Re: Back to Windows??
I want to second what Craig Milling said: Linux isn't for everyone, but if you
need or prefer a very stable system that allows you the power and control of
Unix, then Linux is great.
I have two machines...a Gateway desktop, which I got about four years ago, and
a Dell laptop that is now just a bit over two years old. I got both of them
with idea that I would install Linux on them, did so, and never had much
problem with either. The video card was not supported on the desktop when I
first got it, but that only lasted a couple of months. The experience of
having to wait a few months before I could get X running on my desktop served
me well (a lesson learned the hard way). When I bought the laptop I made sure
that its hardware was supported by Linux.
I don't really use a lot of the hardware folks have been mentioning, like CD
writers and such, but I have friends who do. It seems to take them a bit of
time to get them set up on occasion, but then they are fine. And as Craig
mentioned, they then have a free, stable, multiuser, multiprocessing OS.
It's too bad that some folks have had such a frustrating time with Linux. It
would be nice if that weren't the case. I think if they stick with it they
might well eventually learn to appreciate the freedom and control that Linux
gives them. But freedom in setting up a computer is not different from other
freedoms we might enjoy...each comes with attendant responsibilities. If those
responsibilities are more than you want to take on, or if the freedom you get
running Linux is not important to you, then there is no shame in choosing to
use something else. After all, most of us do not choose to become expert
automotive mechanics or physicians. Rather, we pay other people who are
experts to take care of these tasks for us. Doubtless our cars would run
better and longer if we learned to maintain them ourselves (but I'd hate to
perform surgery on myself).
The most important aspect of Linux and the Open Source movement, in my
opinion, is the choice it gives me. I'm very grateful to the developers who
spend their time writing this OS, as it allows me to do my work much more
conveniently than I otherwise could (Windows and Mac OS are not an option for
me...it's gotta be Unix). For people whose needs are different than mine,
Windows or Mac OS might be a better solution. That's choice, and that's what
Linux and other Open Source OS's give us. Before them, there wasn't much
Now if we could just get more of the hardware manufacturers to recognize this
and start giving us all more choice in which OS we can have preinstalled on
our machines (I'd prefer none at all, as installing Linux myself is fine with
Just my two cents.
Kevin M. McLin Office: Duane C-328 Phone: (voice) 303-492-4053
Snail Mail: Center for Astrophysics and Space Astronomy CB 389,
University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309-0389