Friday, 29 June 2012

My major reason for starting a blog

Hi folks, I hinted in my first blog that I would like to do more technology stuff and I finally have a means to start. I should explain, this morning I read a blog over on darkduck's blog, it appears to be a guest post, however it angered me in such a way I just felt I had to make some sort of response.

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Why Can’t Linux Crack The Desktop?

Many computer geeks have always held Linux in high regard. 

What about all the non-geeks that use it? Ken Stark's and the Helios Project is dedicated to getting computers into the hands of kids who need them for school, these machines run Linux, from what I understand these kids cope fine and are not geeks, just regular kids. 

What about your Android phone? That's Linux, I have friends that loved the Android phones that don't know the difference between grep and sed and that's ok, on Android you don't need to, but it is still Linux.

They endlessly talk about its stability and security features. 

Do I? I am one of these such Linux wielding 'geeks' and I can't remember the last time I really spoke to anyone about Linux security who didn't first ask. I do remember boring the legs off people about the last movie I saw or the last album I bought (yes, I really should have had that one long before now). 

For many years people talked about how Linux may eventually take over in the future, but the OS is yet to take off as the leading operating systems. 

I'm sorry is this the future yet? So Linux isn't the default operating system on most consumer bought PC's, but again Android, Watson or indeed most Super Computers run Linux in some form or another. I would suggest that it's leading in the mobile market, AI research and high performance computer. It hasn't made it onto your PC but it's still all over the place it various forms.

There has been a lot of debate as to why this OS has never really taken off. There are many things that programmers, computer experts, users and geeks in general have failed to agree on. However, there are a number of things that have affected its success.

Personally I think the deal IBM made with Microsoft to supply a cheap OS on their personal computers back in the '81 and the subsequent 10 years of sales before Linux was first created might have something to do with it... 


There are many versions of Linux from UbuntuFedora and many others.

So? There's at least nine version's of Windows 7 listed on wikipedia.

All these versions have a different system as well as configuration. 

Care to back this up with any proof? Windows 7 has a vastly different security model than Windows XP, with a very different configuration, change happens, it's the cost of progress.

This doesn’t seem to be a problem to many computer geeks, but it is clearly a problem with many users. Users prefer using a system that is predictable. 

Ok, so you just complained about 'geeks' talking about the stability and security of Linux and now say it's unpredictable, these seems almost mutually exclusive, which is it? 

They don’t want to spend a lot of time reconfiguring the computer just because there were changes with the OS they were using. Even though Linux is free, this problem may be an extra expense to the organization due to investments in expertise.

Again see above, every time we get a new PC at work we have to configure a crap load of environmental variables and now have to re-write lots of internal software to work around the change in the user model in Windows 7.

This paragraph was titled 'Standards' yet I heard nothing about any form of standard... How about something as fundamental as Line endings, Windows is the ONLY mainstream OS that handles Line Ending's differently and UNIX pre-dates Windows. How about Open Documnt Standards? Or even it's standard API?


Linux has always been poor when it comes to usability. 

*sigh* Proof?

Even though the Graphic User Interface has improved over the years, it still has a long way to go for the ordinary user to feel totally at ease when using this system. 

What exactly is wrong with the interface? I mean there's plenty of choices, did you try others, were you aware you had a choice? Are you also aware that there is not such thing as an 'ordinary user'?

Currently, one of its biggest is the software it offers as an alternative to popular windows and other commercial software.

Biggest what? Usability issue? Software issue?

OpenOffice does not have as many features as MS Office. 

Many features does not a good computer program make, see here. Personally despite being around for 5 years now, I STILL hate the ribbon 'feature', anyone still lamenting the loss of this feature?

GIMP which is open source and free, is still not good enough to replace Photoshop, which is quite expensive in the market.

Well, it IS free, you want PhotoShop then buy photoshop and run it in a Virtual Machine. Can't afford photoshop? Then use the GIMP, it's simple really. The article is also a brief list of possible alternatives not a user study of why the GIMP is worse than photoshop.

You can still use these tools on a Linux machine but you need to install an emulator which doesn’t always work as you would  expect.

I think you will find that Wine Is Not an Emulator...

Training and additional costs:

Because Linux is not easy to use, it is not the best Operating System to introduce a beginner with to computers. 

Ok seriously I am starting to twitch now, where is your proof? In addition that article also doesn't even support your point! My evidence? The last sentence in that linked article: "Windows is by far the most used operating system, and for many people it works just fine. However, it is not necessarily the best, and you may find that you benefit from going to another operating system."

The Windows OS is more user friendly and easier to manage. 

For who? The mythic 'ordinary user'? My dad repeated asked me for months how things worked in Win 7 because it was such a paradigm shift from XP. Can't be that easy if users couldn't easily manage an OS upgrade.

If you are to migrate to Linux, then you need to train your employees because they probably have never used a Linux system before. 

Depends on what you classify as a Linux system, if they had an Android phone then yes, they have.

Depending on the size of the organization the additional costs of training, may exceed the amount saved by using Linux. If an organization is trying to adopt the Linux OS to be used by its employees, then they need to try and weigh the options to see if it really is a cost cutting measure.

Ah total cost of ownership that old gold nugget I searched Google briefly for some examples and got 771,000 results with no conclusive proof that Windows is any cheaper than Linux in the long run. Sure Linux requires re-training, then Windows requires anti-virus solutions and Linux requires X and Windows wants Y, it goes on forever. If there was an answer then the discussion would be long over.

It's articles such as this that make me feel like that tech news articles are being reduced to people stating their opinion around as established fact. If you make a claim, back it up with evidence, were you never taught to cite references or evidence?

Anyway I shall get back to working on LiberEdit for the Ubuntu App Showdown now.

Thanks for reading, though I wonder how many will continue to after this...



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  2. Like you review of that article, am also fed up with opinions being written as if they are hard facts. The choice of operating system you roll out in Enterprise really depends on what your users needs are. In my experience of rolling out desktops to users I find Linux to be more stable and less prone to strange bugs, however there is always a learning curve but it is really small these days even if they have never tried Linux on the desktop before. I think they feel liberated once they are using it though.

  3. Happy to see yet another person fighting for the truth in the holy war. :)

    Thanks for a link. :)

    1. It's not a holy war, it's a matter of just writing a decent, well researched and informative article.

      It's terms like that which only serve to segregate us as a community, "war", "fighting for the truth". It's not a war, that implies there's an enemy to be fought.

      In future articles throw in some references, find someone who can substantiate the claims or simply just make it obvious that it is an opinion piece and even if I disagree with the opinion, I can't argue the facts.