----- Original Message -----
From: "Craig T. Milling" <email@example.com>
To: "'Debian-Laptop (E-mail)" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Cc: "Christopher Wolf" <email@example.com>; "Craig Milling"
Sent: Monday, February 19, 2001 6:44 PM
Subject: Re: Back to Windows??
Here are some concrete positives (in my experience) for why you would
*want* to run Linux as more than just a hobbyist.
(1) You control the interface. You have a choice of window managers,
GNOME, KDE. *You* get to decide how you want to interact with the
computer, not Bill Gates.
In the first place these window managers are Windows look-alikes, especially
KDE that was intentionally designed to be as Windows as Windows can be
i.m.h.o. In the second place, I do not have this insurpressibke urge to
"decide by myself" if others offer a good solution, named Bill or not.
(2) Stability. It is a pleasure knowing that I can leave my laptop
running for days/weeks at a time and it won't crash. Even if there is a
misbehaving application, it can be killed without destabilizing everything
I do run KDE, and the browser and office applications crash on a regular
basis and in fact much more often than the Seattle counterparts.
(3) Free. As in beer. I really like the fact that the next
kernel/GNOME/gnuplot/emacs upgrade won't cost me $90-$100. It's free.
Yes it costs some time, but (2) makes up for that.
The money issue is relative, Japanese companies are now kicking Linux out
because they discover that they are spending huge sums at "Linux
specialists" maintaining their systems.
(4) Free. As in speech. The source code is open, which means no one has
control over your computer. It also helps combat software obsolence and
forced upgrades by having file formats open.
I don't follow this argumentation. The fact that the source is open is in
no relation that your computer is not controlled. I am not an OS expert, I
don't want to be an OS expert I don't want to look into sources that are not
part of my core business, I want the software to work correctly and
therefore yes: Any software controls my computer.
(5) Unixisms: True multitasking, multiuser capabilities. You don't have
to worry about nuking important files (as long as your not root!). You
don't have to worry about being bit by the LOVE BUG. You can lock down
services to hold script-kiddies at bay. You can share your computer with
other users w/o them messing up your files and desktop.
Misargumentation, the file protection system of let's say NT or W2000 is
much more sophisticated than UNIX, alas for you but that's a fact and I will
not share my computer. And for viruses, yes you have to be a bit more
careful, a bit less naive, that's true.
It is difficult. It seems everything involving setup and installation is
difficult the first time, but the time spent is an investment, not a loss.
The next time you do something it gets easier. I would recommend you aim
low. Set up a dual boot configuration so you can always use Windows.
Then install Linux and work on it a little bit at a time. Get a command
line going, then X, then compile a kernel specific to your machine. First
get your NIC going, then sound card, then ... Yes it may take awhile, but
you will find yourself being slowly won over to Linux. Then the next
computer you get, things will go much faster.
Again, from my objectives of using my computer, these investment are pure
losses. I don't want a dual boot system, my computer is a server, so
hopefully boots a few times a year. I have no intention to become a kernel
hacker, an inventoe or a whizkid, my objective is to have a stable simple
server machine on the shortest term possible. And don't forget, companies
switching to Linux usually have exactly this reason.
Don't forget that a computer is just a tool. If you need all your
hardware, use the preinstalled OS. If you also need some of the GNU tools
(tar,awk, ...) install Cygwin, or dual boot.
Right on !
Linux should not be a cult, but I think it is by now .....
My testimonial: I got my laptop in Jan,1999 (an ARM TS759. ARM is very
linux friendly and even offers preinstalled RedHat. I specifically asked
about Linux before buying). My NIC (a generic 10baseT) was supported off
the bat. It took about 6 mos for the soundcard driver to make it into the
stable kernel. I would still use Windows regularly. Eventually my
windows use was only for games and all my work was done in Linux. Finally
I got bored of the games. The last time I booted into windows was 6 mos
ago, and last week I got rid of the last fat partition on my disk.
Mine: I got an all Linux compatible hardware set, because I checked all
components before. Got Debian 2.2.18pre21 and the result: I can't print on a
HP2100 (mentioned to be "perfect" for Linux), I can't tar to a DI-30
tapestreamer (proudly declared: "Linux certified" by the manufacturer), I'm
doubtful if my network will work and it will probable take another year
before I get my ADSL modem working. I will install W2000 in the days to come
and if everything works: "bye bye Linux".
PS. If you made it down this far, thanks for reading my rambling missive.
As you can see, I made it.
Dr. Craig T. Milling
Dept. of Physics, Univ. of Illinois
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