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Re: Back to Windows??

I don't think this thread will end without it being killed off, it's
based too much on peoples definition of the social issues involved
rather than the localised issue of the software IMHO.

> Sorry, but I've misstated.  I'm not speaking about the size of the compiled 
> code.  I mean the code itself, and not the space it takes up on the drive.
> I'm talking about the 100 highly detailed and often undocumented config 
> questions you have to answer to compile a kernel.  I'm talking about a 
> hypothetical 5+ required options necessary to load your favorite module so 
> it can tell apart the 100 odd devices that it supports.  I'm talking about 
> the source code that often has dozens of special cases for supporting the 
> full variety of devices.  I'm talking about the 5 year old code in there to 
> still support that old Quantum 286 special purpose backplane (example, I 
> made this up).
> That's the kind of bloat I meant.  :)

Well no, you're talking about not understanding the features, which I
guess, for someone that doesn't know what they're doing, is another ease
of use issue.  Luckily for those sorts of people that don't know what
the extra options are anyway, can download a new precompiled kernel
already packages for Debian.

In Windows, this is real bloat, because they build the lot into it
and even if you know what you're doing you can't get rid of it.

> I've been familiar with all these issues for years.  But the other side of 
> the coin is that those developers have seen no need to support Linux, and 
> many are doing just fine without it.  Why is this?  Why is it still working 
> for them?  Like I "ranted": many/most people won't use Linux because of how 
> hard it is to use and so there is very little additional gain for these 
> companies to spend any additional money to also support Linux.  This also 
> works in the favor of the VARs and well as the companies who do support Linux.
> If we really want Linux to become an option for many users or an alternate 
> to Windows or a "serious force", something desperately needs to be done 
> about it's user friendliness and installation.  Of course, it's pretty 
> obvious this is just my opinion.

I agree completely.  However the active coders are working on what
they see as bigger issues, which for coders is nothing like what
end home users care about, fair enough, the companies making a profit
from supporting Linux to home users could pay for the development.
I don't whinge that it's not easy for end users though, I'd do
something about it instead, but I can't code GUI or hardware devices
too well, and at this point my interests also aren't on that side of
the platform.

The representation of Linux to outsiders is definitely appalling
when you speak to people that have had a bad experience, and they
read things like the HOWTO/FAQ on the Kernel, where they explain
delicately that it's all based on making Linus happy otherwise your
patch might get ignored for the next several months/years, forcing
AC patches etc to ensure continuous support for your hardware or
feature you've decided to use.  No wonder hardware vendors have
separate patches, they don't have to deal with Linus.

> Here's a serious question or three:
> How long has MS Windows been around, and how many people have worked on 
> it?  How long has Linux been around, and how many people have worked on 
> it?  OK, now how many person-hours have been spend on each?  From the 
> thousands of people that I keep being told are working on Linux, why 
> haven't we solved not only the stability issues but also the user 
> interface, installation and other issues?

I think the question has been asked incorrectly, but that's due to
what I said at the very start of this e-mail (social perspective).

It should be rephrased to ask :

How long as MS Windows, MS-DOS and it's derivatives been around for
users, and how much proprietry software has been bought out (hostile
takeovers?), and how many people have been paid to work on it? Answer
is obvious.

How long has Linux been around, what user based OS's was it derived
from, how long have people started working on making it easy for
end users or started considering that home users might find it
useful?  I think it was serendipity during its evolution that
it eventually did become easy enough to use without anyone trying
to reach that goal.  Perhaps they think it's natural evolution that
it will continue?

Stability issues are only due to the fact that people keep wanting
to use the latest and greatest bleeding edge hoping to ahieve the
ease-of-use they've been waiting for, since I don't care for that,
and use my old stable wm's it isn't an issue for me. I would
relate it to people using the leaked copies of beta Windows or
early release candidates.

As for installation, most of us old *ix users, admins and coders
see it as a do-once every couple of years or so thing, so I guess
we don't understand the overwhelming need that home users have to
make that first step easier.  I install it a lot as an admin to
new servers, but of course I know every bit of jargon and the
requirements intimately by now.

I'm still unsure that Linux should even be compared to Windows
for home users.  Why isn't Linux compared to commercial *ix
derivatives instead?  You though Linux had all these problems,
take a look at SCO, which you actually have to pay for (or
you can get the single user copy by paying for the media).

> >Customer satisfaction has nothing to do with it....why the hell would a
> >office worker want linux on their desktop?  Do they need to have
> >apache/squid/sendmail running on their *client* machine?
> Why?  With PCs as cheap or cheaper than SUNs, Linux could be used as an 
> alternative to a SUN solution.  But try to get management to agree to pay 
> extra (VARs) for the free solution they've been hearing about when they can 
> just buy another license for an already working product.

I don't think I quite understand your last bit so I won't go
there :-)

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