Oakes

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The reason being that the time donated is not truly valued at all whereas in a commercial project, it is valued because it is the owners/designers money being spent on it.

This is an interesting economic point that I haven't thought of. I'm not sure this would apply to for-profit distros like redhat, who get their money by offering services (I think they are subscription-based). I think it is in their economic interest to improve their software and keep them spyware-free so that people will want their services.

However, the actual kernel does seem to be non-profit, although I'm not sure who actually is in charge of it (I would be interested to know). But I've always believed that an open-source kernel is a good thing, because since it isn't restricted by a single company, multiple OS's could use it and be compatible with each other. Wouldn't it be a good thing if every OS voluntarily used the same (open-source) kernel, just like how other industries accept voluntary standards?

Take a look at HP. If not Dell or HP, put your own together, I did. I have no technical experience, and it was easy.

I didn't know HP pre-packaged SUSE -- I'll look into that.

There are 2 other major commercial operating systems other than Windows. BeOS(which the development company is now unfortunately bankrupt) and Apple.

Well, mac is commercial, but I thought there kernel was open-source. It's filed under the Apple Public Source License, which is approved by OSI.

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Also, I think it is still possible to get a computer with no operating system installed, and that would give you ultimate control. But, do not get FreeBSD, it is NOT a viable system, unless you are a computer scientist.

I haven't bought a pre-assembled system in years, I assemble mine from scratch so that I choose the motherboard, type and amount of RAM, brand of hard disk, etc. rather than a cookie cutter solution that probably uses Maxtor hard drives (ugh). It actually isn't that hard if you have any mechanical skill at all. The most difficult part is mounting the motherboard properly, and sometimes mounting the CPU+heatsink on the motherboard can be annoying because of badly thought out plastic hardware.

FreeBSD has definite virtues over Linux for servers. The Ports system is a unified way to keep updated on thousands of software packages on FreeBSD; Linux is far more fragmented that way. Security-wise, Redhat Linux "out of the box" isn't as a good as FreeBSD. For a desktop system a lot more attention has been focused on Linux, though FreeBSD can run Linux programs (which I haven't spent time testing, I generally recompile from source.)

Anyway I would say that anyone contemplating a move to desktop Linux should look long and hard at the whether the available software suits their needs vs. the Windows world. I couldn't begin to do what I need to do, commercially, without Windows. Furthermore, a lot of open source projects are now sensibly supporting Windows, as a compile option and with precompiled binaries. (Outside of server software, there are very few commercial desktop Linux applications. Almost everything on a Linux system is open source, including the OS and the GUI itself.)

If somebody wants to experiment, there's also an easy solution - run both. Either dual booting or just get 2 computers, or upgrade your current PC and use the older one to run Linux since the hardware demands are usually lower.

Also, there's the Apple solution. Versions of the OS prior to 10 were really stupendously awful, without even true multitasking, but with the radical change to a Unix based system in 10, it's now kind of a nice system. I would still not recommend it, because their systems are always more expensive and there's less software overall (and you're stuck with Apple, a notoriously fickle and apparently customer-be-damned company), but if avoiding Windows' problems is a desire, the new Mac is at least a reasonable alternative for many applications. I sure wouldn't get one until they migrate to their new Intel chip hardware architecture, though.

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Although, thanks for certain connections, I have never paid MS for any of the 5 versions of their operating systems that I possess, so we do not have to hurry and can make a completely compatible switch.

So, let me get this straight ... you're griping about commercial software you didn't even pay for?

do not care what the economical relationship is of the people that make my software. I care whether or not it works, and what the price is relative to my income and purposes.

As a student who works for a fraction of part time, price is a *big* factor in my decisions on purchasing software. But having used open-source software and commercial software, I always go the commercial route if possible. For example, I tried OpenOffice for MS Office compatibility. OO's interface is terrible, so I will use Corel Office which came bundled on my laptop if I need compatibility with MS Office. Otherwise, I use MS Works.

Somebody is making money somewhere, else economics would have put Linux in the pine box long ago.

Actually, that's not always the case. Sure, Red-Hat is making money. And Linux technicians are making boat-loads of money because Linux is pretty difficult to keep patched properly. And consulting companies are making money solving the problems with Linux infrastructure.

But let's take an honest comparison of a Windows or Mac station to a Linux station if you are not already reasonably knowledgable in Linux.

Linux distributions are available for free or for a fee. Red Hat charges $179 for a client license of its Enterprise edition. In contrast, a license of MS XP Professional retails at $139 for a one-license OEM version. Apple beats both of them, offering OS X Tiger for $129 for one license or $199 for five licenses.

Now for installing and configuring your new OS. In my experience and that of the few Linux technicians I know, be prepared to come face to face with the command prompt at least once in this process. For some people, the command prompt is absolutely no problem at all. But a lot of end users can get easily intimidated by working at a command prompt. So if you're one of these users, be prepared to hire someone to do this for you or buy new PCs pre-packaged with Linux. Windows 2000 and XP both boot to the installation disk and have a very easy (mostly unattended) graphical-interface installation, taking between 30 minutes to 2 hours to set up, depending on the system's hardware. You pop in the disk and it just works - very simple. Mac OS X Tiger is the same way. Being famous mostly for user-friendliness and ease-of-use, Tiger touts a three-step, 30 minute installation.

Alright, so now that you have your new computer set up, let's say you need specialized software to do your work. This could be developer tools, web design, engineering software - anything. Windows, naturally, has the most third-party software developed for it. Microsoft, if nothing else, is very supportive of its developers of all skills from weekend coder to professional developer. How else did it acheive such popularity? So most high-end software from games to engineering software are released for Windows-only. The cost of developing high-end software usually doesn't justify making a Mac release and certainly not a Linux release. Apple is a distant second, having some major software releases for document and web creation but not much else. Also, Apple doesn't have nearly as much developer resources as Microsoft. Linux is laughable in comparison. Major software releases are typically dependent on larger software companies that can afford to swim in open source waters. Other than that, you are typically dependent on people who code for pleasure for software - making it uncertain whether or not a certain application will work properly or conflict with other software and making high-end software virtually impossible for any group to develop.

Ok, so now let's say your computer has a problem. Most problems within Windows can be fixed with specialised applications - utility suites, anti-virus/anti-spyware programs, and so on. Windows comes with an extensive help utility instantly accessible by pressing F1. And if that doesn't help, Microsoft has a huge support section on their website for all of their products and an equally large knowledge base, both available for free online. And if you still can't figure it out, computer technicians knowledgable in Windows are easy to find and usually pretty cheap. Apple also has a very large free support website for all of it's products, but Mac-knowledgable technicians are going to be harder to find. In comparison, Linux support websites are usually limited again to people's spare time. Linux-knowledgable technicians, by the way, are an endangered species because very few people use Linux and it can be quite difficult to provide support for it. As a result, the few that there are, are very expensive.

And that, my dear friend, is why Microsoft won the operating system marketshare.

But, it is actually a growing problem, isn't it? I smell money. If you read the bylines, I smell a lot of money. I smell it growing for companies like Novell, HP, IBM, Mozilla.

Linux users growing? Well, I'm not too sure of that one.

But you *are* the only person smelling open-source money for those companies. I'm smelling red ink.

Novell -

NASDAQ lists a downhill trend

Novell lists a bottom line loss for the past 2 fiscal years

IBM -

NASDAQ lists a slow downward trend since '99

Making some money in software only, representing 16.3% of IBM's income. It's worth noting that IBM also sells Linux pre-installed on hardware, which is losing a great deal of money from the above link.

HP -

This is the only company that even slightly fits a "smell money" scenario, but that is subject to some context analysis.

NASDAQ shows a slow climb from a slump

HP boasts $25 million in Linux sales in 2003, but out of *much* larger revenue - meaning Linux represents a miniscule amount of income.

And finally, here are the quarterly reports: http://www.hp.com/hpinfo/investor/financia...rs/2005/q2.html

Mozilla -

This entity a non-profit corporation. It started out with support from America Online's Netscape division and lives on the support of donations. I'm not smelling the money on this one at all .... :D

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Sorry for a few mistakes, I've been busy and typed too fast. :D

*And that, my dear friends, is why Microsoft won the operating system marketshare.

*On Novell's listing, the net loss is for 2005 Q1. Net income available to stockholders was lost on Q1 for two fiscal years, a loss on fiscal year 2004 and a large gain in 2005.

*As a side note, the post is full of hyperlinks. :D

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Nice post Egochick. :D I second your endorsement of Opera.

On my Acer Aspire 1680 notebook I dual-boot XP Home and Fedora Core 4.(no longer associated with Red Hat) I still overwhelmingly use XP for its ease of use and support and the bottom line is that that combination equals productivity for the user.

Here's my experience with my linux distribution: When I set up FC4 it was a bit rocky. I wanted to use a different, but technically unsupported, file system but the installer would get read errors part-way through the process. I have used this file system, ReiserFS, for previous versions of Fedora Core and it HAD worked fine. I ended up using the standard "ext" type file system. It took me considerable time to finish this process because each time started over I had to go through the software packages and take out a lot of crap that is installed on a system by default.

With that out of the way I eventually made it to a graphical desktop. I remember there being some sort of configuration wizard mainly for server applications, which I disallowed. The default configuration for the services that would startup was not consistent with my choice regarding the initial configuration for servers. Things like NFS(Network File System) and services associated with it were enabled by default. Once I got rid of the excess services I noticed the memory usage was around ~116MB. This is pretty good considering in the past I have seen this around 2 times MORE from distributions.

Wireless support is a bit strange. My setup came with a decent wireless management program that was graphical. The problem I have with it now is that it locks up within about 2 seconds after it loads up and the load time alone takes a good 8 seconds. If I keep trying to use it even though it crashes it will eventually lock the whole GUI up. Due to that I rarely use this program and "activate" my wireless connection through the Network program/service. As far as I know there is no automatic way to connect to a wireless network that is quick. It can be done during the startup process but I don't really want to wait while it looks at the availability of all the wireless networks I told it to. Another minor difficulty I had was getting drivers for my intel wireless. It is certainly a problem if one does not have access to a wired connection and therefore no means of downloading the driver. Luckily not only did I have that option but I also could download the driver from a desktop then transfer the files to a USB flash drive.

One important note is that Fedora Core is all about open source. I does not come standard with anything BUT open source software. Anything that you like which is closed source must be downloaded and installed by yourself.(that includes the Opera browser)

Overall I was pleased with how things are progressing as far as responsiveness and efficiency but I am still not nearly as productive in Linux as I am using Windows. I would like to note that the reason I use Linux is EDUCATIONAL, that is, I am interested in seeing and trying something new. Those who are actually trying to set up a stand-alone Linux system may find this process much more frustrating.

For those who are serious about switching you should take the time to understand the hardware you are using and the drivers that may be required. Download the necessary drivers and burn them to a CD prior to installing linux, that way some of the hardest and most time consuming parts of your switch are eliminated or at least reduced.

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So, let me get this straight ... you're griping about commercial software you didn't even pay for? 

Somebody paid for it. It just wasn't me. I got hand-me-downs whenever I new version came out.

Linux distributions are available for free or for a fee. Red Hat charges $179 for a client license of its Enterprise edition. In contrast, a license of MS XP Professional retails at $139 for a one-license OEM version. Apple beats both of them, offering OS X Tiger for $129 for one license or $199 for five licenses.

You left out SuSe. $99 for the Professional version (although, they no longer have a personal, so I don't know what the use is in the name), and only $59 for the upgrade and student version.

Now for installing and configuring your new OS. In my experience and that of the few Linux technicians I know, be prepared to come face to face with the command prompt at least once in this process.

Absolutely untrue. At least with the distro I use, the command prompt is an option if you want to use it. I have never encountered it. Installation and set up with SuSe is fast and super easy. I don't even have to configure anything for the internet. Bam and go.

I should note though for anyone that goes to Linux based on what I am saying, that my system is one that I built myself. I would hate for someone to think they can have the ease I have with it on a pre-built system, especially one that was designed for and pre-installed with Windows. I actually have my system specifically designed for this purpose.

And Linux technicians are making boat-loads of money because Linux is pretty difficult to keep patched properly.

Really? I click on Yast, enter my root password, click on Online Update, and the rest is automatic. Patches are updated continuously and usually consist of newer versions of third party software or a kernel upgrade, all of which is automatically taken care of.

And that, my dear friend, is why Microsoft won the operating system marketshare.

And they are keeping it for the most part because people have an outdated conception of Linux. I experience none of the problems you articulated. And some of the ones you mentioned haven't been true for quite a few years.

You got me on the money thing though, I should have checked my facts on that one. That is too bad, I just assumed such a great product was making the money.

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Ha! How ironic for me. Novell just killed SuSe by offering it to "the community".

I wonder how good Fedora 4 is...

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I finally tried Microsoft's AntiSpyware. It's wonderful! I ran Spybot and Adaware before it, and AntiSpyware was still able to find over 20 harmful files. I also notice that they have "Real Time Protection," which apparently prevents stuff from getting into my computer in the first place.

For those who want reviews of antispam/antivirus/antispyware software, Consumer Reports has some right here (no subscription required).

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After reading this thread, I have a few thoughts that I would like to contribute.

First, I think an error is being made by a lot of people who criticze Linux. They're criticizing Linux, which is actually only the core of the operating system, when they have legitimate criticisms of the distribution. The distributions, i.e. Slackware, Ubuntu, and Mandriva, vary widely in ease of use and functionality. Some, like Mandriva, pride themselves on being bleeding-edge and are not really meant for general users. Others, such as Ubuntu, aim to be desktop replacements. So, it's really a choice of distribution and what you want to use the computer you'll being installing the Linux distro on. If you have an old computer that has little RAM and an old processor, there are distros like Damn Small Linux and Puppy Linux. If you want a good desktop computer, there's SUSE, Fedora, and Mandriva.

On the issue of Linux being insecure, I would highly doubt that Linux systems get hacked any more than Windows systems. It all depends on the user and what he has set up on his computer. If there are any stats on Linux vs. Windows hacks, I would like to see them. Half of the stats I have seen are always questionable due to who funds them, what kind of systems they test, and other environments. Microsoft funds a lot of surveys that, surprising enough, show Microsoft as being the most secure system. On the other hand, I have seen ones that Open Source people have funded that show Linux being very secure.

There have also been issues raised about migrating to Linux from Windows. I've used both for extended periods, so I think I'm qualified enough to give an opinion. The differences cosmetically are minimal. Personally, I had no problem going to a Linux distro running KDE from having used Windows all of my life. Some of the programs were different, such as OpenOffice.Writer, but it wasn't like a huge difference. The only problems come in when you need to use the command-line. I agree, it is difficult. However, once you get it, which took me about two weeks, it's infinitely much easier than simply using a GUI. I cannot go back to Windows machines now for any type of real work besides surfing the Internet. It's so much easier to use tools that come with any Linux distro.*If you would like more elaboration, just ask.*

Concerning Open Source Software(OSS) vs. commercial software, that depends on what you are going to do. If you want to do graphics, there's GIMP in any Linux distro, but I would still recommend a Mac. If you're making programs that are going to be run primarily in a Windows environment, it's pretty obvious what you should be doing. However, for web applications, I would recommend OSS, mainly because the tools out there that run the Internet, such as Apache server, PostgreSQL and MySQL databases, are all open source. There are lots of really good programming packages for web applications that are all open source. I'm primarily a Java programmer, so I'm more familiar with the tools for that language. Just off of the top of my head, I can name several excellent open source packages that far exceed any commercial alternative (Log4j, Hibernate, Struts). In many cases, there are no commercial alternatives because the OSS is so good there's no need for it.

Also, FreeBSD rocks. I use it at my house just because it's such a fun system. I'll admit, it's not for beginners, but it's an excellent system for anyone who wants to truly understand computers and operating systems.

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Concerning Open Source Software(OSS) vs. commercial software, that depends on what you are going to do. If you want to do graphics, there's GIMP in any Linux distro, but I would still recommend a Mac. If you're making programs that are going to be run primarily in a Windows environment, it's pretty obvious what you should be doing. However, for web applications, I would recommend OSS, mainly because the tools out there that run the Internet, such as Apache server, PostgreSQL and MySQL databases, are all open source.

Thank you for your thoughts, Cicero. I'll leave others to comment (if they wish), but since I plan on doing work with web applications, I have to ask: can't you take advantage of those open-source tools without using Linux? For example, after some googling I found a document entitled Using Apache With Microsoft Windows.

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Concerning Open Source Software(OSS) vs. commercial software, that depends on what you are going to do. If you want to do graphics, there's GIMP in any Linux distro, but I would still recommend a Mac. If you're making programs that are going to be run primarily in a Windows environment, it's pretty obvious what you should be doing. However, for web applications, I would recommend OSS, mainly because the tools out there that run the Internet, such as Apache server, PostgreSQL and MySQL databases, are all open source.

Thank you for your thoughts, Cicero. I'll leave others to comment (if they wish), but since I plan on doing work with web applications, I have to ask: can't you take advantage of those open-source tools without using Linux? For example, after some googling I found a document entitled Using Apache With Microsoft Windows.

Yes, you can. However, you should also realize that most of these were designed on Linux by people who fervently support Linux. The documentation for how to run them on Windows can be very bad. However, I think for projects like MySql, PostgreSQL, and Apache, the support is excellent for Windows, as many Windows-based companies use these products.

What kind of web applications do you plan on doing? If you're going to do stuff like scripting with PHP and Perl, you'll find the best tools will be available on *nix platforms. However, if you plan on using the .NET architecture, you'll obviously be using Windows. Personally, I recommend Java, as it is pretty much platform independent and can be used for a wide variety of tasks, including web applications.

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What kind of web applications do you plan on doing? If you're going to do stuff like scripting with PHP and Perl, you'll find the best tools will be available on *nix platforms. However, if you plan on using the .NET architecture, you'll obviously be using Windows. Personally, I recommend Java, as it is pretty much platform independent and can be used for a wide variety of tasks, including web applications.

Java is the only one I have experience in, so that seems to be the natural choice. Actually, I just learned about AJAX, which reinvigorated my interest in Java.

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Java is the only one I have experience in, so that seems to be the natural choice. Actually, I just learned about AJAX, which reinvigorated my interest in Java.

I've heard about AJAX, but I haven't really researched it too much. However, reading the link you gave me, the name stands for Asynchronous JavaScript + XML. JavaScript is not Java. They are two very different technologies, and a lot of people have gotten confused by them. JavaScript is fun to work with, but you'll still need a programming language under your belt to use AJAX based on my understanding of it. It seems like something that lets the client do requests using web services, which is really a catch-all for several technologies of which the dominant one is SOAP. So, you'll still need to make programs on the server that can do the processing needed by the client. For this, Java is an excellent choice, as servlets are a core technology that are used often in this kind of job. Of course, I may have completely misread the point of AJAX, so take this with a grain of salt.

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I've heard about AJAX, but I haven't really researched it too much. However, reading the link you gave me, the name stands for Asynchronous JavaScript + XML. JavaScript is not Java.

I've heard that they are similar. Anyway, my training is in Java - whether that will make JavaScript any easier is beyond me.

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I've heard that they are similar. Anyway, my training is in Java - whether that will make JavaScript any easier is beyond me.

I've worked with JavaScript, and I can say that any programming experience makes it easier. What's useful is that JavaScript and Java are both based off of C-style syntax, so it should be pretty easy to get in and pick it up. Have fun!

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