Under The Wire

Under The Wire

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Is Linux really better than Windows 7?

Looking at the referrals to Mac vs. PC I found this post on why Linux (what version?!?!) is far superior to Windows 7.

I write this response just to show why what a Linux fan boy says is not to be trusted. I am not meaning that Linux is crappy or that it is not working, just that the reasons that the average Linux user will use to convince you are wrong, terribly wrong.

Power Shell vs. *nix shell: I don’t really think that shell is the real tool for an administrator, even if I have to admit that in some cases it is more powerful than a graphical tool. However this is not the point. Power shell is a object-oriented shell and this is enough to declare it the winner in the shell’s battle. I am sorry if you like do black magic to deal with strings but a character based shell is old, nothing else.

Windows setup vs. Linux package manager: the idea of the package manager is surely cleaner but when did you saw a Windows user become mad because of some wrong dependencies? In Windows setups takes care to provide the required things to do the job, so there is no real advantage using a package manager. And all the application you mentioned are available also on Windows without a very little effort. Can you say the same about professional applications?

Crash on a virtual machine: wow that’s cool. A crash of a beta operating system on a virtual machine (that in the past made mess with every OS had to run). It is definitely a reason to install Linux.

The aquarium: I am still thinking what is its use. Or is it simply useless? And My eyes saw both Vista and Seven run on a exec, is it too powerful?

WGA: it is a commercial product, don’t you want to be a pirate, right? If you don’t want to pay get free software, but not cry if WGA stops you using something you pirated.

UAC: are you running as root on you Linux-box or are you using something like su or sudo?

The register: you said you are cleaning your register, isn’t that doing more harm than the good things you would get?


The Beez'

Let me be make the same courtesy. If you happen to read all the links you would have seen that bragging about the Powershell came from a Windows fan boy. OO doesn't make a tool better than any other tool. Note the kernel is Linux is still written in C, not C++, simply because it is easier to predict which code is generated. If there had been a Nobel prize for computer science, Edsger Dijkstra would have won it and he called OO "a particular bad idea that could only have been invented in California". Don't just run along with the hype, dude.

The quality of an installer is part of the game. Yes, I've seen people getting mad because after an install their Windows machine refused to do anything but produce BSOD. And note I called on the PC World article. It is also much easier to reinstall a machine. I just did a few days ago. I selected my packages and let the machine install over 700 applications in 15 minutes. Match that!

Before, Windows people were always saying we were jerks typing commands all the time. Now we blow Aero out of the water and the claim is: "why should we need such bling bling". Get your story straight, boys!

The crash: I can do FUD me! Seen the olympics lately and that nice giant BSOD?

WGA. Get real. I fork out my cash, I get product, you call me thief. Nice show.

UAC. It is an afterthought. Follow the link to get a close encounter with Windows security. BTW, NSA key is now "Key2". I'm not going to type it all again.

The register. I didn't invent it, I don't use it. Stop bugging me. /etc rulez!


The matter is not about the utility of OOP (That is fundamental when you have to design software, doesn't' matter the language Linux is written). Having an object in the shell means that you can access attributes without parse the output, and this is definitely a great thing.

I am not experiencing trouble installing programs and I haven't seen yet a BSOD on Vista. However the BOSOD may be caused by hardware faults, how would the OS prevent that?

Aero is useful not for the fancy theme, but because uses the GPU to manage the graphics.

WGA works well, it only had a two days outage. That is a bad thing, but definitely didn't broke nothing.

UAC: Windows supports multi-users since NT, they only introduced a way to use limited accounts in an easier way.

Is it onlt /etc on UNIX? http://blog.linuxtoday.com/blog/2009/01/linux-succumbs.html


@ The Beez’
Shells: first of all I want to clarify that I don’t know a thing about Microsoft PowerShell since I’m used to BASH. I have a quiet good knowledge of BASH and I think in 2009 the usage of a character shell isn’t the best solution.
Although Microsoft PowerShell isn’t a killer solution yet I like the approach a lot, it has definitely a future in my opinion.
As a programmer I think Edsger Dijkstra’s sentence is a big mistake (the majority of the programmers have the same thought); moreover the fact that operating systems’ kernels aren’t written using the OOP isn’t a valid demonstration of truth. Wonderful projects like QT, KDE use OOP and even GTK and GNOME which are mostly written in C use “OOP”.

BSODs: the crash accursed during Olympics was caused by a hardware failure as reported bye the error code, it wasn’t definitely a software fault. During my life I have seen few BSODs and most of them were caused by VMware driver (I use VMware has a virtualizer) while the rest of them were caused by hardware failures (and in these cases also Linux - which is installed on my PCs - reports problems).

WGA: I have only licensed copy of Windows and the WGA has never been a problem.

UAC: to me, UAC has introduced a behavior very similar to Mac OS X and quiet similar to the behavior I noticed with Ubuntu and Fedora (the two Linux distribution I’m used to). In Windows Vista there were problems caused by third party programs (also Microsoft ones in some cases - Visual Studio 2005 is an example) and problems related to Control Panel shared option accessibility; with Windows 7 I can’t see any problem.

Windows Registry has both advantages and drawbacks, however, I never experienced a problem since I don’t touch it with cleaners or other kind of crap.


I've been trying to activate a copy of Vista for "the gf" for a month now. Don't tell me WGA doesn't have problems.


I activated my Windows XP licenses 3 times in 7 years and I had no problems; I activated my Windows Vista licenses 2 times in 2 years and I had no problems. If you experience problems with the on-line tool you can phone Microsoft, it's a free phone call, and you'll surely get your regular copy of Windows Vista activated in no time.


So BSOD is a hardware failure? No. At most you might call it the incapacity of Windows to respond to a hardware failure. Well-designed OSes don't fall at the smallest memory hardware error (have you heard of DTrace?).
That's why windows is awful for mission-critical application. The Olympics were a good proof for the error of using windows when you need reliability, error prediction and handling.

...and for the software: no one forces the vendor to give/sell you a package with dependencies... Opera, Skype, Google Earth... all install with a double-click


@ Anonymous
It's 2 years I have bought my first notebook, back then I used a desktop (with a Pentium III 1.0 GHz and 512 MB of RAM) and both Windows XP and Linux (Arch Linux in particular) were installed. When the hard drive controller failed (randomly, in some cases the PC was still usable) both Windows XP anche Linux show their weakness, a BSOD and a kernel panic.
In my experience I can't see any notable difference in term of stability.

Talking about DTrace I only know it exists, I'm sorry. :(

The Beez'

If you say the registry isn't a problem.. I recently was called for help because a friend of mine didn't find his Windows XP computer workable anymore. Starting Word, IE, Firefox, took between 30 secs and a minute.

You may call it cr*p (I won't tolerate a word like that on my blog) but after cleaning the register of over 40 MB, the startup times were reduced enough to make it workable again (between 10-30 secs).

As for my humble EeePC, which starts OOo between 5-10 secs, I find it a significant difference. Blame it on the user as far as I care, it just proves that WinXP isn't as easy or as reliable as you would like to believe.


@The Beez:
How did your friend filled the registry with the things that was cleaned?
What was causing such a delay in program start?


@ The Beez
In years of PCs usage I never experienced a situation like the one you mention on my PCs. I've come to the conclusion that the real problems are users.

The Beez'

I'm confused: wasn't Windows not the easiest thing to use since the invention of the zipper? So now you tell me it will introduce issues?

Hmm. that never happened to me when I opened up Yast and clicked all the programs I wanted (or didn't want) anymore.


@ The Beez'
Do you really think that a normal user won't experience any problem in a Linux environment?
If a user doesn't have any "administration knowledge" he will always experience problems, on every platform.

The Beez'

@Sirus - Ask my girlfriend. She works with Windows at work. She's always relieved to come at home and have something that just works. And she certainly isn't a fanboy - she is OS-agnostic like any normal user. And please note I worked with MS and turned my back on it 2000. Was the best thing I did in my life. BTW, I am quite successful in getting people away from Word and Visio - replacing it with LyX and Graphviz. Isn't it nice that a 500+ page documents loads in 3 secs flat?

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