Friday, June 15, 2007

The Microsoft VS Linux debate.

I guess the root question has to be can I do all the things in Linux as I can in MS Windows? I don't know. You can not account for all the hardware/software situations that people have in any Operating system. Can I do the basic things that people do on their computers? Yes. Is there a Linux answer for every piece of MS Windows software. No. Why should Linux or Open Source software be saddled with competing in that kind of way? Linux and Open Source has provided free solutions to many computing needs but there doesn't seem to be a push to compete with Microsoft. I think people compare stuff and hope for point for point alternatives. Microsoft has said that Open Source software, Open Office in particular, is not as advanced as their office suite.
Yet how many of those advanced features do you really use? The same with comparing Photoshop to the GIMP that comes with Linux. How much of Photoshop does the average person really use? And what do you want for free? A lot of persons are critical of assumed limitations and "lack of features". They never quite get across to folks that you get a lot of usefulness for free. They only see that it doesn't match up, therefore it is not good stuff. How on earth can you compare a $500 program with a free one and hold them to the same standard.
You get the feeling that people are saying that they would take the free one only if it were like the $500 one. They would even pirate the $500 one rather than use the free one. I really don't understand user logic. I myself would have a computer full of pirated software if it weren't for Open Source. The software I received with my PC was dismal. I got a trial version of MS Office and MS Works. MS Works while useful is not even compatible with MS Office let alone other productivity suites. How could you waste my money, time and disk space with that junk? I don't believe Microsoft or my hardware vendor had me in mind when they packaged that system. They assumed that what ever I buy I will use and not ask for more.
OK, I will admit that there are some things that only run on Windows that are desirable to have. When I was doing drafting AutoCAD was a hot program for instance. And I hear of folks who need Windows for other professional type programs. I am exploring the use of virtual machines where you can run other operating systems inside of the main one. That might be a solution, but will it answer the Microsoft or Linux question? I don't know but, I like Linux. I like the history of it, the progress of it and the look and feel of it on the desktop. I am still comparing the two OS's in my present computer. Linux is winning. Why should I have to pay so much just to do the basic stuff? Then, why should I have to rely on one companies' whims and wiles? I'm talking about the software/hardware upgrade dilemma when new versions come out. Can I really afford to learn the ins and outs of a new operating system? Well , it really hasn't been that painful. And I have been watching Linux for some time now. Linux has grown up. Linux is more ready for the desktop than critics think. I think since the computer has become "popular" with people who are use to turning appliances off and on, the expected results of plug and play, portability and the idea of anyone having access, the reality that a computer is a complex piece of machinery is being lost. The cry for standardization and dumbing things down (user-friendliness) so that even you can use it has been made. Linux has done a lot to accommodate easier use and offers a lot at a price that can not be beat. Why not give it a try? Once the smoke of marketing and user inertia clears, I think Linux will come up in the average users realm of choice.

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