Linux Challenge

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Utterings and Mutterings

I’ve been getting some comments about Linux over the past few days, for two reasons:

1) I linked to an article describing somebody’s Linux efforts and

2) Getting emails saying essentially, “To hell with XP; I’ll just use Linux”, like it were going from Coke to Pepsi.

A bit over a year, I installed and ran Linux for a while on my system (Open Caldera 2.3). I cannot say I was very impressed at the
time, for the following reasons:

1) The installation procedures was, to put it mildly, funky and erratic. When it finally decided it wanted to work, installation was fine.
Unfortunately, it took quite a few attempts before it decided it was in the mood, and there was no apparent reason why it said “No” before it decided to say “Yes.”

2) This erratic behavior continued while working with the system. Sometimes it would do something, sometimes it wouldn’t.

3) I thought the system was less responsive and slower than in Windows.

4) I found the software to be generally inferior to Windows equivalents.

5) I found documentation, though plentiful, to be cryptic, and found it difficult to find simple answers to simple questions (and yes, I bought a few recommended books on the subject).

6) In short, I spent a considerable amount of time learning how to get the system up and running, and did not feel I got much if any benefit for my efforts. I didn’t even see any real difference between the stability of Linux vs Win2K.

So at that time, I figured this was Not Ready for Prime Time and resolved to take a look at this a year or so down the road. It’s been a year or so down the road.

Why Somebody Like Me Is Important To Convince

To be blunt, if you can’t convince somebody like me that Linux is equal to or better than Windows, Linux doesn’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell of being accepted by the average computer user.

Skill-wise, I’m probably better than the average user. I know when I need to look things up; I’m pretty good at doing that, and I can troubleshoot a problem in a logical, methodical way. I’m not afraid of the command line (though I don’t want to be using it constantly).

But attitudinally, I’m probably just the same as the average user. I consider my computer to be a tool. I do work with it. I’m willing to spend some time and effort learning, but I want a payoff for that time and effort: an overall better computing environment.

If I don’t get that, if I can’t work at least as well with a Linux system as with a Windows system, why bother?

If I have to love hating Bill Gates to love Linux, forget it. All I want is a better set of goods to do my daily work than I’m getting right now from the Microsoft Dominion.

Does Linux have the goods? Not someday, not next year, now?

If Linux is ever going to get anywhere with the desktop user (servers are a different story), it has to put up. So long as it can’t, it will remain clusters of geek covens.

Show Me the Money

Probably around September, I’ll get a chance to do this.

Let me briefly describe the system it should be going into:

    A high speed TBird
    AMD760 board (MSI K7Master)
    Matrox Dualhead G450 video card using two Sony Trinitron monitors (Compaq P1100s)
    IBM 75GXP hard drives (maybe in RAID0 configuration, maybe not)
    IWill 2935-UW SCSI controller
    Plextor SCSI UltraPlex 40X CD-ROM
    Teac CR-516 IDE CD-RW
    3Com 10/100 NIC card
    SMC7004BR Router

    Epson 1640SU scanner
    Minolta PageWorks 18L
    Don’t worry about the sound card

This is what I need in the way of software:

    A browser/email program(s) equivalent to IE
    An HTML program equivalent to Homesite
    An FTP program equivalent to BulletProof
    A newsreader equivalent to Agent
    A graphics viewer that will let see view pictures, give me their dimensions, and allow me to make rudimentary changes to them (i.e. resize)

All the equipment listed has been out for a while; I won’t be unfair and expect Palomino or nForce support in September.

If it turns out some of the equipment won’t work, some items are more important than others, depending upon how important they are to my daily routine.

For instance, dual-monitor support is a big factor, support for that particular NIC card wouldn’t be.

To The Linux Folks

Any thoughts, hints or helpful suggestions are welcome. Ideological rantings are not. If I have to buy into the ideology to buy into the product, forget it.

If you think I don’t have the right attitude for Linux, you got this all wrong. I don’t have to make you happy; you have to make me happy. I don’t have to buy into your agenda; you have to buy into mine.

Not because I’m Ed Stroligo, of course, but because my attitude is the same as the vast majority of computer users out there. If Linux is ever going to make any real headway against Windows, it has to come up with answers just as good as Windows. Period.

Email Ed


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