Linux Ahead of Windows?

EWeek did a
review
of Novell’s SuSE 9.3 Pro recently:

Nat Friedman, vice president of Linux desktop
engineering at Novell, said, “We are getting ahead of
Windows for the first time.”

After kicking SLP 9.3’s tires, I agree. This is one
impressive desktop distribution. It has every Linux
application that anyone is ever likely to want and it’s all
tied together with either a slick and up-to-date KDE or
GNOME interface.

It is not, however, for everyone and it also has its
fair share of teething problems in its most advanced
programs.

Rather colorful prose to agree, on one hand, that this
distribution is ahead of Windows but then say in the next
paragraph that “it has its fair share of teething problems.”
While Windows may have lots of other problems, teething is
not, in my opinion, one of them.

I’ve ordered a copy of SuSE 9.3 Pro from Novell so I’ll
let you folks know what I think once I receive and install
it. But I get the feeling that this distribution, as with all
the others I’ve tried over the years (from Caldera 2.x to
Xandros 3.x) will fall somewhat short of Windows when it
comes to application stability and upgrade ability.

Yes, there are thousands of utilities and a few
applications for Linux but many, if not most, seem to be
barely above alphaware [feverishly pulling on flame-proof
overalls and Apple Reality Distortion Field(tm)]. By that I
mean many Linux programs routinely crash or cause file
corruption. In addition, many Linux programs seem to
routinely lack the mature feature set that most Windows
programs have by now.

Then we come to the fetid, dead horse called dependencies
hell [talk about colorful prose -ed.] that makes updating
many Linux applications, even in apt-get type systems,
problematic. Sometimes, you just can’t get there from here.
Conversely, woe be unto the person who uninstalls a library
and helplessly watches as apt-get merrily uninstalls every
program that uses the library without so much as single
confirmation. Then, to add insult to injury, taunts you when
it lists the broken packages [Not that I’ve ever been in this
situation…].

To use an automotive industry metaphor, cars became much
more popular when, among other things, they became
sophisticated and reliable enough that you no longer needed
to understand how they ran to efficiently use one. That is,
all you need to do is start the car and drive. You don’t
need to know how the automatic transmission operates nor how
the engine translates up and down motion to forward movement.
With a replacement interval of up to 100,000 miles, you don’t
even need to know how to change the spark plugs. It just
runs.

When Linux get’s to a point in which it just runs, without
having to know arcane Unix-era commands to install, upgrade,
or maintain, that will be the day that Linux finally gets
ahead of Windows. I can’t wait.

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6 responses to “Linux Ahead of Windows?

  1. You do realize that everything that Windows “Vista” is promising you, you can already do with a Linux desktop; with hardware most people already own.. no major upgrades necessary, as Vista is going to require.

    And just think how much more advaced the Linux desktop will be when Vista does finally come out in year’s time.

    Microsoft is basically playing catch-up… and not doing a very good job at it, in my opinion. Their new “innovative” ideas have been Linux staples for over a year now.

    I’ve been a Linux (dedicated) user for over three years now. There’s no need for me to use the command line for the “regular” desktop stuff anymore.

    No, comparing Linux to Windows is apples and oranges now. Linux is far more advanced, in comparison.

  2. Judland: Vista will not require a major hardware upgrade. They are working on backward compatibity with older hardware. Yes linux is more advanced then Windows in the fact it is for developers still. Windows is there for the small guy that doesn’t have a full grasp of what My Documents is.

    back to the Blog:
    Suse 9.3 Pro is definatly the best yet from Novell. I really enjoy using it. One suggestion though run the updates in Yast 2 or 3 times before you try some things. Also make sure you add FTP install to your install sources so that when you don’t have the DVD’s that you are able to install software. This will save you some time. Just som suggestions.

  3. No, Vista will not require major hardware upgrades.
    http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=25094 — depends of course what you call major. /// Oh, Windows has teething problems, it uses its teeth to bite it’s customers. ^_^

  4. Well, that’s good news! Perhaps someone at Redmond is starting to listen.

  5. I’ve no doubt Linux is progressing, and getting better. But Dan’s highlighted my biggest bugbear to date with Linux, upgrading. Be it software or the OS itself, changing has always been the biggest problem I’ve had.

    With reluctance to upgrade of course comes huge problems with security, as older bug ridden exploited apps aren’t upgraded to the latest versions, because doing so is a nightmare.

    I can forgive apps for being incomplete, or being a little tricky to setup and use, but if you can’t benefit from them getting better, because you can’t update, then you’re onto a loser.

  6. I’ve no doubt Linux is progressing, and getting better. But Dan’s highlighted my biggest bugbear to date with Linux, upgrading. Be it software or the OS itself, changing has always been the biggest problem I’ve had.

    With reluctance to upgrade of course comes huge problems with security, as older bug ridden exploited apps aren’t upgraded to the latest versions, because doing so is a nightmare.

    I can forgive apps for being incomplete, or being a little tricky to setup and use, but if you can’t benefit from them getting better, because you can’t update, then you’re onto a loser.