Saturday, May 22, 2004

ARTICLE: A Windows Vetern's Assessment of Linux

In other posts to this group, I have seen what others view as propoganda
from the Windows camp to dissuade users from trying Linux. This has
prompted me to give my honest assessment. I am a so-called (3-month old)
newbie, having just installed my MDK10 on a home-built state of the art
machine, which includes an Athlon XP 3200+ on the nForce2 chipset (A7N8X).

Some points, good and bad:

1. OpenOffice is great. It has excellent compatibility with MSOffice. Unless
you do extensive formatting and/or programming (I do both), there really is
NO ISSUE. Fonts can be tough in OpenOffice. This needs work.

2. Multimedia - The ALSA rocks. My Audigy is not running on all cylinders
but a audiophile purist would nod approvingly at the 2.1 clean sound--free
from the overly processed crap intoduced by WMA and even iTunes for that
matter. This ogg format sounds better than WMA and is smaller. Bottom line.

3. Digital Video - Personlly...stick with MAC for now. MDK is shakey (at
best) and Windows gives you just enough functionality to drive you
absolutely mad trying to get it all working right.

4. Networking. With some simple tweaks, you can access local windows drives,
share files, printers, etc. With the assistance of Samba, networking and
sharing resources is very simple. Yes, it takes a bit of time to get it
looking like Windows, but it is simple to do if you want to emulate the XP
desktop look and feel. My view is that MDK should work on a feature that
does just that, looks for local nets, sets up a simple Samba profile
automatically and even drops a stupid My Windows Documents icon on the
desktop. Put KMail on there and even a Konqueror icon. Implement the
Redmond look and feel theme. It can be easily done and the rewards would be
immeasurable to newbies.

5. Desktop - KDE is all I use and know. Not only is it more configurable and
faster that XP, it is damn pretty to boot. I love the power KDE gives me
over my system. Spend just one evening with look and feel settings..it is a
blast to tweak. In my opinion....is there hope for me???? hehe

6. Software - Overall, I would make a sweeping generalization that KOffice,
and the like are about two generations behind Microsoft. But man are they
impressive. KMail and the other packages are very sharp and you have to go
out of your way to get confused with them. And the community of folks
building and refining new stuff reinvigorates this old, jaded Windows user.
And let me just say, that I am a mature .NET developer talking here (If
there is such a thing!!!). I am really looking hard at the mono project.

The above is fact, not propoganda. Linux has a ways to go to refine the
power it already has. In programmers parlance, the interface needs to be
refined and encapsulated for Windows average users. If that means pretty
dialogs then so be it. The underlying command line and power is still there.

Personally, I think Linux is fantastic. I admire the developers and those
who support their effort. If you have trouble with MDK10 and you are a home
user, get Lindows. If you are a corporate user, get Suse or Xandros. That's
my opinion of course, but these are all great distros, certainly at the top
of the class.

Think back to the anguish and pain of Dos 4 and Win 3.0. If MDK10 is any
indicator of the future of Linux, I'd have to say it is off to a massively
impressive start!

Houston, TX


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