Linux vs XP vs the World vs Linux vs Bill Gates vs Linux vs

How Linux and Linus Torvald Save Bill Gates' Butt through Apache

Sunday, June 26, 2005 by Chuck | Discussion: Personal Computing

Listening to the various arguments almost on a daily basis involving Microsoft, Linux and various other operating systems causes a ringing in my ears that very few painkillers alleviate. I am fortunate enough to have many good friends involved in the computer industry at various levels and listen to them attentively picking up interesting bits of information for application applied in my own technical field. They are, however, torn primarily between Linux and Microsoft operating systems; and argue good naturely over the validity of each until a good high colonic is suggested by myself to end the perpetual argument. Of course, my high colonic suggestion is met with suspicion not only to my educational background and military service, but my supposed interest in high colonics which is vehemently denied.

Fairness and objectivity is something applied to many arguments in my fields of history and computers. A striving is needed to understand the relative merits of both Microsoft XP, in this case and SUSE Linux 9.2, shall we say since familiarity is known through usage of both. Personally, there are merits and disadvantages of both systems, but some commonalities that stand out. There is no doubt Microsoft has increasing become a memory hog in each new operating system unveiled while SUSE Linux can run very easily on meager memory. My desktop operates on 768MB of memory which is enough to sustain Windows XPSP2, but makes Linux 9.2 whiz like a champ through many applications.

Obviously, there are many more applications available for MS XP than Linux 9.2. Linux has seen more software companies swing over in the past few years as well an more American cities and various nations adopting this operating system. The hope is more well known software companies will develop applications for Linux since more US localities and nations are utilizing the system. IBM has been a strong booster for Linux for a few years now, but major computer manufacturers vacillate between offering Linux on systems in addition to Microsoft. Dell did for awhile, but charge more than it did for MS XP which made little sense other than they sold far less than the MS equipped ones. There seems to be a lot of commerce talk now indicating more computer companies will be offering Linux, but that remains to be seen.

What are the advantages of Linux? It takes less memory to function with as mentioned before and seems to be a safer system overall. There have been some security flaws in the system, but they have been quickly met and patches issued in a short period of time. In fact, various patches, etc., are always available whenever one goes up on Linux pending whatever one decides to apply. I also enjoy the security available on Linux utilizing both a uder id and password to enter, period. One can neter XP, encounter a security screeen and bypass by merely hitting cancel, but that is not the same on Linux. Secondly, any change to inner Linux is accessible only by password which again is very easy to access through XP. Another aspect is various GUI one can use in Linux ranging from Linux to GNome. There are wonderful selections depending on whatever your desires are. So we have operating on neglible memory, various GUIs, securty and a wonderful patching system readily acessibly to.

On the other hand, Linux is a system that takes adjusting to if you haven't operated it before. It demands a different mindset and the ability to absorb a Unix based system instead of the prevalent MS type most are familiar with. XP's installation idea, for example, is to simply download the desired program, click twice and the installation begins with limited intervention needed by the user. Linux 9.2, on the other hand, is slightly different and requires much more user attention to protocol than MS in addition to familiarity to a different type of file system. Make no doubt about it, you have to do your homework and a bit of studying pays off in the long run with a smooth running operating system. Best thing to do is visit a bookstore and buy a SUSE Linux book which outlines all the various operations, functions, etc., and familiarize yourself with it before actually doing some hands on operations. It pays off in the long run with greater understanding not only of Linux, but of the subtle differences with XP.

Linux has made substantial GUI changes with each new edition and has done well with SUSE Linux 9.2. My Linux Guru friends rant they are making it too much like MS while others state it is necessary to develop attraction by former MS owners. Regardless, the current GUI is easy to function with once you are familiar with the process just like other system. In fact, Linux has more to offer in terms of customization that XP and generally, what you don't find can be download by some genius who has written code for the very thing you desire. Linux research and development is among the people and not confined to Redmond as MS is. This vast pool of Linux developers adds so many unqie contributions that can only be reviewed by constantly going to the various Linux websites from around the world. Though Linux is free code, there are various companies like SUSE, Redhat and others who sell Linux for a small fee. The development, however, is till among the millions of adherents who develop everything from Tux to a small clock to tell time in Russian, for example. Its truly an amazing example in international cooperation at work on a wonderful project.

One thing continually tiring about XP are the numerous security updates not only for XP, but also the various components such as Office, Outlook, Internet Explorer and Outlook Express. There were eight two weeks ago, but the number this year alone is staggering in comparison to Linux which is confronted with very few in comparison. So one asks why the problem with Microsoft? My guess is two fold with the primary being Microsoft didn't accomplish a great deal of research and development before unveiling a product to the masses for sale. I sense their concept was to present it for sale and then meet each challenge as it arose instead of finding various major during during an expensive and time consumed r/d period. One can also call this profit motive before r/d expenditures whereas Linus research and development is constant involving millions of people worldwide on any given issue. Secondly, it also appears Bill Gates, himself, gain many enemies due to his management style, aggressiveness and monopolistic desires that, in turn, manifested itself in creation of a multitude of hackers who developed a sole mission to find as many flaws or security holes in MS products as possible. In all fairness, there are many reputable laboratories out there which also find flaws and report them to Microsoft and Redmond gives them credit accordingly when announcing the hole and subsequent game plan for it. Regardless, a combination of the two aforemention reasons seem to illustrate the continual need for security upadates, SPs and various other changes issued by MS on a regular basis to those operating Microsoft operating system and products.

That in itself is enough to make even the most faithful to MS wonder what in the heck is going on. Take this example to consider>Outlook Express has a tendency to lose all print in the preview pane at times and also in the email when clicked to read. A diligent search of MS revleas only to a reinstall a dll thrun the run command on an interim basis with no permanent solution to the dilemma. This has ocurred to several of clients' systems and I gave up after exhaustive research for a solution and recommended they use Mozilla Thuderbird instead. All clients agreed this was an excellent recommendation after an initial breaking in period and now will not use anything else. Accordingly, they have also switched over to Mozilla Firefox due to security consideration after difficulties Internet Explorer has experienced and my recommendations. Bottom line was security and no permanent MS solution available even after email contact with MS techreps.

I have found no major problems with Linux nor Mozilla; and those encountered have been quickly resolved through the massive system used by both to encounter and resolve these needs. Linux has a massive knowledge base on SUSE and questions can also be directed to a LIVE PERSON for resolvement who actually emails you back within a short period of time. I was amazed since no waiting time was involved as with MS and secondly, I didn't find myself talking with someone from either China or India, with respect, that difficulties were encountered understanding due to cultural differences. It appears MS has made great strides in this area, but they still lack on the customer service side.

What is the end result for me? I have one hard drive devoted to Linux 9.2 shortly to be upgraded to 9.3 which will be used to develop more knowledge and expertise with; a second harddrive with MS XPSP2 on for the same purpose; and a third on with Windows 2000SPR to remember the good old days. I could list all the difficulties had with XP, but will save that along with solutions for another rant. It will be interesting.

Gain as much knowledge as possible on all operating systems since both MS XP and Linux are being pushed hard throughout the world. They both have good selling points, but Linux is a bit ahead with a low cost tag and safer system; MS pushes on the availability of much software, but has to really work to convey safety. Personally, I would rather see Bill Gates arguing with Linus Torvald at some site in acity where it was all taped for future viewing. Not that Bill would ever do this, but it would be interesting to see and hear what both had to say about their respective systems. I placing my bet on Linus Torvald since Linux is stil surviving after years of being bad mouthed by Bill; particularly that served Gates onces stated was his greated nemeis-Apache. So good, MS installed them at Redmond and during one nasty bug night, these servers saved his butt, but Bill didn't like the annoucement being made Apache had achieved this. In fact, his ego needed massaging after that.
Reply #1 Sunday, June 26, 2005 2:29 AM
I've had to get into XP [Pro] on friends' computers several times when corruption mangled the password acceptance....certainly wasn't accessible by some quaint 'hitting escape'...
Reply #2 Sunday, June 26, 2005 9:30 AM
One point: there are actually more applications available for Linux than for Windows, not the other way around. Also, almost all of the ones available for Linux are free.
I use Linux (Slackware) exclusively and have no trouble finding applications for anything I need to do. The one area where Windows does outdo Linux is gaming. There are far more games available for Windows than Linux, of course the majority of the ones for Linux are free but disregarding the monetary issues, Windows does do gaming better than Linux. At least for now.
Reply #3 Sunday, June 26, 2005 2:45 PM
Of all the software available for Linux, how much of it is any good? OpenOffice, GIMP, and Firefox are probably the best applications available for Linux and have been ported to other operating systems. With Mac OS X, you can have the best of both worlds. Mac OS X is built on BSD which is another open source Unix-like system but has strong commercial support from Apple and is as easy to use as Windows. There are lots of open source programs available for Mac OS X since it's Darwin core makes porting software from other Unix-like systems easier than porting to Windows. There is also plenty of proprietary software available for Mac OS X. Both open source and proprietary have their strong points and you can enjoy the strong points of both easily on Mac OS X.
Reply #4 Sunday, June 26, 2005 3:01 PM
Mac OS X is built on BSD

OS X was built from Darwin.

Also, when saying 'Linux 9.2,' you make it sound like there is a pure Linux distro called Linux. Technically, the newest Linux is 2.6.11 (kernel).

Aside from that, good article.
Reply #5 Sunday, June 26, 2005 3:47 PM
I still can't quite understand why we see so many Linux postings on a Windows(only) customization site. Don't get me wrong, I've gone through a few Linux distros, and currently have Suse 9.2 installed alongside XP. I enjoy learnning the Linux side of things when I have time and, in many respects, it has advantages over the Windows OS.
However, when it comes to applications Linux falls far behind. The GIMP is not Photoshop (or even close to CS) Open Office, while goood, can't honestly compete with MS Office. Bluefish is also certainly no Dreamweaver. I know that someone will say that they can get all their Windows apps to run under WINE, but honestly, why bother?
If I can run Photoshop just fine under XP, why should I go to the trouble to set up to run under Wine, when I can just boot into XP and go? Just for the good feeling that I'm using an open source OS?
Most people could care less what OS they're running as long as their apps work the way they want them to. Perhaps some vendors will start porting their software to Linux, but as Brad has pointed out (when asked about porting Windowblinds to Linux) there is little business sense in developing software for an OS used by less than 10% of the market. And let's face it, software vendors are in it for the money (and there's nothing wrong with that ) Most of them aren't going to fel too "warm and fuzzy" about developing for an OS that adheres to the GPL, and most Linux users eschew any software that isn't free (none of it's really free, someone's paying for all that work at some level, but that's another story)so where is the incentive for software companies to write for Linux? And where is the incentive for the average user or business to switch to Linux to if they can't run their necessary applications?
Somewhere down the road things may reach a tipping point where it becomes profitable for vendors to produce for LInux, and we could see it become a viable contendor. That day may come soon, later, or never.
In the meantime, I'm thinking Mac!
Reply #6 Sunday, June 26, 2005 3:57 PM
Thanks to all for posting in response to this writing.

Apple puts out good products an
Reply #7 Sunday, June 26, 2005 4:01 PM
Let me try this again without my fingers getting in the way.

Apple puts out excellent products. Only difficulty to most average joes is with the price tag which pc manufactures contest with lower priced products. On the other hand, one pays for what they get and I seldom hear of any security problems with Mac.

Appreciate all the comments..I learn from all.
Reply #8 Monday, June 27, 2005 1:08 AM
Re #3: Of all the software available for Windows, how much of it is any good?

There are tons of applications that are really really good for Linux. Of course a lot of it is utter crap, like most of Windows applications. But it's true that the big three (as I call them) have no good equivalent for Linux: Photoshop, Dreamweaver and Flash. Other than these, I can have as much fun running Linux, if not more. Linux has features that I love that are lacking in Windows and vice-versa, I use a few apps under Linux also that I prefer to any Windows equivalent (my media player for example). And IMO Evolution is also a terrific organizer, just as good as Outlook I dare say.

As it stands right now, I'm more comfortable using my Linux system. Can't say why. Just feels more cozy. But as I need to always reboot into XP in order to use the above mentionned apps, I end up using Widows more often than I'd like.

I dream of the day when I can boot two systems at once on the same machine, and just ALT-TAB (or something like it) to switch from on to the other...
Reply #9 Monday, June 27, 2005 3:01 AM
OS X was built from Darwin.

Ok, piont your browser to:


Now read.

(For ease i've copied the text:

Darwin integrates a number of technologies, most importantly Mach 3.0, operating-system services based on 4.4BSD (Berkeley Software Distribution), high-performance networking facilities, and support for multiple integrated file systems.

So OS X is based on BSD.
Reply #10 Monday, June 27, 2005 9:14 AM
Is there a reason so many users have a love-hate relationship with Microsoft? Most of us use Windows-based systems everyday and a lot of us seem to take glee in bashing the product everytime it burps. Lots of users don't have ANY problems with their setups - they've run their desktops for years with little or no problems. To me, the wonder is that Microsoft was able to produce an environment that works so well without being able to control the hardware (like Apple does). You can go to the store, buy a copy of Windows XP and assuming you have an adequate system in terms of memory and processor speed, be fairly sure that you can run it on your PC-compatible (Dell, Gateway, HP/Compaq or home-brewed...) It's a lot easier to control when you make the hardware (Apple) and have some idea what the user is going to be running the product on. When you don't control the hardware (CPU, videocard, soundcard, printer, etc.) or even know if the user current hardware it's amazing that it works as well as it does.

I'm running XP on 400 mhz Pentium II Dell Latitude (multi-boot system with Windows 98SE and 4 Linux distros) and it works fairly well. Now it sings on my Athlon 64-based desktop, but it runs on my old system as well. Compare that with OS X - you need a G4 or better to make it useable and my old beige G3 is only compatible up through 10.2 (Jaguar) - forget about 10.3 (Panther) or 10.4 (Tiger).

Linux has the potential to be a major player, but it's still too much trouble for the average user to install (Fedora, SUSE or Mandriva included...) I like the variety that you have in the distros (I'm running Ubuntu, SUSE 9.2, Kubuntu and Mandriva currently) but there's as many updates to the files in the average Linux distro as there is in Windows XP.
Reply #11 Monday, June 27, 2005 9:46 AM
I still can't quite understand why we see so many Linux postings on a Windows(only) customization site.

Perhaps your not aware that the forum is accessed and linked through more than one site? Many of us access it through JoeUser. On JU it's just one of many forum categories, personal computing, and nowhere does it state "windows only".
We are well aware of what Brad does for a living and appreciate his providing a free blog/forum site for us to use. At no time has he ever stated that Linux is a forbidden subject.
Personally I don't do "windows bashing", even though I only use Linux, because I know this site is run by a company that makes it's living from Windows oriented software and it would be rude to do so. Besides, even though I personally dislike windows doesn't mean it isn't a good product for other people. To each his own.
I personally find a lot of Linux software to be of high quality and very useable. I've seen some that is crap and don't use it. Choice. I've also seen some good windows software as well. And some that is crap.
Reply #12 Monday, June 27, 2005 9:51 AM
One can enter XP, encounter a security screeen and bypass by merely hitting cancel

Just a comment on that part...
This was the case until Win98, but since 2000/XP, as long as your user accounts actually have a password, you CAN'T bypass the user password request by hitting "Cancel".
I suggest you remove that from your article, as it ain't the truth...
(Sometimes, testing before stating false facts helps, you know...)
Reply #13 Monday, June 27, 2005 5:20 PM

Perhaps your not aware that the forum is accessed and linked through more than one site? Many of us access it through JoeUser. On JU it's just one of many forum categories, personal computing, and nowhere does it state "windows only".

Thanks for the reminder about the JU connection, I always seem to forget about that. I wasn't complaining,either, it just struck me as odd. I have actually enjoyed reading some of your Linux articles. They are very informative. As far as "Windows only" I only meant it in the sense that Object Desktop, and other Stardock products only work on a windows OS.
I had no intention to sound like I was "Linux-bashing" I was simply stating the facts as I perceive them. I love Linux (if for no other reason than it keeps Bill & Co. on their toes, and motivates them to produce a better product, and hopefully that keeps Linus and Co. motivated to keep improving their product)and I would love to see it succeed as a third OS alongside Windows and Mac. The biggest thing, as I see it, seperating Linux from the other two is useful commercially supported applications. Adobe originally only supported Mac, but have ported their apps over to Windows, and I have heard that they have been researching porting some of their applications to Linux. If they do, that could be a major step toward widespread acceptance of Linux, especially now that Adobe is bringing Dreameaver and Flash under their banner.
I also have to wonder if some of the hardcore Linux "fan-boys" really want that kind of success. You have to admit that their is a segment of 'nix users that don't want any "for-pay" apps in their open source world, even if it means being forever in the Windows shadow. I think some of those guys do more harm than good to the growth of Linux.
Life is a Game
Reply #14 Tuesday, June 28, 2005 12:51 AM
if windows xp is really THAT bad, then why almost every computer system has it?

ofcourse it has mistakes but you can find them in every operating system if you look for them. but it seems that everybody looks for mistakes only in windows. i have never had any big problems with windows xp and i feel very optimistic about Longhorn.

i'm also a practical person. i don't care so much for security, patches and stuff like that. ok i admit it's not nice. but to me is more important to have a usable and compatible computer. and let's face it windows xp is the most versatile operating system out there. you can use it for professional work, gaming and all other things. and i think that is what should define a good operating system - that you can use it for everything.
Reply #15 Tuesday, June 28, 2005 8:28 AM
This article just has so much fun stuff.

This has ocurred to several of clients' systems and I gave up after exhaustive research for a solution and recommended they use Mozilla Thuderbird instead. All clients agreed this was an excellent recommendation after an initial breaking in period and now will not use anything else.

Ok, i've used Thunderbird too, and had to go back to Express, even though TB had a lot of nice stuff. Why? Be course as version of 1.0.2 it is still so bug ridden that it was useless. (At least the windows version. Two worst bug beeing its inability to save attachments without messing them up, and a tendency to mess the letter up when you edit a web references in a reply.) Not to mention the fact that the version in my locale was a staggering 2 months late in going from 1.0.0 to 1.0.2 compared to the english version. Not even microsoft is THAT slow.
Reply #16 Wednesday, June 29, 2005 12:05 PM
Beneath the appealing, easy-to-use interface of Mac OS X is a rock-solid foundation that is engineered for stability, reliability, and performance. This foundation is a core operating system commonly known as Darwin. Darwin integrates a number of technologies, most importantly Mach 3.0, operating-system services based on 4.4BSD (Berkeley Software Distribution), high-performance networking facilities, and support for multiple integrated file systems.

So, OS X is built from Darwin, like I said.

So, if I take out the BSD stuff, we have:

Beneath the appealing, easy-to-use interface of Mac OS X is a rock-solid foundation that is engineered for stability, reliability, and performance. This foundation is a core operating system commonly known as Darwin.

Reply #17 Wednesday, July 6, 2005 2:17 AM
Just a few comments in the evnet that anyone is watching this article.

RE: The need for the many Windows security fixes. I am willing to bet that many of the security holes are found and exploited by users of Unix/Linux. They know that the majoirty of PC users use Windows OS and are not technically savoy. The same is not true of Unix/Linux users. There is a higher percentage of those users who are PC knowledgable, including those who are exploiting the holes in MS products. Why would a Linux user create a worm/virus that affects the OS that he/she uses and possibly helps create through the open source Linux community.

you can not fault Mircosoft for releasing an OS that is not 100% secure. If you wanted them to do more R&D and testing then expect to NEVER get another OS release. I am sure many of you would be fine with MS never releasing another OS, but that is not going to happen. How long has XP been out now? October will be 4 years. That means that the security patch you applied last week filled a hole that took over 3 1/2 years for either the MS team or someone that spends their free time attempting to exploit Windows. Should have MS waited this almsot 4 years before releasing XP because there were still ways to hack into the OS? Or in IE? No. Because these are HACKS, they are not simple oversights by MS, they are purposful attacks agaisnt the MS product. That is not the fault of MS. There is a small percentage of people that could ever find a 'loop hole' in any of of the MS prouducts. With all my computer knowledge I could never find and exploit any security holes in XP. I would imagine most reading this could not either. While it might seem we are paying to beta test XP, that is simply not the case. Be thankful that MS does update and support its product.

The people to blame are the hackers. Those who violate the company's rights and property.

I don't have anything to add to the MS vs Linux discussion... yet. I do plan to install a Linux build (Xandros) on one of my systems soon, both to broaden my knowledge and try new avenues to help be less dependant on MS.

If Linux gains more popularity and makes its way into mainstream computers I can assure you that the number of securtiy flaws and the need for patches with increase. This is true of Mozilla and Firefox as well. Once more people use them there will be more incentive for the evil-doers to hack the systems.

No computer connected to the internet will ever be 100% safe and secure. Increasing PC user awareness will help in limiting spyware/adware/malware/viruses.
Pam Johnson
Reply #18 Wednesday, July 6, 2005 3:20 AM
There is one area that I find to be a major progam in Linux programs; specifically or any other form of word processors found in the linux world. As an editor of histicial books, and history text books I have attempted to use several of the word processors that came with my copy of Suse Linux 9.2. Done of them can even hold a candle to the abilities built into MS Word (either in Windows, or Mac OSX. I even went as far as to download 2.0 Beta. Let me tell you now it still has a long way to go before it can even come close to matching the abilities of MS Word for editioning large documents, or files designed for text book layout.

As to Gimp I have it on both platforms (XP and 9.2), and as someone has already mentioned it doesn't even come close to the power that is found in Photoshop as well it smaller brother Photoshop Elements III.

As of yet I haven't seen a great desktop editing program either. Probably won't.

Here is another thing for Linux user to think about: If, and when Apple port OS X over to the X86 platform how long do you think it will take before someone figures out how to crack the OS so that it will work on just about any X86 system. Just some food for thought.

So there are a feel cities, and maybe some states who are switching to Linux, so what. It still has a large learning curve that some people just don't want to take the time to learn. And, so what if it based on BSD (or whatever); it really doesn't mean anything to the average computer user. Linux at this point has about as much chance of becoming the OS of choose as does Apple's OS X Tiger.


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