desktop is off-base.

    I didn't say that. If you examine what was said:

    XP Home provides a secure, virus-free work environment for the corporate desktop?

    Linux doesn't provide you with one either, so this isn't really a good point for you to be making.

    The poster claimed that Linux proves a virus-free network. Until the day that there are no viruses and exploits for the particular Linux distribution in question, this is not an accurate statement.
  • by wmeyer ( 17620 ) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @12:49PM (#9184925)
    If only those reactions were not so typical of the "community". I have been periodically exploring the viability of Linux for over 10 years, and have encountered such comments on every occasion that I have made public my experiences.

    I won't deny that for many, Linux has been a good, useful, and reliable OS. But each time I have tried it, I have come away disappointed, for a number of reasons. My most recent experiences with SuSE and with Mandrake were not bad, but not great. Neither of them was able to handle my mainstream AGP card in the mode I prefer, and neither even showed that such a mode existed.

    While I have been comfortably using Windows as my primary tool since the days of NT4, I have also been looking for alternatives. BeOS came closest to being something I would have switched to.

    At any event, I am not in the pay of MS, and although my work depends on their OSes, I do keep hoping for a viable alternative.

    As close as Linux is getting to viability in some respects, the desktop continues to disappoint. Or more accurately, the quality of many of the alternative apps on the Linux desktop disappoints. And like it or not, folks, the desktop is at the core of acceptance for anything beyond server farms.

    Another of the areas of weakness for Linux has long been the documentation (or lack thereof.) In recent months, the situation has improved somewhat, as the LDP seems to have been fueled with some new energy. Still, to me an OS is merely a tool, and not a religion or a cause. I expect and require competent documentation.

    Finally, as a developer for whom gcc is not the tool of choice, the various distributions appear to be a minefield of irregularity that makes DLL Hell look good. Although in the main, my interest is for turnkey systems where I can select a distro and stay with it, thereby reducing the problem substantially, I am yet mindful of the reality that the libraries shipped with any given distro tie me somewhat to that distro, or commit me to an expenditure of time that I wish to avoid in changing libraries.

    Linux has many attractive features; it's least attractive feature, however, is the anarchical nature of its support.

  • Bug in Linux code? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @12:52PM (#9184998)

    Seems like Mr. Langa found a bug in the Linux code. In the HCL, in particular. He should be reporting it.

    Linux distros do not have the resources to independently test each and every hardware config with each version of their software. They copy from each other. Seems like some tester, somewhere, was sloppy and this sloppiness got propagated. This glitch should be corrected.

    It is even possible that Intel released false specs for the particular chipset. Based on the specs, Linux should work, and so the chipset got in the HCL. (Intel to release false specs? Unheard of!)

    But why does Windows 95 work, while Linux does not? W95 being a widely used OS, it is understandable that mainstream hardware would be tested for backwards OS (pun!) compatibility. Perhaps even with input from Microsoft hw engineers. But Linux does not get such testing, nor do hw companies specifically ensure Linux compatibility. So there.

    Bottom line, Mr. Langa should be reporting the mistake. The chipset should be removed from the HCL until Linux properly detects it.

    Why Mr. Langa does not do that? That, my dear reader, is left as an exercise for you. Or perhaps he can enlighten us...

    Mr. Hydrogen Chloride (HCL)

  • by barryfandango ( 627554 ) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @02:00PM (#9186174)

    Can you show me any references for this phenomenon? Or is this your conjecture based on the tone of newsgroup postings of late? To bring Ockham's razor into the argument, which is more likely:

    1. These users are spies, deliberately planted to make Linux users look like raving, foaming nuts.

    2. They are just plain, old-fashioned assholes.

    Then again, perhaps I'm being naive. I'm curious to see if you have any evidence to support this.
  • by PCM2 ( 4486 ) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @02:04PM (#9186225) Homepage
    Commercial distros, last time I checked, are still a hell of alot cheaper than Windows. Employees of Commercial Linux Distros still need to be paid.
    Well, part of Microsoft's Windows Server strategy roadshow these days is the idea that:
    1. "Linux" is not a product companies buy; it's a technology that other vendors use to build solutions (e.g. Red Hat).
    2. When companies talk about using open source, they're really using a commercially-packaged solution offered by one of these vendors. Very few, if any, Fortune 500 companies deploy Linux or other open source software through the "completely free" (as in beer) route.
    3. So when you talk about Linux vs. Windows, you now have a real baseline to compare total costs and "value" obtained from each.
    Microsoft's argument (and this is straight from the mouth of Bob Muglia, MS's VP in charge of Windows Server) is that when you break it down in this way, you start to find that the Linux/OSS solution really doesn't cost significantly less than a Windows solution.

    Right? Wrong? It's hard for me to say, personally. Companies like Red Hat definitely seem to be cooking up high-price-tag subscription schemes that are comparable to what you could get any other OS for.

    Similarly, Sun's argument these days is that it will sell you Linux (licensed from SuSE or Red Hat, or bundled with the Java Desktop) but if you ask them, Solaris is the better deal. They claim that Solaris is the result of years of more sophisticated engineering, with more enterprise-class features, and can be had for significantly lower TCO than Linux. Seriously. They say Solaris is cheaper, in the long run, and that's not a 20-years type long run, either.

    Sure, it could all be FUD, but the D in that acronym is definitely present already. Red Hat hasn't yet figured out what the market will support in terms of Linux support licensing. I bet they could charge less than Microsoft does, but so far lower cost doesn't really seem to be the strongest link in its value proposition.

  • by frisket ( 149522 ) <peter@[ ]maril.ie ['sil' in gap]> on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @03:37PM (#9187566) Homepage
    Neither of them was able to handle my mainstream AGP card in the mode I prefer, and neither even showed that such a mode existed.

    The original author of the magazine article and -- surprisingly -- all the comments I've seen to date appear to be unaware of the reason for this.

    The soundcard manufacturers make sound cards to work under Windows. They cooperate with Microsoft to have drivers written, and their contract precludes (and, I am told, in some cases explicitly forbids) the writing of drivers for Linux, and the publication of driver details to those who would otherwise do the job (ie us, the dev community).

    It took Alan Cox all of 25 seconds to explain this to me in the pub a few years ago (unless I have misunderstood it all). Why does no-one else seem to be aware of it?

    Let me put it more bluntly: the hardware manufacturers don't give a tinker's shit about Linux, which has 1% of the market. They do give very many tinkers' shits about Windows, which has 90-whatever % of the market (they seem to be lukewarm about Apple). It's not about linux "failing" to support these cards -- it's about Linux simply not being important enough (yet) to warrant their attention.

  • by falkyrian ( 557557 ) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @04:24PM (#9188310)
    Yes, people expect things to work when they PAY for something. To charge the same price for Linux as Windows then not provide at least as good of support(install in this case) is just bad business. The idea that sound and other components are not necessary might have been a valid argument in the late 90's but now, now way! This becomes even more important at the desktop level. The 'average user': mom, dad, even gamers, don't necessarily want to learn everything that Sys Admins. know in order to use their machine. For Linux to succeed on a wider scale more effort needs to be put into the details. Windows kicks butt in the desktop, standardized interface for users. Windows falls flat on its face in the server realm many times because of its feature heavy stance while having lack of security and unwillingness to 'play nice' with vendors. Linux has already succeeded in the hard part. There needs to be a different view when trying put Linux into the desktop. Things like driver support, font support, GAMING support, and portals for updating are a must. Don't expect everyone to compile all their own apps and just 'like it or lump it'; that attitude combined with current Major Linux vendors charging too much will keep linux 'in the dark' for most users.
  • Only +3? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by khasim ( 1285 ) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @06:11PM (#9189784)
    Yet someone complaining about how Linux users are so immature and petty receives a +5?

    I've heard the same thing from developers. They simply CANNOT get the specs from the manufacturers. Not only with sound, but with video cards as well.

    This is different in the NIC market.

    The fact is that until Linux has 51%+ of the market, the home use items (like sound and modems) will work better with Windows.

    This is not "Linux's Achilles Heel" as Fred claims. This is basic economics.

    The way around this is to clearly identify what does and what does NOT work with Linux. This is something that Fred has resisted in his articles. Why? Well, only Fred can say for sure.
  • by MrResistor ( 120588 ) <peterahoff.gmail@com> on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @08:03PM (#9190995) Homepage
    He bought a Linux distribution for as much money as Windows would have cost.

    I dispute that. How much extra would he have to pay to get the same functionality on Windows as he gets *at no extra cost* with the Linux distro?

    He has every right to complain, tell everyone what happened, and not be ridiculed, called an idiot, or accused of spreading FUD for doing so.

    He doesn't have a natural right to not be ridiculed or flamed, but I agree that he, and others like him, should be granted that right by the community.

    That's assuming, of course, that he is actually offering constructive criticism and not just spreading FUD. Strangely enough, most people who approach the community with a well framed question or polite, constructive criticism are well recieved. The people who get ridiculed or flamed are the ones who come off as whiney bitches who would rather rant and rave and make hollow, obscure threats regarding mindshare or the marketplace than arrive at a solution.

    If you're one of the people who's been ridiculed or flamed, you might consider changing your approach. More than likely you brought it on yourself.

The party adjourned to a hot tub, yes. Fully clothed, I might add. -- IBM employee, testifying in California State Supreme Court