Posts Tagged ‘linux’

Back on Windows again

June 16, 2011 2 comments

Ok, I’m back on Windows, this time it’s Win7 though, the old laptop just went from bad to worse and even Linux couldn’t help it. Now it’s been relegated to the status of a family machine for playing solitaire and other simple games. it’s now running Open Suse and the thing is really slow. Unfortunately it would appear that KDE is a bit too resource heavy in its current incarnation. And that’s really a pity because I still remember the time when it wasn’t

Anyway, I originally planned to install linux on this new laptop too, but none of the distros I got off the internet and tried installing on it were able to get the wireless card up and running. Ubuntu detected it but failed to install the proprietary drivers properly. I tried ubuntu, then mint, then open suse, none of them worked, eventually I gave up and installed Win7. I simply didn’t fell like recompiling the kernel or whatever you’re supposed to do in linux when you hit a wall.

So it’s back to Windows, at least for the time being. I tried to make it a bit more linux-like by creating a separate user with no admin privileges and only working as this limited user when I’m surfing the net and do other stuff which may end in getting viruses and malware. and naturally, this being Windows I’m also running an antivirus – commodo security, it’s got some sort of a rudimentary HIPS so supposedly it should be marginally better than your average run of the mill anti-virus software for mere mortals.

So how does Windows stack up against Linux after going back and forth between the two?

The interface is sleeker in Windows, which is to be expected since Windows, to an extent, is the interface (as in the media is the message, Windows is the interface), and apart from just being sleek it kind of makes sense. The drawback is that it’s just one interface, you’re stuck with it. Well, I hear there are various themes out there and I vaguely remember seeing this really crazy WinXP theme a few years back that made WinXP look and feel like Mac OS, a custom designed theme for die-hard mac fans who found themselves stuck with a windows machine. Whatever.

Linux offers lots of choice as a far as interface is concerned,  but compared to Windows seven all of those choices, and especially KDE are slower, sometimes plain comatose. Well they still beat Vista of course.

Ubuntu comes bundled with all sorts of drivers and software. Sure it couldn’t get my wireless card to work properly but in principle I think they’re on the right track. Installing Windows was a bit of a letdown since after having installed the OS proper I then had to go and install productivity software and before that all the drivers and what not. Plus in Windows there’s no such thing as software repositories so you have to download each package separately and install it separately.

The ubuntu way is more seamless, all applications behave like part of the system. the problem is that a lot of them are still bug ridden and slow and they sometimes crash or worse yet, freeze on you and then to kill it, there’s no handy tool like Windows’ task manager, you’ve got to open the terminal, then enter a command that displays all the processes in memory with their numbers and then you’ve got to enter the kill command, again in the terminal, identifying the process you want killed by its number rather than by its name. Well, I know some people get a kick out of doing everything through the terminal but when a program freezes on you and gets stuck in memory, in Windows you can dispose of it much faster via the task manager.

So what else, – flash kind of sucks in linux, maybe flash is evil or I don’t know but on my old laptop with 3 gigabytes of RAM it showed video in slow motion when in full screen mode, which isn’t cool. Maybe it’s just that the laptop in question is on the verge of death or something but still. It was even worse in KDE in open suse.

Well that’s about it for now, just a rant


wine and the dominance of windows

March 11, 2010 1 comment

After Apple moved to the intel platform it wasn’t long before they rolled out Boot Camp, so mac heads could run Windows on Macs, and then there’s wine, while it may not be an emulator per se, its purposes, to enable linux to run windows applications, speaks volumes about the current situation in the operating systems market. Windows still rules supreme, MS can even afford to have a flop or two. The first version of Vista, prior to being patched by service packs, was essentially a disaster, it was slow, it ate up resources, it irritated the users with endless warnings about each action they were about to take and yet, back then the majority of users frustrated with Vista weren’t switching to Mac OS or Linux, in spite of Apple’s aggressive I’m a mac I’m a pc TV ad campaign, no they were ‘downgrading’ to the good ole Windows XP. And now that Windows 7 is out and it’s a fairly decent OS, those folk who resented Vista are upgrading directly to Windows 7 so MS is still going from strength to strength.
And the existence of frameworks like wine is just another confirmation of the obvious dominance of Windows on our computers. Most decent Linux distros come with hosts of applications that can be downloaded and installed totally free of charge from online repositories and yet there’s still plenty of people out there who essentially want to re-create Windows in Linux. Well, I guess when it comes to winning over the market the trick is in getting as many people as possible to use your product and then inertia will kick in and people will be reluctant to ever try something different. Chances are that these days when the average user hears about Linux, the question they will ask, either out loud or subconsciously is how much is it like Windows and will I be able to run the same apps in it and that’s where wine comes in, yeah you can run the same apps but it still ain’t windows so the comparisons will never be in favor of Linux. There’s no doubt that not other OS can be as good at running Windows apps as Windows is. After all they’re called Windows apps for a reason.
So is wine really such a great thing? Doesn’t it, at the end of the day, sort of defeat the purpose? What’s the point to switching to Linux if all you ever plan to use it for is running the same ole Windows apps you’re so used to you can’t let go of. Plus aren’t the majority of Windows apps sold for money?
With that said, it has to be noted however, that in some situations wine does make a lot of sense. For example in Russia, the most popular accounting system is, for historical reasons, Windows only (they’re working on Linux based solutions now but it’s taking them time), and in recent years the authorities have begun clamping down on illegal software so businesses are being made to ‘legalise’ their software by purchasing licenses, if you have a couple hundred computers and several servers, the cost of going legal can run into millions of roubles, and the worst bit is that you can’t just go and rewrite your whole ERM system from scratch in just a month or so. Then going with Wine on Linux can make a lot of sense and save a million or two. but it’s still a niche market.

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