Is Linux nearing XP usability?


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Shadrack
If that ever happens then linux wont be close but far far ahead. Even Windows lacks that kind of support from HW developers.

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I have a scanner that only works in Linux or Windows 98. No Windows 2000 or Windows XP drivers to be found. So I **** on all your "lack of hardware support" in linux arguments :p :p :p. (not directed at the person I'm quoted..just everyone making that argument).

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markjensen

^^^ I have a Canon IX-4015 scanner from my old Win98 days that is no longer supported in Windows, but just works in Linux without any config file editing or anything. However, these are only case examples. I still believe that (though Linux does have some advantages here) Windows has generally better x86 hardware compatibility, due to their overwhelming market share (all vendors need to write a Windows driver). Windows doesn't have better support of hardware due to any programming finesse at Redmond.

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ichi
I have a scanner that only works in Linux or Windows 98.  No Windows 2000 or Windows XP drivers to be found.  So I **** on all your "lack of hardware support" in linux arguments :p :p :p. (not directed at the person I'm quoted..just everyone making that argument).

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Fortunately, in the linux world, lack of support from HW devs doesn't mean that devices wont work. When I say that there's lack of hardware support I mean support from hardware developers, not that linux doesn't support that hardware.

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LaNcom

I'm really tired, always reading the same unfounded (and most of the time stupid) arguments on why "Linux isn't ready for the desktop"... Care for some facts? OK, here you go:

- "Users need to compile the kernel."

No, they don't. They _may_ recompile their kernel, to tweak very far-reaching system settings or add rarely used or experimental features (activating BKL preemption, changing the base frequency, adding realtime scheduling...). Most other settings are configurable from a running system or during boot, even stuff like USB HID polling (> 2.6.11), switching CPU and I/O schedulers and such.

- "There are too many distros."

Not really. See, Joe Sixpack would usually just go (K)Ubuntu or FC or Linspire or something - doesn't really matter, it's still Linux, just choose the one you like. But there are also 'specialty' distros, tailored to specific users or uses, like gentoo, DSL, Fli4L, Demudi. If you don't know those distros or don't know what they're good for, you probably won't need their special features anyway. It's similar to the different flavors of Windows: XP Home, XP Pro, XP MCE, XP Server, XP Advanced Server, XP Datacenter Edition... Commercial software usually just works, anyway, eg, if you stick you UT2004 CD in your drive, start the installer and you're done. It's completely irrelevant what distro you use.

- "Linux lacks hardware support."

Depends. Macs lack even more in that area. Problem is, Linux runs on 'regular' PCs (and pretty much anything else that has some sort of CPU). Therefore, the user just assumes every hardware that works on 'that other' x86 OS should work. Which is obviously a quite stupid assumption. If users would check for Linux compatibility _before_ buying some cheap DSL modem or something, there would be no problem, right? That said, I never had problems with incompatible hardware, maybe that's because I don't buy cheap whitebox components at Walmart, but quality hardware from well known companies...

- "Linux lacks integration."

True, really. Not really needed most of the time, as (K)Ubuntu tends to autoconfigure pretty much everything in a very sane way, but still true nevertheless. Anyway, I think many of those issues will get resolved soon, with systems like Elektra emerging, and the upcoming xorg 7.0 release with it's very neat evdev input driver system.

- "There are too many desktop environments."

See my answer to the distro-argument. That said, there are also different Explorer replacements for Windows, that's pretty much the same as a Window Manager, and nobody seems to argue about that.

- "There are too many APIs (GTK, Qt, XForms, FLTK, wx, Motif, FOX)."

There are also many, many such APIs for Windows (every API mentioned above, minus XForms, plus Delphi, Borland C and a few other strange APIs). But really, why's that a problem? Most of the APIs are rare (FOX, FLTK) or dead (Motif, XForms). The only 'common' APIs are Qt and GTK, Qt is intended for C++ coding, GTK for C coding. You need a copy of Qt and a copy of GTK, not even 10MB each. And, with GTK-Qt, at least GTK, Qt, wx and Java apps look the same. Many Windows apps, including Adobe stuff, don't use the XP theme engine, ever wondered why? Because they use different toolkits that only look similar to the default Windows classic look. But on the Mac, it's even worse. After playing with FCP, one of Apple's flagship products, some years ago, I noticed that they used two completely different types of scrollbars and checkboxes in a single windows. That's true consistency, that's what I call 'Style'... So, really - who cares?

- "There are too many different text editors, CD burners, media players..."

Compared to what? There may be 100 text editors for Linux, but there are thousands of text editors for Windows. Same goes for image editors: Linux has Gimp, Cinepaint, Pixel32, Tuxpaint, Krita and some exotic apps. Windows has Photoshop, PSP, PhotoImpact, Gimp, Pixel32, Cinepaint, Painter, Corel Photo Paint, Mirage, Eclipse, Dogwaffle, and at least one hundred other, similar image editors - most of them are commercial and closed source. So, why should there only be a single image editor for Linux, if there are hundreds for any other OS? Flawed logic, mind you...

PS: I have a dream... that someday, in the very short future, a cheap and unobtrusive, but 100% unbreakable copy protection appears. The day kiddies can't just run some warezed XP server on their DELL box, and can't use Photohsop CS3 to create butt-ugly forum avatars (using some ripped mid-90 design and clicking some Photoshop effect buttons in a random order), maybe they will understand what 'free' means. I also hope that no more media player will play their self-ripped MP3s, and that every application phones home to tell big brother what you do and when, without any way to circumvent this. That would teach them the meaning of 'freedom'... :-)

Edited by LaNcom
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chavo
Quote from first page:

Like creating two folders that point to the exact same spot in the file system but can be interfaced the same through other programs seamlessly.? In Linux this is cake, just make a symlink.? Make 20 symlinks!? Windows, not so easy and requires additional 3rd party software.? Its a shame too, because it is such a useful feature.

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Just kind of scamming through this thread and noticed your post.

Windows or NTFS specifically has had symbolic links since Windows 2000 (NTFS 5.0).

It's not a very well known or used feature, but it's there.

I'm not trolling, I use Linux. But I thought I would just clear that up. A lot of times people keep spouting off things that they heard years ago that just aren't true. I'm not calling you a zealot, but this is how FUD starts.

Edit..

And to the rest of you zeal:)s :) Use what you like. Don't worry about what the Jones's next door use. I use Windows and Linux here. They both serve a purpose. To me the usability is not an issue. I've been using computers and Linux for a long time.

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dotRoot
Just kind of scamming through this thread and noticed your post.

Windows or NTFS specifically has had symbolic links since Windows 2000 (NTFS 5.0).

It's not a very well known or used feature, but it's there.

I'm not trolling, I use Linux. But I thought I would just clear that up. A lot of times people keep spouting off things that they heard years ago that just aren't true. I'm not calling you a zealot, but this is how FUD starts.

Edit..

And to the rest of you zealots :) Use what you like. Don't worry about what the Jones's next door use. I use Windows and Linux here. They both serve a purpose. To me the usability is not an issue. I've been using computers and Linux for a long time.

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It isn't really symbolic links. You are talking about hard links and junctions. A hard link creates a new directory entry for an existing file. The hard link must reference a file on the same volume as itself. Only files, not directories.

Junctions can reference a directory on a different volume on the same computer, but not a directory located on a shared volume from another computer. Also it is buggy deleting folders inside junctions and as far as I know you have to use undocumented API or someone else's app that makes junctions possible. So it is kind of there, but its not even fully functional if you do use it with API/Apps.

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So I wouldn't call that symbolic link's equal.

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markjensen
So I wouldn't call that symbolic link's equal.

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Just to keep discussion going on this, and provide a counterpoint (I am in that sort of mood, today). GIMP isn't PhotoShop's equal, either. It is very functional, and provides more features than a casual user would need, but you don't see professional shops flocking to it.
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Vlad
I'm really tired, always reading the same unfounded (and most of the time stupid) arguments on why "Linux isn't ready for the desktop"... Care for some facts? OK, here you go:

...(shortened for brevity)

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- "Users need to compile the kernel."

You're right. Recompiling the kernel is more or less a myth if you use a mainstream distro.

- "There are too many distros."

"There are not too many distros" is the rhetoric on Slashdot as well, which makes me wonder if any of them actually have IT jobs that deploy a mixed (windows/*nix) environment. Yes, choice is good, etc etc. And while it is still linux, *supporting* it is a vastly different animal. I've done *a lot* of support (a good portion of which is over the phone) for your average (ie, ignorant) Windows user. This is where that distro argument really breaks down: Walking someone (specifically, an ignorant someone) through fixing a Windows problem is *far, far* simpler. For example, someone calls support and says that their mouse is moving too fast. Most experienced Windows users (especially support personell) can explain what to do over the phone. Now, I've encountered a similar problem with a RedHat user. Getting them through it wasn't such a big deal. Now try it for three or more distros.

Comparing distros to XP variants is an absolute apples to oranges comparison, it's not even similar. I wouldn't compare Gentoo to XP Pro and Mandriva to XP MCE. Joe User might use Ubuntu at home, but when he gets into the office and sits down in front of a RedHat machine it's a whole 'nother ball game. Ever hear anyone get confused when they go from XP Home at home and XP Pro at work? I don't think so.

- "Linux lacks hardware support."

Totally a myth, under certain stipulations. The primary one being that any new hardware (ie, last several months, especially motherboards) will have buggy/partial/no support (case and point, NF4 boards). Use some year old technology and you'll be fine. Saying this to the company CIO will likely get you frowned at.

- "Linux lacks integration."

If you mean integration with existing Windows systems: Integration has become *much* better in the last few years. Samba has matured quite well, and its ability to more or less completely integrate a machine into an existing Active Directory domain is great.

As far as "melding with your hardware" I'd also have to agree. The X side of things has become much better, and I/O devices have come a long way since the 2.2 days.

- "There are too many desktop environments."

This really isn't a problem since major distributions try to blur the line between Gnome/KDE anyways. RedHat does a pretty good job of this, giving the end-user the functionality of both while more or less masking which its using. Still, between distributions, defaults vary wildly, making support a bitch.

- "There are too many APIs (GTK, Qt, XForms, FLTK, wx, Motif, FOX)."

Heh, I made a post about this the other day, actually. Anywho, relatively few Win32 developers make applications for end-users using the GTK and Qt libraries for Win32. The vast, vast, vast majority instead rely almost completely on the Win32 API (especially for windowing/buttons/etc). Most *users* probably wont care (or even notice) which GUI toolkit they're using, since some distros try to make them look the same. Developing applications is another story, especially since which toolkit you use can have a huge impact on how much of your target audience you reach. Write for Windows and you can be most or less certain that your *single* binary will work across multiple versions of Windows. Sorry, Windows absolutely crushes Linux when it comes to commercial support for the development, distribution, and support of applications.

- "There are too many different text editors, CD burners, media players..."

Heh, you're totally write. There's a thousands of variants of such programs for Windows. However, you can pretty much rest assured that *EVERYONE* has Windows Media Player, Internet Explorer, notepad, etc, etc. Linux doesn't lack these things. What is lacks is commercial quality applications, which include things like Adobe Professional/Photoshop, MS Project, Nero, Exchange/Outlook (Open exchange is a beast. Dont get me started), etc. Luckily, its only a matter of time before quality commercial applications begin to reach linux users (ie, it can only get better!)

Anywho, linux at home is ready for savvy and brave computer users, who already have a general idea of how computers work, and are simply looking for a hobby or windows alternative. If correctly deployed, and used for the *right reasons*, enterprise-friendly distros are also quite ready for commercial use. Linux however, is not yet a Windows-killer. If DRM doesn't kill us first, I'd say that linux can offer a competitive OEM alternative to Windows by 2010.

I have the same dream, or nightmare, really. Because this technology is going to be used to take power out of consumers hands and into the hands of businesses. "Voting with your dollar" on your hardware and software will be about as USELESS as "voting with your dollar" on your electricity bill. This is the day when ownership leaves the closed doors of our homes and is permanently transferred to massive data wherehouses. No more ownership. Just licensing. "That's not your laptop, it's our laptop, we're just letting you use it." This isn't OSS vs closed source software (CSS? heh). This is data warefare, and your personal information is the ammunition.

People need to *not* purchase DRM enabled devices. This includes DVDs/CDs which can only be played under certain conditions and contain anti-piracy features that cripple your rights at the expense of a minor change in their bottom line. Up-and-coming computer hardware which include embedded DRM, such as motherboards and processors, must also *not* be purchased. Companies are going to have to feel the fiscal backlash of stepping on our rights before they'll change their policies (remember the PIII CPU UID fiasco several years ago?).

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dotRoot
Just to keep discussion going on this, and provide a counterpoint (I am in that sort of mood, today).  GIMP isn't PhotoShop's equal, either.  It is very functional, and provides more features than a casual user would need, but you don't see professional shops flocking to it.

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Yes, but junction which is close to symlinking isn't even fully functional. It ironically also is just like when Windows users bitch about the command line and how "complicated" things are in Linux. All I was saying is that hardlinking and junctions aren't the same as symlinks...similar yes...if you use them in a perfect enviroment.

In Windows defense. You'll probably see symbolic linking packed with Vista via MS' Unix services for Windows. Which I believe you can use on 2000 on up for free anyway. You just have to download it from the MS site.

- "There are too many distros."

"There are not too many distros" is the rhetoric on Slashdot as well, which makes me wonder if any of them actually have IT jobs that deploy a mixed (windows/*nix) environment.  Yes, choice is good, etc etc.  And while it is still linux, *supporting* it is a vastly different animal.

Yes and no. Supporting KDE and GNOME no matter the distro is pretty easy. Both are similar in how its organized. Most Linux IT staff this isn't a barrier really. At least not in a corporate enviroment. Most likely the distros will be uniform in a company, so I'm not sure why the stab at slashdotters. Anyway, I do see your point for support of home users, BUT major distros offer their own support.

So consider this. For home use support. The distrobutions sold in stores come with support from that company. Meaning that company will do tech. support for the user. So that has nothing to do with having a lot of distros.

Home users that download one of the various distros from the web can use tech. support on the web in the form of forums, email lists, whatever.

Comparing distros to XP variants is an absolute apples to oranges comparison, it's not even similar.  I wouldn't compare Gentoo to XP Pro and Mandriva to XP MCE.  Joe User might use Ubuntu at home, but when he gets into the office and sits down in front of a RedHat machine it's a whole 'nother ball game.  Ever hear anyone get confused when they go from XP Home at home and XP Pro at work? I don't think so.

What about Windows 98 to XP? Or XP Home to Windows 2000? Regular Joe Blow

- "There are too many APIs (GTK, Qt, XForms, FLTK, wx, Motif, FOX)."

Heh, I made a post about this the other day, actually....

What about programmers that use Visual Basic? You have to include their runtime files. What about .NET? Runtime files/framework. I mean really it is a silly arguement. Why does it matter how many they are? The end user?

In Linux its simple. Someone uses a package manager to download your program. Your dependancies will be met. If your program uses GTK and the user doesn't have it, then it'll install it for them.

On Windows? If your user doesn't have the VB runtime files or the .NET framework or whatever, then they have to go find and download it. Not so bad for .NET though. Just takes a windows update to get the latest.

What is lacks is commercial quality applications, which include things like Adobe Professional/Photoshop, MS Project, Nero, Exchange/Outlook (Open exchange is a beast. Dont get me started), etc.  Luckily, its only a matter of time before quality commercial applications begin to reach linux users (ie, it can only get better!)

Why does everyone say Photoshop?! Run it via CrossOffice. Exchange is probably the big one. There isn't an enterprise solution like Exchange in Linux really. But then again, my personal opinion is that most of the things it does offers companies don't use anyway. And I'm not trying to down Exchange. But its just that it depends on the companies needs.

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I am not here to tout Linux is for everyone or even that it is a better OS. A better OS? Depends on the user's needs and preferences.

At least on Neowin the Linux users don't try to sway people from Windows for the most part. Very small minority that does that and its pretty rare. Yes in a lot of other place Linux users may try to be zealots about it. But even that is changing. Linux has always been about choice, even if the choice is not to use it. BSD is pretty much the same. Linux is taking so long for the big commercial support, because people won't switch based on that reason, however, it can't get much commercial support unless more people did switch. But its slowly getting there.

One more thing I'd like to add in general. It seems people equate Open Source to "crap" compared to closed source. Well most of the arguements (aside from GIMP vs. Photoshop) are saying OSS is crap and not as good as closed source...at OSS trying to use services meant for a whole other closed source cleint. Such as amsn or gaim or whatever. So of course it takes time to reverse engineer the closed source enviroment. If it was open source, then we wouldn't have that problem.

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dotRoot

Oh yeah. Along the same lines of the Open Source = crap statements.

If you are using Windows and can see and even reply to this thread, guess what? Open source is working for you. Your Windows TCP/IP stack is a modified BSD 4.4 TCP/IP stack connecting to an Apache webserver that is sitting on a Linux server that is connecting to a MySQL database sitting on another Linux server.

So the whole Neowin experience is almost completely an open source experience everytime you visit. Even more if you use firefox.

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Shadrack
- "Linux lacks integration."

I'd like to add to this. Since MS Office 97 it seems that Microsoft has consistently has Office in its very own API package, refusing to use their very own Windows API. I'm not sure why they would want to re-invent the wheel so many times, but they do. Office 2003 is better then 97 and 2000. But it is still different then the rest of my windows apps.

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SoNiCfReAk
I'd like to add to this.  Since MS Office 97 it seems that Microsoft has consistently has Office in its very own API package, refusing to use their very own Windows API.  I'm not sure why they would want to re-invent the wheel so many times, but they do.  Office 2003 is better then 97 and 2000.  But it is still different then the rest of my windows apps.

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I agree, as a life long Windows user (I recently got rid of it completely) Microsoft doesn't like UI consistancy. Office, MSN Messenger, Movie Maker, Media Player & all other recent M$ apps look different from themeselves and the rest of Windows.

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insurektion
NTFS support!!!!!!!!!!! Are you on crack?

Dude if anything microsoft should have ext3 and/or reiserfs read / write support

Microsoft has not released much on ntfs so it is extermely hard for devleopers to allow write to ntfs.

I don't think mac os is able to write to ntfs.

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You are right on all terms. But microsoft is big to have any reason to support the other guys and it probably isn't in their interest to release documentation on NTFS.

So its up to linux not MS unfortunatly.

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markjensen
You are right on all terms. But microsoft is big to have any reason to support the other guys and it probably isn't in their interest to release documentation on NTFS.

So its up to linux not MS unfortunatly.

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I don't think anyone No one here is saying that Microsoft needs to release their NTFS information.

Nor is it fair to point at the Open Source community, and say "Pshaw! They don't even have a good NTFS module!". As a "trade secret" of course, it is shaky legal ground to implement NTFS, as Microsoft could decide to send their legal team after them.

The only time NTFS is even needed is if you have dual-boot on a single PC. I have no use for NTFS, as my box is 100% Linux. Most businesses will have single-boot PCs, too. "This is the Sun workstation, over there is the Linux workstation, and right here is the Windows workstation."

For a home user, trying out Linux, though, this is a very important feature. Even if just read-only (which almost every distro includes on first boot, and RedHat can be added very easily, if required).

Is NTFS write a requirement? Probably not, but if needed, there are some less thoroughly tested implementations, including captive-ntfs, which uses Microsoft's own ntfs.sys file (which is a good thing, as different Windows versions have slightly different NTFS implementations).

EDIT: confirmed that no one is claiming NTFS needs to be opened up by Microsoft, and edited first sentence appropriately.

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msg43

It would be nice if Microsoft can make or use a file system which will work with all operating system and that is up to date. Cause fat32 isn't cutting it. And Mark what if you have a external hard drive? You'll have no choice to format it in fat32 if you have some computer running windows on some nix like I do.

Family = Windows (they won't let me switch it to linux)

Mom Laptop = Windows (^^)

My computer = Linux

My Server = Linux

All I have to say is thank god for samba or I probably wouldn't be using linux.

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markjensen

I have a USB key. I use it to transfer data bakc and forth from work and home (plus it has DSL bootable on it) ;)

It is FAT32, and works just fine. (Y)

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imtoomuch

Is Linux nearing XP usability?

No, plain and simple. It may easier to use than it was 5 years ago, but Linux is nowhere near as easy as XP to set up. I installed Ubuntu to give that a try. I followed the instructions online on how to connect to the internet. I tried doing this 3 or 4 times with no success whatsoever.

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h3xis
Is Linux nearing XP usability?

No, plain and simple.  It may easier to use than it was 5 years ago, but Linux is nowhere near as easy as XP to set up.  I installed Ubuntu to give that a try.  I followed the instructions online on how to connect to the internet.  I tried doing this 3 or 4 times with no success whatsoever.

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i hope you're not talking about an ethernet connection because connecting to the internet through ethernet is so easy it's laughable.

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markjensen
Is Linux nearing XP usability?

No, plain and simple.  It may easier to use than it was 5 years ago, but Linux is nowhere near as easy as XP to set up.  I installed Ubuntu to give that a try.  I followed the instructions online on how to connect to the internet.  I tried doing this 3 or 4 times with no success whatsoever.

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I don't see where you posted your problem on Neowin... I can see you posted in the *nix sections before, once to offer help and another time to offer counterpoints. But I don't see any times where you asked for help (here, anyhow, don't know if you tried other forums).

My counterpoint to you: I used to be a Windows user. But Windows would no longer run my scanner (Cannon IX-4015) when I upgraded to XP. No longer supported. Dropped. No instructions to even try other than "throw unit away, and purchase new one". It is quite likely that all your device needs is a bit of work. Worst case, you are in the same boat I was with Microsoft. Buy new and supported hardware to get that function back. :p

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Quillz

I think that Linux is slightly more difficult to get the hang of, but once you do, you'll most likely never go back. For example, I just jumped straight into Linux w/o reading any kind of book on it. I prefer to just get up and go, and learn where necessary. I finally figured out how to run an installation; you type "make install" in the terminal. See... That's not so hard... I think for the average user, Linux may prove too much, though. I think what really needs to happen is some sort of Linux installer file needs to be written (like Window's .exe) that simplifies all the major processes to install, for example. If there can be a simplified way of getting things done, Linux will become that much more desirable.

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David Scaife
Is Linux nearing XP usability?

No, plain and simple.  It may easier to use than it was 5 years ago, but Linux is nowhere near as easy as XP to set up.  I installed Ubuntu to give that a try.  I followed the instructions online on how to connect to the internet.  I tried doing this 3 or 4 times with no success whatsoever.

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"No" is a very 'absolute', black and white word, but while we're on the topic of how easy it is to set up the operating system... I am giving my laptop to my sister, and she naturally only knows how to use Windows. My laptop had Linux on it, so I had to go and install Windows over it. Given that it is about four years old and not exactly bleeding-edge, I decided to try Windows 2000 first. It boots from the CD, starts loading a few modules, and... hey, a blue screen of death and I haven't even started yet!

So I try again, and the same thing happens. I then decided to try XP, but the laptop just sat there staring at me, blank, with the hard drive activity LED lit up. After a few minutes, I decided enough was enough. Following a small hunch, I went through the trouble of getting my Linux LiveCD, booting it, running fdisk, deleting the partition table, re-writing it with a single NTFS volume, and rebooting. Only after I did this could the Windows installer give me something to work with. Actually, I found it funny, in the way that it almost suggests that Microsoft assumes that the computer doesn't run any operating system but Windows.

Also, I know this point has been brought up a lot, but this annoyed me; after I managed to get Windows on the laptop, I had to go to Windows Update four or five times, with reboots in between, just to get the system up to par with security updates. When I set up the particular Linux distribution I use, the latest versions of all of the software on the system was installed during the initial installation. Much easier on the end user, no?

Anyhow, this isn't a "you're wrong, Linux is the perfect operating system!" post; I'm saying that while Linux may have a few flaws once in a while when it comes to getting set up with inexperienced users, Windows isn't exactly a gift from heaven either.

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markjensen
I think what really needs to happen is some sort of Linux installer file needs to be written (like Window's .exe) that simplifies all the major processes to install, for example. If there can be a simplified way of getting things done, Linux will become that much more desirable.

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What distro do you use?

Debian (and variants) use apt-get, or can use the synaptic GUI front end to it.

Fedora uses yum, but can also install synaptic

Mandrake uses urmpi.

Gentoo uses emerge.

and there are other tools for other distros.

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ranpha
What distro do you use?

Debian (and variants) use apt-get, or can use the synaptic GUI front end to it.

Fedora uses yum, but can also install synaptic

Mandrake uses urmpi.

Gentoo uses emerge.

and there are other tools for other distros.

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See the problem there? All those distros should try and standardize on only one way of updating/installing programs. Across Windows family OSes, there is only one simple way to do it (which will be clicking some .exe file to do the job - some programs doesn't even need installations). Linux-based OSes should try and do the same.

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markjensen

^^^ Oh, not that argument again.

All you need is synaptic as your pretty GUI front-end, and you will be happy. Don't want to deal with the other methods? Don't. It is really that simple.

If you wanted to switch, it is not tough:

apt-get install celestia becomes

yum install celestia.

EDIT: And, no. There is not "one" way to install Windows apps. InstallShield, MSI come to mind.

EDIT 2: And let's not get into "how do you update all your Windows apps?". It must take forever to go through them all.

EDIT 3: It's late. I'm tired. I'm off to bed. I'll check back in the morning. ;)

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Crimson Behelit
Linux-based OSes should try and do the same.

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I don't particularly agree. I for one wouldn't be so receptive to Linux if I were limited to one particular method of installing programs. As it is, YUM, urpmi, apt-get, and emerge are all functionally very much alike... so much so that in most cases the only difference between installing the same app between distros would be the leading command intself:

yum install xmms

apt-get install xmms

emerge xmms

urpmi xmms

As you can see, they are already very much alike. These package managers are different enough from each other to provide very specific functionality. In the case of emerge for example, binary packages are built from source on the user's end whereas the other package managers install pre-built binaries.

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