Linux.. its not really an alternative is it ?

Recent threads have got me thinking. You can’t practically recommend Linux based o/s’s to a “normal” user seriously can you ?

I’m not by any means a “normal” user but I find Fedora to be somehow mysterious in its workings. I want to do something simple and its hidden below loads of other stuff and you seem to always to end up at a command prompt, killing, mounting or dieing.

Windows XP, for all said against it is is in another league, you plug stuff in and it just works, you ask it to do things and it does them. Now maybe its just because i’ve grown up with dos, windows, windows for workgroups, w95, w98… but everything is how i expect it to be. I plug in an external hard drive and it fiddles around for a bit and then asks me if i want to play the music or open a folder. I put in a blank hard drive… bugger me, it comes back and asks me if i want to format it and use it ! , plug in a new sound card and its asks for the disk and installs it. Install a game, it just works.

Sorry, but a well configured win xp system is streets and streets ahead of all of the Linux based O/S’s i have seen in terms of usability. This may go against alot of what the more technically minded on this board think (and I respect those people) but its just so plainly so to me. I think linux suits those that grew up with unix, who know whats going on under the bonnet and can fix any of these problems from the command prompt, alot like Windows 3,95,98 used to be. But the modern user doesn’t want to do that. I can’t actually remember the last time i had to drop back to the command prompt in XP.

My Fedora box works and works, it doesn’t crash and it does all i wanted it to when i set it up (with much help) for which it deserves credit, but if i go back to it and try to do more to it i am always afraid i will break it (and often have)

You can through the “its free thing” back at me but I don’t care about that, I would pay for Linux if it was any good, in fact maybe thats what needs to happen, someone needs to spend a bit more than there spare time getting it sorted out and charge a few quid for it.

You can’t just say its better because its not microsoft, it has to be better because of what it does :catfight:

/soap box mode

I agree. My first delvings into the Linux coming from WIndows, were OK, but it’s when you come up against driver problems that I become frustrated. My last install of Ubuntu on a mobo with on-board graphics, the OS would not go any further until I sorted something out on the graphics and not having the time, I gave up, wiped it and installed Win98.

It does need to be more non-techy friendly to be able to compete, but I look forward to having another go at some stage as I agree with the open-source concept.

For simpleness indeed windows is very user freindly for setting up etc
and was very much a hard learning curve for myself venturing into Linux

My 1st venturing’s into PC’s was very much Dos orintated so therefore alot of the old Dos commands are burn’t into my brain to the point that when i started tinkering with Linux I could not get away from the habbit of type good old Dos commands leading to knowwhere very quickly.

That said once I got to Fedore core 5 I think it was 5 sure its 6 were now on
things were alot better for me, I managed to get meny things working how I liked and Wine was doing its job of running the few Windows apps I could not find a Linux alternative for.

In the whole there’s too many brands bringing to the table there own style, but with the efforts taking place I would say eventually the big boys’s will have a Linux product on offer that keeps you in the GUI world for setting it up and setting drivers up.

I know there is certainly stuff out there that will handle everything with easy, but tends to be a spend money option to make the user happy.

But after using Linux I have to say that as an opperating system, though hard to master is leagues ahead of Micro$oft.

I think it is a lot down to expectation. And this applies to ANY OS, even between different MS OSes. If you’re used to doing things a certain way, then if you use an alternative OS and can’t quickly find how to do the same, it becomes frustrating quickly.

I’m pretty old school windows interface fan myself, and have stuck with Win2k and avoided the unwanted quirks that XP bought along. I put up with XP at work, but it’s their lost time not mine then. Divine intervention might be required if they roll out Vista…

I’ve dabbled with Linux on and off since forever. I can certainly see that, for a non-gamer, it can be very adequate. Everything is strangely familar yet different.

I have more issue with OS X. Fair enough, they’re “think different” but from a Windows user perspective it looks nice but otherwise painful as nothing works like you have got used to. The thinking is too different, and relearning is required to be effective. And they really need to fix their broken mouse movement which they call a feature.

I do suggest experimenting with different linux distros. Fedora never agreed with me and I gave up on it. My long time fave of Suse is still going strong if you want a fairly comprehensive install. Ubuntu is another fave of mine, a lot less bloated “off the CD”.

If windows goes wrong, I have the experience and know how to fix it. If linux goes wrong, a format would be easiest at my skill level, although I haven’t managed to break one that bad yet. Personally I do want to get used to Linux, as I doubt I’ll use an MS OS beyond Win2k as a main desktop. And Win2k isn’t going to be supported forever… (currently in extended support, means it gets security patches but MS wont do anything else with it)

Unfortunately I tend to agree, even as a promoter of open source. The only linux kernel based OS’s I would recommend are now Suse and OSX. Both do the plug and play and install and work, but have the massive benefits in my mind of being able to configure to do EXACTLY what you want it to.

Horses for courses, there is no way I would run a windows domain controller, a windows web or application server. I can compile a specific kernel just for doing the exact jobs of what I want, but that’s well ‘techy’ and something most ‘home’ users are completely oblivious about. I wonder how many Windows home users actually stop to think about how a web site actually works ?

I do think that there has to be a challenge, Vista tries to remove as much as it can and do everything for you, and tbh it’s the most boring bloated piece of software I’ve ever used. Computing for me personally gets boring if you can’t tinker with it, with Windows you can only go so farm. In car terms maybe a paint job, and possibly a new oil filter. Linux lets you see the valves and valve seats :wink: which once you see them the same as cars, they are most likely knackered !!!


I totally agree with Peige. I too have experimented with a few different distributions of linux. The biggest problem I have is I just never seem to get what I want out of Linux. Installing things is a pain, configuring them is a pain, drivers are a real pain. Too much time is spent messing around to get things work and the lack of support for much of the software I use keeps it off my main machines and will continue to do so as far as I can see. They need game support too… thats a real biggy.

I completely understand the frustrations … if they can be called that :slight_smile:

I too have dabbled with Linux a few times, only to return once again to the Windows format.

The best unix I had running - and coped quite well with - was Suse 10 :smiley: I didn’t try to do too much with it, but was slowly learning little things (with much help from various threads here :thumbsup:) and to be honest it’s mainly the gaming side that pulled me back over to Windows :rolleyes:

I was running both together until I needed some space for certain downloads, and Suse ended up getting the chop :sigh:

In a few weeks when I get the new comp set up, I’ll have 200 Gig for windows and probably shove a (3 partitioned) 40gig drive in for another play with Suse. I quite enjoyed the experience and think I just need to push myself harder on the technical side of things :nod:

It’s a fact though that 90% of general computer owners will never entertain the Linux system, in any shape or form, because it needs the operator to be aware of how and why things work - which involves time and effort to learn the ropes. Most people just want something that does everything for them - and they’re getting that (and more :bs:) with Vista :dunce: :lol:

No offence intended to anyone that won’t/hasn’t tried Linux, but honestly the Suse 10 was a real eye opener for me - I’d suggest giving it a go if you’re even remotely interested in that side of things :tiphat:

Ahhh the old Torvalds V Gates debate.

Horses for courses gets a mention.

Windows in all its finery is like a Swiss army knife, it can do many things.
Some very well and some you shouldnt even try.

I take the view if I want a nail clipper I’ll get something that just cuts nails and the same applies to choosing windows against linux.

I wouln’t dream of using a microsoft product for a simple dedicated task such as a DHCP server. I’d take a lot of convincing that a webserver should be run on anything but linux.

Unreal Tournament however I would only run on Windows albeit 2000 since I dont see any real benefit from XP and probably wont be using Vista either.

I’ll use both and understand how they work until the day that computers never go wrong.

I’ve not grown up with linux, I grew up with MS. I cant remember what got me into Linux but I bet I blame DT and the other Open Source fans on here for some kind of encouragement! :stuck_out_tongue: Huddled in scott_uk_7’s room trying to get Ubuntu installed onto a seperate hard drive, the feeling when it got working and then the disappointment when I found the wireless wouldn’t work when I got home. It’s a move I’m now looking back on as a turning point on getting me away from Windows and into the new exciting rollercoaster of Unix.

I think a fair amount of linux depends entirely on your rig setup. Ubuntu has always worked straight away for me with only a couple of minor niggles (such as cant use nVidia drivers - no one can explain to me why it cause random crashes) but that’s one problem and I can happily use the open source nv drivers. On the other hand Suse and Fedora have repeatedly thrown errors at me concerning extra software, netowrking etc.
I’m looking to investigate some of these newer distro’s, promising to make Windows to Unix switchovers easier such as SimplyMepis and PCLinuxOS.

Obviously people might be afraid of change. My dad is personally horrified that I don’t run Windows.I guess for some, what the don’t know is bad and they have no desire to learn. And also the fact linux software seems to be restricted. To me at first it did as I had no idea there were programs for linux outside of the repositories (ignorant of me I know) so on first glance, it’s possible a lack of choice to software people might dislike.

I think games kept me on Windows for a while but after last year’s poor exam results, I practically gave up PC gaming and decided it was time to get into Linux seriously. I know feel I can find my way around (with the wonderful help from Linux for Dummies and the massive support online such as here, Ubuntu Wiki’s and various websites). I cant say that if I woke up tomorrow and my PC had errored I could say what was wrong with it but I’d have a damn good go.
The fact that compatibility with Microsoft programs is intermittent and not always great (See my Open Office post earlier) will scare people off. It even annoies those that like the software.

Now I’ve got myself a nice running OS on linux, I’m a bit loathe to try and use anything else, even though I do want to see what FreeBSD is like.

With live disc’s, at least now people can see what the OS will be like and with Vmware can even use it long term without changing the host OS. Now Ubuntu can even be installed onto Windows! Linky
I think linux is making a breakthough and as more people use it, it’ll become more into line with Windows so it can be a proper alternative.:slight_smile:

From what I see, working with a large number of “average” home users who have a PC problem, most have never even heard of Linux. Their computing experience (no pun intended) is limited to XP or 98 because that’s what was on the box and that’s what they learnt to work with.

However you cut it, in my view Gates brought one thing - usability. Sure, it took him 15 to 20 years to get there and he had a big helping hand by cornering the market. Ultimately Windows reached critical mass when there were enough geeks like us around to help our friends and neighbours and to teach our mums and dads how to use a mouse and a GUI. Windows rode the bandwagon and nothing came anywhere near it for the average user. And we are talking win3.1 here!

By the time Linux emerged and then played catch-up, Windows was the defacto standard, to the extent that very many of the users that I help don’t even know of the concept of free software - they will happily trog down to retail park and splurge £150 on MS Office, oblivious to Open Office…not because MS is better, but because their computing expectations are that is the way it should be.

Now, XP and soon to be Vista, are the drivers behind the market. The vast majority of users expect to be able to plug and play, just like DT’s analogy - you jump in your car, turn the key and go from a to b without any thought of what makes it tick.

Good marketing? Good timing? Better software? … you decide.

P.S. In my 9 to 5 job, we run XP on the desktop and rhel5 for the enterprise servers - The users are happy and the business critical stuff is safe, secure and and stable.

p.p.s. Linux still scares the pants off me sometimes!

I wouldn’t hesitate to provide SuSE 10.2 as a “Mum and Dad” OS - email , web browsing , letter writing etc. especially if they were real beginners ( just think of the security advantages), I wouldn’t even tell them it was different , and they would probably think of it as just a new edition of windows that they had to get used to . problems would only arise when little Johnny wants to load some games .

Quite a bit has changed from 10 and 10.1 (Gnome desktop - I don’t use KDE) have a play and see , make sure you download the ‘extras’ cd as well and include it in the install process - adding sources can be a bit of a niggle . however there is a very large and enthusiastic SuSE user community out there and help or info is just a Google away.

Its being pushed hard with free DVDs on all the Linux mags this month.
I now only dual boot into windows for complicated CD/DVD burning, you can’t beat Nero with open source stuff yet .

im a windows person. iv tryed meny different flavours of *.nix but i am yet to find one that just works outa the box without hours and hours of settingup. and tbh i got a computer to use it not to spend forever and a day trying to compile drivers and other applications before i can actualy do anything…

im also a fan of the windows server system and am yet to see any of our 2k3 server boxes crash. where i have seen our suse boxes go down time and again…

[QUOTE=wyntrblue;364304]im a windows person. iv tryed meny different flavours of *.nix but i am yet to find one that just works outa the box without hours and hours of settingup. and tbh i got a computer to use it not to spend forever and a day trying to compile drivers and other applications before i can actualy do anything…

im also a fan of the windows server system and am yet to see any of our 2k3 server boxes crash. where i have seen our suse boxes go down time and again…[/QUOTE]

You could probably get a nice price for 2k3 licenses to replace all those Suse systems.
There must be a reason why they are not running MS software if Suse is so unstable.

As for out of the box, try Knoppix.
When you have a PC so riddled with virusues it wont boot and you have to get that one important file off it to a network share you’ll realise where Linux has its uses and cash value if the file is REALLY important

ahah! The oldest chestnut in town. Well I couldn’t skip this thread now could I?

The original post says “Linux- it’s not really an alternative is it?”. I would have to say yes, but in a qualified way.

Is Linux an alternative for Joe Average out of the box to replace Windows? No it isn’t. It isn’t designed to be. In many ways the design tenets of Linux mean it will never be. Linux is an open, configurable, operating system which is supplied in various flavours for different tasks, some techy/professional, some enthusiast, some niche, some just wierd. In car terms Windows Vista is the new saloon car but this year’s model comes with sat-nav, bluetooth and metallic paint thrown in as part of the purchase price. Linux is a kit car which can be built for speed, economy, space, but not all three. How many car rental firms and company car pools use kit cars? None. They all use new saloon cars, easy to drive, no knowledge required, all the same, reliable.

If your rental car breaks down then you call someone out who takes it to a dealer who plugs it into diagnostics which tell them what to do. If it’s a jkit car you built yourself you reach for the spanners in the boot and fix it.

If you want a van buying a saloon car and modifying it is an option, but it is expensive, difficult, not worth the effort. You can build you Linux car kit as a van if you want. Or a 4x4. Or a track racer. You decide.

Now there’s a whole lot of new saloon cars on the road. There’s also plenty of kit cars, older cars, vehicles that can’t do all the things a new saloon car can do. So someone likes them. The saloon car owners look at the kit car owners and scratch their heads - who wants all the fuss of building the car, fixing it, tweaking it? The kit car owners do the same to the saloon car owners - who wants an anonymous saloon car, riddled with compromises, jack of all trades and master of none? They’ll never agree.

To finish? I’m not going to launch into a big anti-Microsoft tirade here, but I will explain why I run Linux and will not be buying Windows licences again. Because a lot of the reasons are subjective so I can only tell you why from my standpoint really.


I recently bought four OEM Microsoft licences for Vista (or XP with upgrade rights). That cost me about £400, and will be of the order of £450 once the upgrade costs are factored in. I have another dozen or so machines here, I am not spending another £1500! The other machines do all I want on the desktop, or are just crunchers, or a text console servers. I don’t need 3D support, DirectX, Netmeeting, experience scores. Linux does these jobs very well and so why spend the extra cash?

Upgradeability and software also affect cost. I run open applications on these machines including Office apps which would cost me dear on a Windows platform. I feel no pressing need to upgrade them, I have only just upgraded a server running Red Hat 6 and Samba - it has coped with all the variants of Windows even Vista and only got wiped and upgraded because it needed bigger disks.

My network is 100% legal, I have licences for all my machines. FAST can visit any time they like. That makes me happy. One less thing to worry about (we are a business not a private residence don’t forget).

Easy Install

Apart from a couple of machines which tend to have all sorts of distributions loaded on for test or whatever I run Fedora. I can install any machine with a network card from the network itself via NFS - no disks, no codes, no ringing up for (re)activation. To me that is important, I realise for others it makes no difference. But I did say this was subjective.

Hardware recognition, driver support, having to “go under the hood” to make devices work. Yeah Windows is good at that - NOT! Vista? The latest and greatest? Doesn’t recognise £5 PCI modems, Intellitype keyboards, Intellipoint mice, older printers, NVidia SLI cards… Under Linux you have the chance that someone, somewhere, has written a driver. Fat chance under Windows. We have all played the driver game with Windows, all had dll hell under earlier versions, all had bad drivers crashing the system. I would suggest this particular area is a draw.


I think a Linux desktop is easily as useable as a Windows one. I think software is there to do the tasks most folks want to do. How many people have fitted soundcards, video cards etc. to others machines because they didn’t have a clue? If it had been a Linux machine they would have been no worse off, they still would not have a clue.

My Linux desktops have the same capabilities as my Windows ones, they have on what I need. Playing video, music, networking, office, mail, DC - all these things are available, and work.

The only weakness they have is games. But for games I use Windows. Horses for courses.

For the average person using their PC for internet, a bit of WP, e-mail then Linux is easily good enough. It’s good enough for me, and I’m known to be “demanding” :wink:

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… the only reason I run windows is for games :wink:

Server side, windows has some amazing features that larger organisations could find extremely useful and might even justify the cost of using them… To achieve the same with Linux is probably do-able but would cause a lot more grey hairs as open source software was trialled, tweaked, replaced etc. Time is money, and businesses want server software that works out of the box and doesn’t need an “expert” to get the basics up and running - that’s where MS excels imho… well not excels but is a cut above the rest :wink:

At home, for most “end users” I’d say Linux is a perfectly suitable replacement with the proviso that the system is set up by a geek and the user is “trained”. Windows removes those needs but introduces so many more “niggles” further down the line imho.

If only linux played the games I want to play :rolleyes:

[QUOTE=MrTFWitt;364310]You could probably get a nice price for 2k3 licenses to replace all those Suse systems.
There must be a reason why they are not running MS software if Suse is so unstable.

As for out of the box, try Knoppix.
When you have a PC so riddled with virusues it wont boot and you have to get that one important file off it to a network share you’ll realise where Linux has its uses and cash value if the file is REALLY important


we use suse as our accounts software only runs on suse or redhat… and yes we use knoppix not often mind as bartPE does everything we need…

when i see a *.nix build that has everything i want outa the box i will go for it till then…

so this thread got me thinking…

Spent most of yesterday installing FC6, downloading all the updates, installing the ATI gfx drivers for my spare Radeon 9800 xt, installed crossover trial, and tried installing World of Warcraft as that was a “supported” game to run via crossover.

I appreciate my test rig isn’t the quickest in the world but I expected more than 0.5 fps :smiley:

Well, at least it looks like Linux is able to run windows games via emulation software, but it’s got a long way to go either with drivers or the wine-based software.

Still not there… trying ubuntu and gentoo next for a laugh :wink:

Heres a situation that nobody could Justify windows being installed.

I needed a second PC at work. No budget to buy one so its time to make one from the landfill skip.

256Mb ram
10Gb disk (its even a Maxtor, all the good ones were gone)
ATI Rage something with 32mb video memory
22" sun monitor from a sparc-5 workstation, I think its too heavy to go in the skip.

Of course I’m going for a Linux distribution to stay within budget and slap in FC-5

This gives me a 1280x1024 display, X-windows in 4 workspaces, Remote desktop client, SSH, IRC client, Apache webserver to publish documentation, Email, web and Mahjongg.
Theres the odd bit of web content that doesn’t work too well but for a simple desktop that needs no maintenance whatsoever I wouldn’t use anything else.

I dunno… providing you don’t pile on everything you can find in startup, that box will be usable with win2k on it. Like everything else, wouldn’t hurt if you can find a few more memory modules to shove in it.

Also, didn’t the suns of that day use their own (non-vga) connector?