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Re: [Fwd: Critical "Times" article on Linux]

Apologies to those who get easily insulted, but
is the article in question. Perhaps this
should not be posted.

April 20 1997                        SOUNDING OFF  [Image][Down] [Image]

                     [Image]                       Your news
                                                   selection in
                                                   the Personal
   It is the craze of the month among geeks who    Times
      love complexity. Avoid it at all costs
                                                   Key coverage
         Linux, the PC program from hell           in Election

  WAS I the only one who broke into a scream
  of terror when I looked at this month's copy
  of Personal Computer World? There, staring       COMDEX UK
  out from a free CD-Rom on the cover was the      97: Guide to
  program from hell, and all you needed to do      the show
  to let it take over your PC was double click
  a couple of times and kiss goodbye to your       Chip retains
  sanity.                                          information
  The nasty piece of digital scurf in question     computer
  is known as Linux and there are plenty of        crashes
  sad types who will tell you it is the future
  of personal computing. Do not fall for this      Webwatch
  bizarre line in geek thinking.
  Even Personal Computer World, after making       lets
  it so easy to enter the twilight zone            shoppers
  without a return ticket, saw fit to enter a      browse at
  few caveats in the fine print. Linux, it         leisure
  said, came with a serious health warning.
  Don't even think about it, the magazine          Health:
  said, unless you are technically proficient      Video
  and have backed up all your PC files             equipped
  beforehand.                                      ambulance
  Yes, but we know what the average PC user is     casualty
  like. He never reads the words, he just          doctors in
  slings in the CD-Rom, clicks on the install      the picture
  icon, and hopes for the best. And if you are
  now looking at a blank screen with a few         [Contact Us]
  impenetrable commands where you once had a
  working PC, then all I can say is: "You have
  only yourself to blame."

  Linux, for the uninitiated, is a version of
  that old computer donkey known as Unix. If
  you need to run big computer Unix tasks then
  it is, I am told, not a bad solution at all.
  Equally, if you believe there is no point in
  doing easily something you can achieve the
  long way round, it is doubtless the way to

  Imagine a tougher version of MS-Dos ­ where
  the commands are even harder to memorise and
  less forgiving of errors ­ and you are
  starting to get there. And if you want to
  cheat a little, you can put on a
  pseudo-graphical front end and ­ bingo ­ you
  might just manage to turn a modern Windows
  NT-capable PC into a passable imitation of
  Windows 3.1 circa 1992.

  However, to read some publications, you
  might think that Microsoft's Bill Gates is
  quivering in his boots at the idea that
  Linux will do what IBM and Apple never
  managed to achieve ­ kick Windows off the
  everyday desktop. Really? Well, no. Linux is
  flavour of the month with the geek community
  for two reasons ­ it's free, and it's not
  from Microsoft.

  For a certain breed of bug-eyed computer
  user, that really is all you need. Trivial
  details such as usability, the lack of
  decent everyday software, and the plain fact
  that, when things go wrong, you are on your
  own are not setbacks to Linux addicts. These
  are the very reasons why they like the
  wretched thing ­ because it sets them apart
  from the mainstream of tedious, ordinary
  users who just use PCs to get on with the

  Personal computers seem to have attracted
  some strange and obsessive people along the
  way to becoming common or garden information
  tools. If Linux hadn't been invented by a
  Finnish student a few years back, something
  equally strange and esoteric would have
  appeared to take its place.

  Computer geeks despise simple, common
  standards. Gates is the object of their hate
  simply because he won the operating-system
  war. If Apple or IBM had come out on top,
  the people now buzzing so excitedly around
  Linux would have treated them to the hate
  mail they reserve for Gates today.

  Fads like Linux are diversionary characters
  in a digital freak show on the sidelines of
  modern information technology. Finding them
  on the cover disks of mainstream magazines
  says more about the novelty value of
  computer journalism than the real issues
  facing those trying to make tomorrow's PCs a
  sight better than the ones we use today.

  The idea that great developments in personal
  computing will be invented in some dismal
  student bedroom in Helsinki might make nice
  bedtime reading for people who dream in
  hexa-decimal. But if all you want is a
  computer that you can aspire to understand,
  chuck that blasted CD-Rom in the bin right

                                  David Hewson

  Health: Video equipped ambulance puts
  casualty doctors in the picture

Copyright 1997 Times Newspapers Limited
                                                   [Image][Up] [Image]

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