back to article The missing five-minute Linux manual for morons

It is time to wake up and smell the elephant in the room. Vista is struggling to achieve escape velocity. Microsoft finds itself the butt of an international joke, but does not seem able to get a grip. The issue of choice of platform is once more up for grabs. Of course there is an alternative; a popular computing platform …

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  1. Ed
    Happy

    As usual...

    brilliant :) Thanks for all the advice.

  2. Rich

    ...or...

    You could try one of the BSDs? Compared to Linux, BSD has...

    - A simpler and more elegant configuration

    - It's more stable

    - It's doesn't suffer from the randomness in how its components work, the way Linux seems to; it's much less eclectic

    - It runs everything that Linux can (well, it would - BSD came first!)

    - It's "more free" (licensing) than Linux, which is attractive to the corporates out there

    On a completely different front, does anyone out there know WHY MS Windows suffers from the "not-responding-for-no-apparent-reason" issue? Or why it takes SO long just to delete a file? As far as I know, these problems have affected all versions of this abortion they call an OS. Seriously, I would REALLY like to know why this happens.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    sod?

    "and drop 1200 sods you can't really afford on a MacBook Air"

    As a Londoner but sadly not quite a pukka Cockney, I think the term you just failed to grasp is 1200 "sovs", as in sovereigns - a unit of currency no longer in regular use in the UK.

    Of Course I blame Arthur Daley... so many hanging on his use of slang in a desperate attempt to appear "cool". Always leads to people getting it wrong and just sounding... sad.

    Paris because she believes in the real freedom of "open source"

  4. Rukario

    Measurement of Windows time

    At least you recognised that it's an HOURGLASS, not an egg timer!

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fanboy

    I'm not a fanboy, I use Linux... Gentoo pwns all!

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stop spreading Windows FUD.

    It still runs on more than 90% of all desktop computers. Even though every year since 2003 has been heralded as the year of the linux desktop.

    And don't forget what bad stuff linux comes with : Driver incompatibility, recompiling the kernel (for the doing the simplest things at times), An office suite that is more or less useless (mainly because the documents are formatted differently when opened in MS Office), Firefox that can't auto update , The difficulty of installing apps that aren't in repositories , Horrible hibernation support , A PDF viewer that can't display PDFs correctly, A major release every 6 months with a new kernel (that breaks apps and drivers compatibility) ....

    And though you don't need to install security updates to Outlook Express, the hundreds of security updates that await you as soon as you're done installing are just as good.

    And then you have the community - I don't know most of them, but the rabid bunch of FOSS zealots at the core are a deal breaker...

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    or...

    you could go for a mac setup, which (apparently, I don't own one) seems more interopable and "usable" than linux has managed to be in ... oh i don't know... forever.

    I wouldn't recommend linux to my worst nightmare... install and app: where did it go?

    got new hardware: bet it doesn't work. Want a text editor: we give you 20... all different.

    However, a BSD variant (other than mac osx) does seem like a better alterntive to the dreaded linux.

    Bless... they are trying with linux... but geeks and nerds no nothing about "real" world users.

  8. Paul Webb

    sod?

    No, 'sod' is ok as is 'sob'. Now then, what would you do with 1200 Stobs?

  9. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    Happy

    RE: Rich

    Strange, isn't it? I think it's merely down to the lack of publicity it gets that FreeBSD rarely gets a look in. If you want real fun, try explaining the difference between FreeBSD and Linux to a Microsoft salesman, they just can't get their heads around it! Then again, please note Mr Stob doesn't waste any of his VIT (Very Important Time) on Slowaris x86......

  10. Ian Johnston
    Happy

    Beautifully put

    "The Windows pause, by which I mean that increasingly prevalent nothing-happening-for-no-reason delay that intrudes between the user poking and the software flinching."

    I love it!

  11. David

    Hourglass

    'Hour' being the operative word. Try timing eggs by one of those and they'd be inedible.

  12. Robin Stacey

    Not cool to try to be cool

    Wow. Ego alert.

    Dude, don't try to hard to sound hip and cool. It's not working. Seriously. Strip out the try-too-hard and there's no content worth talking about in this post.

    Yes, Linux rocks. Yes, Ubuntu is probably the best distribution around right now. Yes, it's worth trying if you're frustrated with Windows.

    There. I just said what you said in two lines, and without the crap padding wordy stuff.

  13. Olli Männistö
    Linux

    Joe

    Joe is supposed to be hard? Kids these days.

    When I was a student mid 90s, we were confronted by HP-UX system that was not set up at ALL with regards to users. So first thing you do when you try to write email is being confronted by the horror that is VI. Which is about as useful as a penguin on a bicycle when you have no instructions whatsoever available.

    After you manage to hunt down someone who can explain how I get out of this trap (except by closing session) and also get instructions on how to change the default editor to EMACS. When that LISP toting monstrosity has been configured to do something semi-useful after managing to obtain a booklet of sane settings file, you can actually write email! Hooray!

    Coming from there, Joe which actually has an on-screen cheat which tells you how to GET HELP and relatively simple set of keystrokes is about the simplest, userfriendliest piece of software you can imagine.

    Granted, they eventually had someone set up the student accounts in a sane way and started using pico or somesuch, that is even more newbie-friendly.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    re Or...

    "Bless... they are trying with linux... but geeks and nerds no nothing about "real" world users."

    ...but they might "know" how to spell though.

  15. b4k4
    Black Helicopters

    There - like I said!

    AC works for microsoft. An article poking fun at linux, incidently does the same to MS, and AC bites back about how bad linux is and how much better windows is.

    AC works for microsoft. His job is to write `anti-everything thats not MS` and pro-MS comments on tech sites, regardless of the actual content of the article. He obviously didn't read this one, right? One of his stock phrases is "recompiling the kernel", something that most linux users have never even heard of.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mac / Linux / BSD

    Am I missing some sort of joke here? You could rewrite the article (minus the drivers bit) with "OS X" instead of "Linux".

    Whoever said "Mr Stob" should apologise or leave.

  17. AntipodeanAdventure
    Jobs Halo

    Get the best of both, *nix with a decent front-end, get a Mac

    People seem to forget that Mac OS X is actually Unix (BSD Unix) so has all the 'back-end' benefits of Linux/Unix but with a good UI that doesn't have all the confused and fragmented user interface disasters of the (many) Linux distros.

    I've tried running Linux as a desktop, and got it working (with inevitable hassles) eventually but finally went straight to Mac OS X and have not looked back.

  18. Saucerhead Tharpe
    Black Helicopters

    Nice of you to set up a thread for the Trolls and FUD merchants to congregate on

    That way they can swap stories and tactics

  19. Bernhard Schulte

    You forgot...

    ... man pages for security critical apps which consist of nothing but a "Synopsis" in extended Backus-Knaur notation, that looks to the noob like somebody fell asleep on the keyboard. Often times the only universally intelligable sentence is: "Ask your system administrator".

    One of the lessons that the *nixes and Linux developers still need to learn: On the private desktop Joe and Jane User (who may well be noobs) need to do their own sys-adminning.

    Perhaps some of the "Beards" could opt to waste less time writing whingy nostalgia blogs and spend the odd hour massaging some of the man pages they left behind into a form suitable for average users.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Prod and wait

    Err, ever considered that if you are hitting delete and the files are taking two minutes to delete, including a redraw of the screen etc. etc. that something may actually be wrong and this isn't normal behaviour? If this is happening across your entire office I'd point the finger at your build having dodgy config/3rd party software.

    I see this a lot (and I'm not entirely inocent of it myself), Windows craps out or doesn't behave as expected and is slagged off for not just working, but Linux doesn't work properly and people are happy to spend a week tinkering to make it work.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    I upset my dog

    Thanks very much Mrs Stob, at last, an article by someone who has obviously actually used computers.

    You made me laugh and laugh loudly, much to my dog's consternation, who then started barking and running round the office.

    John

  22. Martin
    Happy

    @Robin Stacey

    This article is not an attempt to be "hip and cool". It's intended to be funny.

    You seem to have mislaid your sense of humour.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    Prefer Linux

    This view of Linux seems very outdated to me. I have been using a Macbook Pro at work for the last twelve months to edit videos and produce streaming media and DVDs. When it comes to doing other work, I find that all I want to do is hide the Macbook away and get on a Linux box. Linux still wins out for actual streaming of the media produced though.

    I much prefer Linux to anything out there at this time. It is intuitive, easy to use and just has the features that I expect from a modern OS. I mean, waiting 20 seconds sometimes for the context menu to appear in OSX from a right click is a pain in the arse and that is just one of dozens of small annoyances.

    When it comes to the proliferation of text editors, I call it choice. Pick one, learn it and stop even thinking about the others. (Mine's VIM).

    Linux used to be tough to pick up, but now there is nothing easier. The difficulty comes when moving from an OS that doesn't do things in the same way. Once the new way is learned, the old way seems clunky and frustrating. If I had to move back to Windows full time now, I would find it just as frustrating as a newb moving to Linux does. I am currently using this Macbook at work full time and although better than Windows, it doesn't even come close to being as good as a good Linux box.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Trolls and FUD merchants are missing the point

    It's a Stob article, remember? You are supposed to lie back and enjoy the humour, have a day off the zealotry and all that.

  25. peter
    Gates Halo

    BEOS / Haiku

    Only OS worth installing beside windows, it's called Haiku now.and evil Google are involved.

  26. Dave Driver
    Flame

    Why does everyone knock vi?

    It seems that every distro has its own favourite non-standard text editor, whether it be nano, pico, joe, kate, etc.

    What on earth is wrong with good old vi? I have been using vi for 20 years. It is immensely powerful, has a small footprint, and is the same on Solaris, HP-UX, AIX, Linux, FreeBSD, and probably every Unix style system around. FFS you can even get it to run on a DOS/Windows system. You don't have to re-learn an editor each time you use a different flavour of Linux.

    The only thing wrong with vi is that is not particularly intuitive. Get over it! It really is easy when you get used to it. Pick up a quick reference guide off the web and invest half an hour in learning how it works. You will then never need to learn another text editor. You CAN learn to love vi - I do. I really do!

  27. Luke Speer

    Bugger I'm alright jack.

    I Run Mac OSX 10.4.11 on a Old power Mac G4, Xp Pro on the Wifes Win Box the Boy Child set up as a Game Machine because she Needed it? , XP Pro and Xubuntu Hardy Beta on my Dell C400 Lattitude Laptop.

    All Boot up and all play the game.

    I'm currently waiting with bated breath for the (New BeOS) Haiku team and will probably run a Beta version up as soon as they release it.

  28. Carrie
    Linux

    First /3 years later - Linux setup ( is it really 22 years since no 1?)

    Hi Verity,

    You were the only other female software engineer in the '80's I ever met, You comforted me with Hash Bags, and warned me about Count Zero.

    I still have my 'Born to Compile' T shirt,

    I have discovered a new strategy!

    I have several good friends who pride themselves on their knowledge, and enjoy demonstrating same;

    I am a very good cook,

    The current offer for my (new ) linux install will be for a home server to do all the multi media.

    is:

    Starter:

    Coquille St Jacques - Scallops in sauce

    Main:

    Wild Salmon en croute - Salmon in pastry with veg.

    Pudding:

    Strawberry and Cream Profiteroles with Belgian Chocolate Sauce.

    (intended target is a fishy veggie - won't eat anything that escaped the primordial soup, likes pudding)

    I find this approach very effective, I can cook whilst they mutter, and listen to their triumphant explanation of what went wrong - and how they fixed it, in the sure and certain knowledge that they won't be able to resist the challenge of 'Whatever it Was' to come back and fix it, and try some Choux au crabe with Hollandaise Sauce, with Special Ginger pudding and Custard afterwards.

    Carrie

    IT Goddess

  29. Dan Haworth
    Stop

    WINDOWS FUD?

    To be honest, I'm not usually one to leap at anti Linux stuff, but this anonymous poster actually quite surprised me with the length that he/she will go to in looking stupid..

    > And don't forget what bad stuff linux comes with :

    > Driver incompatibility,

    Really? Erm, incompatibility how? Mine all seem to be living together like a little happy family on my dell D620. I see nothing incompatible about them?

    > recompiling the kernel (for the doing the simplest things at times),

    Now, honestly, are we still in the middle ages here? I've done many many simple things on my trusty box without having to delve into the kernel! In fact, the last time I was present in /usr/src for a kernel build was a good five years ago!

    > An office suite that is more or less useless (mainly because the documents are formatted differently when opened in MS Office)

    I'm certainly having more luck that most people on office 2007, shrug, go figure..

    > Firefox that can't auto update

    My Firefox updates its extensions and themes automatically perfectly fine. The download version from Mozilla also updates quite happily. As for my distro installed one, it updates perfectly happy through the repository.. where's the problem?

    > The difficulty of installing apps that aren't in repositories

    Okay, fair enough. But i can throw this right back, go install something for windows not packaged in an msi/other installer. Unzip this, stick this there, or here, or what.. you put it on a d drive? noo cant do that!

    Since moving from windows, the repository has been a joy to use. One simple, common interface that manages my whole system along with all its installed software, updates and patches. Heavenly.

    > Horrible hibernation support

    *pulls out power cord, closes lid, power light pulses and laptop goes quiet...*

    *goes to make coffee*

    *returns with hot coffee, opens lid, noise returns, desktop appears as i left it, wireless reconnects to AP, applications sign in again*

    sorry, what were you going on about??

    > A PDF viewer that can't display PDFs correctly

    Again, I'm opening PDF's just fine.. and definitely not missing the 128mb Adobe bloat.

    > A major release every 6 months with a new kernel

    Yay for keeping things up to date! its great isn't it :)

    (that breaks apps and drivers compatibility) ....

    I certainly haven't seen any major breakage during the last four major release updates I've done. Care to elaborate on this one?

    But no, seriously, I'm not a Linux fanboy by any length, certainly not a zealot. I use Linux every day on my work laptop, doing a real job because I need to get things done. Perhaps I'm just lucky but I've experienced none of the issues you're talking about here.

  30. brian
    Boffin

    @AC

    "Recomplie the kernel"????

    I've been using Linux for years. Everything in this office except one laptop is Linux and I've never had to recompile anything. Try using it instead of "spouting off"

  31. Chris
    Happy

    Haha, good stuff

    Excellent piece, had a good laugh ;-)

    On a side-note: these days, if you install eg. Mandriva or PCLinuxOS, there is nothing to set up. Installing these is many times easier than getting for instance XP to work from scratch. The reason Windows 'seems' easier is because in a computer shop, you get the machine with Windows pre-installed.

    You really see an 'average Joe User' install XP from a cd, install/download/configure all his hardware drivers, upgrade to XP SP2, download/set up antivirus/malware protection/firewalling software?? I don't think so!

  32. Jon Green
    Thumb Up

    Re: Why does everyone knock vi?

    Agree. After years of using emacs, and numerous GUI editors (credit to Microsoft, Visual Studio always was pretty good for code editing), I still prefer vi -- gvim, to be exact -- even on the PC. It's a tradeoff of pretty against quick, and these days I really don't care about pretty.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    Binary turd

    "lay a small binary turd".... this one had me chuckling for quite a while...!

  34. JimC

    Joe...

    I guess when the generation (like me) that has those wordstar keystrokes permanently burned into the neurons finally passes to the great bit bucket in the sky then the need for joe will pass. As it is all the kiddies can't understand why I insist on installing it on all our Linux servers:-)

  35. Ken Hagan Gold badge
    Stop

    Re: Why does everyone knock vi?

    "The only thing wrong with vi is that is not particularly intuitive. Get over it!"

    Sorry, no. I *refuse* to "get over" any editor that is *necessarily* harder to use than Notepad. Whether it be running is GUI or CUI mode, I *demand*...

    an obvious way to quit without making changes.

    that the arrow keys move a visible insertion point around the text

    that it is obvious how to access other commands

    Consider this a "Bill of Rights" for the average user. There are many excellent reasons why you might want to use a more powerful editor than Notepad. I've used things like sed, to which the very notion of cursor keys and insertion point are alien. But still, I consider the above a fundamental right, if only on the grounds that if you are too lazy to provide *that* then I don't trust you to have written the rest to any acceptable quality.

  36. Peter Simpson
    Linux

    Easy way to try Linux

    I've found that usually, when I begin to think about replacing Windows on a machine, it's also time for a hard drive upgrade.

    I present, free of charge, my method for success: pull out the original hard drive and replace with a larger one, purchased at Newegg for under $100 (much less than the cost of an OEM copy of WinXP). Do a clean install of the Linux distro of your choice on your new, larger, drive. Should anything go wrong, you always have your "old reliable" Windows drive, which you could reinstall.

    Thank you.

  37. The Other Steve
    Joke

    Whiney little maggots - redux

    I realise that it's Monday, and you're probably insufficiently caffeinated , but honestly, get a fucking sense of humour between you.

    Mind you, having said that :

    @ Dave Driver

    No! Not vi! vi is evil!* I'd rather eat warm dog turd than use vi.

    *If for no other reason, because Stallman hated it so much that he took his revenge by inflicting Emacs on the world. That's a whole bucket load of evil to be responsible for right there.

    And also :

    @brian

    I've been using linux for more than a decade, and I've recompiled thousands of things. If you've never recompiled a kernel, you just aren't trying hard enough

    ^--- CAN YOU ALL SEE THAT ICON ?

  38. Antoinette Lacroix

    Ubuntu my *#@§

    Most Linux installations only exist, coz it's not Windows. It's users expect it to be just like Win - only for free. They get what they ask for - an "easy to use", bloated mess.

    How about doin it right ? Get a BSD. Build the Kernel and the modules you need. Build the software you need. If you don't want that - get a Mac.

    Linux ? Who needs Linux ?

  39. calagan

    @AntipodeanAdventure

    MacOSX sorely misses an out-of-the-box package manager like you find on modern Linux distros (Synaptics on Ubuntu, Portage on Gentoo, Yum on RedHat...).

    Fink seems to do the job, but it takes forever to install as you have to compile it (at the time of writing, there's no binary available for 10.5.2) especially if you want to use the latest XCode, which is a 1GB download from Apple (after registration).

  40. Rich

    Re: Get the best of both, *nix with a decent front-end, get a Mac

    God no!

    I have a Mac - BIG mistake!!!! The hardware is ok, but the OS is a bastardised BSD with a split personality. The GUI is AWFUL!!! And I mean AWFUL. It has so many basic design flaws and little annoyances, it drives me nuts on a regular basis. And I'm not comparing it with Windows. I'm comparing it with common sense.

  41. Vic

    Re: Why does everyone knock vi?

    > I *demand*...

    >

    > an obvious way to quit without making changes.

    :q . Seems simple enough.

    > that the arrow keys move a visible insertion point around the text

    Yep. I like that about vi too.

    > that it is obvious how to access other commands

    There's a built-in help page...

    > I've used things like sed, to which the very notion of cursor keys and insertion

    > point are alien.

    No you haven't. sed is a stream editor. You don't use it interactively.

    > But still, I consider the above a fundamental right

    Looks like you're a vi devotee too :-)

  42. Nic Brough
    Linux

    Re: Stop spreading Windows FUD.

    Sorry, but which versions of Windows and Linux are you using? 5 years ago, I'd agree with all but one of your comments, but now, it's obvious you aren't using the current facts.

    From my personal experience...

    On my laptop at home (which is an off-the-shelf job with a handful of random devices attached)

    >Driver incompatibility,

    XP is flawless

    Vista can't cope with the graphics, sound, wireless or most of my USB kit. Hours on google still can't fix wireless or half the USB stuff.

    Ubuntu failed on the wireless card, but 30 seconds on google fixed it

    >recompiling the kernel

    Nope, not needed for anything I've wanted to try out.

    >An office suite that is more or less useless (mainly because the documents are formatted differently when opened in MS Office),

    This is the one I still tend to agree with, but most of my work does not go to people who would read it in Office.

    >Firefox that can't auto update ,

    Eh? Have you used version 2 or above yet?

    >The difficulty of installing apps that aren't in repositories

    Repositories are as easy as MSI or self-installers (actually usually easier)

    Non-repository applications are the same as windows apps that arrive with a long string of "unpack, copy, hack registry, insert cronbubbly in the doomwranger" style instructions.

    The overwhelming majority of real users out there won't install non-repository apps - we just don't need them.

    >Horrible hibernation support

    XP - 99.9% (it bluescreens now and then)

    Vista - 50% chance of it not restoring hibernated session, no reason given

    Ubuntu - 99% (it fails to recognise that I have swapped the hardware in the DVD/CD/Floppy removable drive)

    >A PDF viewer that can't display PDFs correctly,

    Um, vi is not a PDF viewer...

    >A major release every 6 months with a new kernel (that breaks apps and drivers compatibility)

    XP - Fine

    Vista - Service pack broke half the hardware I'd struggled to get working

    Ubuntu - Never had an app or driver break on upgrade

    Don't get me wrong - I'm not a Linux fanboy, and I'm not convinced it's ready for the casual user - I'm simply annoyed by the suggestion that this article is spreading Windows FUD when the "evidence" is either MS-sponsored anti-Linux FUD or 5 years out of date?

    Or did I miss the "joke alert" symbol?

    Yours, a Mac Fanboy

    Tux, cos there's no iFlame icon...

  43. James Anderson Silver badge
    Flame

    vi

    It is very bad taste to post a serious comment to one of <bold>Ms</bold> Stobbs excellent articles. But as evrybody else has ...

    "vi" is htere on linux because its wanted. vi or rather vim is the most popular editor among developers. Its a fact and I will repeat it "vi is the most popular editor among developers".

    There are many reasons for this - portability, speed, usefulness, you cannot astound people with you ksh skills unless you really know vi etc. etc.

    It does have a leaning curve like the North Face of the Eiger, but anyone who does administration on unix servers needs to learn it anyway. The same is also true for its only real rival "emacs". This fact alone accounts for all those other editors with varying combinations of ease of learning/usefulness installed that come with by default.

    Unlike windows which comes with Notepad and nothing else!

  44. Rich

    Re: Ubuntu my *#@§

    "How about doin [sic] it right ? Get a BSD. Build the Kernel and the modules you need. Build the software you need. If you don't want that - get a Mac."

    I've used OpenBSD for years on my server and on my desktop. I've never had to compile the kernel. Indeed, doing so is actively discouraged by the OpenBSD people. You only need to consider compiling the kernel if you are doing something special like trying to make it run on a very small system with very limited resources.

    As an aside, I find it very very sad that the BSDs don't get the attention they deserve. Why isn't this article entitled "The missing five-minute BSD manual for morons"? Linux is a badly behaved runt in comparison to BSD; it's thrown together, rather than elegantly constructed like the BSDs, it's MUCH more complex to configure (compare the /etc of a Linux box with that of a BSD one and decide which one YOU prefer!), it's peppered with inconsistent and buggy stuff. It's yuk!

  45. James Pickett
    Gates Horns

    Windows FUD

    "It still runs on more than 90% of all desktop computers"

    That still leaves quite a few million more enlightened users! And what definition of the word 'run' were you thinking of..?

    I loved the No.1 detective agency pastiche, too.

  46. Dave Driver
    Coat

    Serious comments

    > It is very bad taste to post a serious comment to one of

    > <bold>Ms</bold> Stob's excellent articles. But as everybody else has ...

    <BLUSH> You're right, sorry. </BLUSH>

    Mine's the anorak.

  47. Nick L

    @Paul Webb

    >Now then, what would you do with 1200 Stobs?

    Hmm, so many choices ... well I'd start by installing Linux on 1/3 of them, BSD on another third, Windows on another third and MacOS on the last third (shurely some mistake ?). Then I'd get the whipped cream and chocolate spread out and .... err ....

    +++ERROR IN FANTASY, REDO FROM START+++

    NO CARRIE[[[_^QQQz

  48. George Johnson
    Thumb Up

    @Dan Haworth - Nice one

    Nice one Dan, for sticking up for common sense!

    Yes many eons ago, back in the bad old days those points the AC raised were very true, last time I recompiled a kernel was in 1998 to get some weird SCSI thing working on SuSE!

    To all, if you still think Linux is full of these nasty points AC raised, download a bootable CD of Ubuntu/Kubuntu 7.10 and think again. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised and you never know you might even make some new friends. I'm not ramming home how great it is, it just works for me. You should always be open to something new once in a while, with a bootable live CD if it doesn't work out, what have you lost?

    A note to the burke who thinks that Linux forum zealots need locking up, you should take a wander through the Ubuntu forums, a nicer, more helpful bunch I have never had the pleasure to befriend. Always have time for a newbie, always polite and courteous. If you turn up from Windows land and demand to know why Linux/OSX/BSD won't simply run EXE files, maybe you should visit your local Kwik-Fit and ask why your petrol motor choked when you pumped in 5 gallons of diesel, much the same reaction will be forthcoming!

  49. Peter Kay

    What's wrong with vi...?

    Well, for a start it's closely tied to QWERTY keyboards, which doesn't help if, for instance, you're using a hardwired Dvorak keyboard. Mind you, could be worse, hjkl in vi is just about ok to use on Dvorak, but Wordstar/joe was designed to be even more QWERTY specific (it's called wordSTAR, because it refers to a star of keyboard letters..)

    Once you get over the directional letters, vi isn't that bad, and for those that don't understand arrow key mapping problems - have you never installed or recovered *nix via an extremely basic serial terminal?

    I remain to be convinced that Emacs is anything other than the creation of a sick mind, but then again I did use to like things like EPM and the X2 editor.

    Personally I'm a fan of BSD Unix, although I have to also say that Vista can be pretty fast once you turn some of the stupid window animations off, and Ultimate comes with a downloadable Unix subsystem (Interix repackaged).

  50. b
    Thumb Up

    great read!

    well written article.

    excellent.

  51. Richard Kay
    Linux

    A PDF viewer that can't display PDFs correctly

    Acrobat doesn't display PDFs correctly if it helps content creators to force document readers to hand type copied text rather than use the normal operating system copy and paste facility. See http://www.jerrybrito.com/tag/drm/ for a screenshot of how you can be denied access to copy and paste if you are a Microsoft/Adobe user and http://copsewood.net/tic/sectheory/drm/content_protection.html for a screenshot showing that Linux/Evince users are not restricted in this way.

  52. Luther Blissett

    *nix on a scale 1 (easy) to 10 (hard)

    1. Spotting the command prompt

    2. Recompiling the kernel

    :

    8. Using vi (from hand-written crib sheet)

    9. Learning vi

    10. Hacking a device driver

    11. Hacking the kernel

    Cant wait for Haiku if the reports are for real - the blogs will be sooo short and sweet.

  53. Jeff
    Paris Hilton

    Re: BSD

    Which BSD package has even a fraction of the out-of-the-box usability that Ubuntu does, especially with a broad range of hardware? I agree FreeBSD is a superior, sleek and uber-stable package for those with a modicum of UNIX experience, but user-friendly it ain't. And saying it can run anything Linux can is an outright lie!

    Paris because she needs all the user-friendliness she can get.

  54. Sean Nevin

    How I remember how to quit vi

    Esc Escape this

    : colon thing,

    q Quit and do

    ! NOT

    Enter Return

    Great article by the way.

    As regards to this whole Windows vs Linux thing, I have never before spoken on this subject (at least not on the internet). I remember I read a software development book once that said there is really no *better* language than any other. It depends primarily on what you're trying to do and how well you know it.

    While I personally have very little liking (or use) for Windows, I realize that Linux is not for everyone, any more than Windows is good for the clued individuals.

    Remember, whatever a user can screw up, they will screw up. Time spent making software that aims toward user friendliness, is generally better spent making the user more computer literate.

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    @Robin Stacey

    "Dude, don't try to hard to sound hip and cool."

    It's Verity.

    You fail at Stob.

  56. Rich

    Re: Re BSD

    "I agree FreeBSD is a superior, sleek and uber-stable package for those with a modicum of UNIX experience, but user-friendly it ain't. And saying it can run anything Linux can is an outright lie!"

    I don't use FreeBSD (I use OpenBSD) but to say it's not friendly is nonsense. You seem to be comparing it to Ubuntu, so what exactly is unfriendly about FreeBSD (or indeed any of the BSDs) compared to Ubuntu? Have you ever actually USED BSD?

    As for it not being able to run anything Linux can, yes it can!!! BSD can run anything Linux can, either natively, or if the program you are referring to uses Linux-specific libraries that have not been ported to BSD, then usually via Linux emulation. What can't you run on BSD that you can run on Linux? Do you have an example? If it's something that's been written specifically for Linux and has just not been ported over yet, then I think you'll find that it can be (usually very easily) ported across. Currently, the OpenBSD "ports" collection presently contains about 4360 ready-to-run packages. That's pretty good :-) ...and certainly all the main programs that Jo User will want to use are there - office, editors, graphics stuff, CD burners etc etc...

    I could be wrong, but I suspect you don't actually know what you are talking about.

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Interesting...

    How on the one hand 1/2 the people in this forum are saying Linux == Easy; then the other half are arguing about vi. Can't you see the irony. Yes, any geek worth their salt knows that :q (from command mode) will get you out of vi (unless you need :q!); but what about real people. Once you are into vi, unless you know some basic commands its impossible to get out. The same is true of emacs as well. The average Joe probably has a computer for a standard set of things: opening documents from work (probably in an MS Office file format); playing a few games; sorting out the pictures from the digital camera; and downloading a bit of pr0n. And without a doubt the best system to do that on remains Windows.

    Mac fan-bois need not apply by the way. Providing a crippled OS with limited hardware compatibility doesn't even buy you a place on most trials.

  58. Oli Wright
    Stop

    RE: Stop spreading Windows FUD.

    Honestly, everything you've said there is akin to the bloke who told me that he doesn't like Java because it doesn't have generics. Please update your opinion!

    Incidentally, comparing vi to notepad doesn't work as far as I'm concerned. I find vi incredibly useful for a lot of my quick data / script manipulation operations at work but notepad useful when I want to write blocks of unformatted text (which I'm invariably going to use somewhere else). I just consider them to be very different tools.

  59. Ishkandar

    @Olli Männistö

    You WIMP !! VI works perfectly on my VT100 RIGHT NOW !! Millions of lines of code have been written using vi after the consumption of 10s of millions of cups of coffee and 100s of millions of cigarettes and millions of sp......never mind... !!

    Aaaagh !! You kids know nothing about the glorious days of computing !! Now, it's all WIMPy stuff !!

    REAL PROGRAMMERS DON'T NEED "HELP" BUTTONS !!

    Stob, you lay off with them nasty cracks about Word !! Many's the day (and night) that I have slaved over a Word document that was need like yesterday and to be printed on an RX-80 which sounded like WW3 just started 6 inches from my ear !!

  60. vincent himpe

    @rich : why windows takes so long to delete a file

    simple. because it has to make an entry in the wastebasket including details where the file resides ( the file does not get moved but the entire directory chain and a lot of other stuff get mrked in the wastebasbasket 'entry' so the file can be restored. as long as the file is in the wastebasket it can not be overwritten either. So the space isn't actually 'freed'.

    want a simple solution ? hold down the <shift> key and then press <delete>. -klonk- ... file gone without the wastebasket. instantaneous

  61. TeeCee Gold badge
    Happy

    @Peter Kay

    So, vi's big problem is that it's difficult with Dvorak keyboards? I've got news for you, if you cut all your fingers off and feed 'em through a mincer before using it it's bleedin' impossible.

    But then, why would you want to.........?

    Joking aside, the .exrc is your friend. I'll bet a quick search will find a nice pre-prepared one for you to play with.

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    random abuse

    Freetards,

    Paytards,

    Ubuntards,

    Regtards,

    Beardtards,

    etc.

    Thankyou, and good evening.

  63. Richard

    The great *BSD and VI love in ...

    Its nice to see I'm not the only BSD and/or vi fan here!

    vi is burnt in to my fingers (I tried emacs once or twice but like all drugs I shied away from it ... even though RMS wrote it, it still rots the brain 8-) and so its my editor of choice (in whatever new fangled flavour). I also speak fluent sed and awk and often write scripts using "cat > script.sh".

    BSD is "the one true unix" (tm) and I cut my mid-range teeth on it back in '85 at Uni. Its been my bestest friend in computing ever since. I use Macs and OSX for the front-end gui stuff but the servers have FreeBSD 6.x/7.x ... have been known to sneak it in to work on the premise of a "pilot" or "proof of concept" solution and then have to "port" it to Red Hat (cp and make is all that is required with our POSIX friends) or a <big-iron>UNIX</big-iron> for production use 8-(

    Have Linux on an eeePC and it has been annoying me by dropping the HSPDA modem connections and refusing to work again .. bleeding edge drivers is not always a good place to be.

    Remember that Linux is actually Linux kernel + GNU/BSD FOSS ... so until I need device drivers that only work in a Linux kernel then I'll stick with *BSD ta.

    :wq

  64. Ivan Lozowy

    Who's Zawinski's PR manager?

    Sorry. Don't know about the rest of the recommended links, but "Netscape/emacs legend Jamie Zawinski's famous rant about Linux video players" was a complete bore.

  65. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    Unhappy

    RE: Dave Driver, Jon Green, James Anderson

    Sorry, I can't agree. Vi certainly is the same on all the OS mentioned in that it is equally PAINFUL on all! I have used vi for many years and I still detest it. I am sick and tired of hairy-chested masochistic Linux users telling me its the best thing since self-flagellation when it is basically cr*p and should have been ditched long ago. Even the old DOS EDIT was far superior.

  66. Herbert Meyer
    Linux

    new question

    Linux suffers from a multiple personality disorder, is it a command line hulk for suspendered unix geeks, a flashy hacker toy for web 2.0 geeks, or a cheap workhorse for IT geeks ? All of these questions contain the word "geek".

    The new question does not have geek in it. Is Linux the best OS for the hot boxes, the subnotebook flash boxes, Eee, CloudBook, classMate, OLPC, or whatever the HP is called. These boxen are the future. The users are not geeks. They want a cheap, simple appliance. A sawed off Linux fits very well.

    Windows, MacOX, and full strength Linux are too big, complex, and not worth the bother for most humans. And not reliable enough. And WAY too expensive, a $300 computer does not allow a $250 license fee. Or a $600 office suite.

  67. Joe
    Joke

    But!

    Will it work on my ZX81?

  68. Dave Driver

    :wq

    Am I the only one who uses ZZ instead of :wq?

    :x is the same.

    Always more than one way...

  69. Richard

    @new question

    The linux distro used on the eee is okay (xandros I think) and for most people should just work ... I've only had a problem with the HSDPA 3G networking side not with the rest of the distro.

    Out of the box the eee "just works" with linux and with the packages included is actually very useful; OpenOffice lets me work on MSWord documents, Firefox lets me log in to corporate webmail with no issues, and I've just found the "Planetarium" package which excellent and very useful to have on a tiny portable as you can be out and about at night and when looking up know what you are looking at 8-)

    I'm not sure what, if anything, they have "sawed off" of Linux (the kernel that is) but the applications are only limited by the available disk space as its [almost] easy to add extra onces from outside the Asus eee distribution.

  70. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    The problem with alternate OSs

    I tried Ubuntu on my Dell 9600. I wiped the HD, and started with a clean install. It didn't take me very long to get things up to snuff -just had to find and update a few drivers, tweak some settings, download some of the apps I like, etc. At the end of a week, I had a perfectly usable computer for surfing the web, email, document creation, etc (although the touch pad was hyper sensitive and the front sound control buttons didn't work).

    Then I tried installing my games. Nothing I play ran.

    NADA.

    After a another week of suffering from cool game withdrawal I wiped the HD and reinstalled XP.

    Alternate OS's are fine for some people, but not for gamers. (And no, running it in Wine doesn't count).

  71. Rukario
    Gates Horns

    @vincent: Shift-delete to bypass wastebasket/recycle bin

    May have to cancel and do it again, as Billware will "helpfully" offer to place in wastebasket anyway.

  72. paulc
    Stop

    I'm confused...

    I must be doing something wrong... I've been using Linux now since 1999 and I have never yet had to recompile a kernel... or resort to a MAN page...

  73. Mike
    Linux

    Linux is not Windows.

    Go google "linux is not windows". Scroll down to the section "Problem #7..."

    A quote:

    Linux is not interested in market share. Linux does not have customers. Linux does not have shareholders, or a responsibility to the bottom line. Linux was not created to make money. Linux does not have the goal of being the most popular and widespread OS on the planet.

    All the Linux community wants is to create a really good, fully-featured, free operating system. If that results in Linux becoming a hugely popular OS, then that's great. If that results in Linux having the most intuitive, user-friendly interface ever created, then that's great. If that results in Linux becoming the basis of a multi-billion dollar industry, then that's great.

    -end quote-

    Don't like it? Go use something else.

  74. Ty Cobb
    Linux

    Interesting... @ Interesting by AC

    Sorry,

    After constantly picking up malware under Windows while surfing for pr0n, and ZERO under Ubuntu - the obvious choice is .... Linux

  75. Steven Hewittt
    Coat

    It's usability

    The problem isn't that quality of the OS, it's the stuff behind it.

    As a tech savvy Windows user, I can happily walk up to a Mac user and give them support. Personally I can't stand the overpriced arogant pieces of shit (or the machine), but it's GUI is pretty good and the jargon used on a Mac is the same as what is used in Windows - English.

    There's no "Yum". There's Apple Updater and Windows Updates. WTF is "Yum"?

    And, my lovely Penguin hugging friends, average people like me do need to recompile Kernels. Had a great little XP box working till just over a year ago. It had a NetGear wireless card in and worked just fine. Thought I'd try out Linux (again, after the last time when it shat its "user friendly" and "out of the box it just works" CLI on my cause I changed the resolution!!!!).

    No drivers, no way of getting around it. Then of course there is something called NDISWrapper but to be honest I'd rather look into quantum mechanics or something less geeky.

    I want an OS that works out of the box, that when it breaks (through drivers, software etc.) I DON'T get dumped to some stupid command line, that doesn't have 400 different distro's and I don't want to have to reinstall the bloody thing every 6 months to keep up to date.

    Linux is a great OS, and I love it for running websites and also for firewalls. Also rocks in purpose built-appliances (again, F/W, SSL-VPN devices, eeePC etc.).

    But stop kidding yourselves. Until the community grows up with stupid fucking names for applications that Mac and Windows users take for granted (The update example) and have a decent way of recovering a system that's logical for most people to follow without having a piss-smelling, bearded geek connected using serial to Bash, then it's not going to take over the world.

    MS's market share won't dip below 50% until at least 2018. You've been harping on about Linux on the desktop since 2000 and earlier. "This is the year" they cry. Each year a massive failure.

    I'm not against the idea of it, but your kidding yourselves if you really think Linux is going to get anything more than a 1% growth in the next few years in terms of desktop market share.

    Sort out the stupid number of distro's, remove the kiddy and geek names please, and for the love of God don't shove me into a fucking CLI when you crash. You're pretending to be Windows remember - Kernel panic, followed by a reboot, followed by a list of options (Safe Mode, Last Known Good Config, AutoRepair, System Restore).

    Stop harping on about it and fucking do it.

    Linux - the little boys OS

  76. vincent himpe
    Stop

    my issues with linux

    before i start : i have issues with windows too. There is no way vista gets on my machines .

    a couple of problems i encountered using Linux ( Ubuntu )

    1) apt-get a package and install. No shortcuts created in the start menu. Where the hell is the thing ?

    2) apt-get prompts : prerequisites blablabla. Do the prerequisites. Other stuf fno longer works. ( Updated python , updated mysql , installed new apache which lost all settings ( settings should be transferred .. )

    And here is the kicker for me : what good is a 'perfect' operating system if there is no software for it ? For me an operating system is a layer on top of the hardware that allows you to run applications. For what i need/want to do at HOME ( i am not talking work that has $$$ to buy software ) i simply can't find the software. Where is a Photoshop , Adobe Premiere ( both Elements and the full blown one ) equivalent for Linux/BSD ? Please save me 'The Gimp' . I tried it. Doesn't even come close to photoshop. How about paintshop or photoalbum ? How about blu-ray player software or writing program ? Lightscribe program ? How about a simple program like a nice label editor to print cd and dvd-labels Lets say something like Surething Labelmaker ? How about the drivers for my 4 printers that lets me use the built in scanner, fax cd printer, wide format photoprinter? (no linux drivers for those things....) Let's see what else do i use frequently. Ah yes. A BASIC compiler for Linux .. How about an excel compatible spreadsheets that can actually run the VB macros ?

    All i see coming from the Linux world is endless discussions about colorscemes , vi vs emacs, gnome vs kde. Even microsoft updates their desktop look only once every five years or so ... I don't need this glitzy eye-candy. All i want is a button to click that does things.

    Enough with all the distros, desktops, and editors. Build some applications for crying out loud ! Applications that work and that are functionally equivalent, with what we have on Windows, uncluding method of deployment and ease of use.

    I do run linux at home as well, but it's bloody hard to figure out sometimes. Twenty years ago i wrote TSR's under DOS4.1 using TASM ( Turbo Assembler ) .. Today ? I'm not interested anymore. I don't care about the 'operating system' anymore. I use applications. Depending on the applications i want to run i will select the OS that has the best apps. Right now That is windows for 95 % of my stuff. and Linux for 5% (My little LAMP installation for my own webserver, and my 2 NAS boxes ) Life is too short to sit inside fiddling with command prompts. The sun is shining outside ! let's go to the beach . Play ball, Surf , have a barbeque with friends. Snap some fotos or shoot some video. Load it on the computer , tweak them , make a nice photo album , slideshow or home-movie. Add some effects , title, print them in full color or burn them onto a DVD or Blu-ray disk and print a label for them ( or print directly to disk ). Post them to my webserver so i , family and frinds can relive it and think back at the fun we had. And i prefer to do all that with no command prompt ! And i don't care if it was done with windows, Linux , BSD , MacOS , Solaris or Irix. Easiest does it.

  77. Andrew Sheehy

    Prod and wait

    I don't like to post a somewhat serious response to a fun article but as a recovering Windows support tech who has read lots of packet sniff collections of MS network cruft, I can't stand to see someone experiencing the prod and wait phenomenon without sharing some common causes.

    Some common causes are:

    1. MS Outlook - No surprise there, but MS Outlook is a network pig that insists on sending out a horrible number of "are you still there" minimum size packets to the MS Exchange server. If the MS Exchanger server is slow or is accessed over a WAN link, then MS Outlook will slow down the entire OS. Easiest way to fix is turn on the "Connect to my Exchange mailbox using HTTP" option. It is a much more sane way for Outlook to jabber at the Exchange server.

    2. Shortcuts to files on servers on the other side of a WAN link - If you are the kind of person with shortcuts littered throughout the desktop and start menu, this will slow down the entire OS because almost every time you ask the OS to do something, it will send out 'are you there' minimum sized packets to all the servers where you have shortcuts before it does what you want it do. Seems insane, but there you have it. Best way to fix it is to not have shortcuts that point to servers that are not on your LAN.

    3. Shortcuts to files that don't exist - See point 2 but multiply the effect by about 10 because the file is not there, which means more jabbering (are you really, really, really not there?). The fix is to clean up your shortcuts.

    4. Some turd decided to redirect your 'My Documents' to a file server that is on the other side of a WAN - See point 2 but now add in even more 'are you there' packets because the one folder the OS must see is on the other side of WAN link. This is hard to fix because 9 times out of 10, a MS drone has set this configuration up centrally and is managing your desktop :p

    These problems are common in business networks where servers have been consolidated into a couple of data centers (who knows where) but the MS drones have not consulted the network folks on the impact of latency introduced by *all* WAN links on the OS's that are used. The fact is, Windows is set up for LAN latencies and even an extra 5 ms of latency causes the Windows OS's to pause when poked. It can't be fixed by buying more bandwidth. It is a function of latency. Try searching the interweb for Big Fat Pipes if you want an eye opener on the subject.

    MS Windows can be modified somewhat via the registry to reduce the impact of latency higher than LAN latency, but for that, you must do more research (and not be locked out of it by the MS drones).

  78. Herby

    Everybody knows VI is...

    ...VI. Nothing more. Nothing less. It has been that way since I started using it on a System 3 machine back in the 80's. If you want another editor, feel free to write it and have your fun. VI for all its uglyness (it has lots) seems to work OK. It also has the advantage that it is everywhere. Even on the silly HP/UX box. Yes, it is some junky variant that does some things a little bit differently, but it is VI through and through. As for the Windows people, if you want an editor, go back to EDLIN and cry there. Yes, it was everywhere (still is on XP).

    As for editors, my personal favorite was EDT for DEC boxes. It worked quite well, and even was modeless. At least we aren't talking about EMACS which one can genuinely get LOST in. It probably has a mode that figures out your taxes (being April 15 is tomorrow).

  79. StopthePropaganda

    ironic

    I'm downloading ubuntu right now for my first attempt to build a Linux box.

    Can I get the swearing file in a .txt file so I don't run out or repeat obscenities?

    Seriously, thanks for the checksum remider

  80. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    re: If you can't get Vista, Linux or OS X running

    then perhaps it is time to look for an alternative line in work

    and who is this Mr Stob? I am sure Verity Stob is female

  81. ImaGnuber
    Heart

    Banned!

    Anyone who has mentioned, or intends to mention, either vi or emacs is hereby banned for life from commenting on usability or quality or anything else that normal humans look for in any product.

    @Steven Hewittt: I agree completely re the stupid names. A name should give some idea of the function! Enough! Grow Up! And that cutesy penguin belongs at Toys'R'Us.

    Ubuntu gets a lot of press but it always craps out for me. Mandriva, on the other hand, never ever fails to work perfectly right out of the box.

    Great, very funny article by Verity. Got some nice shots in at everyone.

    (Linux lover here)

  82. Daniel B.

    Redux

    @Binary turd - its called a "coredump" anyway, isn't it? It takes a dump ;)

    @Dave, using ZZ - I didn't know that shortcut until I started working with some old school UNIXers. Much quicker than :x (my previous usage)

    @BSDers, general - What the hell is wrong with you guys? One of the main reasons I don't even try BSD is *because* of BSDites throwing crap against Linux, Linux users, whatever. One of the reasons FOSS solutions are sometimes not considered is because some businesses think FOSS is all about bragging "my wang is larger than your wang" or "my BSD totally 0wns j00r Linux for faggots" talk. IIRC, BSD's have strayed away from the Unix98 PTYs, instead using the ugly /dev/ttyXX convention; and consider some POSIX stuff a mistake (google for POSIX_MISTAKE flags.)

    Zealots are also the main reason I have not re-embraced the Macintosh. Think about it.

  83. Brian Sherwood Jones
    Paris Hilton

    Tiddlywiki as alternative to mediawiki

    Do have a look at Tiddlywiki before getting too committed to mediawiki.

    Loved the article. "Wake up and smell the elephant in the room" is a classic.

    Paris looking sad hearing about a tiddler.

  84. J
    Linux

    A title is required :-)

    Fun article, thanks!

  85. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    This comment section now needs an airstrike to be called in

    It's getting as bad as the "Jesus Phone" flypaper in the hardware section.

    "Hello? Mr. Maliki? Yeah, I have got some kind of insurgents here at map coordinates V-STOB, could you please tell your Big Daddy?"

    And WHO has time enough to seriously try several OSs and then give an opinion about it? Do you guys have several lifetimes stashed away or what?

  86. Jeremy
    Heart

    "Lays a small binary turd in situ"

    Note to self: Never, Never, NEVER read Stob while drinking tea - it's seriously bad for your monitor.

    That had me in stitches for an embarrassingly long time.

  87. Nicholas Petreley
    Stop

    Excellent, but one correction

    Linux, or more specifically, GNOME does have a registry of sorts. It's a by-product of some misguided developers (probably previously associated with Ximian) who actually think it's a good idea to imitate what Microsoft does.

  88. Brian Whittle
    Coat

    Linux not good for the none geek

    I have dabbled in Linux in various flavors and its fiddly to set up programs/drivers depending what typw you use compiling programs to get them to run is a no starter for the none technical.

    So that leaves mac or windows PCs (Ihave both) there are killer apps on Windows that make it a must have for me

    Ho and leave out on the Vista Bashing its getting old

  89. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    My OS brings all the boys to the bar

    And they're like, "it's better than yours"

    Damn right, it's better than yours

    I could teach you, but I'd have to charge

    Yeah, bring on the airstrike, these comments are up to nerd factor 12 now and it's beyond a joke.

  90. DirkGently
    Thumb Up

    Thanks for the belly laugh...

    I think this is the first El Reg article that I have had uncontrollable fits of laughter at. Ubuntu on my shoe? LOL

    I agree that Linux is still a little way away from being a perfect desktop OS, but it wipes the floor with MS on the server side.

  91. Lars Silver badge
    Happy

    About editors

    As I dont know Chinese i find it very difficult to use.

    In reality, I suppose it is not more difficult than any other language.

    It is the same thing with Editors either you know them or not.

    Vi is such an Editor. It is easy, it is fast, and works (fast) with very large files.

    The Vi editors of to day, however, are not the same programs as you found on HP/UX, Sco, ForPro etc. long ago.

    Vim, for instance has many additional features but understands "old" vi commands.

    Lack of speed will make any program worthless.

    Swithing between the NT and different Unix boxes during the same day I found that it was faster to move large files from the NT to a Unix box and use Unix scripts and Vi for the editing and then move them back to the NT.

    Those Windows persons who never used any real intellingent scripting will not understand much about such things.

    Vi is an editor not a "writer", a tool for editing texts, substitutions and things like that, and part of a scripting world.

    And about the the different "flavors" of Chinese I suppose it has to be the worlds best language if you think the different flavors of Windows makes it the best OS in the world because of its market share.

    And then we have the CLI, very often it is faster than a GUI. And when it is, it is simply better. If not then use a GUI.

  92. Nexox Enigma

    Various Replies...

    First off, congrats Verity on one extremely hilarious article.

    Windows tends to pause on registry action a lot. As Windows ages it builds up a whole lot of links within the registry which often lead it in awesome little loops. I've seen a single right-click action spawn ~50k registry actions before the menu pops up. Same goes for more or less any other action. Some of the problem here is that the registry was a bad idea from the start, but mostly it's from extensions to the original functionality. Something like the registry needs a lot of hacking to add functions, and it hasn't fared well.

    Also, whats wrong with compiling kernels? First off, you only rarely need to actually do it, mostly because the kernel that your distro comes with wasn't complete. I personally customize all of my kernels to support only the hardware that they need to, to make them nice and small. It is irritating to use distros that have patched up their kernels, since you have more or less no idea what the hell is going on with that.

    Vim is awesome. Sure it's more complex than notepad, but gods is it faster. If you use it for a bit you might realize that the commands aren't just nonsense, but rather a combinations of actions and specification of where the actions should act. You can just slowly learn new actions and region designations, then mix them together and get some awesomeness going on. Plus, as others have noted, it's trivial to get the exact same editor on any platform you use, which is a complete plus.

    Linux isn't Windows. Which is why I like it. I can't stand wizards and config menus for OS and daemon configuration. Text files for configs, if they are properly commented (Any decent distro should have comments in the default configs, otherwise it isn't worth using at all) are completely easy to use. You can search, and change config settings with just a few keystrokes. And you can do it trivially from across the globe.

    How much easier is it to write out firewall rules in a bash script than going through a wizard for each and every one? I can open 15 ports in 45 seconds in iptables, or about 10 minutes with the built in Windows firewall, which is completely primitive.

    I don't use repositories at all, and the vast majority of the software that I install works with a simple script that downloads, untars, configures, compiles, and installs. I just have to pass a url to a short command and it's done.

    Feel free to stick with Windows if you like the way it operates. If you want something that doesn't quite suck so hard, then try something different. I kinda feel like distros lose a lot of their useability if they pander too hard to the Windows users out there.

    Lots of people have this thinking that "The Windows way is the easy way," when Windows can easily take far more time and effort, just less brain power. I find Slackware to be simple for everything that I want to do, which is why I run it on my laptop, fileserver, router, htpc, mini-itx machine, my parents' htpc, my work desktop, and whatever computer people let me get my hands on. Of course I'm still bound to Windows on my desktop thanks to CAD software that refuses to run well virtualized...

  93. DaveB

    Teco

    Now that Teco has been ported to Linux why would you use anything else?

  94. Martin Usher

    I don't understand, someone help me....

    Maybe I'm just some kind of geek or something but I've installed Linux on all sorts of hardware, a lot of it crap, and "it just works". Linux is relatively weak with multimedia and game support but I don't use my PC as a TV or games console, I just use it for work and stuff -- looking things up, mail, that sort of thing.

    It could also be years of putting computers into things....there's a reason why you don't come across Embedded Windows that often (and when you do its usually in the form of a crashed ATM or self-checkout). I get the same sort of FUD in the embedded space, though -- apparently something can't be 'professional' unless it comes with a big price tag and has a number of obscure bugs that 'the supplier's working on'.

  95. Jason Rivers

    Thanks for a great read!

    Thank you Verity, again, for a wonderful read.

    Your sense of humor is excellent, your thoughts are really great, and if there was 1 IT columnist I could meet it would be you! (Yes I even have the best of... book)

    I also have to thank Dan Haworth, for saving me asking the same questions about this anonymous idiot that seems convinced that Linux is still as it was 10 years ago.

    Damn Billware fans....

    J

  96. phat shantz
    Flame

    Late to the rumble

    After the first eight languages, I realized that all languages are similar.

    After the first seven O/Ss, I figured the same thing out. Check your IEEE; there are only so many things a chip can do. There are only so many peripherals. There are only so many tasks.

    This tired, weak argument reminds me of the grammar-school fights over meaningless stuff by combatants who don't know what they are talking about.

    There are more operating systems out there than dreamt of in your philosophy, zealot. Get over it. There is none best. There are none better, unless you include context -- which includes users and uses. If anyone is comfortable in three versions of -ux AND a mainframe OS AND Windows (servers and desktop) AND doesn't care which one the client suggests...

    Then my son, you are a professional.

    I feel like starting an argument over my favorite pizza or ice cream. It is just as meaningful as arguing over whether bill is evil or linus is a deity. It depends on your measure, doesn't it?

    Regardless of your own limited judgement, it is necessary to know enough about platforms to suggest the right one to your client, regardless of your own petty and unsubstantiated opinions. Whether an OS is "hard" to install or not is irrelevant in a business. Whether it is the best solution for the problem in the business domain is the most important thing.

    It is, in every case, important to know the unique and identifiable characteristics of every operating system. This is important information when implementing them. One approach under *ux is deadly under Windows is twice the work under VMS is ... well, you should get the idea. If you aren't comfortable in all of them, how can you make the best decisions under any of them?

    How many of the zealots can actually say they have implemented Red Hat for one client and Windows 2003 for another and upgraded an RPG application under AS400? How many have actually chosen the stack for the problem set? How many of you complained bitterly while doing it?

    Who of you could open-mindedly analyze an automated solution in an "inferior" operating system architecture without sneering at the architecture first? From what I've seen, none. None at all.

    There is a reason business professional look down on IT professionals. Maybe it is because there is nothing "professional" about your demeanor or behavior. Just because you know "stuff" doesn't mean I have to tolerate your poor behavior and attitude.

    As a matter of fact, most business professionals would rather be wrong -- and know they're wrong -- than to have to listen to the rot most IT school-children spew regarding their opinions.

    Opinions, as they say, are like operating systems. Everybody has one and all the other stink.

    Now go away and impress your friends with more misinformation and prejudices.

  97. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @Stop spreading Windows FUD.

    This view of linux is out of date and old it could be carbon dated.

    I think you need to give the astroturf a mow, it is starting to grow a bit long.

    Did someone say haiku? Don't you mean faiku?

  98. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Re:Re: Re BSD

    PCBSD installed and has run very nicely for me.

    Also, running a Slackware desktop distro called Absolute, I like 'em both and they're both pretty easy to use.

    And that's a good thing for me. :)

  99. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    Keep this under your hat.

    I have it from a friend inside M$ about the new innovative, cutting edge “modular” version of windows. It is very hush hush but there is great buzz at M$ as they feel this release will skyrocket them back to the top and once again be the true and sole innovators of the software industry. It will have various types to choose from, more focused on the hardware you use. The most basic, cheapest will have software to only set up hardware and then provide the user with a prompt, similar to the old DOS prompt. In the windows world this is called a 'crust', thus you will have a 'crust prompt'.

    From there you can via the net install your choice of windows, basic windows for low end hardware, with a fairly crude interface, up to more advanced ones with 3D effects for fast machines.

    One truly revolutionary feature is the new way of getting software. You will install software from a tool in windows which lists all the MS approved software. It uses a new type of file called a 'mpm' (microsoft program manager) file.

    My friend says those inside M$ are astounded by the scope and innovativeness of this new windows. They liken it to the Terminator movie where the chips makers get that chip from the future. My friend, somewhat tongue in cheek, thinks that something similar has happened here, that have somehow gotten a OS from the future on a DVD and this what they are basing the revolution on.

    So be scared all you linsux fanboys. Although I have never ever used linsux, when this supreme, innovative edition of windows coming up next year (as Bill promised us recently), I will never think of touching linsux. Good luck with cloning and copying all the innovations like you have in the past for your pathetic OS.

  100. Jeffrey Nonken Silver badge
    Linux

    Linux? BSD? Depends....

    FreeBSD didn't like this old laptop at all, for some reason. I ended up trying Ubuntu instead.

    So far it's working pretty well. I ripped out Evolution and installed Claws instead, installed Epiphany (I like it better than Firefox for some reason), and have been tweaking things all day.

    Easier than Windows? Not really, but it installed a lot of things automatically, and so far I've installed everything I need via the included package handler. It's a throw-away system, only needed for a week or so while my MacBook is in the shop, but it's running pretty sweet for a Celeron 400. :)

    Well, all I really need it for is IM, e-mail, web browsing, and leaving smarmy comments to El Reg articles. So I consider it a qualified success. It'll get me through a visit to my girlfriend.

    My experience with the BSDs is that they require more savvy to install, and that's what a lot of this is about. On the other hand, if it comes pre-installed on a machine, the auto-detection stuff won't matter, eh? But a simple interactive package handler is good for the unwashed masses.

    As for compiling the kernel -- haven't had to do that for this machine. But <i>I can if I want to</i>. And, yes, right after installed I got a bunch of updates, including a kernel update. Which is so inferior to a new Windows install because... um... because Windows wants to do updates, too, right. Never mind.

    I'm not even sure if I can install XP on this machine. Win2000 probably, it'll be a bit slow -- celeron 400, 192 meg, 10g hard drive. In either case I'll need to generate boot floppies. Vista is out of the question.

    But the latest release of Ubuntu? I installed it on another machine that could boot from CDROM and then moved the hard drive over. Had to force a re-detect of the video hardware, and after that it's been pretty good. It can even read my external Mac-formatted drive. And my external Windows-formatted drive. I've been plugging stuff in and it Just Works. Only fly in the ointment is the ACPI problem, and I can live without Suspend mode for two weeks.

  101. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    Corrections

    > # Virus checking software

    Clam Antivirus

    > # The window that comes up when a program crashes and sends the crash

    > dump

    Bug Buddy.

    > Automatic updates

    Synaptic

    > # Windows genuine disadvantage

    Thank god Linux doesn't have such turd.

    There, got that out of the way.

  102. Mr Larrington
    Thumb Up

    @Herby

    "As for editors, my personal favorite was EDT for DEC boxes"

    Would it be wrong of me to admit that I've been using the same heavily-customised version of EDT since 1985? Never could get on with EVE/TPU. Or Un*x...

  103. Olli Männistö
    Linux

    @VI fans

    After having read a few comments by VI fans, I have something to add - Yes, I'm sure you can get used to anything and learn to use a syntax however convoluted. However, VI is a TERRIBLE choice for system default editor.

    We're not talking about "I've been using VI for 20 years and I called my kids VI and VIM" here. We're talking about someone who has never ever used any kind of unix and logs in to the HP/UX 1st time..

    Of course it does weed the wheat from chaff by seeing who does not go right back to using windows exclusively after that experience, but realistically anyone who can use VI (or even knows how to get OUT of the damn thing!) can change the system settings to use it if they prefer.

    EMACS isn't better by any means, except that you can actually write email with it with a short cheat sheet without too much pain. And since default HP/UX system had a choice of VI and EMACS.. ..No doubt due to people who think it's reasonable to go around blathering things like "if you don't like vi, program your own editor". Insteadthey could dosome bloody administration they're paid for and install a default system editor that MOST people can use and the rest know how to change.

  104. This post has been deleted by its author

  105. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think it needs to be said...

    Linux, wonderful OS and paragon of FOSS though it is, is only a piece of software. It is not a cure for cancer. Relax.

  106. TeeCee Gold badge
    Coat

    @Matt Bryant

    You swine! You mentioned DOS EDIT. All well and good, but this lead me to think about DOS editors and thus remember EDLIN.

    I thought I'd safely forgotten that and I now need to gibber insanely in a corner for a few hours followed by a stiff drink, a long lie down and some electroshock therapy.

    There ought to be a law against saying things that could potentially remind people of EDLIN.........

    The white one with the very long sleeves and the fetching leather strap accessories please.

  107. Peter Kay

    Business vs IT professionals

    Riiiight.. just as Business Professionals are always up to date and always know what they're doing. They never have their own opinions on how things should be run to ensure smooth running months and years in the future, or complain bitterly when forced to use some form of project management or business structure they particularly detest.

    You need to differentiate between talking shop (which is a lot of what goes on in thereg), techie home users and what people Actually Do.

    Talking shop is important because it highlights things that may not have been noticed by the inexperienced (such as that vi, for all its faults, is basically functional and works over any connection and on anything approximating to Unix) and popularises software that can make your job easier and more pleasant.

    Just as Business Professionals like to deal with pleasant, reasonable customers that pay mostly on time, IT professionals like to deal with pleasant, stable software that won't fail/have scalability problems two years later when you've moved on to something else and really don't want to be dragged back to deal with something that enhances your career not one jot.

    There is a distinct difference between some of the things I've done, suggested or am capable of doing and what I'd prefer to do because it's more fun. I would also suggest that IT projects are a compromise between IT and business (well, duh!) and that sometimes an inappropriate IT solution is suggested due to politics, cost, existing skillset or the idiotic flavour of the day. Likewise there is sometimes a business impact due to the IT implementation.

    Business Professionals? Don't make me laugh. There are as many clowns in that arena as in the IT industry.

  108. Ken Hagan Gold badge
    Joke

    Re: Why does everyone knock vi?

    ":q . Seems simple enough."

    :q ... Is that some kind of smiley? Can you think of any other device (except for vi clones) in the whole fucking universe that you switch off by typing ":q"? Thought not. For *normal* people, vi is a black hole that they escape from by power cycling the machine. (OK, I'm over-simplifying, but a total lack of sympathy with 90% of your potential customers *might* be the reason why you can't even give away your product.)

    "> I've used things like sed, to which the very notion of cursor keys and insertion

    > point are alien.

    No you haven't. sed is a stream editor. You don't use it interactively."

    "Yes, I have", "Yes, I know", and "Why not? Are you some kind of wimp?".

  109. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Vi is brilliant

    When I started using *nix, I hated Vi. But now I find myself accidentally hitting vi shortcut keys when I'm in notepad on Windows. Vi is brilliant. What's wrong with you people?!

    Also, Verity; Brilliant article. Regrettably I didn't like your stuff when it first appeared (forgive me!) but this really was funny, thank you and apologies!

  110. Tom Hawkins

    Windows....................................................................... pause

    Yeah, what the hell is up with that? On my PC (obviously by this I mean the PC my employer has seen fit to plonk on my desk) it takes on average about ten seconds to paste a small piece of text into Excel.

    That's approximately twenty-eight billion processor cycles.

    What's it doing in there - calculating the font hinting to eighteen million decimal places?

    You omitted my favourite bit of silliness from any single user unix system though:

    tom$ sudo whatever

    Password:

    tom is not in the sudoers file. This incident will be reported.

    (looks around nervously - who to???)

  111. alistair millington
    Thumb Up

    Linux

    I find the article very good, that licence agreement really say that? That is "karma" in a paragraph.

    I find linux easier if you have a grounding in DOS, so you understand that command line stuff is. I am sick of graduate techies who go "sorry I don't know DOS" Yet they are on five grand more for knowing nothing but MS spiel of today and not what went before or what is out there in older businesses.

  112. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    oh god's/allah/jahova/jobe (select your god of chioce) sake, not again....

    Another article for all the fanboys and trolls to compare the size of the current penis extensions....

    You can scream and shout how good mac or Linux or bsd... the end of the day it makes no difference at all... it is all about the implementation, I use MS office, adobe Photoshop and Dreamweaver..My windows machine works perfect for these tasks.... it doesn't crash, complain bitch and whine about anything...

    Windows is not my os by choice; it’s just what my applications of choice require.... I have spent more money on the apps than the OS...

    Even if you could port my apps onto Linux/bsd/mac.... I wouldn’t bother... why.... because it works for me...

    Linux/bsd are for those people who have too much time on their hands and do not actually do anything on the computers other than tinker around to get things to work. I was also put off mac's years ago, when the form was more important than function.... that will never change....

    Mine is the one that keeps me dry in the rain, and cool in the sun.....

  113. Will
    Happy

    Or

    You could drop £250 for an Asus Eee PC with everything pre-installed.

    Am I wrong for craving one when I have a Sony Vaio TZ sitting at home?

  114. Merton Campbell Crockett

    Who's Enid Blyton?

    How many will know of Enid Blyton on the western shores of the pond?

    Only some of us will have received Enid Blyton books in our Christmas Care packages from our grandparents in the UK. These were replaced by The Second World War and the History of the English-Speaking Peoples as we got older.

    The principal advantage of the latter volumes is that one could understand what William F Buckley was saying on Firing Line without keeping a dictionary at the ready.

  115. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    Errrmmmm ...

    VI is the model of efficient simplicity and if you can't manage it maybe you shouldn't be fiddling with UNIX?

    The truth isn't always pretty.

  116. Andy Davies

    a week's a long time in computing

    or sic transit gloria mundi -

    half the sad commentators on this thread have obviously never heard of Verity!

    AndyD 8-)#

  117. Sam Millner

    Ubuntu versions are sequencial...

    not that anyone will read this, particularly not the author, but each of the Ubuntu versions are in alphabetical order following on from the previous one.

    So the next one will be Hardy heron, followed by more ridiculous names such as ippy igloo joppy joey etc.

  118. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    Ubuntu seems fine for me.

    Has some annoying quirks though. Won't work with my wireless card (how am I meant to google for information when it is my only way of accessing the web at home), whenever I switch the second desktop, 9/10 X blanks out and I have to crash it. Oh and stupidly long startup times as it insists on checking all my disks when I boot up. I'm sure there is a way I can tell it to pack it in but I've never found it.

  119. Brad
    Jobs Halo

    Must be a slow day over at Slashdot...

    What the kernel developer clowns in these comments fail to grasp is just how a computer is used by the other 99% of the human race. If it doesn't "just work" then it's rubbish. As for the argument that BSD is easier to use than Linux, you forget that even Linux has no real useability in the first place. Sure it installs over vista with a few clicks but what after that? Need to install an app, but oh first you need to search the repository for some library with one billion dependencies and then what do you mean I can't just drag and drop...

    Steve Jobs as God because Macs are about as close as things can get to "just working"

  120. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    :q

    > Can you think of any other device (except for vi clones) in the whole fucking universe that you switch off by typing ":q"?

    Can you think of an Operating System that you shut down by clicking on Start?

  121. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    @Rukario: Shift-delete to bypass wastebasket/recycle bin

    >"May have to cancel and do it again, as Billware will "helpfully" offer to place in wastebasket anyway."

    The only way this happens is if your shift key is faulty and doesn't close the contacts fully, or if you are clumsy with the timing when keying and release shift marginally before pressing delete. You've got a broken keyboard or you're just not a good typist - neither of these is Microsoft's fault, but hey, it's easier to blame someone else than own up to making a mistake, isn't it?

  122. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    Missing features?

    Some of those mentioned are accurate yes, but you should have done your home work...

    * The registry

    gconf, not quite as full of junk as the registry but pretty much just as slow... where is dconf!!!

    * Virus checking software

    avast, clamav, f-prot... Sure its not required, but we have it... just in case.

    * The window that comes up when a program crashes and sends the crash dump to Redmond, to give them a much needed laugh. Linux programs instead lay a small binary turd file in situ. After a while you end up with quite a large collection of these, decorating your directories.

    BUG BUDDY!!!!!!! WE WANT YOUR CRASH DUMPS! but at least we're nicer about it, and discuss it in public

    * The Windows pause, by which I mean that increasingly prevalent nothing-happening-for-no-reason delay that intrudes between the user poking and the software flinching.

    erm... we do have firefox...

  123. whogivesa

    No Vista Bashing Hey

    ok then....

    I wont bash Fixta sorry i mean Vista. Winblows sorry i mean Windows... Has always been Crap Sorry i mean Great to me... I have always Sorry i mean Never had a MS box fall over after running 365 days 24 7. I hate sorry Love vista... Its Such a huge pile of dog shi... Sorry i mean its like fluffy bunny nice to struggle.. Sorry i mean work with... The Fact that a simple thing like my USB Printer making Vista crap... sorry i mean except the requested task is so nice.

    Now For the Vista Bashing Don't even bring that shinny bull shit laden excuse for an operating system close to me i will impale you to a wall with a crucifix shut down your lungs piss in your boots eat your dinner and visit your mother for hours of kinky freaky sex. after which i will return to your bloody corps and shove the MS Vista DVD up your ass hole... then i will go and install ubuntu and be happy again.

  124. A J Stiles

    vi

    The thing about vi is, and this may shock members of the "me me me me mine" generation, it was never meant to be easy for a novice to use. It was meant to work within constraints which existed historically (limited memory, primitive cursor addressing, slow comms, much easier and cheaper to make a crib sheet for the user than upgrade the computer). In other words, it was designed for the computer first and foremost, and the user second.

    That invariably means there is going to be a learning curve.

    But that's OK -- or at least, it always **used to** be OK, in the days when learning was prized more highly than a state of perpetual ignorance. Once you have learned something the hard way, you don't forget it in a hurry.

    By the way, do you think it's *just* a coincidence that the old ZX Spectrum cursor keys were arranged in the same left, down, up, right order as the vi movement keys H, J, K and L?

  125. Sceptical Bastard

    Brilliant!

    Pissed meself laughing (not literally, obviously)

    PS, fanbois - don't take evrything so bloody seriously.

  126. James Condron

    Re: Stop spreading Windows FUD.

    Felt I should add my own tuppence worth:

    >Driver incompatibility

    I assume you mean between driver and hardware? Well, I've never had a problem, neither on simpler distros such as U-bunny-poo or Foresight- no haver I had a problem with drivers on Gentoo... i remember more problems on XP and whether or not a driver was up-to-date, set to work on XP or if a win2000 version was installed, whether a user put even the right driver on from an install disk.

    >recompiling the kernel

    If you have to recompile the kernel its because you're a moron and didn't build support for everything you need... then its your own fault. It should be noted that if you don't know how to build your kernel, then get a distro you don't have to build one on... or take your fist out of your arse and use it to tighten the noose.

    >office suite

    Yep, its everyone else at fault here- lets ignore the fact that only MS Office opens files like this, every other conforms to standards... Standards, you know them? They're pretty much standard across the board- Sorta like why IE gets knocked for not using standards and needing stuff coded a different way.

    >Firefox that can't auto update

    Ah, I see your problem- yeah; thats not a computer, thats a cardboard box, uh-huh- thats why your response times are shit and *nothing* updates for you... Until we get some cool-as Harry Potter style moving pictures that old computer box of yours won't do a thing

    >The difficulty of installing apps that aren't in repositories

    ./configure

    make

    make install

    or add them to the repository? U-bunny-poo is simple at doing this, conary is better. No experience of other package managers that you may like to use at a simpler level. See, in this case, Google is your best friend... Try it today- its not too bad.

    >Horrible hibernation support

    See, maybe you're doing that wrong too- if you can't get it working you're a bit slow, think about how animals (particularly squirrels) hibernate and use this as a basis- then it all falls into place. Right, ready? Get lots of nuts and stuff them into the machine- we need to fatten it up for winter. Now goto your garden, dig and big hole and leave some nuts around it. Bury the computer- seriously, bury it- we don't need to worry about breathing room.. Now go back in the Spring and yeah- one succesfullh hibernated box.

    >A PDF viewer that can't display PDFs correctly,

    evince works perfectly for me- maybe you should use

    cat <some pdf> and see what that does... maybe you can't read normal chars and this is easier for you

    >A major release every 6 months with a new kernel (that breaks apps and drivers compatibility)

    Shit! Not updates and upgrades? Fuck me how ever will you cope? But hang on, some confusion here- I thought there was no driver compatibility? Now there is but it breaks? Now my head hurts... So you're the expert here, how does an upgrade break an app? Now I think you're the confused... Its not the machine thats broken, its your head.

    Aw crap, sorry Verity- that was a mainly serious response...

  127. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    vi bad?

    I, too, have copied big files over to a unix system to edit them and copy them back, try search/replacing in wordpad (one word on every line of a 100Mb file) ... you can upload it using a 54k modem edit it in vi on unix and send it back (same modem) quicker than NT can edit that. LOL (If you don't know vi, you can learn it during the file transfer ...;-)).

    However, now, with cywin, you get decent software on windows, too.

    The first time I tried emacs I got mad at it, that was in 2000, I then immediately used pico and since three or four years vi(m), which I found terrible at first as well.

    check the classic image:

    http://www.bemroses.net/images/curves.jpg

    The first time I tried ksh the third command was bash, now I am using (pd)ksh on my mac and linux boxes, I have even installed it into my windows vm as well and it slowly replaces cmd there.

    Linux/BSD/Solaris/Windows/.* fanboys, please stop it! I do not think any system is better, you can get all the "useful" tools on <platform of choice> now as well eg: cygwin, wine

    I'm no fanboy but the dustbin in the kitchen has the "Certified for Microsoft Windows Vista" sticker. ;-)

    I would like to kindly request a solaris, BSD daemon and an Apple avatar, please - those poor apple/sun/bsd fanboys, it's unfair, besides, two penguins and no microsoft flag/Apple apple/Sun sun/BSD daemon?

    el biased Reg!

  128. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    90%? Hardly.

    @AC

    "It still runs on more than 90% of all desktop computers. Even though every year since 2003 has been heralded as the year of the linux desktop."

    You are comparing apples to oranges. If you want any meaningful comparison, you should compare _retail packages sold/downloaded_.

    Do you want to bet what is the ratio when there's competition? 10 to 1 for Linux? Or more?

    Linux is not available (in general) as OEM, so comparing mandatory objects (You can't buy most of PC-hardware without Windows, that's not a "sold unit", no matter how MS counts it) to those you _must choose to use_ is absurd.

  129. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Another MSdrone

    "Linux/bsd are for those people who have too much time on their hands and do not actually do anything on the computers other than tinker around to get things to work."

    Says a guy who's job is to deliver two page plain text notes to people in email in .doc-format. Haven't ever seen Linux or BSD and knows nothing about either, but have heard that "his applications" don't work.

    Corporate drone who uses whatever tool he's given and thinks it's the best because _he_ uses it and can't see beyond application brand.

    Most people see what they can get done, not the brand of the tool to get it done, like you do. You actually sound very much like MS salesman, they always whine that "Photoshop doesn't work". No sh*it?

    Jaguar spare parts won't fit into Nissan either, you have to search right parts.

    _Then_ when you complain that there isn't any, you begin to sound credible.

    "Works differently" isn't an excuse either, it's a different program, but the goal to achieve is the same. If the goal can't be reached, that's something to whine about.

  130. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    My wife uses Ubuntu

    and loves it. Loves Pidgin, loves Firefox with all the trimmings, loves the rest of it.

    Offered to put her back on XP but she politely declined.

    She's been on Ubuntu since 6.10 and has gone through the ugprades and stuff herself.

    She's not a geek, either. Married to one, yes. But not one herself.

  131. Matthew
    Thumb Up

    Only thing wrong with Linux..

    is being able to read MS Visio .vsd files natively.

    Other than that it does the job, is stable and easy to use. My workstation has run SUSE with KDE for over 8 years, although it used to be a little clumsy back then it's very polished this days. The home PC also runs it and the family haven't had any problems using it.

    All this talk of recompiling kernels and struggling with drivers, packages & whatnot must refer to something else called Linux as it doesn't represent anything I've had to deal with.

  132. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Audio cock

    "I am fully in support of this proposed audio-cock technology."

    Thanks for the link Verity - I'd almost forgotten this one!

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