Monday, February 22, 2010

Linux Monday

Linux Monday

Mark Shuttleworth, the brains and bucks behind Ubuntu, says he isn't driven by Microsoft hatred. I am, toi some extent, so this Linux Monday I'll do a little Bill bashing.

If yo've had a major Windows messup you've probably tried to deal with the registry, a collection of configuration code with obscure lines like

Here's an uber-geeky look at why this apprroach is so, well, sucky, with just a mention that Linux handles its configuration in plain text files.

This one's an oldie but goodie for new converts: Linux Is Not Windows.
There are many things that don't change when you switch between cars and motorbikes: You still have to put petrol in the tank, you still have to drive on the same roads, you still have to obey the traffic lights and Stop signs, you still have to indicate before turning, you still have to obey the same speed limits.

But there are also many things that do change: Car drivers don't have to wear crash helmets, motorbike drivers don't have to put on a seatbelt. Car drivers have to turn the steering wheel to get around a corner, motorbike drivers have to lean over. Car drivers accelerate by pushing a foot-pedal, motorbike drivers accelerate by twisting a hand control.

A motorbike driver who tries to corner a car by leaning over is going to run into problems very quickly. And Windows users who try to use their existing skills and habits generally also find themselves having many issues. In fact, Windows "Power Users" frequently have more problems with Linux than people with little or no computer experience, for this very reason. Typically, the most vehement "Linux is not ready for the desktop yet" arguments come from ingrained Windows users who reason that if they couldn't make the switch, a less-experienced user has no chance. But this is the exact opposite of the truth.

For folks who want to dip a toe in the open-source waters without plunging all the way in at the operating system level, Open Office is a nice start. A reminder: that's an office suite that's Windows and MS Office compatible, only without the pricetag. This piece looks at the latest Oo, 3.2, alongside Windows 2007.

And who has a open source business model that makes big bucks while giving away a major product free? Why, David Bowie and the Grateful Dead. In fact, it was that granola attitude that drew me to Linux in the first place.

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