Saturday, October 31, 2009

Why Windows 7 will not crush Linux

Sorry, just a rant against a nonsensical piece "Why Windows 7 will crush Linux" from Ron Barret who, surprisingly, usually has good technical articles and a few interesting non-technical articles.

This one piece shows, very clearly, a lack of knowledge of how things work outside the Microsoft world. Let me comment point by point, before I make more general statements further down. Quotes are in italic.
Okay it is no secret that Linux has not been able to crack the desktop, either at the home or at the workplace. Not to ignored either is that Windows lost some desktops last year (a little over 3%),but let’s not panic just yet, Windows still owns over 88% of all the desktops according to leading research.
Why does Ron Barret concentrate on "crushing" Linux when he could attack the main marketshare grabber: Apple? Does he really think of panicking or is that just an expression?
[...]Windows 7 installs easier, has simpler configuration of user settings, greater availability of software, support (you could argue that all support is awful, which is probably true) Windows support is easier to get when you need help. Gaming, MP3’s,… I could go on and on.
  • Windows 7 installs easier, but by the installation you get only the OS, not the office suite, the usual programs, the good media players, the image manipulation programs, etc.
  • Windows 7 has simpler configuration of user settings. But simplicity isn't the only question since you can get the MacOSX perverse effect : too many hidden options, which makes that anything a little more complicated than usual cannot get done from the interface, you have to go commandline. So my question is quantity of settings VS simplicity VS good explanation VS automation of whatever can be automated. And here, if whoever has any precise comparison list, I am listening carefully.
  • Windows 7 has greater availability of software. Depends on what you want to do. When my WAMP solution claims that a WAMP is only for testing and that a production tool should be a LAMP, what should I do? I am also a firm believer in centralized depots, and I find that the way to install software under Linux (like Synaptic) is much more modern and efficient than Windows software install.
To real Linux die hards… terminals rule.
Yeah, conquering die hards is the crucial problem when you're getting after marketshares!?
So Powershell presents an interesting argument for Windows adoption by the Linux user.
The very idea that an experienced Linux user could switch from the Unix philosophy to the Windows philosophy "disguised" as a command line drains tears of laughter from my eyes. Words or icons are just means, but the Unix philosophy that transpires through bash, csh or perl is a cement stronger than any interface tool.
Some people want free software (even if support is limited or non-existent).
RedHat sales are going higher and higher, is that a coincidence or does support just exist?
Applications like Firefox, Open Office, MYSQL, GIMP… wait all these applications are now available for Windows.
OK but with the exception of Firefox, most of them still run better and integrate better under Linux than under Windows.
Moreover, they are easier to install in Windows then they are in Linux.
Complete idiocy: once you have installed Ubuntu, the applications like Firefox, OOo, GIMP... are already installed. Concerning MySQL, you just have to go to Synaptic, check the "mysql" checkbox and click "install". Far easier than under Windows.
Windows 7 has solved a long-standing thorn in Microsoft’s side, How to deliver a feature rich OS without killing resources?
Okay, so Ron Barrett just confesses that Windows has long lagged behind competitors in terms of resource usage. Fine. Thanks.
Linux users have no reason to hold back anymore. Windows 7 is well placed to crush and put an end to the penguin.
Except complete programming station, polyvalent kernel that puts it everywhere from DVD players to car computers to mainframe servers, freedom from unwanted "home calls", complete view on the software from the kernel to the application, ready and working middlewares such as Apache, very good support (with full source access) like those of RedHat, IBM, HP and others...

Now that I could calm down, seriously, why would anything change about Linux users? There are two major situations:
  • Those who were fed up with Microsoft or wanted specific freedom and they will not change anything because of Windows 7.
  • Those who use Linux because it's at work or because they have a specific technical reason and they will not change either. At best they will consider changing, but whether that will be worth the migration, I doubt.