Linux vs. Windows

 By Shamus Jan 8, 2013 255 comments

splash_linux.jpg

This weekend I installed both Windows and Linux in some kind of dual-boot situation. So now I’ve had a chance to use the two systems side-by-side so I can make a proper apples-to-Macintosh type comparison. I’ve installed both and I’ve used both, and I’m ready to offer Linux some constructive criticism. It’s a good attempt at an operating system, but they need to make some changes if they want to beat Windows.

Linux Doesn’t Reboot Enough

windows_reboot.jpg

I’m not sure how they managed to mess up something as simple as rebooting. I mean, it’s just restarting the computer. It’s like a blue screen of death that skips the blue screen.

When I installed Windows the process worked properly: The installer looked at my computer for a long time, then copied some files and rebooted. Then it had another long ponder before rebooting again. Then it booted into Windows, announced there were critical updates, and asked to boot again. Then once I installed my graphics drivers it wanted another boot. I guess my only complaint is that it stopped to ask about that fourth reboot. That was kind of odd. I mean, why would I say no?

On the other hand, the Linux installer feels like it’s missing parts or something. I ran the installer and it rebooted just once, right into Linux. After that I installed some updates, but the machine still didn’t ask to reboot itself. It just sat there like it was ready for me to start using it. I waited ten minutes just to be sure, but it never did ask to restart.

Eventually I had to bring in the laptop and reboot that, just so I could feel like the job was done properly.

Linux Doesn’t Remind Me About Things

windows_notifications.jpg

Look, I can’t be expected to keep track of all the complicated stuff the computer needs me to do. That’s what notification popups are for. I’ll be sitting there, writing a document or surfing the web, oblivious to the sea of problems going on behind the scenes. Then a little popup appears to save me from my unbridled productivity and let me know that there’s an update wizard waiting to be run, or that I need to set up the update wizard so that it can remind me to run it later. Or perhaps I need to download and install the update wizard so that it can remind me to set it up to remind me to run it. That’s a lot of stuff to keep track of, and without notifications I’d never be able to keep up.

Linux doesn’t do any of this for you. Oh sure, there’s a little shield on the Panel (that’s what Linux people call the taskbar) that shows a green checkmark if everything is okay and something else if it isn’t, but you have to remember to look down there yourself. Plus, that shield thing is only good for critical stuff like software upgrades. It doesn’t ever help you out with advice on desktop icon placement, or how you manage your toolbar, and I guess I’m supposed to keep track of virus scanners by myself and remember to do my own backups? How can anyone work like this?

Linux Doesn’t Boot or Shutdown Properly

Everyone knows that properly booting a computer takes several minutes, and shutting one down takes a couple more. We don’t know why, and we don’t know what sort of mysterious things are happening when that red disk access light is flickering. All we do know is that these things are terribly important. Everyone knows this.

Everyone except the people running Linux apparently, because they decided to cut some corners when it comes to starting up and shutting down. I’d say they got rid of half the stuff the computer does at startup. And shutdown? They just skip the whole thing. You tell the machine to shut down and it just does it right then and there, without sitting at a logo screen for a couple of minutes. It’s like they thought we wouldn’t notice little details like this.

Linux Software is Like, Weird and Stuff

I hope you’re not going to try to get anything done on Linux, because it doesn’t have any software. You want Internet Explorer? Nope. Notepad? Nope. Minesweeper? Missing. New Hardware Detection Setup and Driver Install Wizard? MIA.

Oh sure, Linux users will tell you about “alternatives”. Instead of Internet Explorer they have goofy off-brand programs like Firefox and Chrome. And their Notepad knockoff is strange because it has all these strange things like formatting, fonts, and spellchecking.

There’s this huge library of software out there that you can download through their own proprietary downloader. They don’t even charge you money for it, which means it’s all pirated.

Linux Doesn’t Have the Genuine Advantage

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For years I’ve been typing these huge codes into Windows when I install it. Yes, they’re long and hard to type and it’s kind of annoying, but that’s the cost of getting a Genuine Advantage. Linux doesn’t have anything like this. They couldn’t even be bothered to add in a little one. Clearly Linux has no advantage at all.

So that’s Linux. Frankly with software this bad I can’t imagine how Linux manages to stay in business.

Thanks so much to all of the helpful, friendly feedback on this post. If you’d like to comment on this post, please go here and let me know what you think. Thanks!


A Hundred!A Hundred!202015255. There are now n+1 comments, where n is a big-ish sort of number.


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  1. psivamp says:

    Nice. I kept seeing headings and remembering legitimate issues that fall under those headings that I have encountered in years of using Linux on several systems; yet, consistently, you weren’t actually running into those issues.

  2. Jokerman says:

    Sounds terrible…..ill stick with windows then.

    • bubley says:

      Linux is absolutly great ! But you have to get the newest version which is ubuntu 12:10. I have a dell laptop with windows and linux on it, and I must say, I USE LINUX WAY MORE OFTEN THAN WINDOWES for three reasons:

      1 Booting and shuting down are super fast, 30 secs. to boot and shuting down is almost instintainios.

      2 it comes preloaded with email (mozilla thunderbird) and internet (mozilla firefox) plus an app, music, and software store.

      3 ITS SMART ! While i’m loging in it will go ahead and load my home screen (behind the lock screen) and conect to wifi and update any thing that needs updating, ALL AT THE SAME TIME !

      As long as your not married to (and love) a slow computer, start button (and start menu) you should get linux.

      Did I mention that it loads web pages like a cellphone right next to a 4g tower ?
      You dont even see the page loading.

  3. Scerro says:

    I see no flaws with your logic

  4. “Eventually I had to bring in the laptop and reboot that, just so I could feel like the job was done properly.”

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH. *SNORT*

  5. Chris Robertson says:

    “Or perhaps I need to download and install the update wizard so that it can remind me to set it up to remind me to run it.”

    And then reboot. As is proper.

  6. I’ve been using Apple products for the last several years after all of my clearly superior Windows products died in normal, dignified manners and I was forced to use my wife’s Apple products (which live on and on like some unnatural lich). While Apple does have a few of these advantages over Linux, I’d forgotten about how getting such a full package of features felt. Truly, I have been living in a technological wasteland and I long to get back to the verdant fields of Windows (at least, once I am allowed to pass through the tests of boot and reboot).

    • Eadwacer says:

      My main complaint about the Apple in my office is the way it wants to reboot after every single upday. I mean, it’s Unix! And half the time the update is just for iTunes. Which makes one wonder how deep of a corehugger iTunes actually is.

  7. Now you are starting to get it.

  8. Aldowyn says:

    Hmm. It’s like Windows WANTS to be user-friendly and has absolutely no idea how to do it.

    Oh, and the fact that it’s built iteratively on top of previous stuff probably doesn’t help the booting/rebooting/updating process.

    Man, I wish my laptop had a ‘postpone indefinitely’ option >.>

    • Windows does want to be user-friendly. It wants that very, very badly. If you use Windows, Windows will keep hurting you until you say you are friends.

      It doesn’t stop hurting you at that point, but you get used to it.

      • Scourge says:

        Why do I get this metnal image of two kids now.

        Living Room of Kid #1
        Kid#1 (Windows)
        Hey! Want to play a game? I got lots of cool games or we could read a book or we could play chess but I’d have to tidy up for that first but then all will be good and my mom baked cookies and I totally know where she hid the sweets but we have to be secretive about it and I also have all the newest games and consoles so we can play anything here and I know all the codes and can help you if you can’t get any further but don’t worry I will be there and help you cause you are my bestest friend an… *runs out of air*
        User: Uuuh. Sure.

        Living Room of Kid #2 (Linux):
        Kid#2: Take a seat. Have some tea. I will be over here if you got any questions. Just don’t make a mess in the room and all’s good.
        User: K.

        Those images just came to mind. On one side the hyperactive kid that wants to be a friend but is just to hectic and remding you about stuff all the time and on the other hand there is the other kid who thinks you will do just fine on your own and lets you play as well in his living room.

    • Thomas says:

      To be fair Linux and probably even Apple don’t have to deal with the people for whom its their first computer ever =D There’s no way my grandmother would ever remember to check an icon on the corner of the screen without a pop-up or think of installing an Anti-Virus. It just adapts badly for everyone else

      • Asimech says:

        Most people I’ve met who aren’t power users tend to either ignore the notifications or get confused by them (they don’t get what it’s trying to say). The best I’ve seen for that is in Lubuntu* that seems to pop-up once for all notifications going “you’ve got stuff” and then when you click on the icon you get a list of all the notifications.

        Easier to ignore than the Windows system and easier to read properly since it’s not going to disappear by itself after a while.

        * I think it’s a Gnome version ~whatever~ thing or something, but Cinnamon is in one of the versions of Linux Mint and seems to have it as well.

        By the way: I don’t recommend Lubuntu now that I’ve tried both Mate & Cinnamon versions of Linux Mint. I prefer Mate over Cinnamon, but both are better than Lubuntu.

        • 4th Dimension says:

          Windows 7 notifications work similary.

          • I have a friend who used to say that the fact the Windows OS did automatic update detection at all was “evil” and somehow something that you should avoid by using Linux (this was back in the XP days). Now its standard for every OS, game, etc.

            As for people griping about the notifications, those can easily be turned off completely with ease.

            • Shamus says:

              I’ve never found a place to turn off ALL notifications. As far as I can tell, you had to disable each type. (And to be fair, Win 7 seems to shut up on its own. Once you get past that first half hour it minds its own business. So, I was being a little unfair for comedic purposes.)

            • Your friend was right. Windows does automatic update notifications, and some of them cannot be turned off (at least with some versions of windows). This means that your computer is tied to microsoft’s schedule. If Microsoft releases a broken update, everyone gets it. If the update is broken only for you and whatever software you are running, you can’t opt out, and you can’t pick the time and place for the update to happen. Your computer is not under your control when an update comes out, it is under Microsoft’s control — unless you physically unplug the wire.

              For a desktop computer that you use to read email, this isn’t a big deal.

              For a server, suddenly not working due to an unscheduled, unannounced microsoft update is unacceptable. Even just suddenly rebooting could be a bad thing. And you can’t just unplug the server from the network.

              Every linux distribution that I have ever worked with has allowed the user to remain in control of the update process. You can choose for updates to happen automatically in the background, or you can choose for some of them to happen that way and others to be applied manually, or any number of other things. The user is in control of the system.

              • I don’t run a server, so I can’t speak to those. Looking at my computer and the settings for Microsoft updates under Windows 7, the menu includes the following choices:

                Install updates automatically (recommended).
                Download updates but let me choose when to install them.
                Check for updates but let me choose whether to download or install them.
                Never check for updates (not recommended).

                Two and a half to three of those appear to run counter to your statements of “you can’t opt out, and you can’t pick the time and place for the update to happen,” and those options are under the clearly labeled “change settings” part of the Windows Update application.

                • PJH says:

                  Except when an update overrides your choice to not “Install updates automatically” and it re-selects that option in spite of any policies you try to apply, then you come back home after work to find your PC has rebooted itself.

                  • Which one? I’ve never, ever seen anything from Microsoft change my update notification settings.

                    If MS could put the hammer down and make users update something against their will, do you honestly think anyone would still be running old copies of IE?

                    • Yes, there are a number of checkboxes you can select or deselect.

                      If you deselect them, Windows will nag you to put them back on a regular basis.

                      OK, so far so good, that’s annoying but not a disaster.

                      However, there is at least one mechanism that ignores all of those checkboxes and allows microsoft to push an update to any machine connected to the net without appropriate firewall rules. It’s not documented and there is no official way to disable it. (You can probably locate an update task and kill that specific task, which might or might not work until you restarted the machine).

                      It got used once, during some virus scare, and pissed off a bunch of windows server admins. I got to listen to their frustrated, impotent bitching for weeks over that one.

                      I don’t know if it’s been used since, or removed from later versions of windows. I changed jobs and no longer need to deal with windows server admins.

                      I will back up PJH too. I’ve had updates mess with the autoupdate settings before. Not often, but it’s happened. I didn’t waste a lot of time pinning it down, I simply decided I didn’t trust Windows as a server OS.

                    • PJH says:

                      I’m unsure which particular updates changed the settings for subsequent updates, and I’m unsure if anything’s changed in this regard since the discussion I had on TDWTF 2 years back, which included commentary on how
                      1) even NoAutoRebootWithLoggedOnUsers was ignored/reset occasionally and
                      2) Even download+don’t apply was ignored and updates were applied and reboots happened.

                    • Rodyle says:

                      Also: I think there was a pretty horrible bug a while back if you turned automatic updating on, where the update manager would fill huge chunks of your RAM.

              • Nick-B says:

                Huh, that’s odd. I can’t seem to see any notification on Windows 7 that I have updates. I think when I selected “Never check for updates” it never checked for updates.

              • krellen says:

                I’ve been a network administrator for a Windows shop. This is patently untrue. You are absolutely in control of what updates get installed, and when they get installed.

                • Asimech says:

                  It even remembers if you’ve unchecked a particular update, as far as I can tell. I still have “Bing desktop” in the optional updates, unchecked forever and Win7 doesn’t bug me about it.

                  I wouldn’t mind a “don’t count this as an available optional update” but that’s hardly a vital function.

                • Retsrov says:

                  I Agree!!

              • Raygereio says:

                Windows does automatic update notifications, and some of them cannot be turned off (at least with some versions of windows)

                This isn’t true. Or if it is, then it’s true for some weird version of windows that I’ve never seen.

                The default setting for updates is to just download & install them automatically. You can set this to just be notified of when updates are available and download & install them when you want.

            • JackDeth says:

              Well, at least with Linux when I setup automatic updates it just does it and keeps working. Whenever I’d get MS Automatic Updates, occasionally an update old hose my system or display driver or some such thing. It sucks when your system blue screens over night and you can’t eat back in without jumping through hoops. Microsoft has to issue a patch to fix their patch, etc.. Where the heck is the logic in that!?

              BTW, I’m still running Ubuntu 10.10 on my old Dell Inspiron laptop with Compiz. To this day it still runs faster than many of the newer systems and I can still freak people out with my desktop cube and writing fire on my screen. These are totally frivolous, but totally sell them on Linux. :-)

          • Asimech says:

            Windows 7 is my main OS, I’ve never seen it group them together or allow me to check them out at my own pace later. I’ve noticed that some don’t disappear on their own, but that’s about it.

            • Then go to Start -> All Programs -> Windows Update. In the window that comes up, choose Change Settings over on the left. You’ll get the menu I mentioned above. You’ve most likely got it set to always update without your say so.

              • Asimech says:

                I didn’t reply to your comment about Windows Update’s settings* but about 4th Dimension’s claim that Win7 lumps all notifications from the system and applications into a single one and allowing them to be viewed later.

                * I have changed the setting to “ask before downloading” and have had no problems with that.

        • Zukhramm says:

          So what’s wrong with Lubuntu?

          • Asimech says:

            [FacetiousRant]Outside of the keyboard layout switcher not working,
            my soundcard (Xonar DGX) not working unless I manually update the Linux kernel with a newer ALSA apparently,
            more sensible way of viewing system settings since I can open a single Control Panel type window*1
            and the fact that Linux Mint even has a better choice of default desktop background images?

            So. Nothing, I guess.
            [/FacetiousRant]

            Of course those are user-specific problems, but I haven’t noticed any disadvantages to Linux Mint yet, so it’s less “what’s wrong with Lubuntu” and more “what’s better in Mint”.

            I haven’t installed Linux Mint yet, I tested on USB sticks, but I suspect my Linux HDD is breaking up so I have it unplugged right now. It’s possible I would find some disadvantages after using it for a longer period of time. I know I will find something to moan about, but that’s a given for anything.

            *1 This in Mate, Cinnamon has them spread over two separate windows*2 for some reason. I haven’t been able to determine the logic on what goes where.

            In Lubuntu the settings are in the menu only, as far as I can tell, and if I’m uncertain where a given settings is it’s more of a hassle to go through all settings. Also they’re split between two or three folders in the menu which means I can’t just stare at the complete list wondering which one is the most likely candidate to house the setting I’m after. So even Cinnamon has an advantage here.

            *2 called “Cinnamon settings” and “System Settings” if memory serves.

            • thebigJ_A says:

              You still use a soundcard? Who does that?

              • Asimech says:

                I have/had electro-magnetic interference when using headphones plugged directly into the computer, front or back panel, so I was hoping to get rid of it by getting a separate soundcard.

                It worked partially, in that fiddling with the settings of the DGX managed to mitigate it enough that it’s rare, while before it was constant.

                Although, technically, if you can get other than PC speaker sounds out of your computer you have a sound card. It’s just integrated.

                Actually, if you can get PC speaker sounds out of your computer, why on the Earth haven’t you unplugged/cut the wires of the damn thing? The sounds are awful.

        • Moridin says:

          FYI, Lubuntu is the LXDE version of Ubuntu. I don’t think Ubuntu even has a gnome version any more(so if someone wants gnome, they’ll have to install it themselves). LXDE is a light-weight windows manager, so it’s good for people running it on older hardware or just for those who don’t want extra things running in the background(though why the latter people would choose a version of Ubuntu is another matter).

          • Asimech says:

            I was assuming LXDE is Gnome-based, as Cinnamon is and they’ve both apparently got the same thing. Since LXDE is GTK+ based, according to Wikipedia, it’s possible the notification system is done by a software that isn’t installed by default in Mate*. Presumably because it’s trying to be “traditional”.

            *also Gnome based, just on older version of Gnome so I had assumed it was a version difference thing.

      • Charlie says:

        I have my 84 year old father, with advanced Parkinson’s, using Ubuntu linux. I switched him off Windows when he was in his 70s because it was too complex and confusing. He’s been happy ever since.

      • DaveB says:

        my wife decided quite recently she wanted a computer – never had one or used one before.

        So her first computer ran Linux (Mint 12).

        She had no problems at all using it, or keeping it up-to-date.

        Oh yeah, and she IS a grandmother – 7 grandkids as it happens.
        Don’t sell your grandmother short.

    • Brandon says:

      Linux makes zero effort to be user friendly… It expects you to know what you are doing going in. A lot of the user friendly stuff in Windows is “too friendly”, which drives experienced and competent users crazy, but we really represent only a fraction of their user base.. Most people would be lost without a road map, which Windows at least tries to provide. Linux makes no such effort.

      • Brandon, you are wrong. Most distributions these days do make a significant effort to be friendly, some of them too friendly to the detriment of power users. (I’m looking at you, Ubuntu). That doesn’t mean that they succeed, but they do try, and are improving slowly.

        That said, a computer is a complex and powerful tool. If you want to use one to its full capability, expect to need to learn something. This is *exactly* as true for windows as it is for Linux. Windows may coddle those who aren’t willing to learn more effectively for basic tasks, but for advanced tasks, you still need to learn. Linux will tell you to read text-based config files, require you to mess with user permissions, and require you to do research. Windows will present you GUI panels with options you don’t understand, rebrand basic internet standards with a new and slightly different, deliberately incompatible implementation, and require you to pay thousands of dollars in training classes to learn the arcane series of button clicks that lead to the desired result by rote.

        Neither is particularly friendly to the admin performing a complex task for the first time. They are different from each other, but neither is friendly.

        • Nick-B says:

          As a long time windows fanatic and user, I’ve found that windows is getting shinier and dumber each iteration. Every release, a function I felt useful has been either outright removed or disabled (yet still visible) from use.

          1. simple file search. Windows now INSISTS on pre-scanning your hard drive so it can give search results, but it can result in overall slower response because it is monitoring files as you do other things than search. I am not so impatient for a search result that I want the information NOW NOW NOW in exchange for slower everything else. Actually, I seem to recall searches being fast enough before this.

          2. auto-arrange and align to grid. Both being enabled by default AND being unable to disable them (at least the align to grid part) angered me so much. I could see the option “Align to grid” in the right click menu, but it was checked, and could not be toggled off. Which is all strange, as all these options were not permanently on in vista, which 7 basically is. I eventually had to use some obscure registry hack on my 20th web search result for something that allowed that align option to be selected, but all it does is enable that for the current folder. All others are still aligned and autoarranged by default and I have to disable them on a folder by folder basis.

          3. Windows intense hatred of single users. The insist on making sure that you are making a non-max-level user account to log on to a computer that you have no other users for, STRONGLY encouraging a password, and even trying to make a computer with a single user and no password sit at the user screen on boot up. Not only does all this hamper your ability to feel like the computer is your own, it has the added bonus of arbitrarily making random files associated with one of 4 different, hidden, base, un-usable, un-deletable user accounts, which means a single file in a folder of junk will refuse to delete (demanding permission that it fails to get), thus leaving a mostly empty folder for those people with OCD’s about unruly messy folder structures.

          4. Windows 8′s loss of a desktop. Deciding that what people want to see the most is not a simple, space-preserving list of programs but instead a ugly, consolized interface intended to sell you stuff you don’t want. Their hope to lock off any non-approved program from running on a comp will force everything through a single, central, corporate store-front that will cost consumers more than it does now, and serves as a form of censorship (as microsoft does “quality control”, which will just result in copyright enforcement to an insane degree or result in “controversial” items banned).

          Sorry. TL,DR, I started moaning about how Microsoft was removing features in the name of simplicity, and ended up on a general anti-microsoft rant.

          • Ysen says:

            @2: Turning “align to grid” off via the right click menu works perfectly fine for me, and I haven’t done any arcane registry hacks. It’s not something that’s been removed from the operating system. No idea why it wouldn’t work for you…

          • Asimech says:

            1. I’ve managed to turn off pre-scanning as far as I can tell. It still announces that “searching might be slow in non-indexed locations” but it doesn’t force it.

            I think the problem is that it’s called “indexing” which wouldn’t occur to me if I’d be looking for it. It’s in Indexing Options in the Control Panel, select Users, click “Modify” and you should be able to uncheck locations/drives.

            2. For those curious, the exact location in Win7 is: Right-click on desktop -> View -> Align icons to grid

            It works with me, I suspect it’s a registry error like my “Win7 always starts with NumLock on” problem that was because the value for it in the registry was some random number instead of one of the two it’s supposed to be.

            I know Win7 has set Steam on “compatibility mode” without asking for permission and forcing me to take it off through the Registry since the GUI settings couldn’t be used. That really felt like MS deciding for me on a situation where I knew better.

          • Avilan says:

            1. Indexing can be turned off. Easily. So no “insisting”.

            2. Not sure what you are talking about? Icon placement? What’s the deal?

            3. Um what? It’s the other way around!! I have on and off used Linux for the last 10 years and the ONE thing that all have had in common is the insistence of me NOT making my user account ROOT. Windows, on the other hand, defaults the first user account as Administrator. So you are absolutely 100% wrong.

            4. Again, Um what? I am using Windows 8 right now, and it very much has a desktop. It is all I am using.

            • Bryan says:

              Windows Vista does not default to Administrator. It defaults to administrator, which is actually something completely different. http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/windows-vista/enable-the-hidden-administrator-account-on-windows-vista/

              This is every bit as disingenuous as it sounds. You need Administrator to install updates to Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War Soulstorm, but you need to go through a few hoops to turn on the hidden Administrator account in the first place, because your default account is only administrator level, rather than Administrator level. Yes, they have the exact same name, and the only difference is the capitalization, and the level of authority.

              This is just one small part of why so many people are foaming at the mouth with rage towards Microsoft. It is a small detail, but so annoying.

        • drewofdoom says:

          Remember those blue screens of death that would display an error code? Yeah… those error codes correspond to actual, document-able errors. My uncle is a PC repair guy and actually purchased a particularly expensive book with all of the error codes at one point in the 90′s. It didn’t actually tell him how to fix the problem. Just what the codes translated to in plain English.

          The only reason that they weren’t in plain English is that they wanted you to contact them your OEM (Dell, HP, Gateway) and get them to support your product for a (usually not-so-modest) fee.

          When something crashes in Linux, you run a dmesg or look at a log or view the kernel panic output and it tells you precisely where it failed. You still need to know how to fix it (it’s not magic, dammit!), but at least you know where to look.

        • Groboclown says:

          This is why I stick with Gentoo Linux. It’s deliberately not user friendly. Updates are incredibly manual (well, you can setup a cron job to do it manually, but with the occasional blocking packages that must be manually configured, this doesn’t always work). It’s a brand of Linux that makes you learn what’s going on.

          • Asimech says:

            It has had an unfortunate side-effect by giving birth to a group of people who don’t actually understand what they’re doing and contact the original programmer for help instead of first contacting the Gentoo side maintainer because they think they’re installing from unmodified original sources.

            I don’t know if it’s a big problem, but I’ve ran into a few angry rants from developers who were sick of getting e-mails about problems that weren’t their fault or responsibility.

      • Joe Doe says:

        Ever used Ubuntu?

      • Phantom Hoover says:

        This is massively dependent on distribution. With Ubuntu or Mint you never need open a command line; with Gentoo or Arch you’ll need to spend some time working with one before you can even use a desktop environment. One of Linux’s strengths is that it can be set up to cover a vast range of use cases.

        • Moridin says:

          “Never need to open a command line” is an exaggeration, even with Mint and Ubuntu. Though they’re getting pretty close.

          • DaveB says:

            my wife uses Mint and she wouldn’t know HOW to use a command line to save her life.

            The command line is useful for an experienced user but “needing” to use it . not at all!

      • Zak McKracken says:

        1: heavily dependent on Distribution.
        2: It’s configurable. I (SUSE 11.3, KDE) do get notifications if security-relevant updates are available, and they are not repeated. Also, if I ignore them, they wait patiently until I click the icon to tell me what notivications there were that I haven’t yet acknowledged. Windows will shove them in your face, but if you’re not quick enough …”what? notifications? I know nothing about those!”

        Half of the stuff I get on Windows 7 is more or less advertisement to upgrade the virus scanner to the payed version or other nonsense. Or stuff like “i am detecting a new device” … “oh, it has a name that won’t tell you anything” … “I’m kind of installing it” … “now I’m done” …
        “…” … here’s a big huge window blocking what I was doing and asking me what to do with that USB stick. KDE just shows me a small USB drive icon in the notification area of the panel. There you go.

        Granted, Linux was made by people, and initially for people who know exactly what they’re doing, but these days it is really a lot better than Windows at a: telling you what’s important and guiding the uninitiated user and b: still giving the user opportunity to jump off the rails and do whatever they want on their own computer.
        Also granted: That makes Linux not foolproof. If you demand that no action you are capable of doing will have negative consequences, then at least the distros I know of are not for you. That said, a 40 year old colleague installed Ubuntu on his mom’s laptop, and she’s happy. Better than Windows, she said. I guess it also depends on the use case.

    • Tom says:

      One problem with saying something is “user-friendly” is that different people have different ideas about what that means.

      Some think it means simple, intuitive controls that naturally fit into and hence encourage a good workflow, the option to automate tedious and repetitive tasks, minimal visible working parts, easy maintenance, clear, succinct instruction manuals and error messages. Their ideal is that it be quick and easy to learn how the machine works and how to operate it effectively.

      Others think it means constant hand-holding, wizards, automation of absolutely everything, no visible working parts, no maintenance, controls so simple that no instruction manual is necessary, and error messages that use very small words or, along with other information-dense things like (god forbid) log files, are hidden from users entirely. Their ideal is that it be possible to operate the machine without having to learn anything.

      For a remarkably prescient illustration of certain sociological side-effects that make the latter a tempting but very bad idea, read “The Machine Stops.” Or just ask any tech support worker whether they love their job.

    • James says:

      Windows tries really hard to help you, almost as if it thinks you’re somehow mentally incapable of thinking. Then it gets annoyed with your video card and presents the world’s most unhelpful blue screen of non-information – “we’re sorry but your computer just had a fit. Here’s some garbled hex to stare at as you reach for the reset button. Feel free to read ALL of this out to your tech support person, they won’t listen but will appreciate the free time you’ve just given them.”

      Oh and the great way Windows 7 likes to “discover” things like files it’s deleting, or “prepares” updates (1 of 66, do not turn your computer off) and then on the next boot installs registry updates (1432 / 4374263847236 SOME_TECHNICAL/CRAP_NOBODY_UNDERSTANDS) before deciding to “Install managed software” if you live on a corporate network.

      There’s this inconsistent mix of “pester the computer user every five seconds” and “baffle them with technical jargon that NOBODY understands”

      At least Linux writes it down neatly in a file, if you care to look in it, and OSX just doesn’t bother and spontaneously goes BONG! and reboots.

      Mind you, I’d rather use Windows than that crappy new Ubuntu interface they made up.

  9. Tse says:

    I like windows genuine advantage. You can make it think your desktop is a laptop, even though the parts it has have no laptop equivalents.

  10. KremlinLaptop says:

    That was an absolutely brilliant bit of writing.

    Perhaps it has to do with me having watched a lot of Charlie Brooker recently but all of this post was read out inside my head in his voice and tone.

  11. Hitchmeister says:

    You’ve inspired me to try the same thing. I pulled an old desktop out of mothballs and loaded Linux up on it to see what all of the fuss was about. I’ve also got this laptop dual-booting between Linux Mint 14 and Windows 7, just so if I ever decide I can’t take Microsoft anymore I have some experience with an alternative.

    You know what I miss? The pages and pages of indecipherable legalese to scroll though before checking the “I Agree” box even though I have no idea what it all meant. How can I End Use an operating system without Agreeing to the License? Madness!

    Oh, BTW: gnomine, freesweep, kmines, xbomb, and xdemineur… just to get you started. ;-)

    • Asimech says:

      Do any of those do hex-grids? That’s the only variant I like even though it’s really easy.

      • Hitchmeister says:

        I have no idea. I just went to the Software Manager and did a search on “minesweepr” and listed the results.

        • Bryan says:

          There’s a Firefox extension for minesweeper, although it hasn’t been updated in many years. Lots of unofficially-updated xpi files are available though. It does both rectangular and hexagon versions, plus versions with multiple mines per location (square or hex). Personally I like the square version, with up to seven mines per location.

          https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/mines/

          There are comments there with links to versions that probably work better for other FF versions. Caveat emptor, of course.

  12. Peter Sturdee says:

    Since I’m apparently made of money, I decided to install Linux on one laptop and keep Windows on another. I found, after about a year of this, I only fired up the Windows PC when I wanted to play a Windows game.

    Welcome to the dark side.

  13. HiEv says:

    Like +1.

  14. Deoxy says:

    What’s funny about this is how quickly you got to loving these things. To paraphrase I said to someone on one of the other Linux threads, all those things only seem normal because you’re used to them.

    Sure, Linux has its annoyances (you’ve documented plenty of them here in the last several posts), but trying to switch back apparently points out the ridiculousness of Windows’ awful behaviour on SO MANY THINGS.

    Like, say… security. Oh, wait – that’s not a Windows feature at all!

    (My personal favorite was the virus just this past year that used a buffer overrun attack – that problem was solved literally before SHAMUS was born. And he’s old…)

    Edit: oh yeah, I forgot to mention this. At work, I specifically refer to rebooting as “the Microsoft solution”, and I correct my coworkers if they try to generalize it – it’s not a general thing, it’s a Microsoft thing.

    • Dev Null says:

      Hey! We reboot some of our servers every single year, whether they need it or not!

      • nmichaels says:

        Yeah, I make sure to reboot my computer at least once a year. It’s good to stay reasonably up to date with the kernel.

        • psivamp says:

          I seem to recall it being possible somehow to boot up the new kernel on a core and then switch over without ever actually shutting down.

          • Asimech says:

            I know you can restart any modules without restarting the whole system, only stuff that depends on those modules. I think that most things that need to get updated tend to have the option to install as modules, so in a way I’d say it’s possible.

            I close my computer almost every night because:

            a) I have a single-room flat and I want it to be quiet when I sleep.

            II) I want to save on the energy bill and it’s noticeable when I’ve left the computer on for several nights in a given billing period. Results may vary with non-desktop computers.

            3) Closing it is part of my “shut the power to the modem” routine, which is good since DSL modems can get a bit stroppy if you don’t restart them every now and again and there’s rarely any benefit to me for leaving the computer on.

          • Tohei says:

            I believe you’re thinking of Ksplice by Oracle.

          • Charlie says:

            If you want to make sure your server won’t boot up after an unexpected UPS failure, all you really have to do is fail to test the boot sequence for a few update cycles. It’s a great way to make sure you get that 3am call from the junior staff, if you like that sort of thing.

            Modifying or patching a server without testing bootability afterwards is not something I’d ever consider. I’m lazy.

    • Corpital says:

      This business about rebooting reminds me of my father. After the joys of Windows95 and 98 and countless installations of both he got it stuck in his head that rebooting ist very important.

      To this day he reboots his PC one to three times daily to keep everything fresh and stop the RAM from filling up. Apparently Solitaire and IE7 eat his 12GB RAM in about 3hours.

      • Urs says:

        A friend of mine does this as well. The kind of person who I cannot sit next to when he operates his computer; the kind of person who names his baby step projects in programming qwerzaaaa and saves them to the incomprehensible mess that is his desktop. Or wherever. I think he bought his current laptop about a year ago and it already sounds like something from a Steampunk movie.

        • harborpirate says:

          You’ve finally found the bastard that invented Microsoft Visual SourceSafe!

          (Or someone who thinks just like them).

    • Mari says:

      I have to admit that I’ve not so gently reminded my kids of the Windows Solution on more occasions than I care to admit. But my personal computer gets rebooted pretty much only when we have a power outage or when Windows demands it for updates. It’s weird how rarely I have to reboot my Windows machines and yet they stay stable. Except when I was running known unstable installs of Windows like ME or XP 64. I’ve had my current Windows 7 laptop for about 18 months now. It’s rebooted approximately 9 times in that interval. Which, yes, is more than a Linux computer would have rebooted by about 6 times, but it’s still not the weekly/bi-weekly occurrence that other people usually report with Windows systems.

      • Wedge says:

        As mentioned above, things were MUCH worse in the bad old days of Windows 95/98. Since XP, Windows has been quite stable, if not perfect, but it hasn’t quite shaken the reputation it earned in the old days when you could get it to BSOD by looking at it too hard.

        • Not to mention it has impressive backward compatibility. I’ve got an old SCSI card that runs this huge honkin’ scanner, and its worked in a succession of computers all the way back to when I was still using 98 (I’m on Win7 now).

          • sab says:

            Hmmm, on the other hand, a logitech quickcam that I’ve had for ages can’t be installed on windows 7. Unless I hack the quickcam driver.inf to allow for it, then it just works perfectly. In Linux it’s just plug&play.
            But to be fair, this is a vendor problem, not directly a microsoft problem.

            • harborpirate says:

              I had a simliar problem with my Creative SuperOldWebCamThatNoOneSupportsAnymore.

              I fixed it by right clicking on the driver installer and selecting “Run As XP” or somesuch. That might have been in Vista though. Anyway, I was able to solve the problem at the time.

              I’ve found Linux to be driver roulette. Its getting a lot better, but whether something has a working driver seems to be (at times) almost completely random. This is the primary reason I had gone through the “try linux, spend hours trying to get everything working, give up in frustration” quite a number of times before finally getting it to stick with Mint 11.

              Currently I have Mint 14 on my old laptop, and I had to save off the SUPER SECRET SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS that I found for enabling my wireless adapter, because getting it working trips me up every time I update it to the latest version of Mint. A simple search will not turn up a set of instructions that work, instead you need to combine instructions from a few different sources into a magical recipe that actually works.

              If you happen to be fighting to get wireless on an older Dell Inspiron working in Linux Mint (or Ubuntu), lucky you! Here’s a link to the SUPER SECRET SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS:
              http://harborpirate.blogspot.com/2012/12/enabling-linux-mint-14-wireless-on-dell.html

              Note: it might be that this only works on MY laptop. Super secret special instructions seem to be terribly specific based on circumstance.

    • mneme says:

      To be fair, there have been lots and lots of buffer overruns under the hodge-podge of software that the typical Linux machine comes with.

      It’s not hard to avoid buffer overruns if you rigorously use a belt and suspenders everywhere (or at least, counted strings), but the unix/C world has a long history (and, yes, a long history with terminated strings and unchecked copies to buffers), and there’s a lot of “good enough” software in wide distribution. For instance, I’m not sure how many buffer overrun exploit issues Sendmail has had (and fixed) in the past, but..it’s not a small number.

    • Abnaxis says:

      Like, say… security. Oh, wait – that’s not a Windows feature at all!

      Oh dear god, if only that was true.

      As it is, “Windows Security” is synonymous with “the feature that screws with your network devices, even if you think it’s turned off, that you have no control over because Windows Security is so terrible every IT department has to run their network like rabid fascists.”

      Wow, if Windows Security didn’t exist, I would get half my day back for actual work instead of troubleshooting communications issues with customers.

  15. Dev Null says:

    OMGUN00B!!! U R ! L337z0R 3nuFF 4 R331 OS g0 buy n MacInTrash!!!

    (I felt like I was lying when I ticked the “I am not a spammer” button. Is that a bad sign?)

  16. Atle says:

    Also the HD is not constantly working in the background. What is it NOT doing? Makes me eerie.

  17. Neko says:

    Teehee.

    BTW, caught a typo:

    I’d say they got rid of half the stuff the computer does at startup. And shutdown? They just skip the while thing.

    • Deadfast says:

      It’s not a typo, Shamus just missed a word. It was supposed to say “They skip the while (true) thing.”

  18. jbbarquero says:

    My favourite:

    “Restart your computer to finish installing important updates”. Plus another threatening message blaming on you in case you don’t reboot.

    But, there’s an option in order to to be reminded later.

    Finally two buttons: “Restart now” (at the left, the place used for “OK”, “YES” and so on) and “Postpone” (you know, the magic place for “CANCEL”)

    Every now and then, I choose to be reminded in 4 hours but I click on “Restart now”. Bravo!

    • Asimech says:

      I’ve done that a few times. Now whenever the message pops up and right before I click on either button I cease up for a moment as if stuck in a headlight before making sure I’m clicking the right one.

      I’m not completely certain if describing Windows as abusive isn’t entirely wrong, though it is over the top.

    • sab says:

      To fix this, I created a shortcut on my desktop called ‘STFU WINDOWS UPDATE’. It’s command:
      net stop “windows update”

      This way I can stop the nag messages the very first time it pulls me out of a game. When I finally do reboot, the windows update service will be running again.

  19. Cybron says:

    Clearly, this Linux is some sort of scam. They’re going to take your hard earned money and run.

    • Dave B. says:

      Yeah, whenever I ask people how much they paid for Linux, they get all evasive and try to change the subject. I don’t want to hear about “open-source software,” I just want to know how much Linux costs! Personally, I think they’re just embarrassed about how much they spent for this clearly inferior OS.

      • Aaron Marples says:

        Linux can be downloaded for free! You can also purchase the CD’s online or if you are lucky Staples or Office Depot. Linux has much better application selection than windows. I use Debian in console mode because all I want to do is program my own applications. Debian has a windows (Graphical User Interface) and many scientific, medical, surveying, Chemical, and General Use applications, Word Processors, and Spreadsheets. No, they may not accept files saved in Microsoft Windows Word-processors or Office suites; but, where else can you find such free applications that give you so much. Many of the programs that are used by windows were borrowed from Linux because Linux is a free software that allows it’s work to be freely available by professional developers. Note: The internet and email that you use is brought to you by Linux/Unix-Like OS’s.

  20. Sydney says:

    It’s not even a Genuine Advantage on Windows. If you look at the screenshot, it’s clearly a Geuine Advantage. I wonder what that is.

  21. Helgi says:

    I installed Visual Studio Express 2012 the other day. After installing it just sat there like it was ready to be used immediately or something. Didn’t ask me to reboot or anything after installing an entire new program on my computer. Thankfully it notified me a little later that some of the files it had just downloaded and installed were out of date and needed to be updated. After updating it finally told me I had to reboot my computer. Still, I think two reboots would have made the whole experience a lot more fulfilling.

  22. Dovius says:

    At least tell me that Linux has yearly updates to keep everything to the highest standards of use and function, right? How else would we know that we have a good thing going if it’s not up-to-date?

    On a slightly more serious note, what’s the text editor you were talking about? Seeing as trying to write anything larger than a post-it in Word drives me beyond the furthest planes of madness because I somehow managed to remove the skip at the start of a new paragraph and then the font keeps changing and then the whites between sentences get larger and smaller for no apparent reason and AAAARGH

    • nmichaels says:

      Try Lyx. It’s great.

    • Colin says:

      There are hundreds. One quirk of programmers is that they’d rather write programs to write programs, and as a text editor is an essential programming tool and fairly easy to write…

      That said, he could have been talking about AbiWord.

      Drop-in replacement for Notepad? There’s Leafpad.

  23. Mike says:

    Color me a pessimist, but I feel there’s a second post coming right after this one…

  24. Asimech says:

    “Eventually I had to bring in the laptop and reboot that, just so I could feel like the job was done properly.”

    I actually have that problem. I’m not kidding, being snarky or anything like that. Whenever I install or make a change that feels important it feels strange when the OS doesn’t tell me to reboot or does it by itself.

    After Linux install’s first reboot: bugs me.
    After installing something that used to trigger a reboot in older WinOSes but doesn’t in my current one: bugs me.

    Sometimes I reboot anyway so I won’t feel like something is unfinished. Usually after making changes to settings, so I also get to see if the settings are saved properly.

    • Nick-B says:

      I felt so… empty when in Windows it, for once, updated a video driver WITHOUT telling me to reboot. It was so strange…

      • Asimech says:

        Oh man, I’ve had that too. It felt weird. Video drivers are easily in my “require reboot” mindset.

  25. Kilt'd says:

    That’s why Windows Vista is such an excellent product. Not only will it remind you of any and all actions the computer needs to perform, no matter how obvious or inconsequential those actions may be, but it also specifically asks for permission to run those actions immediately after it’s told you they’re necessary and you’ve already agreed to them. It may even ask for conformation of that permission! Now that’s user agency.

  26. ClearWater says:

    Also, Microsoft will call you when you have too many viruses. Linux never does that. I’ve had a few calls from Microsoft in the past, telling me my computer is in trouble, and they were able to show me in the Event Viewer just how many viruses I had. All those yellow triangles with exclamation marks in them? All viruses! Who knew! At least Microsoft is proactive about that.

    • Raygereio says:

      I had those scammers call me a while back. It was rather funny; I recorded the call and gathered as much information for the police that I could, but it really was a herculean effort not to burst out in laughter when I was told in broken English and a dramatic tone that I had I install their software or face criminal charges for owning a computer with a virus on it.

      It is rather depressing how easily people fall for scams like this though.

      • ClearWater says:

        Same here. They wanted me to use some remote-desktop-sharing software, which I wasn’t about to do. They didn’t threaten me with anything though.

        I set up a Linux VM for them to connect to and made it look as much as Windows as possible, but the next time they called (they called a bunch of times) they switched their software and I couldn’t get the new one to run on Linux. Too bad. I had been looking forward to seeing what they would do with that.

    • Tever says:

      Oh, is that what happened? Microsoft called once when I was out, and my mother-in-law answered the phone. She couldn’t help them with my computer, so they promised to call back later. Never did. I was just terrified that I was about to get sued over my try before I buy policy.

  27. Michael McHenry says:

    Yay, Shamus. Funny and everything. I use MacOS, and Windows primarily and I’m more familiar with Solaris than I am with Linux, but I use that every once in a while, too. I’m not a partisan.

    I figured you were trolling with this post, but there hasn’t been much of a reaction. I realize you were aiming for humor, but it’s 2013 and you’re comparing Windows 2000 with modern Linux. That’s not apples to Macintosh. If you would have used a 13-year-old linux distribution, you may have been a little less impressed.

    Windows 7 *is* better than Vista. The main problem you have with it is that Microsoft wants to charge you for it. And that’s a legitimate complaint. I reboot my Windows 7 laptop every few months. Other than that, I just close the lid.

    I wish someone would buy you a copy of that so you’d be forced to review it. And windows 9 is going to be awesome once MS figures out whatever they were attempting with Windows 8.

    • I figured his Windows 2000 graphic was just a modified dialog from Google Image Search. I believe Shamus is using Windows XP.

      I just realized that updates for XP would be even more bothersome depending on how old your install disc was. I had one of the first… what, “generation,” I guess? discs and it needed something like three service packs and loads of updates before all was said and done, while a newer install disc already came with those ready to go.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      He is using 7.But why let the one good windows ruin all the fun?Plus,its not like 7 is free of all these problems(yes,it boots up faster than previous version,but it still can take ages to shut down).And its not like linux is also perfect,otherwise why would Shamoose choose the dual boot.He did spend quite some time listing out the actual problems he had with it.

      And really,you dont need a massive review of 7,when this sums it up quite nicely.

    • Shamus says:

      As ps238principal suggested, the Windows 2000 dialog is just swiped from Google. I mean, the popups are obviously XP and I don’t think the yellow restart dialog popup existed until Vista, and they’re all obviously photoshopped.

      For the record, I’m running Win 7 and it’s not horrible. I used XP until 2012 with no regrets. It’s not that Windows is an abomination. It’s just another OS with some flaws that are worth skewering.

      • Forumrabbit says:

        XP has compatability though with nearly everything. Vista wasn’t much of a performance upgrade if any over XP (it wasn’t if your RAM wasn’t high enough), no one wanted DX10, and Vista had no logical benefit to be upgraded to.

        Then W7 came and actually was a real performance upgrade; people didn’t shutdown services for that extra 5% in games anymore, or enabled desktop composition, or turned off superfetch to have their ssd run faster. The only downside to this was the loss in compatability which is why I still have an XP boot sitting on one of my HDDs (620GB total space in my computer, 40GB or so of W7 installs on an 8 year old reliable HDD and a 2 month old RMA’d SSD, and XP on another one that I haven’t had to use in a while).

        If I don’t have to use XP within the next 3 months or so then I may consider replacing it with ubuntu or linux to see what the fuss is about.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          I really dont get why backwards compatibility doesnt work.There are emulators left and right for practically anything,and yet windows is incapable of emulating its previous iterations?Why?

          • Tom says:

            Probably because a lot of so-called “upgrades,” in many industries but especially in large software projects, are actually “new builds from scratch with little or none of the original architecture, because it got too complicated and we’re fed up with navigating its intricacies and we’re totally sure the new one won’t grow just as complicated all over again.” Under those circumstances, inherent backwards compatibility ranges from bloody difficult to downright impossible and the only option is to expend extra effort writing a full-blown emulator anyway.

            Not that Linux is immune from this sort of thing; I believe something similar happened in the transition from Gnome 2 to Gnome 3. Fortunately the Linux world is blessed by the glorious invention of The Fork.

          • Michael McHenry says:

            Two things –
            1) It’s pretty easy now to make programs that don’t work on XP. I tried to add a new feature to one of my apps but had to back it out because my client is still running XP. XP is still pretty compatible, but it’s losing support. And I think that’s perfectly reasonable on MS’s part to phase it out.
            2) Windows can emulate past features. Windows 7 has “XP Mode”, which is pretty slick feature where it runs your legacy apps in a VM that you don’t really know is there. Also, just run a virtual machine if that’s what you need to do. There are free tools that allow you to do it. The only drawback is you can’t really run OpenGL or DirectX stuff in a VM.

            • Tse says:

              XP Mode sucks, performance-wise. For programs with higher requirements you’re better off dual booting or using a different VM. Case in point, Autodesk Inventor 11, released 6-7 years ago and incompatible with Vista/7.
              Edit: I thought some VMs can do directX. If not, then dual booting really is the only solution.

            • Daemian Lucifer says:

              “Previous windows mode” sucks.For example,before gog released baldurs gate(pretty evil from them),I couldnt play it on my 7,no matter what compatibility I chose,yet I was able to run it on xp,though with a bunch of fan patches.

              And its baffling how this was always the case.I had the same problem with the compatibility option in xp as well.Some old games worked,some didnt.

              Though maybe thats a good thing,seeing what gog did to me recently.

    • krellen says:

      Just remember, my friend: every OS sucks.

  28. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Oh damn!I just woke up,read this,and remembered that I didnt reboot once since I woke up.

    I tell you,this win7 is the black sheep in the family.It doesnt even randomly reboot like good old millennium.I have to do everything myself.

    Ive just remembered one very important thing that you didnt mention: DISK DEFRAGMENTATION.I had to deal with it a while back on a friends computer,and I was furious how my win7 had automatic defragmenter running.I was so mad that I was never again going to have to clear a whole day just so I could defragment the gigabytes of my disks.

    • Linux has defragmentation utilities, too.

      It doesn’t need them, you understand, but a few programmers missed them and had a few hours after a few beers…

      • sab says:

        “Doesn’t need them” is a bit of a myth.
        Yes, on traditional filesystems you would actually lose diskspace if a file was fragmented, and linux filesystems don’t suffer from this.
        However, if a file is spread over lots of spots on the harddisk, it will still have to do lots of seeks to read it, hurting transfer speeds.
        Also, nowadays diskspace is plenty so the space wasted by fragmentation is imho negligible.

        • Moridin says:

          Linux filesystems don’t spread a single file all over the place under normal circumstances, unlike NTFS and FAT. Yes, you CAN have fragmentation, but unless you have an almost full disk and you’re writing large files into it, that shouldn’t happen.

          • sab says:

            The most practical use that comes to mind is a mailserver using maildir. Files get written and deleted on it all the time. Given enough time, it’ll be like a swiss cheese on there.

      • Zukhramm says:

        Well, you know. You might went to fragment a disk from a different computer for some reason, or you might share a partition for storage with a OS running a different file system.

  29. Stoy says:

    Linux does actually have Genuine Advantage: http://www.linuxgenuineadvantage.org/ just install it and you can’t be sure you are running a genuine copy of Linux!

  30. Nev says:

    Nice. Unfortunately I don’t think most Windows users would understand that this article is poking fun at Windows.

  31. kikito says:

    You forgot to mention how Windows allows you to manually update every single app and driver in your system, while Ubuntu insists on having everything centralized in his hideously called “Update manager”.

    Updating the whole system takes like, three clicks! It does not feel serious and makes me think Ubuntu is doing something wrong.

  32. Fenris says:

    >Everyone knows that properly booting a computer takes several minutes

    Is this blog post from 2009? I have a crappy Athlon X2 and Win7 boots in 30 secs or less.

    >Linux Software is Like, Weird and Stuff

    This whole paragraph is stupid. You can get a notepad with formatting for Windows, pretty sure that if they tried to add a good one on the default install they are going to end paying a fine to the EU. Same with browsers and everything you list. The only point would be about how Linux has a packet manager and Windows doesn’t. And even that is mostly a thing of the past if you are in the latest version of Windows. The only thing missing would be desktop software on the Windows Store.

    • Tever says:

      I can’t tell if you’re joking or not.

      • Fenris says:

        I’m not, most of the other points are “real”. Yes installing windows requires a lot of reboots. And sometimes the patches forces a reboot. And configuring the notification center to don’t bother you might be something hard or outright impossible without third party software. But the 2 points that I criticize are just wrong. Windows 7 boots really fast, and you can find better notepads and browsers on the web and install them on windows.

        • Tever says:

          Windows 7 may boot fast, but I used to have a laptop with Windows 98 that took almost five minutes. And my mother-in-law has a netbook with Windows 7 that, while I can start using it fairly quickly if I don’t mind lag and hanging, takes ten minutes or more to finish loading all its startup programs. I’m pretty sure Shamus was just making a sweeping, generalized statement about Windows for comedic effect.

          I can’t really speak to the second part because I use Wordpad and don’t understand why Notepad continues to exist. Although considering he name-dropped Notepad specifically, I thought he was just complaining about it specifically.

          • A Win98 laptop. A netbook. You expect either of those to be particularly fast? Sure, a netbook might have an SSD to boot from, but most of the ones out there were made by some place like Dell and were sold on the reason I bought mine (long battery life when I needed to be away from home) as opposed to being an Alienware device that would let me play Crysis on an airplane.

            As for those other two programs you mentioned, Wordpad is your free, no-frills word processor that lets you do basic formatting and make a document that doesn’t look awful. Notepad is a handy programming tool as well as a generic “WTF is this file? Open it and let me see if it’s safe to mess with” program.

    • Asimech says:

      Mine takes two minutes. I think I only had a <1 minute boot time before installing any of the drivers, for instance.

      It's nothing special, for some reason there are rather large differences with boot times between different computers even if they all use similar HDDs, and Shamus is obviously aiming for comedic exaggeration here.

      About the software: There's Wordpad, a software every Windows user seems to ignore completely, that does all of the stuff mentioned and should be installed by default.

      Also Notepad is a text editor, text editors don't do formatting, therefore the Linux 'knockoff' is an unnamed word processor and the comparison is unfair.

      But it's all done for comedic effect. Shamus' persona in the post is that of an ignorant person who is outraged by non-issues simply because they're not familiar. It would be a bit off if he knew about Wordpad and alternatives for Notepad and then was flabbergasted by the lack of Windows Genuine Advantage for example.

      The part isn't really even criticising Windows, it's just mock "I have no clue and I'm outraged that this non-MS product doesn't have MS software on it". The only critique that could be said is there is the "Notepad isn't good" and Notepad isn't very good. I think it's had one update in over a decade. Which put "word wrap" on by default. For example it still can't handle different OSes newline characters.

      What I'm upset about is how the first Windows image is from Win7/Vista, second from WinXP and the third from Win2k. All my emotional investment in this Linux post series rewarded with a slap to my face. I am disappoint.

  33. Peter says:

    What?! LOL I don’t understand why you would want more time for boot/shutdown or something like Genuine Advantage. You must have missed the point of free software. Linux is the most used operating system thanks to Android and the web.
    “goofy off-brand programs like Firefox and Chrome”, LOL Chrome is “off-brand”? Sure, it’s much faster than IE and looks beautiful. If a buggy, shitty web browser nobody uses is “the brand”, have fun using it. Oh, and keep your antivirus software updated and stuff. You know, most malware is Windows-based.

    • Olly says:

      Wow Peter, just wow. I hope you are using sarcasm there and are not in full on “ranting idiot” mode. Else as you yourself put it “You must have missed the point”…

    • Dreadjaws says:

      Ah, yes. As soon as I finished reading the article I scanned through all the comments looking for this one, knowing it had to be there. Thank you, after so many logical comments, I was worried no one was going to make it.

  34. Guy says:

    It took me the 3 paragraphs to realize what he was trying to say… Derp. But then I cracked up!

  35. Tero says:

    Is this blog post from 2009?

    I get the same feeling from every “linux vs. windows”-post I see…
    Linux seems to be getting closer and closer to the windows-feel-look&like.. And windows seems to be getting closer the the unix-linux-like.

    To be honest the windows 7 got be away from Macs..
    OS X is just horrible to use when working with many applications…
    And the apples way of taking useful stuff out as “people don’t need this”-attitude is slowly killing the OS X.

    And linux.. well.. all is smooth and nice if your HW is supported…
    I have seen linux UI just die.
    And then offer to send the crashreport to help the development?.. few years ago this was horrible thing to do… at least in windows ;)

    But in the end… could we please stop doing these OS compares.. they end up just in flamewars and in the end people just use what they like … or are accustomed to…

    edit: btw.. my chrome spellchecker says that linux is not a valid word… ;)

  36. Zak McKracken says:

    This put a big smile on my face. Thank you!

    May I just add that you can indeed get the genuine advantage with Linux? Pretty much all packages come with a signature, which you can find on the developer’s homepage or somewhere else, the so-called MD5 checksum, and if you download the rpm or deb (or whatnot) package, then change to the directory you downloaded it to and type:

    > echo “[signature] [filename]” > checksum
    (obviously replacing the parts in square brackets)
    > md5sum -b -w [filename] > checksum_real
    > diff checksum checksum_real

    You can see a nice comparison of the checksum you got from the web and the actual thing and there you are! It’s genuine!

    Also, remember to not touch the mouse or otherwise try to use anything but the command line, because that would be impure!

  37. Peter says:

    Yeah, I figured out it’s a joke, but too late.

  38. Hehe! Nice! You may have forgotten a few. Things like:
    Linux Doesn’t Protect the Operating System
    How is my operating system supposed to be stable when I can just end any process whenever I want? I can delete critical operating system files as well. Critical processes such as “malworm.exe” are protected in Windows so that everything runs properly. If I start poking around in Linux I might mess something up. Get on this Linux! I can’t be trusted when the operating system stability is at risk.
    Linux Runs on Slow Computers
    How am I supposed to convince my boss that I need a new computer when Linux runs just fine on my old one? I have to open, like, three movie players just to get it to start stuttering and slowing down. My boss notices this kind of stuff. Windows, on the other hand, slows down just fine all by itself. It even gets slower the longer I have it installed, which makes justifying computer upgrades a breeze. Linux should at least include some “system degredation” sliders so I can feel like my computer is old and decrepit. But really, I shouldn’t have to do this myself. The operating system should do it for me.

    • Tse says:

      Windows doesn’t protect itself. It just asks you for admin rights. And you can’t delete a file that is in use, duh. Kill the process, then delete away.
      Windows runs on slower computers, as well, as long as you’ve got the RAM.

  39. baseless research says:

    why does microsoft insist on iterative software? I mean, so much of the issues with windows seem to originate from the fact that win 7 is built on vista built on xp built on ME built on 98 built on 95 …

    At some time the need to start from 0 must begin to outweigh the negatives??!

    • Basically, it’s the problem of backwords compatibility. At this point, the main reason that most people are still using Windows is that it still runs their old software. Guess how many customers would leave if Microsoft said “Hey, we’re starting over! The new Windows will be built from the ground up to be awesome. The only drawback is it won’t run any old stuff.”

    • harborpirate says:

      The true lineage of XP actually goes through NT rather than 95/98/ME. Which is why its worth a damn.

      They put some crazy shims in starting with Windows 2000 to get software from the 9x lineage to work (mostly games). They also made it look a hell of a lot nicer to gain consumer acceptance.

      Which is why Win 2000 is secretly a hugely important OS in Microsoft’s history. That finally realized the dream of The One OS that could be run in both consumer and corporate environs.

  40. Gandalf Parker says:

    User Friendly is of course a good thing. Options confuse people and allow them to make bad choices so “user friendly” seeks to make the correct choices for you. The problem is that beyond user friendly is user obnoxious. “BACK OFF! I know what is right and you are an idiot user so sit there while I fix things for you.”

    The most irritating for me is the “reboot later” button which apparently means that if I have not rebooted in 10 minutes then ask me again.

  41. Bear says:

    I found Linux useful to stream TV from the internet. Currently I use Ubuntu 12.04. The GUI presentation of most things in Linux needs a lot of work. Unlike Windows and MAC, apps icons are not automatically added to the desktop. I’ve yet to figure out a way to drag and drop them to the desktop even when I can find the app after loading it. If you have driver problems, get set to waste HOURS if not DAYS trying to figure out what to do to fix it. I started supporting PC’s in the days of DOS 2.0. Seems to me that Linux, while a decent free operating system is stuck somewhere between the command line structure of DOS and the GUI of Windows 3.0. The worst thing about Linux and Linux Apps are the HELP screens. Most of them lack complete information and seem to be written for those who are already well versed with the OS. In other words very little help to a newbie like myself.

    • Arthur says:

      Thats a joke right? Tell me its a joke.
      I thought the whole uncluttered desktop was a godsend but shows how different people have different tastes I suppose.
      GUI presentation needs work? How do you mean? If you mean it doesn’t look as amazingly polished, well, that might be due to the fact that it’s not made by companies and should in my opinion only serve the purpose it was designed for, nothing less, nothing more.
      If you have driver issues…which driver exactly? The drivers are baked into the kernel for the most part, so, technically speaking, most ‘drivers’ should work out of the box with the exception of say graphics cards (which on Ubuntu are available as additional drivers if you type it into the dash) or wifi (and thats rare nowadays).
      In fact, I been running this laptop which was purchased with Windows 7 on it on Linux and never had drivers issues, recently installed Windows 7 for a day and needed another laptop since even bare essential drivers (LAN) weren’t working out of the box.
      I also think the DOS like structure you mean is not actually DOS, and I wont go into the terminal thing here.
      The GUI by the way is kinda your choosing. Try Cinnamon, KDE, XFCE, etc etc.
      As for the help screens, well I am half with you there. The man pages are a relic of the past so not user friendly at all, a lot of the help pages within apps can be a little confusing, but I find the majority to be quite alright.
      Like I say,I hope you were joking.

  42. Doug W says:

    First off it’s nice that you’re taking the time to test drive Linux and share your frustrations. It’s good feedback into the mind of someone new to the Linux desktop experience.

    I have to disagree with some of your assertions though. It’s erroneous to suggest that linux software is “all pirated.” It’s all openly maintained and freely available, not stollen software. Additionally when you are updating you will be told to reboot if and only if a critical patch has been applied that will require a reboot (I.e. kernel patch or major service patch). If you didn’t get that warning then it likely wasn’t that major of an update.

    In regards to missing editors like notepad you may want to look into leafpad which is exactly like notepad. You may also want to check out ksplice which eliminates the need for rebooting all together after patching.

    Just my two cents. I’ve been using Linux since 1998.

    -D

  43. Doug W says:

    Ubuntu has recently made drastic changes that it needs to work the kinks out of. Mint Linux is based on top of Ubuntu before the confusing and annoying interface changes were forced upon the end user. Both cinnamon and mate releases are very clean and usable from the start.

  44. kantagara says:

    HAHAHAHAHAHA I LAUGHED MY ASS OUT :D
    Thank you for being sarcastic :)

  45. George says:

    Is this writer stupid or what? I just read the last statement, and he’s saying that Linux doesn’t have genuine advantage. For what sake do you need this, since Linux is mostly free. This guy is simply a MS fan.

  46. John says:

    This has to be the top retarded review on the internet.

  47. MrBee says:

    HAHAHA, reading this whole things was uber-amusing, I love the little bit about re-booting feeling like the jobs not done properly…When I switched my main use from windows to Linux a few years ago, I used to feel like things were missing too, things I had gotten used to, until I realised that what I was ‘missing’ was mostly pointless and needless…and just bad habits…

    Both OS have their foibles and I like both for different reasons, but my own feelings are that most Linux is far superior to Windows in all but a few areas…such as gaming, but this is changing these days too…and one other area was back end programming for Office/VBA…mostly Excel an Access…Another was high quality/advanced graphic design…for pretty much everything else, Linux can do it and do it better…

    I now run windows 7/2008 for those things that really will only work or need to be done on Windows and for the rest, I also run Debian and Ubuntu many server applications and I have Mepis/Ubuntu/Mint and FreeBSD on desktops…I run VBox versions of Win7 and XP too on my Linux boxes…just for when I cant be bothered to switch machines…

    :)

  48. Linux fan says:

    Dear Mac fans your buying Linux. It’s a little mentioned fact. It’s called OsX simply a close relative of Linux. modern day Linux and Mac osx share a common ancestor old linux debain and bsd are compairible to brothers. Home folder no viruses app store all things Linux had before osx because linux. Ps I love macs I just wanted to remind people. The whole Apple ethos stems very much from an open sharing Linux community, it however chooses to make money. They say that people don’t trust things that are unDer priced, if ubuntu sold in stores it would probably be viewed as an Apple rip off and maybe Apple would Sue. Consider what I have said about Apple’s slightly overlooked roots. The big point here is that all ooperating systems are made fore different reasons they are made for different people and target different ethical standpoint regarding profits.

    • methermeneus says:

      Um… Actually, OSX has a UNIX base, not Linux. It’s similar, but not quite the same. (Biggest difference is that Apple can afford to pay for POSIX certification, testing, and licensing under the Single UNIX Specification, but there’s other under-the-hood differences based on the fact that OsX is based on Darwin which was based on XNU, whereas Linux was originally written entirely based around imitating UNIX’s desirable features without any knowledge of the UNIX codebase.) Also, I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, but different flavors of Linux offer massively different user experiences. Between the differences in the underlying kernel, the custom UI backed by a wealthy company more concerned with having a good product than destroying competition (*cough*Microsoft*cough), and the ability to tailor software to hardware and vice-versa, a Mac comes out very different from a Linux box.

      Not to say that using one doesn’t make it easier to use the other when you start fiddling with the console, but they are different systems with very different UX, and OSX grew out of proprietary software, not open-source. (Well, some open source went into Darwin, but by no means all, and those bits are the only pieces of OSX code that are open source today.) Also, Apple doesn’t charge more because people don’t trust cheap; they charge more because 1) they can (it’s stupid business not to charge more if people are willing to pay more), and 2) that custom hardware and UI costs some big bucks in terms of R&D, design, and manufacturing, and they’ve got to pay for it somehow.

      (Oh, and if you want an example of someone who did start charging for previously free products because their customers didn’t trust free software, check out the history of Sun Microsystems.)

  49. Ashwath says:

    you stick to windows, if you want to fiddle around with ie and notepad. you are never going to enjoy the power of freedom.
    windows sucks and you are going to realize it eventually.

  50. Yusuf says:

    I hope that you all realised that this article is a sarcastic way to point out how Linux can actually be better than Windows. I like Windows but lately I’ve been using some Linux distributions as well.

    A Linux distribution is small and can be booted from a pen drive. It is faster than Windows when executing tasks. Lately, I’ve noticed that if someone uses a computer only for listening to music, watching videos, surfing the web and doing office tasks, a Linux distribution can prove to be a very helpful tool.

    Linux can also be used for troubleshooting purposes. For example, booting a linux from a cd or a pen drive can help to repair a computer’s hard disk if it has bad sectors. If Windows has crashed, the Linux system can be used to look into the hard drive and save whatever has to be backed up, e.g. photos. Sometimes, when Windows crashes, we need to reformat the hard drive and that’s when Linux distros can help. If a hard drive is damaged, the Linux distributions can be used as a replacement altogether. Linux takes time to get used to but it is quite reliable.

  51. Dirk says:

    if not for gaming linux would be the most widely used os in the planet.

    • computer guy says:

      even for gaming dude…
      valve is now available for linux
      and you can use WINE , it runs most of the games.

    • Retsam says:

      Tell that to IE8-. Clearly and vastly inferior to its competitors, and yet dominated the market for years. And installing an alternative took like 5 minutes to install, and maybe a week to become comfortable with.

      Compare that to Linux which takes hours to install, and … well I’m a Comp Sci major and I’m still not entirely comfortable with it, even when I used it for a few months.

      If not for gaming, Linux would… probably hold a slight majority among the “nerd” crowd.

      (I specify IE8 because IE9 is a fair browser; not my favorite, but anyone who is still preaching “IE must die” is just being stubborn. It’s certainly not “vastly” inferior)

  52. computer guy says:

    What are you? An Idiot?
    sorry but I dont think people like rebooting….
    Windows is something which reboots again and again for everything
    linux updates and relaunches the shell … no need to reboot….

    Linux has better notifications than windows … check out the gnome-shell
    you can even chat from the notification itself.

    If linux shutsdown and loads fast that means it is faster than windows that first save tons of settings then loads tons of settings does bla bla lot of things and then shows the user a ugly login screen… I consider that linux is more stable than windows…

    You used a word up there.. ‘pirated’
    those softwares are called open source and many of them are better than windows… Its free because the developers of those apps want to keep the softwares free. Just think if google starts charging a dollar for each search query…

    linux doesnt have a genuine advantage because … Its open source.. GNU license…. ever heard of it?

    Linux is 100 times better than windows I am no linux lover , I use windows more but the arguments you made above seem stupid. :p

  53. comman sense says:

    The idiot who wrote this article actually complaints about having to restart his PC 4 or 5 times!?? Is this article a joke!?? I’m glad I switched to Linux, best OS i’ve ever installed!!

  54. g. herzog says:

    Sadly, I am finding more and more wifi hotspots are refusing me in Linux regardless of my using Firefox or Chrome, while the same hotspots work with Windows7 Start.

    I have had three dual boot notebook computers over a period of years and the problem grows worse.

    And it does not matter if the hotspot is free or for pay. Starbuck’s local wifi provide just shut out my Linux after years of good service.

    • Hitchmeister says:

      That’s because Wi-Fi is for non-technical people using inferior OSes. Any Linux user worth his pocket protector strings Ethernet cable anywhere he needs to be online. (Including the neighborhood coffee shop.)

  55. s1222l says:

    I use both MS and Linux. If I had to pay for both and was forced to give one up, MS would drag and be dropped…….

  56. JPH says:

    Onions are gross.

    Shamus you have ZERO credibility.

  57. Ofermod says:

    So I think this is the part where I link to Poe’s Law.

    Unless… wait. Maybe all the people taking this satirical post seriously are themselves being satirical!

    A satire within a satire…

    How very meta.

    • HeroOfHyla says:

      I was wondering the same thing. I think Homestuck put it best:

      “But in this case, the joke is the joke, and that degree of irony itself is ALSO the joke, and so on.

      Only highly adept satirical ninjas like you and your BRO can appreciate stuff like this.”

  58. Thomas says:

    …the comments are totally ruining my image of Linux users as super-intelligent hyper-humans who can look at source code and perfectly recreate its results in their heads

  59. Scerro says:

    I didn’t need to be redirected at this page from your twitter posts to see the replies of people who obviously didn’t catch the joke.

    It just makes me lose what faith I had in adamant Linux supporters.

    • Dave B. says:

      The thing to remember is that most of the Linux people are chuckling at the joke, while only a few missed the point so hard I’m not sure if they’re trolling or not.

  60. Cybron says:

    I am 100% seriously offended by this 100% serious review of this Linux business. You obviously don’t know a gigaflop from a unixbyte. Pistols at dawn, sir.

  61. Cirosan says:

    I am absolutely stunned at how many people cannot recognize this satire for what it is.

    I mean, anyone with half a brain can tell that you’re actually making an argument for going back to MS-DOS.

  62. methermeneus says:

    At this point, there have been so many comments by people who apparently failed the reading comprehension parts of their SATs/ACTs that I can’t choose a single one to reply to. I feel I should apologize on behalf of all Linux users for this apparent inability to recognize satire (seriously, people, go watch some Mel Brooks!).

    To everyone:

    Linux is awesome, but it can take some getting used to. There are also some things it can’t do (yet). Spread the joy, but don’t spread the hate.

    Apple OSX is also pretty awesome. I don’t have any problems with the operating system, and, while I do feel that the interface is a bit dumbed down, I feel that the average user is also a bit dumb, so that works out just fine. If you want the kind of customizability Linux offers, there’s always the console to fiddle with, and in the meantime the kernel is wonderfully stable, especially with the software and hardware being designed in tandem.

    Windows is a bit stupider to deal with sometimes than Linux or OSX, but a lot of it really does just work, especially if you don’t need to change too many settings. The biggest problems with the system have less to do with the way it’s written and more to do with Microsoft’s business model.

    All three of these systems 1) are but a small fraction of the OSes out there (give BSD, FreeDOS, MINIX, or Haiku a try), 2) have plenty of good points, and 3) Have lots of bad points. If you can’t understand someone making fun of some of the bad points of one system addressed by another system without actually stating a preference towards one or the other, please get off the internet and don’t come back until you’ve had some experience with more than one OS worth writing about.

    Maybe try CP/M.

    • Zak McKracken says:

      Thanks for saying this.

      The comments before yours kind of make me feel ashamed… there’s a useful place for pretty much every OS, and there are downsides to everyone, and reading the article, like using Linux, requires a certain amount of paying attention.

      Everything form Apple is totally stupid, though :)

    • Casey says:

      If I may add my 2 cents. Linux is a very stable, very capable operating system that provides more services for all users that most windows only users don’t realize. In the old DOS days when users had to boot in dos and start windows 3.1x by typing “win”. Unix OS was a 32 bit OS when dos was a 16 bit OS. several major programs were designed that we use and don’t even realize it. This is from many professional developers through the years that took the time to work on open source software with no charge to the consumer.

      The internet domain is very complex and not to be taken lightly. First there is the domain that can typed into the browser such as “google.com”. This is because a DNS (Domain Name System) that used to be called ARPANET. http://www.domainavenue.com/faq_history.htm There is also TCP/IP that provides our computers a way to communicate through the internet. http://www.tcpipguide.com/free/t_TCPIPOverviewandHistory.htm This is only the beginning of things.

      Today we have multiple operating systems capable of communicating that is one way or another related to something from open source developers. Consider C++ (which is a programming language). C++ is a cross between C and Simula. C was developed at Bell Labs for Unix and Sumula was developed at Norwegian Computing Center. C++ borrowed the Object Oriented Programming from Simula and incorporated the language of C. This is likely to be over your head; but, the point I’m trying to make is If we didn’t have open source developers ie Linux developers over the years we wouldn’t have the computers, computer software and ease of use that we have today. Computers would be used only by people who were experts and wouldn’t be in every home. We also wouldn’t have the cell phones and other devices that we take for granted today.

  63. Jack says:

    I’m sorry this whole article is a joke right?

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