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Microsoft Attacks Linux With Retail-Training Talking Points 681

DesiVideoGamer writes "Over at, a user has posted screen-shots from Microsoft's 'ExpertZone' training course entitled 'Linux vs. Windows 7.' This course is available to BestBuy employees and will make them eligible for a $10 copy of Windows 7 upon completion." The screenshots linked show at least some creative interpretations of the state of Linux vs. Windows on a wide range of things, from media playback and video conferencing to ease of updates to (of all things) keeping your PCs "safer." Most of the claims, though, aren't concrete enough to be perfectly refuted. Writes DesiVideoGamer, "I think I now know why, when I enter BestBuy, the employees say the odd lies that they do."
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Microsoft Attacks Linux With Retail-Training Talking Points

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  • Re:Sign me up... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Gruff1002 ( 717818 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @03:34PM (#29325349)

    It's all about the almighty dollar. You think there aren't kickbacks involved.....

  • by Statecraftsman ( 718862 ) * on Saturday September 05, 2009 @03:49PM (#29325511) Homepage
    If anyone's interested in going to a local Best Buy on 9/19/09 with CDs and flyers and encouraging people to try gnu/linux on their laptops before they buy, visit []

    If Microsoft thinks it's a worthy battleground, perhaps we should as well.
  • Re:And.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mr. Freeman ( 933986 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @03:52PM (#29325541)
    "That is what a software company SHOULD do."

    No, a company should not slander their competitors to do more business. Propaganda results in an overall decline of the happiness of almost all consumers.

    Consumers that are too ignorant to know any better will believe the ridiculous claims of "windows is safer than Linux" and "Linux is hard to update". (apt-get upgrade <-- 10 times simpler than windows bullshit update system). These consumers buy the product, have a bad experience with it (sales guy: Yeah, win vista will run fine on this laptop with POS specs!) then are forced to take the advice of these companies as complete lies and do their own research.

    Consumers that know enough about this nonsense in the first place walk into the store with the (unfortunately correct) idea that everyone is lying to them and thus all advice needs to be disregarded.

    Now, this means that if a consumer wants to buy some product and walks into the store and sees another similar product with a similar price they must then leave the store, research it, and then decide which to buy. It would help both the consumers and the store if the sales people could HONESTLY and ACCURATELY answer "what's the difference between these two products". Instead of "Well, this one is more expensive, so I get a larger commission, so you have to buy this one."
  • what is this 'buy' (Score:3, Interesting)

    by fermion ( 181285 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @03:53PM (#29325553) Homepage Journal
    I didn't think you 'bought' MS Windows, so how can some have confidence and know exactly 'what they are buying' when they are buying nothing, but licensing a product that can be revoked, or modified, or additional constraints can be placed on the use of the product. MS Windows is licensed, and one of the greatest benefits of *nix, to use the vernacular, is that one has choices. One can take out features that are not needed and recompile the kernel. One can add device drivers.On can even move to another machine without fear of the MS police going after you.

    I recently updated a machine that had not been used in about a year. This machine is on a site license, using the standard MS products. In the update i was greeted wth the MS Office anti-piracy update, and warned that if I did not update I would not know if I had a pirated copy, and that if I did there might be security implications. Of course we had spent a great deal of money acquiring the software, and the update reminded that no matter what, MS could pull the plug at any time, and they would not consider this properly licensed software valid until I added this spyware to my machine.

    The cool thing is that Google is taking this licensing deal to the next level with the cloud. The cloud, at least in it's free form, is not all that useful for people who want a little more control over their computers, but for those who are raised MS, it is the next logical step. For all those that have focused on the simplified MS development model, and MS controlled software and hardware, I wonder what they will do in if google has all the software on the backend, and users just have chrome laptops.

  • by ouder ( 1080019 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @04:01PM (#29325639)
    I am sure Best Buy is getting paid well for this, but ultimately it does hurt their reputation. One reason people go to a store like Best Buy is for information. If they get a reputation for giving out bad information then a lot of the reason for going there disappears. Granted, the typical reader of Slashdot probably doesn't need a lot of advice, and we probably know how to get better prices elsewhere. However, we do talk to a lot of people who are thinking about buying computers. I am thinking at this point it is probably better to go to Wal-mart where people assume the clerks know nothing about the products than it is to go to BestBuy where management is encouraging employees to give out bad information. I know there will be a lot of flames about the clerks at Best Buy being stupid, and people who rely on them are even stupider. However, I do know some Best Buy employees, and some of them are pretty sharp.
  • Re:Linux? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SerpentMage ( 13390 ) <ChristianHGross&yahoo,ca> on Saturday September 05, 2009 @04:09PM (#29325743)

    I work in the financial market....

    I called Microsoft a Zombie corporation (and warned several months ago that MSFT earnings would suck even though most traders were optimistic) and have a neutral rating on them. BTW I am not making this stuff up. I happened to have started in the tech industry (still write quant code to this day), but moved to quant/algo trader/junior trader.

    The real problem with Microsoft is that its operating system division is dragging down the entire corporation. Windows 7 is not great. I upgraded a Vista machine (HP tablet) and have to say, not bad, but I only upgraded because Vista was so bad. Would I upgrade my XP machines? NOT A CHANCE!!!

    I also use Linux and have to say I am very impressed. Perfect? Nope, but very usable. I actually now prefer the Ubuntu fonts to read. Quite nice.

    Apple, and Linux are going to devour Microsoft. The cycle has truly started. And once Chrome gets rolling Microsoft is going to have its hands full.

    Look at the reality:

    1) IIS cannot and has not beat Apache (even after a complete decade). The fact that a product can beat Microsoft is not widely talked about by Microsoft. Notice how Microsoft stopped talking about its IIS?

    2) IE is getting stomped! You cannot deny it, but IE is getting beat by Firefox, Chrome (my preferred) and somewhat Safari.

    3) Microsoft has completely lost the mobile business and is getting pulverized by the likes of Apple, Palm, and RIMM. Even Nokia has smelt the direction of the wind with the new N900. They know what is happening and are positioning themselves.

    4) Java is STILL around. It used to be Microsoft could come out with a development language or environment and the world would bow to Microsoft. Java is still kicking and arguably is doing very well standing its own ground.

    Microsoft has some major issues and Windows 7 will show that things will not work...

    When the stock market sniffs the lack of Windows 7 follow through MSFT is going down! Right now the market is divided hence its stock price just keeps rolling around treading water. But when that balance sheet keeps grinding down MSFT is done! I am thinking you will probably be able to pick MSFT shares around the low teens next year.

    Normally it would be a bit higher, but the selling will be relentless as people will want to get out of their positions (incl the MSFT employees)

    How do you solve this?

    1) Fire Ballmer and top management
    2) Make a base Windows OS open source (no frills). Not for Linux trumping purposes, but if the Windows OS horse dies the entire corporation goes down...

    Windows has become a yolk for the entire Microsoft corporation... In the past it was a blessing, now its a curse...

  • by DaveM753 ( 844913 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @04:11PM (#29325771)
    It's great that BestBuy wants to make money and that one of the ways they can make money is to "partner" with companies, like Microsoft, that will pay them to lie. That's Capitalism for you.

    It's also a prominent reason that I, and most of my friends, don't shop at BestBuy. We all know we'll be lied to from BestBuy. It'd be great to go up to a salesperson and feel confident that any questions will receive carefully considered, honest responses. But, what we get are push-products-sold-by-Company-X-because-they're-our-partner responses. So, unlike 1999 when I went to BestBuy once a week, now I go there maybe once every year. I just don't like their B.S.

    Well, that and their policy to DEMAND I listen to their spiel about extended warranties, with no regard to whether or not I, the customer, want to hear that crap.
  • DOJ? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @04:14PM (#29325803) Journal

    Isn't this against the spirit of DOJ's settlement with MS? This shouldn't be allowed when on anti-trust probation.

  • My problem (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mascot ( 120795 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @04:16PM (#29325849)

    I don't have much of an issue with the list itself. Obviously it's heavily biased, but I see nothing on there that can be called an outright lie.

    My problem is the purpose of BestBuy sending staff to a presentation like that. It's specifically intended to give staff arguments to persuade customers to buy Windows. When the real goal of the staff should be to identify each customer's needs and guide them based on that.

    It's one thing to make mention of a more expensive product to see if there's a chance of an upsale, it's quite another to be as one-sided as this presentation is. Whether the staff will recite that presentation to any and all customers, or simply use it as input for any customer that asks for examples of why to pick one over the other, remains to be seen. But I have a feeling....

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 05, 2009 @04:28PM (#29325967)

    Aren't we CONSTANTLY told by people on slashdot and in the general media that Linux is not a viable desktop operating system? If this is true, why does Microsoft need to train Best Buy employees to dissuade people from trying Linux?

  • by dogfolife69 ( 1005455 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @04:33PM (#29326005)
    I was at best buy the other day and i heard of the the sales people almost scaring the lady customer into buy their "geek squard" services.... stating that her machine would have the blue screen of dead and would be unsecure allowing hackers to get into her machine if she didnt get the service.... the customer asked if this happens to all computers, and she was like "yes" i almost felt like going over and saying, you dont get that on a mac or linux machine, but i was in a rush
  • Re:Linux? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SerpentMage ( 13390 ) <ChristianHGross&yahoo,ca> on Saturday September 05, 2009 @04:39PM (#29326053)

    No, I will not upgrade my XP... At least right now the odds are against it.

    Let me tell you about something we did...

    We used to run Windows 2000 server. And then one day we needed to install it on new hardware. Did not work. So I got the idea and said, why not create a VMWare partition and install Windows 2000 on it and run exclusively Linux servers...

    That was 3 years ago! And we still run Windows 2000 server. Recently they tried to install Windows 2008 Server as a virtualized server OS and it sucks completely... But the positive experience with the desktop making us to think about shifting to Linux on the desktop.

    Right now the traders have 2 Windows machines and 1 Linux desktop machine. Thus far no problems...

    But what we do know right now is that whatever desktops they need, if it involves a native Windows installation it will be the cheapest version with the work horse being Linux.

  • by Vexorian ( 959249 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @05:25PM (#29326481)
    Yeah, that's right. Because this means that MS is that something the whole FOSS community has done these last years has worked and MS now actually feels threatened by it and the need to train salesman into fighting it. It is also good news because after all, there is no such thing as bad advertisement, and this is just going to spell out "Streissand effect".
  • Re:Sign me up... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by vivaelamor ( 1418031 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @05:30PM (#29326521)
    I'm looking forward to when PackagetKit development picks up pace. Currently it's pretty horrible to use compared to Synaptic but with features like PolicyKit integration it looks to be the future.
  • Re:Sign me up... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SanityInAnarchy ( 655584 ) <> on Saturday September 05, 2009 @05:33PM (#29326561) Journal

    For heaven's sake, it's 2009, why the hell do I have to friggin compile every damn piece of software that isn't in a repository?

    Mostly because the people who provided that software didn't know what they were doing. I just untar things not in a repository.

    For heaven's sake, it's 2009, why am I downloading and executing random, untrusted binaries from the Internet as the standard way to install software on Windows?

    As it is now you have to dump a tarball into directory, run a few scripts while crossing your fingers that all your libraries match up, then make the binary.

    If by "run a few scripts" you mean "exactly the same scripts for every single package", fine. I mean, it's going to be ./configure && make && make install.

    Where I think you're confused is the library dependencies. Generally, when I download the source package, they'll also give me a list of '-dev' packages I need to install on Ubuntu. And it's a hell of a lot easier to do than trying to compile something on Windows.

    As wonderful as the repository idea is - frankly I love that everything is right at your fingertips - it is completely unnecessary with Windows, because Google works just fine as a repository. Click the link and you're installing the program, no mess no hassle.

    No security.

    And if you wanted to set up a repository, it would not be hard, it would be little more than a database of .msi files, which install automatically.

    And dependencies. And reverse-dependencies. And automatic updates. And third-party repositories.

    No, if you wanted to do it right, you'd probably start with Windows Update -- except Microsoft has that locked down against third parties.

    Frankly, some kind of unified one-step scripted install structure, preferably all in a single container, that actually worked as intended would catapult linux on the desktop by leaps and bounds.


    See, there's really no way such a system would see any wider adoption than any existing package manager. In other words, we already have this, and it's called dpkg. And you can, in fact, click a dpkg in a web browser, and expect it to work -- or even click an apturl, and it'll pull it through the repository, rather than the browser.

    The absolute worst any modern desktop user has to do is run some commands -- that is, copy and paste something from a website into a commandline.

    Somehow, I don't think that this is The One Thing(TM) that is holding Linux back. I'm going to say it's instead the lack of applications, the less-than-perfect Wine, the fact that it's unfamiliar, and the fact that most people aren't getting it preloaded.

    I can think of a few ways to make the repository system better. But they don't involve mirroring the absolutely retarded way that Windows and OS X handle software installation.

  • Re:Sign me up... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SanityInAnarchy ( 655584 ) <> on Saturday September 05, 2009 @05:39PM (#29326597) Journal

    Why hasn't anybody come up with the Linux equivalent of the .dmg file?

    Linux had disk images for long before OS X did, and it's a terrible way of distributing software.

    Seriously, I think you've been brainwashed a bit by the Apple flashiness. Think about what's going on here:

    1. Click download link
    2. Open DMG file
    3. Drag app from DMG to Applications
    4. Drag DMG drive to trash
    5. Drag DMG file to trash
    6. Empty trash

    Every non-technical Mac user I know never gets to step 3. They get to step 2, say "Oh, there's my app!" and double-click it. Which means they run Firefox out of a disk image for years at a time, and never upgrade, because the DMG is read-only and Firefox won't auto-update itself.

    Compare to:

    1. Click the apt-url link
    2. Follow the instructions
    3. There is no step 3, nor any files to clean up.

    In other words, the reason there isn't the "Linux equivalent to the DMG file" is because what we have actually is better, and easier to use, when it works.

  • by Zero__Kelvin ( 151819 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @05:52PM (#29326687) Homepage

    "however many windows boxes are compromised by poorly informed users."

    This is entirely impossible, because Windows "just works." It's easy to install software (10 out of 10 virus writer's agree), and it's secure (as long as the network cable is unplugged, and you don't power the box on).

    Let me ask this? If it is the user's fault and not the OS, why doesn't anybody have to reinstall Linux due to "OS rot" ? Perhaps you didn't think Linux has users too? And no, not all Linux users are technically inclined. I have many contacts who use Linux and need it to just work because they don't know what to do if it doesn't. I think I got one call last year from one person. Everybody else is sailing along just fine, and they are the same caliber of user as the Windows users you are blaming.

  • Re:Sign me up... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Bigjeff5 ( 1143585 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @06:16PM (#29326859)

    Seriously, I think you've been brainwashed a bit by the Apple flashiness. Think about what's going on here:

    Click download link
    Open DMG file
    Drag app from DMG to Applications
    Drag DMG drive to trash
    Drag DMG file to trash
    Empty trash

    That's the hard way. The easy way is:

    1. Click download link
    2. Drag DMG file to Applications

    In Windows, it's:
    1. Click download link
    1.5. Click banner to allow download (only if you use IE and have your security settings set that way)
    2. Click "ok" to any security popups
    2.5 Enter admin password (only if the app is not following current MS best-practices for installing software)

    It's between two and four steps, tops, in Windows.

    And in Linux:

    1. See there is no apt-url link - curse (shit is common here)
    2. Search repository - curse again (often it escalates to fuck or some variation)
    3. Download tarball
    4. Create empty directory to extract tarball into
    5. Extract tarball
    6. Open terminal
    7. Navigate to the directory containing the compile scripts - curse because the tarball made a new directory with a ridiculous name
    8. Make the install with sudo, crossing your fingers that everything works as intended*
    9. Install the software with sudo (easier the second time you use it)**

    * A problem here and it can take 10 minutes to a couple of hours of troubleshooting to fix, may require knowledge of scripting

    ** A problem here and you may be fucked, unless of course you wish to re-write parts of the app that failed

    This scenario does not exist for OSX or Windows, but there is a lot of Linux software on SourceForge for which this scenario applies. Unless you only ever install software that Canonical approves you will eventually run into this problem, and doesn't that kind of defeat the purpose of running Linux on the desktop? Isn't the whole point being free of what some corporation (evil or no) thinks you should use? The fact is, in the long run you're more free to install the software you want from whoever you want on a Windows box than on a Linux box, and that's just plain sad.

    In other words, the reason there isn't the "Linux equivalent to the DMG file" is because what we have actually is better, and easier to use, when it works.

    That's my whole point, there is a shitload of software out there that it does not work for. With Windows, there is no insane install method for people who aren't tied to whatever corporate install scheme (aka repositories) a particular distro uses.

    Worst case scenario for Windows is a zipped directory with some shortcuts to place on the desktop. Drop it into your program files and move the shortcuts over, and you're done. Nothing that can break.

  • Re:Sign me up... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pohl ( 872 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @06:18PM (#29326881) Homepage

    Your response is either obtuse or ignorant. The post you're responding to is clearly not seeking an ABI that is merely stable for him, but rather an ABI that is consistent and stable for the entire platform. Suggesting that he sticks to one particular version for himself does nothing to enable him to walk into a store and know that any arbitrary piece of software would work on his system.

  • Re:Sign me up... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TimSSG ( 1068536 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @07:16PM (#29327265)

    This will probably get me modded to hell by the FLOSSies, but what the hell, I got karma up the wazoo. You guys want to know why it makes sense to push Windows over Linux on just about everything? One sentence-lack of a stable ABI.

    Wow, did windows built stop using ever newer version of Visual Studio?
    Or, did they switch to an non-Visual Studio compiler?

    Because Visual Studio ABI for C++ changes with each version of Visual Studio.
    I like GCC where the ABI is more stable.

    Tim S.

  • by janwedekind ( 778872 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @07:21PM (#29327299) Homepage
    Eric Raymond has an interesting article [] (2006) where he argues that big changes on the software market can only occur when there is an industry-wide switch in the hardware. According to Eric Raymond the window of opportunity created by the transition to 64bit platforms closes (has closed) in 2008. However I still see Windows Vista PCs on sale with 3GByte of memory because 64bit Windows lacks driver support and 32bit Windows can only address 4GByte of memory (minus 1GByte to address the graphics card AFAIK).
  • Re:My problem (Score:4, Interesting)

    by sammyF70 ( 1154563 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @07:36PM (#29327381) Homepage Journal

    Depends on how you define "help documentation". Compare linux errors with windows'. And seriously, the offline help in windows has never given me any useful info so far .. but maybe it's just me.

    Other points (I'll paraphrase, as I obviously can't copy&paste):

    • "your customer doesn't need to relearn the things they want to do" : lie, unless the customer is already using Vista.
    • "Your customers know exactly what they are buying" dubious to say the least, unless someone explains to them exactly what the difference between each version of win7 is, and what the difference between XP, Vista and Win7 is. Let's be lenient, and just say they have their head up their arses
    • Camera, iPod, MP3 Compatibility? incredibly high for Linux at least for cameras and mp3.
    • Printers and Scanners compatibility? been a very long time since I found a printer or USB scanner not working out of the box in Linux (you know.. without first getting the drivers from the manufacturer's site) ->
    • Software Compatibility : you'll probably call it shady. I still can't run XScreensaver in windows (meaning : "Compatibility" is a complete useless term without context)
    • 'Windows Live Essentials' interestingly it's "not supported" and not as I first read "unavailable". So, using Firefox in Windows to access Hotmail is probably not supported neither.
    • "The games your Customer Wants (e.g. WoW)" : really bad choice of game, cause for Wow it's an outright lie.
    • "Authorized Support", Cannonical, RedHat, Mint, ... enough "Authorized Support" for many Linux distros. (so, yes, it's a lie)
    • "Video Chat on all major IM Networks", indeed. Skype runs perfectly, but I never could get a video chat running in MSN.

    Ill pass the dubious use of "compatible" without context again, I'll just point out that at the price point of Photoshop for non-student, I'd rather say that its legal incarnation isn't THAT common.

    • "Windows work with more software and devices", probably, but not sure
    • "windows 7 still provide the same great experience they are familiar with"? ever seen someone used to XP fight with Vista? It's actually funny
    • The next one is really dependent on how you understand the sentence "Users can do what they want on their PC" ... if they mean that the user has more freedom, then it's an outright lie (DRM anybody?)
    • "Linux requires a lot of time to maintain" -> lie. So much a lie actually, that I press people who call me more than three times because they have problems with their Windows installation to install Ubuntu or Mint (yes, I install it for them, of course) because it uses less of MY time as they call less often and there is practially no maintenance
    • "It can be unclear to user whether .. or are optional" -> lie. It's written in big fat bolded font to which category each update belongs (at least in Ubuntu and Mint .. but they attacked Ubuntu directly, so here it goes)
    • "there is no guarantee .. blablabla... users are on their own" -> lie ( proven by past experience.) Actually, a patch will probably be available faster than it would have been if the same security issue had been found.
    • "there is no ability to set parental protection" -> lie. MintNanny, for example (included in the mint distro on install)
    • "no step-by-step tutorials" they don't talk about whether they are on- or offline, so I still maintain it's a lie.
    • "because there are many versions of linux .. blalala" -> not an outright lie, but Oh! so close.
  • by originalhack ( 142366 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @07:56PM (#29327501)
    I've been using Linux on servers for years but always used M$ on the desktop. When my MB blew and XP wouldn't run on the new one, I started using Ubuntu Desktop. Everything worked... generally with less drama than Windows. My DVD writer with Lightscribe worked, my laser printer worked of course. My Brother 5890 MFP scans and prints even though I can only get it to print from XP (It won't scan to XP... who knows why?).

    I've been using Openoffice every since Word 2000 inexplicably stopped working on my XP machine even with a full reinstall. The only thing that was missing was Visio. Fortunately, my old version of Visio (which won't work on Vista) will work just fund under Wine on Linux... also without any messing around.

    I used to be an advocate of Linux for people who didn't mind fiddling. Now I would suggest it for people who don't want to have to fiddle, so long as they don't need to get help from their local Windows-Geek.
  • Re:Sign me up... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jra ( 5600 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @09:03PM (#29327921)

    OV-519 JPEG based cams are a bit of a bitch to get working; no one wants to put JPEG code in the kernel.

    Someone does RPM it for SuSE, but the hunt took me almost 2 hours.

    But, really, the problem here is that you're going to the wrong Best Buy stores [].


  • Re:Sign me up... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday September 06, 2009 @01:30AM (#29329221) Journal

    Well considering I went from +5 to negative 2 in under 1 hour, i guess the mods don't agree with you. Only a fool would say that groupthink isn't VERY strong here at /., and I am no fool. Say that Apple is expensive, that Linux has problems, or that Windows doesn't always suck balls and watch your karma burn baby. Just for placing the post you responded to I have had no less than 4 posts on different subjects suddenly modded down. I have no doubt for daring to respond to you I will be modded down yet again, so say what you want, the evidence says otherwise.

    That doesn't change the fact that without a stable ABI there is simply no way for me to tell my customers what is safe and what isn't to buy. Customers aren't gonna rush home and do research just to buy a new gadget, and they certainly aren't gonna walk around Best Buy with a pen and paper writing down models numbers to research, yet that is EXACTLY what they have to do to buy anything at retail with Linux? It is 2009, WTF? Are Windows drivers great? Nope, in fact I have seen some seriously sucky drivers in my day. But they work, so that my printer prints, my cap card captures, etc. They may be bloated or buggy but i don't end up with a paperweight. My printer? paperweight. Wireless in my laptop? paperweight unless I want to run completely unsecured (no thanks). Can I walk into the Best Buy down the road and replace them? Nope, because without doing research first I have a good 70% chance of being in the same boat i am now, and that is simply unacceptable in 2009.

    So while I agree that pulse is shit and package management needs to be standardized, again that is rearranging deck chairs while the boat goes down. Until there is a simple and easy way for Joe normal to walk into a retail shop and pick up hardware without needing to spend hours on forums first, well then there simply isn't much of a point. Bundling kills any price gains that Linux has over Windows, because unless your name is Michael Dell you can't compete on bundles. Likewise with support contracts, which are a corporate thing that home users will never go for. They need a way to walk out of my shop and go "I'd like to pick up a new printer to go with this new box" and just walk into any store and buy with confidence. With Windows I can tell them to look for the "Works with Windows x" logo, with Apple the Apple logo, with Linux they are SOL. And as long as everything from the kernel on up is a moving target, so trying to write a binary driver is like hitting a dartboard with a bumblebee, that will never ever change. There is simply no way to certify a piece of hardware, because the next update could break it all and put you back in the same boat.

    But you watch, even though the two of us are having a nice civil conversation on our opposing views on the subject, just like the other posts this will be modded to hell for daring to oppose groupthink. ever since they screwed up meta modding here on /. the quality of posts with differing viewpoints are frequently buried, and the trolls are getting thick. Just witness the fact that the first 20 or so posts are now variations of "nigger" and faggot" posts, whereas in the past all we would get is the occasional GNAA or Penisbird ASCII art. Damned shame to see this place become another Digg.

  • Re:Sign me up... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bloodninja ( 1291306 ) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @02:02AM (#29329319)

    Where did you get the Skype v4l script from? Please share!

    I have been fighting with Phillips, MSI, and Logitech webcams and can get none to work, even in the latest Kubuntu (9.04). And of course I have to explain to family members who want to see my daughters online that they still cannot, and when they ask why not I have to mumble some excuse so _Linux_ does not look bad.

    Webcams are interoperability devices and so long as they are not "supported" in Linux, other users will only ever hear the word "Linux" when we are telling them why something does not work.

  • Re:Sign me up... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by glitch23 ( 557124 ) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @03:34AM (#29329621)

    I'm sick and tired of this new fad that Slashdot seems is goes through, which is mostly a mentality that everyone here thinks Linux is perfect.

    That's the *only* issue you have with the slashdot crowd? Wow, you give them too much credit. How about the fact that many people mod down because of disagreement?

  • Re:Sign me up... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by NotBornYesterday ( 1093817 ) * on Sunday September 06, 2009 @12:14PM (#29331981) Journal

    I don't know what'd be funnier: Microsoft actually paying people to spend time on Slashdot, or people like you who believe this is even a plausible story. It makes Slashdot appear very important, I know. But it isn't.

    They in fact do pay a PR firm (Waggener Edstrom) handsome amounts of money to do lots of stuff, including recruiting shills to "independently" review and blog favorably about their products, including conducting pro-MS Twitter campaigns, and the list goes on. Microsoft's history of astroturfing various forums in an attempt to influence opinion (directly or through PR lackeys) is well-known. The idea that they wouldn't deign to waste their time on slashdot is either deceitful, disingenuous, or naive. We may not be as big or important as Microsoft, but yeah, they've heard of us.

    Based on years of reading/posting here, I'd say the above-mentioned mods were out of the norm. They might be just statistical noise, or quite likely enthusiastic MS fanbois, but there is a reasonable chance that MS or their flunkys had something to do with it. There isn't much difference between a fanboi and an astroturfer anyway.

    Slashdot stories and commenters have screamed MS is going down for years, and they're doing better than ever now.

    Better than ever? Their flagship desktop OS is a flop and losing ground to competitors on all sides; their profitable Office offerings are under attack from several entities such as Sun, Google, and what may be a patent troll lawsuit; their merger/takeover attempt with Yahoo was repeatedly spurned; the EU's ankle-biting has gotten fiercer as of late; their browser, despite a recent and belated decision to properly support industry standards, is steadily losing marketshare; in a booming world of online music distribution their music service failed miserably; and their overhyped mobile platforms aren't gaining much traction.

    They may still be the 800 pound gorilla, but that doesn't mean they are a healthy gorilla

  • Re:Sign me up... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jipn4 ( 1367823 ) on Monday September 07, 2009 @01:40PM (#29342157)

    Webcam drivers and the like DO NOT BELONG IN THE KERNEL.

    They perform high performance I/O, hence they belong in the kernel.

    Specific device drivers have no business being in kernel space.

    Everybody else puts them there; why shouldn't Linux?

    Most attempts to move them out of kernel space have failed miserably. The latest big failure was when Apple turned Mach into a monolithic kernel.

    FWIW, Linux probably has some of the best support these days for user mode drivers, but few people bother.

    I mean, they did that for printers, why not every other piece of hardware?

    You're confusing two different meanings of "driver". The actual printer driver (the thing that ferries bits to the hardware) is in the kernel on Linux; it's usually a generic USB driver for printer class devices. There is another "driver" there--the renderer--but that is irrelevant to this discussion because it's a completely different kind of software that just happens to be called a "driver" as well.

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