Good Linux Users Don’t Talk About Microsoft

For this article I’d like to take a different direction concerning Linux. Is it all too typical on the internet to hear a Linux user go full-on zealot style and say, "YEAH! I use Linux! F**k Microsoft! You people are sheeple! Down with the status quo!" Blah, blah, blah, frickin’ blah. Nobody cares. It’s as if a Linux user can’t possibly say anything about the operating system he or she uses without mentioning Microsoft and/or what most people use for their personal computing and how it’s "wrong/bad/evil", etc. To those zealots, I say unto thee: Shaddup. You’re not helping.

Truly happy Linux people couldn’t care less about Microsoft whatsoever. Instead, they just get down to business and make things work. Whether it’s for desktop, laptop, media center use or what-have-you, instead of bickering about Microsoft they’re getting things done, which of course is what matters the most.

The good Linux users I know don’t even talk about Microsoft. Never will you see a "windoze", "winblows", "M$" or "Micro$oft" in anything they blog about. To note, those that do write those childish things are morons because as said above, nobody cares. You don’t see me calling Linux users tux turds, penguin poopers or GUI-challenged, do you?

Good Linux users tell good stories about the things they’re doing now, such as:

"On my 32-bit system I can now access all 4GB of my RAM. Now I don’t have to buy a new computer!"

"I’ve been able to keep my computer running for two solid weeks straight without a single reboot."

"I really like the Evolution mail client. I really like the iCalShare connectivity too!"

"I love the games I’m playing. Great stuff!"

These are the types of stories I like to hear. And yes, they’re out there on the internet. Sometimes it takes a little time to seek them out but they do exist. You can find happy Linux users that say nothing of Microsoft because it simply doesn’t matter.

At no time from these folks will you see, "Well I was using Outlook.. what a PIECE OF CRAP THAT WAS.. I HATE MICRO$OFT! Evolution rulez!!11!1 KDE! GNOME! (penguins.. tux.. uh.. no mouse.. yeah!)"

No, no, no.. stop. Just stop.

I suggest a new line of thinking for fervent Linux users: Cut the anti-Microsoft crap. Cut it completely out of your conversation. Cut it out of your spoken word, your blogs, your videos and so on. Why are you giving Microsoft free advertising? People don’t care about your anti-Microsoft opinions because they’ve already heard them a million times by at least a million other people, so you are not adding anything new or helpful to the conversation.

Tell us what you do with Linux. Tell us the apps you use. Tell us why you prefer specific Linux apps over others. Give us useful information.

Computer use as far as operating systems is concerned is to the point where people will use what they use because that’s what they’re used to. Windows people will continue to use Windows. Mac people will continue to use OS X. Linux folks their distro o’ choice. Yes, very obvious, but that’s the way it is.

Those who are interested in Linux want to hear about (duh) Linux, and not your anti-Microsoft point of view. So please, try and be helpful, because after all, all computers are sh*t.

And to Linux zealots, fsck you.

Comments

  1. Good post. I believe you should use the best of both worlds. I have a good quality machine as my main computer, which is running XP. I also have a spare machine that is set up with Ubuntu which I play around with and test things. I chose linux for our web servers and configured them to suit my needs.

    Both sets of operating systems have their pros and cons, and I don’t see why some people side with Linux and refuse to use Microsoft for others. Linux has it’s fair share of naff software, but there are good replacements for every software available all over the web.

    I personally prefer Linux as servers. I think that’s what their best at. People will disagree with each other, but everyone uses computers for different reasons, be it Programming, web design, graphic design, internet, gaming or just word processing, so everyone has a view on it from their angle.

  2. Rich Hilton says:

    Amen, brother!

  3. I use both, Windows and Linux professionally. I often blog a lot about Windows while at the same time I write many tutorials for Linux on a forum I operate. I think the reason most users migrate to Linux is A) it is free and B) because they are fed up with Windows and think Linux is better. This is the reason you get so much anti-MS from Linux users.

    I have to say, there are certain things I dislike about Linux, Windows and Mac. I believe we hear the most gripe against Windows because it is the most used Operating System.

  4. The reason Linux is not popular is the same reason why communism does not work. There is no profit motive with Linux.

    Sorry Linux fanboys….Money talks, something else walks. You cant pay volunteers to write code….then they would not be volunteers.

    The only way Linux will ever become popular is if there is a way for tens of thousands to make money off it…but then, that would defeat the original purpose of Linux, for nobody to be able to make money off of it. BTW, Red Hat employs 2200 people.

    There is a critical mass for an OS where developers will write software for it. Linux is not even close to being there for two reasons. One, it would be easy to steal software with Linux, Second, not enough people use it to pay the costs of developing large applications….like the newer computer games.

    It will always be the software for computer hobbyists…people who do know whats under the hood of their computer. Unfortunately, that’s as far as it will ever go because one needs to become a computer geek to use it.

    Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with being a computer geek and using a difficult OS. I admire the knowledge of people who know lots about computers. Just don’t expect people who are not like you to want to try Linux.

    Let me know when you see Left 4 Dead or any other excellent gaming application written for Linux. Then I will consider partitioning a place on my drive for it and learning some computer code so I can spend hours and hours getting it to work right. Please don’t tell me you got your Linux working just right in an hour or two. Worse yet, don’t tell me a computer novice could do the same thing.

    • You sir are the exact type of person this blog was about. you are just the flipside of the same damn coin. moron

    • “Please don’t tell me you got your Linux working just right in an hour or two. Worse yet, don’t tell me a computer novice could do the same thing.”

      So are you saying that XP or Vista on the other hand can be installed by a novice then? And that they won’t have any problems getting all the drivers to work first time?

      The only reason this is an issue is because Windows is preinstalled on most machines and is ready to run out the box, where most people using Linux have to install it themselves.

      • You got it. The novice user has NEVER installed Windows or ANY operating system. The “ease of installation” argument never makes sense. Most Windows users bought a computer with Windows ready to go. If they had to install their own operating system they would do without a computer altogether.

        If they used Linux at work and bought computers with the same Linux for home use, they would know Linux rather than Windows.

    • “Please don’t tell me you got your Linux working just right in an hour or two. Worse yet, don’t tell me a computer novice could do the same thing.”

      Well, yes, about an hour but that included the download time for Ubuntu 7.10, burning the CD, and installing on a new laptop. And I’d never used Linux of any flavour before.

    • “The reason Linux is not popular is the same reason why communism does not work. There is no profit motive with Linux.”

      Well, you better tell all the hundreds of companies out there these days that (Gasp!) make gobs of money off of Linux, including Google, IBM, Novell, and Red Hat.

      “Sorry Linux fanboys….Money talks, something else walks. You cant pay volunteers to write code….then they would not be volunteers.”

      And you’re foolishly going off the assumption that only volunteers are Linux developers. I’d actually have to say the volunteer developers are well outnumbered by corporate developers. IBM, HP, Novell, and Red Hat again are developers who get paid for developing for Linux. Hell, Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux gets PAID for it.

      Your ignorance is astonishingly glaring all over this thread.

      “The only way Linux will ever become popular is if there is a way for tens of thousands to make money off it…but then, that would defeat the original purpose of Linux, for nobody to be able to make money off of it. BTW, Red Hat employs 2200 people.”

      Um… What? Whoever said that was the purpose of Linux? It’s not even a violation of the GPL to sell Linux. Stop readong the Rob Enderle and do some research. SuSE and RHEL are meant to be sold. The GPL says you can do this. You’re an idiot who seems to think that when Linux users and developers say “free” they mean price. Again, do some research or be prepared to be dismissed as a troll.

      “There is a critical mass for an OS where developers will write software for it. Linux is not even close to being there for two reasons. One, it would be easy to steal software with Linux, Second, not enough people use it to pay the costs of developing large applications….like the newer computer games.”

      I don’t understand how free (As in freedom.) software can be “stolen.” There’s also plenty of commercial software for Linux, too. As for computer games, I’d say that’s the least important thing to define an OS by far. As for not enough people using it…

      Well over half the Internet is run off of LAMP stacks. The vast majority of supercomputers use it. Just because it’s not prominant on the desktop does not mean Linux is obscure. It just means that Microsoft has a monopoly. There’s an estimated 30,000,000 desktop users of Linux, and that’s actually a low estimate. There’s no “registration” for Linux so there’s no way to know for sure. I’d have to say outside of the desktop, Linux is an absolute killer in the market. Again, do research before posting comments and proving what an idiot you are. Oh, and, on the topic of video games, before you get all huffy and thinking Linux has no place in gaming, you either recognize that the majority of your dedicated servers (Including Left 4 Dead.) for online gameplay run on Linux… or get the hell off those servers.

      “It will always be the software for computer hobbyists…people who do know whats under the hood of their computer. Unfortunately, that’s as far as it will ever go because one needs to become a computer geek to use it.”

      It’s gone way beyond hobbyists. What you say would have been true 15 years ago, but you really need to stop reading the FUD and smell the reality. Linux is HERE. Linux is MAINSTREAM. Lots and lots and lots of businesses use it, the majority of the Internet is run on it, your GCI movies are rendered on it. That isn’t hobbyism. Again, you’re proving to be ignorant here.

      And most everyone I’ve converted to Linux were far from computer geeks and did not have difficulties. You’re just spouting the overused FUD Microsoft used to spout off about Linux now.

      “Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with being a computer geek and using a difficult OS. I admire the knowledge of people who know lots about computers. Just don’t expect people who are not like you to want to try Linux.”

      And there’s lots of people who do. My sister uses it, she’s not a computer geek.

      “Let me know when you see Left 4 Dead or any other excellent gaming application written for Linux. Then I will consider partitioning a place on my drive for it and learning some computer code so I can spend hours and hours getting it to work right. Please don’t tell me you got your Linux working just right in an hour or two. Worse yet, don’t tell me a computer novice could do the same thing.”

      Screw games. There’s so many more important factors for the importance of an operating system than games. And as I mentioned before, games like L4D have their mark on Linux in terms of dedicated servers. And several of your mainstream game houses do develop for Linux, Valve themselves are rumored to be interested in porting Steam and Source to Linux. And L4D, like any Source-based game, works perfectly in WINE.

      Your entire post stinks of shilling, ignorance and stupidity. Almost all the stuff about Linux is either not true anymore, or never was true. What more bullshit are you goign to believe that you’re going to FUD with? Have you even used Linux? Are you about to say that everyone has to use the command line (Not necessarily a bad thing. CLIs are superior to GUIs. You take time to learn it (Maybe an hour or two at most.) and you’ll be able to outpace the average GUI-using monkey like yourself.)?

      Seriously, just because morons like you never use it doesn’t mean that it lacks a real market. Outside the desktop market, Linux is beating the snot out of Windows in terms of stability, uptime, and, yes, MARKET PENETRATION.

    • David M (but a different one) says:

      Just so nobody gets us confused – I neither know, am related to or agree with what this guy says except that he’s probably correct about gaming. I know as much about gaming as you can write on a cotton bud.

      But when he asks me not to tell him I can get it working properly in less than an hour, he just proves he’s never done it. And getting a novice to do it? Well, I’d back the novice over David M (I stress, not me) anytime if it’s using mainstream distros with Live CD installs (I know, Live CD doesn’t refer to installability but it does seem to be a good indicator of how easy an actual install will be). And I have a bit of background on this – it’s part of my job to build systems

      Just to add to the positives though, and forget David M the computer virgin (I suspect everything virgin) – I just discovered Docky recently. I had found Gnome Do a while back and while it was ‘interesting’ it wasn’t compelling. Docky is a better front end to Gnome Do and makes it fantastic.

    • EchoBravo says:

      Tell that to Red Hat…you can’t make money from Linux…

  5. Thank you for this post, this in undeniably a good opinion!

  6. ok, agreed for the most part except that I get SO FRUSTRATED having to go to work and use Microsoft and then come home to “computing love” – so, if I only used Linux I can definitely say I wouldn’t complain about MS, unfortunately…

  7. John Gault says:

    Yes, functionality of the OS matters, I get it.

    But there are many other differences between an OS based on free software and one based on closed source proprietary OSs.

    Free software also means freedom from draconian digital rights management control by Microsoft. It means the right to store and use your data however you want. Free software is free to use and to redistribute. It is more ethical to use free software than to pirate Microsoft’s products. It is more economical to use free software than to purchase Microsoft’s products.

  8. I think that the thing that both sides of this “war” don’t realize is that there is actually very little of a fight on the side of Linux to gain use. Linux is mostly built on the thought of “Lets make this better, and hope people find a use”, and not “We need to gain market share!” People like to rally for the side they like in a conflict, real or imagined, and that explains the above poster bashing people who just like the software offered in a modern distro. And it also explains the “sheeple” word that the Linux right tends to use.

    I have been using Linux and other *NIX systems for the last 3 years, because it interested me at first, and because I found that I can do so many things in a very logical and consistent way. I don’t hate windows, I have just found something better.

    And as far as “money talks”, the reason that the Linux kernel has gotten to the state that is in today is not because it is done by a massive volunteer force alone, but the fact that companies like IBM had the insight that they needed to have an OS do things that it may not already have the ability to do, at a very low level. They thought long and hard, and came to the conclusion that they could hire a large coding force to modify and improve the Linux kernel, and spend less money that it would have taken to engineer around the limitations of proprietary operating systems. What that has done is taken the place the money goes. Instead of paying for a license to a piece of software, and then realising that there is a major bug in that software, then issuing a bug report, then waiting an indeterminate amount of time for a fix, they can simply make a patch, compile, test, and implement the solution. The save millions in the time saved by this approach. Now I am speaking strictly of the kernel, but the same logic applies to a good portion of the FOSS selection. GNU is almost purely volunteer based, and a good portion of the devs there are professional programmers, they have real jobs, and a portion of them depend on the tools that the GNU project offers. It is in their best interest to add a little bit of help into the dev pool. As a result, everyone else benefits too. The driving force behind FOSS developement is need, not money. A secondary force here is interest, the more interesting a program is, the more people use it, and the greater the chances of someone offering their time to improve it. Yes, RedHat has 2200 employees, but look at what they can do…

    Also, on another note, the result of all the hard work put in by the devs of the various pieces of software the comprise a modern distro… I bought a new laptop, I booted to the Ubuntu install cd (it was the computers first boot) and installed it. Every single piece of hardware was working, wireless included, without me touching a thing. I installed my favourite programs over the next 30 minutes, and have not had to touch a single thing. No editing of files, no ‘coding’ other than my usual work, as the guy a few replies above me indicates that is needed. No downloading of drivers, nor worry about compatibility.

    And finally, the one thing to remember, computer games are not the primary focus of *any* OS. I personally don’t play games, if you do, dont complain, that is not what an OS is designed around. (PS all of the source games run at the same frame rates on Linux with Wine as they did on Windows.) Linux was a hobby when it was started, not a product, and it keeps that mentality. The kernel devs make a tool, not a product, and that is why all of the hardware on my new, shiny laptop is run by a piece of software that is ~3MB, less than the spider solitare game that comes with windows.

    So the success story that I have to share is this. I have a house run on Linux based OSes, I have a DVR, fileserver, a virtual machine server, 2 laptops, a few desktops, I have several hosted dedicated servers that I run many websites and services off of, and I have had only minor issues with any of them. I can browse to whatever sites I choose, watch any type of video file, watch dvds, edit photos and movies, write programs for CLI and GUI environments, and at the end of the day, I haven’t had to think about making any of it work.

  9. Also, the best program ever, as far as any that I have used at home and work, is Linux only, and that would be .

  10. Well put writer! I personally am a linux user but before all of you boo me, I am currently in school getting my A+,Net+,and Security+ certifications which revolves mostly around windows computers. On one hand I am put to a disadvantage because I cannot preform tasks on my computer the same way it is in class. On the other hand it is like being bi-lingual, I can preform those tasks on another machine with a different o/s.
    We should not shun other users for what we don’t like, we should encourage them regardless. After all aren’t we all doing the same things (Surfing,Downloading,Word Processing,Games etc…). Some ways just seem easier for us individually.
    I chose Ubuntu as my primary o/s about 3 years ago and man have I learned alot. Of course the reason I chose Linux is because I didn’t understand why I couldn’t do somethings in XP and I had my share of crashes. I now know that because of the aggravation for me it turned me to school and I am learning why those things happened the way they did. Hopefully this turns into a new career to help people with their computers (90% prolly have Windows). And if I can help any windows, mac or linux users I will.
    Instead of debating open-source we should all think OPEN MIND.

    P.S. Dave M- I got my 65yr old mother set-up and using Ubuntu in about 2 hours. She’s not very savvy with her computer skills, yet she has been using it for about a year and a half with no problems. She was using Family Tree Maker which we have not found a way to convert her old records in linux yet. (Gramps is a linux app that is supposed to allow you transfer files but doesn’t seem to work for us) But beyond that she loves it! She installs everything very easily herself with the package manager. She has even been using skype. If it hadn’t been pre-installed she would have never touched it! Dave- Linux can be a door way for some people.

  11. Does anyone know if you can run any version of windows live? (without installation)

    One thing that linux has is a bunch of distros that can run live. These have been very helpful for me in fixing home computers. Knoppix is one distro that boots live and allows FULL access to a HDD.

    Example – if you had an error on XP machine like missing .dll and XP o/s would not boot, you could live boot knoppix enter machine and fix problem or recover lost password. I know there are other ways to do this but if your system won’t boot you could always insert your free Knoppix disk to access your HDD in the meantime.

    If you’re a windows user this could definitely help instead of “use last good config” or “safe mode” boots.

    A good app to use on both windows/linux is GIMP kind like a lite version of PSP or Adobe. You can import more than just photos and you can change size or resolutions to folders at a time by mouse rather than just files with typed commands.

  12. I agree and have sworn off taking the bait and getting sucked into mindless and self-defeating discussions re: Windows and my-distro-is-better-than-yours. Both do no good and promote the side that you are taking issue with, often at your own expense.

    It is better to stay positive and write about what is good about what you use because it promotes your favourite OS/ distro and encourages new users.

    Unfortunately too often, we let them rattle our chain and get off the message that open source or free software is fun, it works and it has something for most people which is exactly what they are trying to do.

    When you write about other operating systems you are NOT writing about yours and you are promoting the competition simply by keeping the discussion going and getting headlines for them that they would otherwise have to pay for. They win on both counts.

  13. Thank You Bro :)

  14. I agree with this article that there are some linux users who take it to the extreme by focusing on attacking windows but unfortunately I also think the linux community as a whole gets commonly demonized. Do you really think that there isn’t fanboys of other operating systems? Seriously the community behinds OS X has some serious fanboys as does even Windows with users who like to spread ignorant FUD. That being said don’t just steroetype the entire linux community as some sort of anti-microsoft cult.

  15. No, Rich Menga, fsck you! I’m not a “Linux Zealot”. I’m a GNU user. And Microsoft can take their software patents and stuff them. M$ stinks!

  16. I agree with the article. Whereas there are many linux guys who bash windows, it seems that there is something about the windows guys, something more hostile. I have noticed, which I could be wrong, that people defending windows to a linux zealot tend to be more hostile, and sure of their OS’s complete and utter world dominance. They seem to counterattack harder than the linux fanboy initially attacks.

    Like I said, just my observations.

  17. Old Medic says:

    Puppy is another OS that will give you full access to boxes using windows. I’ve done most of my self education on windows products, and have just recently converted my main home computer to Ubuntu. After reading some of the articles & posts, I just downloaded Fedora and will give that a try. I think the next time my father needs me to fix his XP box, it will get replaced with Ubuntu (or Fedora)!

  18. As far as I’m concerned, both Linux and Windows are good for different things: I play my favorite games on Windows and I use Linux for the internet and everything else because it’s safer and more stable. As simple as that. And if I occasionally want to edit a video I’m back on Windows with Premiere because I like the app.
    I think a complete PC is a computer with double boot setup ;-)

  19. Anonymous says:

    Normally I would agree with this… but there’s on minor problem and a major reason why Microsoft is so hated:

    Microsoft has declared war on Linux over ten years ago. They are still waging this war. They’ve secretly funded SCO’s litigation. They’ve sent out outright patent trolls in the hoped for some sort of “indemnification deal” so they can get their hooks on Linux. Steve Ballmer still calls Linux a “cancer.” How about the completely false Get The Facts campaign?

    Why shouldn’t we talk about the one company that wants more than anything to bury Linux and all its proponents?

    I am very happy with what I have with Linux, and I’m not going to let a twice-convicted monopoly try to take over my desktop and rip my beloved kernel away from me. You can claim Microsoft need not be discussed, but it’s hard not discuss a company trying to very hard to be discussed, especially when they’re trying to destroy everything that is not theirs.

    And now they’re throwing patent traps at Linux in the form of Mono and Moonlight.

    Call me a “zealot” all you want, but its because of guys who refuse to ignore Microsoft you still have Linux to use.

    Microsoft deserves anti-Microsoft talk: They make shitty products, commit unethical and sometimes frequently illegal acts to destroy, not compete with, destroy, their competition.

    Don’t want anti-Microsoft talk? Then find a way to make Microsoft not anti-Linux.

  20. Anonymous says:

    If I had anything good to say about Microsoft, I wouldn’t be very good at convincing people to switch to Linux.

    You can’t pretend that Linux is not out there to compete with Windows, and that users can’t be persuaded into changing. A good Linux user knows how to make a convincing pitch to a potential user, because the strength of our open source communities lies in our numbers. Whether that pitch includes Microsoft bashing is all up the person making the pitch, and sometimes people respond very well zealous tactics.

    Linux needs zealots to preach the good word because we don’t have millions of dollars to spend on advertising campaigns, slapping up billboards along the highways and hiring washed up comedians to star in commercials. Linux relies on the internet and word of mouth, and any slack therein will cause our numbers to dwindle.

    If you’re not an active developer, get off your butt and enlighten the unwashed masses. Laziness is the reason Microsoft maintains the advantage.

  21. In reality, Linux itself is not positioning itself to compete. Linus Torvalds himself said he would care one way or another if Windows burned and died as a result of Linux.

    He did half-jokingly said that the “destruction of Microsoft” would be an “unfortunate” side effect. But he was joking.

    Interestingly enough, reality decided to follow after the joke, since Windows recently dropped under 90% desktop share and Linux is getting greater and greater numbers on the desktop that we can’t quantify because Linux lacks an official registration mechanism.

    To say nothing of Linux strong presence to outright dominance in all the other markets.

    But they’d still be developing for Linux even if only a handful of people ever actually used it.

  22. This article is… well, wrong.

    “On my 32-bit system I can now access all 4GB of my RAM. Now I don’t have to buy a new computer!””
    Which is
    1) Cloaked comparison to Microsoft Windows.
    2) wrong

    “I’ve been able to keep my computer running for two solid weeks straight without a single reboot.”
    1) Cloaked comparison to Microsoft Windows.

    “I love the games I’m playing. Great stuff!”
    1) Cloaked reply to Microsoft Windows zealots’ arguments, and as such, a cloaked comparison to Microsoft Windows.

    And so on. Just like these “intelligent design” people, who don’t mention thw word “God”, but it’s just obvious.

    Fsck thyself, before commanding thy brother to do the same…

  23. No, I think he’s right actually. None of those statements make sense except as compared to known shortcomings or complaints with Windows.

  24. I think you see this too much in a black-and-white manner…

    When you consider how Microsoft has been (and is still) trying to push down alternative developments and how aggressive it tries to keep its position in the worldwide IT market – for example on the desktop sector – I can clearly understand that people who use and like Linux/Unix go out and tell the world what they think of Microsoft products or why Linux/Unix is better for certain tasks in their opinion, respectively.

    What one should rather criticise is the way they do it: I agree with you that it often sounds quite profane and childish.

    Nevertheless it is not wrong IMHO to advertise Linux products as a distinctive and in many cases totally competitive alternative to Microsoft products. And by doing so one automatically runs into the Linux VS M$ dilemma ;)

    • “Nevertheless it is not wrong IMHO to advertise Linux products as a distinctive and in many cases totally competitive alternative to Microsoft products.”

      I respectfully disagree, and I’ll tell you why.

      Except for gaming (Which is frankly a minor and stupid reason to dismiss something.) Linux can do everything Windows can do and much, much more. Enlighten me as to how it’d be wrong to push Linux as a viable alternative when Linux has… well… actually been a viable alternative since 2004-2006 for *non* technical users and since forever for technical users?

      Hardware? I’ve seen Linux support way more hardware than Windows except for fringe hardware, which wouldn’t be well supported on ANY OS. What’s worse for the Windows vs. Linux debate for those on the Windows side is that Linux easily trumps Windows in the three categories out-of-box hardware support and sheer volume of drivers available in total for Linux and sheer amount of platforms Linux runs on, supporting that much more hardware as well (Windows runs on 5 architectures at the very most This is counting mobile versions. Linux runs on well over 200!)

      Market? Quantity != Quality. But if I really must argue market, we must look outside the desktop/laptop market and into netbooks, servers, supercomputers, embedded, clustering, and system administration needs. Oops, looks like Windows hardly penetrates half those markets, and is getting slaughtered by Linux and other *nix operating systems in all those, with Linux being the dominant player in all of them. Sure, inside the limited desktop and laptop markets, Linux isn’t even close to a “present” alternative, even though the < 1% estimation is, IMHO, a gross underestimation of how many people actually use Linux on the desktop, since there’s no real way to determine just how wide an install base it has because 1. Linux is freely redistributable and 2. Linux doesn’t even request registration like shareware or commercialware. One can take a survey, but statistical sampling is still pretty unreliable, and frankly I think most statistics are BS used in propaganda anyway and can’t be relied upon to prove anything without actual evidence to back it up.

      Quality? Linux definitely kills Windows here. Uptime, stability, lack of bloat, considerably superior design, and we have a better mascot to boot, not to mention a much, much higher uptime. Just because it can highly modular (With all sorts of drop-in replacements for just about every part of the average Linux distribution available.) Some call the sheer amount of choice a downside, but I respectfully disagree. Just like in Windows, Linux offers alternatives to its own software. No one is forcing the n00b users to use the alternatives or choose between them. Meanwhile the normal to experienced users can choose what works best for them. Linux, unlike Windows, doesn’t sacrifice everyone else’s choice for the lowest common denominator.

      Support? Have you ever called Microsoft technical support and actually *tried* to get actual help with something? They’ve gotten notorious in the past decade for having less-than-helpful non-commercial support for the layman and its commercial support is is almost totally aimed at the enterprise tiers, and an almost absent community support system. Linux? So many vendors offer commercial support for everyone alongside non-commercial support, and there’s so many forums, IRC channels offered by both the distributors and the community. Linux Questions and the Arch forums have probably the best community support for Linux I’ve ever seen. (I’ve found Ubuntu to have semi-lousy community support compared to Arch or LQ. Oftentimes I’d have started a thread asking for help that wouldn’t even get a reply for weeks, and on #ubuntu, if the idiots don’t know how to fix your problem they don’t even acknowledge your existence.)

      User friendly? That’s a myth. Were you ever actually born with the knowledge of how to use Windows? Mac OS X? EVERY OS no matter how “easy” it is has a learning curve. Revers the situation: If you grew up with Linux and then switched to Windows, people would be trolling WINDOWS as hard to use. Don’t tout having to learn something as the reason not to do it. Time is another factor altogether. If you dom’t have time to learn something, then that’s one thing, but learning it itself is not a bad thing and Linux often brings you skills you can take to the bank, I guarantee it, if you even decide to take the time to master it instead of just learning how to be an average desktop user. Command line? Don’t give me that crap. No one used to care if they had to use the command line until Mac OS and Windows 95 taught them the dirty lie that they should fear it and that using it is a Bad Thing. I’ll tell you righ tnow there are so manny things a CLI can do a GUI cannot do that GUI apologists always overlook, including full-out automated tasks. Once one learns the CLI, he can do things much faster than a GUI user.

      Please, enlighten me as to how Linux is not a competitive alternative to Windows when it is in fact a competitive alternative to Windows?

  25. Oh, and I forgot to add:

    If it’s not an alternative, what do you have to say about the Halloween Documents where Microsoft so much as admits that Linux is a valid and looming threat to their Windows empire?

    It always pisses me off when someone says Linux isn’t a competitor when even Microsoft admits they’re a competitor in leaked internal memos?!

  26. I do complain about Microsoft, but not uselessly like your ‘linux zealots.’ I complain when they actually make a good game or piece of hardware and actually go out of their way to keep it from working on anything other than windows.

  27. Gilles Leger says:

    I believe Linus said is eloquently.

    Really, I’m not out to destroy Microsoft. That will just be a completely unintentional side effect.– Linus Torvalds, 2003-09-28

  28. You’re assuming that the Linux users are always the aggressors.

    Where I work, I’m one of three Linux developers who’ve been conscripted from doing Linux platform support to “assist” another group in adding Linux support to their Windows-centric product. The three of us are constantly battling the all-PCs-are-Windows mindset and quite frankly, it inspires quite a bit of anti-Microsoft snark from us.

    None of us would be doing it if the Windows zealots weren’t constantly in our faces. Does it make us bad Linux users? No, it makes us human.

  29. Despite the inflammatory language of this post, I go along with the basic line. I’ve also seen that the “I use Linux because I hate Microsoft” meme has infected the public consciousness so much that people expect it when they hear you run Linux. I tried to illustrate that point in this strip:

    http://www.penguinpetes.com/Doomed_to_Obscurity/index.php?strip=0000036.jpg

    I’ve actually had that conversation with computer-store clerks in real life!

  30. KingPenquin says:

    Bury your head in the sand all you like, Microsoft will kill Linux because of ignorance.

  31. Ernest N. Wilcox Jr. says:

    I believe that disliking Windows for its functional failings / limitations or its manufacturer’s lack of integrity is not the same as Windows-bashing. When a Linux user has a valid objection with regard to the Windows OS or its manufacturer, (s)he should have the right to express that opinion, although it would be advisable to accompany that opinion with verifiable facts rather than outrageous accusations.

    I have used Mandriva (Mandrake) Linux since about 1998 (shortly after they started business). I migrated to using Mandriva as my day to day production OS by about the year 2000 or 2001 (this was a gradual process for me). Now, when I attempt to work on a Windows computer, it feels awkward. When I attempt to help a friend re-configure their Windows computer, I am reminded just how much power I really have by using Linux. There are just so many parts of Windows that the user can not configure. For example, when Windows starts, you have no choice of what graphic is displayed during the boot process. In Windows XP it is the Windows XP graphic. In Windows Vista, it is the Windows Vista graphic. In Mandriva Linux, I can choose what I see from the moment the BIOS passes control to the system kernel till the moment the system shuts down. Even more importantly, I have complete control over what software is installed on my computer (right down to individual packages if I so desire). I can choose one of four or five predefined security levels, or create a custom security configuration of my own design. I can customize my Mandriva installation as much or as little as I choose. The bottom line is that with Linux I have access to all aspects of the OS, so I can make my system look, feel, and work the way I want it to.

    The following are my reasons for preferring Open Source Software over Proprietary Software:

    The Linux Operating System is Open Source Software. Open Source Software is all about freedom and sharing ideas. With Open Source Software, millions of people look at the source code every day so security and functional weaknesses are found and fixed in a time frame usually measured in days or weeks. Users have the ability to communicate directly with software developers, so they can make feature requests or suggestions.

    The Windows Operating System is Proprietary Software. Proprietary Software is Closed Source, and is all about keeping ideas secret (hidden). With Proprietary Software a limited number of people see the source code, so when security or functional weaknesses are found, they are fixed in a time frame usually measured in weeks or months. Users have no access to the software developers. Instead, they communicate with a Technical Support Agent (Telephone Operator) who usually knows less about the Operating System than the user so any feature requests or suggestion gets lost in the shuffle.

    As stated above, a user will use the OS with which (s)he is most comfortable (or to one that comes installed on the computer), and that may never change, but if you use Windows and you reach a point where you are fed up with WGA and that Security agent constantly asking you to confirm that you really want to do what you are trying to do, give Linux a test run. You can get a Live! CD image for most Linux distributions. Burn the image to a disk, then boot your computer from the CD (no installation required). If you like what you see, take the next step and install it to a Virtual Machine where you can use it until you become familiar enough with your distribution of choice to make an informed decision. If the decision you make is to switch to Linux, install it to your hard drive (replacing Windows). Chances are that you will never regret it.

    my2cents

  32. Gotcha. So people who call unethical corporations names are “zealots” and “fanboys”.

  33. Saverio says:

    I don’t see Windows zealots rubbing their OS in my face. What I see (an I think is the only real “problem”) is a 98% of the desktop PC market with Windows pre-installed. People who buy computers basically have no choice. People who approach a PC for the first time don’t have any choice either.
    Windows was the first OS to bring computers to the masses. To most people, PCs are Windows, period. And the computer market today tends to reinforce that concept.
    To many, installing an OS is a mystical operation, and some even think is something done in the factory. It’ll take years for humanity to change these concepts, but I think it will happen eventually.
    And MS Windows isn’t that bad. Its only problem is it’s a Microsoft product. ;-) If it were for them, we would all have computers with coin slots: to access each function or update on your computer you need to put a quarter in it. So far, that has been basically their philosophy. If that hasn’t happened yet, we have to thank companies like IBM, Nvidia and Sun, and the Open Source Community.
    That said, I think this thread should no longer be on this site, for it has become a passionate political discussion (which I love, don’t get me wrong), rather than a collection of technical insights. This is an IT enthusiasts website, not a political forum.

  34. The trouble is that Microsoft goes out of its way to corrupt the experience of Linux and other FOSS solutions. Take for example the most open platform available: the Internet. Microsoft intentionally added a slew of non-standard hooks that were compatible only with its browser, IE. The intention was to corrupt the experience for users of other browsers. Web developers everywhere will attest to what an expensive, time wasting nightmare it has been.

    From what I see, FOSS developer seek to make their products better technically and more usable. Microsoft only seeks to hook the public on technology it controls, no matter how inferior, serve them with expensive, hard-to-manage solutions, and maximize its profit agenda. It is this attitude, the moral inferiority and outright lies of Microsoft that drives the behavior this article describes. That a large majority of the computing public has fallen prey to Microsoft’s rapaciousness has got to be understandably galling.

  35. SpoodyGoon says:

    I must admit I am guilty of those words and actions. Thank you so much for a thoughtful article.

  36. We have right to critisize people who several years have suffered MS-nightmare – and still wanna suffer. What kind of masochists they are? And why are these idiots ready to pay for that MS-crap? Please tell me. What’s that whole Redmond-Bandwagon all about?

  37. A key to good propaganda is to assume your central point but not to mention it. Never flat out say, “Linux is better than Windows,’ or ‘Windows sucks.’ Instead, assume these points are true and illustrate them. “I never have to reboot my computer now that I use Linux” implies that Windows sucks without stating it. This slips past people’s intellectual defenses instead of making a doomed frontal attack on them.

  38. I use Linux because I’m not really doing anything professional with my computer. I also don’t play games. I could very well use the Vista that came preinstalled, but I had the time and patience to tinker with Linux so I went for it.
    I’ve never met any sort of business willing to give up Microsoft for Linux, simply because they’ve never agreed to abandon what they’re used to for the sake of zero price tag of Linux.

  39. I tend to agree with you, but I think this comes from both sides. I find a lot of the vocal Linux “zealots” who bash Microsoft tend to be people who after they switched over started receiving a lot of crap for their choice from the Windows fanboys (ever read the comments of a Linux article on a non-Linux specific site?). But what really irks me about these arguments (aside from the ones made about MS’s behavior, as those are correct) is that both sides always use outdated “facts” to prove their points. Like Linux people always bringing up the BSOD (I’ve used XP since it came out, and while I haven’t used it for a while for anything except gaming and on the rare occasion I need to stream encrypted media into WMP, I have had a grand total of one BSOD which was caused by a bad memory stick and not the OS itself). and then you see the Windows people complain that they have to edit a text file to set their screen resolution. Aside from security concerns, which IMO the user is always the worst security problem and there is no fix for dumb users, XP wasn’t a bad operating system for it’s time and it looks like Windows 7 will be good too. My only real big issue with Windows is that they try to lock you in with proprietary formats and I don’t like being locked to one vendor. However there is no reason the two can’t exist side by side. Linux will never kill Microsoft (although it is possible for Microsoft to kill itself but if that ever happens it will be a LONG and SLOW death) and Microsoft is never going to kill Linux. Neither of those need to happen for either one to still be successful and the more viable operating systems that are out there the more innovation there will be which is only good for the end user.

  40. It’s fine to say that MS shouldn’t be talked about in derogatory terms. Tell you what. If you can make it so that 98% of PC’s are sold without an OS, I’ll make it so that 98% of people who know, love and use a BETTER OS, don’t mention MS when evangelising the choices they are ALLOWED to have.

  41. Not only is this article badly written, it’s major point is that as a Linux user, I can’t possibly criticize another operating system because it makes me immature and moronic.

    What do you think Microsoft’s “get the facts” campaign is about, perchance: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver/compare/default.mspx

    I am an avid Linux user, and I am constantly reminded why, when I use my software and have an altogether less frustrating and more productive experience. Why shouldn’t I criticize Windows for all its flaws. Why on earth not?

  42. Most of the time, I can just happily use Linux and ignore Microsoft’s
    existence. I deplore Microsoft’s business practices, agree that they threaten
    free software, and will gladly defend the latter as required, but I much
    prefer to discuss the virtues of Linux and other free operating systems than
    to criticize Microsoft’s software.

    Apart from the mild annoyance of having to convert the MS-Word files that come
    my way, and having to deploy filters to reduce the spam propagated by
    compromised machines running Microsoft Windows, it’s quite easy just to get
    work done without paying attention to what is happening in the Windows world.

  43. arjaybe says:

    Okay, it’s official: that is the one thousandth time I’ve seen that article. It uses the laziest and cheapest form of argument: the straw man. To paraphrase the author: “Linux fanboys are bad and I’m not.”

    To be clear, in the absence of these articles I hardly ever think of Microsoft. Please stop.

  44. Since Windows is the most successful OS out there, it will naturally be the main target of exploits… everyone’s out to get them.

    I can imagine if it was Linux that was the dominant OS, it would have as much security holes as Windows has now because everyone’s out to get the “Big Fish”.

    But don’t get me wrong, I love Linux too, but drivers are always a problem. An average user wouldn’t want to go through all the trouble to DO MORE WORK TO MAKE IT WORK. Majority of software are still exclusively for Windows, which is the main reason people cannot switch entirely. I pray for the time that vendors finally support Linux and write software and drivers for it. When that time comes, only then the playing will be equal.

    I guess we could hate Microsoft for their business practices, but people would still get them for the painless setups and support it has for both software and hardware. PC gaming is an example, while you’re hoping that that new video card would have linux support and if the game could run on Linux. Emulation still is slow at this time unless you have a really bad-ass machine.

    While it’s true that Linux has gone a long way and has matured into a better OS, it is, in my opinion is still for hardcore-tech people. It requires a bit more tech skills, curiousity and a lot of research.

  45. “Since Windows is the most successful OS out there, it will naturally be the main target of exploits… everyone’s out to get them.”

    That myth has been dispelled simply by citing Apache vs. IIS. Apache is by far the most popular… yet IIS is the most targeted. Popularity may be a factor, but insecurity is insecurity no matter how popular an OS is. Windows is targeted because it is EASY, not just because its popular. Otherwise you’d see a lot of non-Windows systems targeted outside of the desktop market, which as of right now, that is not the case.

    “I can imagine if it was Linux that was the dominant OS, it would have as much security holes as Windows has now because everyone’s out to get the “Big Fish”.”

    It may seem logical, except the fact that Linux is actually designed to be secutre. And the reason Linux is hard to compromise was actually well-described by Eric S. Raymond, who said that the fact the source code is out there in the hands of thoousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people, security flaws do *not* last long. I seem to recall one common exploit found in all OS’s at one point. I forget what it was, but Linux had it fixed within a DAY of the discovery of the flaw, Windows took nine months.

    It is NOT exclusively because of popularity.

    “But don’t get me wrong, I love Linux too, but drivers are always a problem. An average user wouldn’t want to go through all the trouble to DO MORE WORK TO MAKE IT WORK. Majority of software are still exclusively for Windows, which is the main reason people cannot switch entirely. I pray for the time that vendors finally support Linux and write software and drivers for it. When that time comes, only then the playing will be equal.”

    I take exeption to that, Linux has way more hardware working out of the box than Windows in my experience, and it has been proven, time and time again that Linux has the larger driver library of the two. Linux hardware support for Linux is better. Note that you likely never experience the crippled nature of a fresh Windows install if all you use is OEM releases and system recovery disks, wherein the OEM already did the dirty work of making the hardware work properly. Try installing the same version of Windows, only retail, on the same box, and it’ll make more sense.

    As for software, you have GOT to be kidding. Except for games, Linux can do everything Windows can do and way, way more. Being a POSIX system, Linux has source compatibility with software from dozens, if not HUNDREDS of operating systems, thus getting hundreds of thousands more apps than Windows just be actually being standards compliant. Unless you need to play games, you have no reason to actually stay with Windows.

    “I guess we could hate Microsoft for their business practices, but people would still get them for the painless setups and support it has for both software and hardware. PC gaming is an example, while you’re hoping that that new video card would have linux support and if the game could run on Linux. Emulation still is slow at this time unless you have a really bad-ass machine.”

    Again, see my note on actual out-of-box hardware support. Linux is way ahead of Windows in this arena. Every time I install Linux, everything is working out of the box. With Windows I usually have to have my drivers downloaded ahead of time, since Windows doesn’t even support most ethernet or wlan out of the box. The only driver I have to download for Linux is my nVidia driver, and that’s largely because so many distros are scared of supporting binary drivers ot of the box. And I don’t even have to hunt on the web to get it, thanks to software repositories, yet another thing Windows utterly lacks.

    “While it’s true that Linux has gone a long way and has matured into a better OS, it is, in my opinion is still for hardcore-tech people. It requires a bit more tech skills, curiousity and a lot of research.”

    Ubuntu and its derivatives are so freaking easy, even my sister can use Linux with no problems. I hate to say it, but I think you’re in the minority if you were having hardware problems with Linux these days.

  46. monmon29 says:

    @yaro
    Opinions are opinions. I will stick to what I said, that most drivers are still stuck on Windows, especially on Notebooks and Laptops. I need Photoshop, I need games and other software without having to bother with emulation or running APIs to make them work. Even on the internet, software for Windows are everywhere, that’s a fact.

    The reason why i said “Everyone’s out to get them” is that because if you’re a hacker, you would like to damage the majority. It just so happens that Windows is “easier”, but as I said, If Linux was the majority, no matter how secure it is, IT WILL BE ATTACKED.

    All of this isn’t bashing on Linux. As I’ve said, I know it’s just a matter of support, as you also said, the fear of supporting binary drivers. I’d like that time to come when every software would say :

    “Supported Operating Systems : PC/MAC/LINUX”

    Anyway, it seems that this debate will never end and I’d only get quoted and waste my time. So, I’ll just leave the figures out there that Windows is still the majority for its ease-of-use, despite the alternatives available which is most of the time, can do less that its Windows counterparts. I really find it immature to bash on it.

  47. “The reason why i said “Everyone’s out to get them” is that because if you’re a hacker, you would like to damage the majority. It just so happens that Windows is “easier”, but as I said, If Linux was the majority, no matter how secure it is, IT WILL BE ATTACKED.”

    Please, EXPLAIN why, if the majority of the the Internet is on a LAMP stack (The L stands for Linux, in case you didn’t know.) that WINDOWS servers are still attacked?

    The most popular web server in the world is Apache, and yet IIS is the one constantly attacked.

    No. I don’t think popularity is actually the deciding factor. Otherwise LAMP stacks would be attacked a lot more being more commonly used than any Windows stacks on the ‘net.

  48. I agree on the positive way of looking at things you are trying to preach. I have been using Ubuntu on my laptop now for over 1,5 years. And i was so proud when i first got Compiz fusion working on it. I cannot believe though how easily i got use to it. Sometimes when people look over my shoulder they cannot believe what they see and that even though it’s very geeky gives me a kick :D.

    cheers,

    Ray

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