Sunday, October 16

Linux?

I'm getting frustrated with Windows. Specifically, I ought to be able to search a folder the same way I search my iTunes library. By way of typing a filename in a search window the files are narrowed down with every keystroke.

Vince has a new G4 laptop and was showing me Spotlight on the Tiger OS, it works along those lines. I wonder if Linux has something up that alley. It seems to me that Windows Explorer is becoming incredibly outdated.

A.Ho

UPDATE: I don't know a thing about Linux, so reading this helped. Here's some points I took away from my reading:

  • The 'typical' Linux user is a hobbyist: He uses computers because computers are fun, programming is fun, hacking is fun. And Linux is a far better OS for a hacking hobbyist: He can take it apart to its most fundamental level, and reassemble it exactly as he sees fit.

    However, the current influx of Linux users has a large percentage of non-hobbyist non-hackers. They want a computer that Just Works, a computer that works like Windows. They aren't interested in spending time setting up Linux to make it work the way they want it, they want it to work like that out-of-the-box.

    And that's perfectly okay, but from the typical Linux user's perspective, this is like somebody who wants a Lego car that comes pre-assembled and glued together so it can't come apart. It is alien to their understanding. The only way they can react is with a baffled "Why would anybody want that?"

    It's baffling. If you want a ready-made model car, buy a toy car. If you want a car you can build and take apart, buy Lego. Why would anybody want a Lego car that can only be used as a toy car? The whole point of Lego is that you have fun assembling it yourself!

    This is how a typical Linux user reacts to the "Why can't it Just Work?" brigade: "If you want it to Just Work, use Windows. If you want to hack it, use Linux. Why would you ever want to switch to Linux if you have no interest in taking advantage of its open source nature?"

    The answer, usually, is that they don't actually want to move to Linux. They just want to get away from Windows: They're running away from viruses; they're fleeing malware; they're striving to be free of restrictions on how they use their paid-for software; they're trying to escape from the clutches of the E.U.L.A. They aren't trying to get into Linux, they're trying to get out of Windows. Linux is simply the best-known alternative.

  • Before you decide you want to switch to Linux, ask yourself "Why do I want to switch?"

    If the answer is "I want an OS that puts all the power in the hands of the user and expects him to know how to use it": Get Linux. You'll have to invest a substantial amount of time and effort before you get it to where you want it, but you'll eventually be rewarded with a computer that works exactly the way you want it to.

    BUT. . .

    If the answer is "I want Windows without the problems": Do a clean install of Windows XP SP2; set up a good firewall; install a good anti-virus; never use IE for browsing the web; update regularly; reboot after each software install; and read about good security practices. I myself have used Windows from 3.1 through 95, 98, NT, and XP, and I have never once had a virus, suffered from spyware, or been cracked. Windows can be a safe and stable OS, but it relies on you keeping it that way.

    If the answer is "I want a replacement for Windows without the problems": Buy an Apple Mac. I've heard wonderful things about the Tiger release of OS X, and they've got some lovely-looking hardware. It'll cost you a new computer, but it'll get you what you want.

    In either case, don't switch to Linux. You'll be dissapointed with both the software and the community. Linux is not Windows.



I have some thinking to do. And I have about 70 GB unformatted on my HD that I could install Linux on. Maybe I'd dig it.

3 comments:

Fuz, suffering horribly from a case of afcelzf said...

I take it a cheap Mac is not in the cards, then?

*shrug* No harm in asking.

In any case, Linux can be…well, not painful to use. But I wouldn't want to make it my full-time desktop OS.

Kris said...

Ubuntu is a hot distro right now.

DM said...

I do dig on the Mac thing; if you're ever intersested in serious computer gaming, though, you're a bit stuck. I think if you've got some aptitude for perpetually fucking around w/your OS, then it's probably worthwhile. I know that Linux can support a broad range of things, and does them fairly well, and since most viruses and the like are written for Windows, you're pretty money, most of the time.

Hell, if I had in an interest in programming, I'd probably take Linux, since I tweak Magic decks on a daily basis. The perpetual fucking with something that works just fine as is, is, for me I guess, almost compulsatory.