back to article I've got a new Linux box, how does it work... WOAH, only asking :-/

You're an average Joe. You have a Windows computer you're fairly fed up with, for whatever reason. So you decide to try out Linux. Yet, naturally, you're a bit confused about how it all works so you take to the support forums. What do you think happens next? Firing up passions on both sides of the great Linux/non-Linux users' …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Linux: Too hard for Windows users.

    1. Ross K Silver badge
      Gimp

      Linux: Too hard for Windows users.

      Remind me again what Linux's share of the desktop market is?

      Oh yeah 1.7%.

      It's not that linux is hard to grasp. Normal people just can't be arsed dealing with the likes of you.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I don't use either, but why do Windows users always boast "market share" when bickering about Linux?

        It must be a herd thing...

        1. hplasm Silver badge
          Coat

          Or is it -

          A GNU Herd thing?

        2. Ross K Silver badge
          Gimp

          Fanboys, Fanboys All Around

          It must be a herd thing...

          Just like linux fanboys posting as "Anonymous Coward"?

          Although I'm beginning to think there's just one linux fanboy posting under multiple AC identities to give an illusion of mass linux adoption.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Fanboys, Fanboys All Around

            ok the game's up, all the AC posts are from me.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Fanboys, Fanboys All Around

              >ok the game's up, all the AC posts are from me.

              No they're from me.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Fanboys, Fanboys All Around

                No, I'm Sparticus

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Fanboys, Fanboys All Around

                No they're from me.

                I don't remember typing that, who's logged on as me??

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Fanboys, Fanboys All Around

                  And so is my wife!

                  1. Fungus Bob Silver badge

                    Re: Fanboys, Fanboys All Around

                    >And so is my wife!

                    Just how many of me are there on this site? And what sex and gender are we (makes a difference in my Halloween costume)?

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Yes, but curiously I have observed it's almost obligatory to reference Android's huge market share in comparison to Windows Phone to prove the inferiority of the latter.

          1. Vociferous

            Not at all. I hated Windows Phone long before I had even used Android.

        4. Fungus Bob Silver badge

          "It must be a herd thing..."

          That's the most ridiculous thing I've herd you say all day!

          And I'm hard of herring too (damn penguins ate them all).

        5. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "why do Windows users always boast "market share" when bickering about Linux?"

          It's usually a collision between a geek demographic that thinks everyone who uses Windows is stupid; and those who believe only some of them are, therefore 'market share reflects an obvious truth'.

          On the more general subject at hand: I used to give support on a Linux forum for Windows users who wanted to try Linux as a dual boot. Unfortunately you get drowned out by the Linux zealots who insist on using Grub to boot Windows, i.e. overwriting the Windows bootloader, though doing so is where most of the dual-boot problems originate. Their position is either that problems overwriting the Windows bootloader with the Linux is a problem with Windows, or that they're not listening la la la la la, and I suspect that if the only way they could stop you using the Windows one was to burn your house down, they'd go for it. The majority on Linux forums only use Linux and defer to the vocal minority of Asperger's-type Linux experts, so you simply cannot impart useful information if it isn't 'Linux first'. Meanwhile there is some very, very helpful stuff there, for instance on how to get ALL your hardware working, which is why I for one continue to dual-boot both - fixes developed by individuals, while the drivers and instructions supplied by both the manufacturers AND within the distro DON'T work. I have been running Mint for years now, initially thanks ENTIRELY to a few individuals who are either in it to help or not to hinder. Today I can get trouble-free Nvidia drivers within moments of a fresh install via software update - though I still have to use the script acquired via Github to get the Realtek WiFi to work effectively.

          You do not get anything like such vocally anti-Linux voices on Windows forums as you get anti-Windows on the Linux - but this is justified by the Linux users because 'they're right'; their reason d'etre may be to sit in front of a keyboard and monitor, coding and using CLI, but they express it as politics, just like the intolerants in any other religious demographic. If it ain't open source they'll shout you down.

      2. keithpeter
        Windows

        Desktop?

        Seriously, you are crowing about desktop figures?

        The Linux kernel runs billions of phones, and the Linux kernel with the GNU userland runs a huge range of devices from your router, HDTV up to and including supercomputing clusters, not to mention Google ChromeOS and backend, F**book, Ebay, Twitter &et Al.

        And you worry about *desktops*? You are as bad as that boy Lennart.

        PS: running Trisquel Linux on an X60. Cheaper than a Chromebook. Haven't had to use a command line yet except for R. The forum is civil and welcoming to newcomers but being a fully libre distribution without proprietary drivers or blobs, OP would almost certainly have to use a USB wifi dongle (Netgear WG111v3 or similar) to be able to connect.

        P2S: If Shuttleworth ever pops the Ubuntuphone out I'll be in the queue. I mean the one you can dock and it switches userland so you can do your Office work on a full sized monitor and keyboard. One device. Many uses. See the Rob Pike Setup interview...

        http://rob.pike.usesthis.com/

        1. Ross K Silver badge
          Gimp

          Re: Desktop?

          Seriously, you are crowing about desktop figures?

          The Linux kernel runs billions of phones...

          Ha ha ha. The old linux = android cliche.

          Don't forget that Microsoft gets a royalty payment from every Android phone and tablet.

          How does it feel to know you're making Microsoft richer?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Facepalm

            Re: Desktop?

            "How does it feel to know you're making Microsoft richer?"

            I makes me feel sad that the US legal system is so broken that such things can be allowed to happen over there.

            For the record I'm not a Windows hater either, just a rather disgruntled user of many operating systems.

            1. Ross K Silver badge
              Gimp

              Re: Desktop?

              I makes me feel sad that the US legal system is so broken that such things can be allowed to happen over there.

              I know the concept of paying somebody for using their intellectual property in your product may be alien to linux freetards, but that doesn't mean the system's broken.

              Not everything in life is free - that goes equally for "free" beer or "free" speech.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Desktop?

              "I makes me feel sad that the US legal system is so broken that such things can be allowed to happen over there."

              They have won judgements elsewhere too (Germany for instance). They have over 40,000 patents of which several hundred apparently apply to Android.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Thumb Up

            Re: Desktop?

            How does it feel to know you're making Microsoft richer?

            I'm content in paying MS in order not use their stuff, than to pay them nothing yet endure their stuff.

          3. keithpeter
            Windows

            Re: Desktop?

            @Ross K

            "How does it feel to know you're making Microsoft richer?"

            Well, since you ask, it doesn't bother me in the slightest. A court case occured, arguments were presented, a settlement was reached. As I believe in the sovreign right of countries to govern themselves and in the rule of law, and as I generally support the market economy (with bits of regulation as needed) all this is fine by me.

            I do find the way the US legal system works a bit odd, but then I imagine people who are used to America would find aspects of Britain a bit strange in just the same way.

            I also like the fact that Red Hat is a $1+ billion turnover corporation making reasonable profits from selling services off the back of GPL licenced software. I really hope Canonical gets into some kind of actual profit soon. I believe that SLES does make money as well and that makes me glad. Good quality jobs, economic activity, competition.

            Yes, I do have residual concerns over Red Hat's tidal pull on the open source world, and I do wish one of their senior people would sit Mr Poettering down and have a good long chat(*) about the need to stabilise the APIs and affordances for the software associated with systemd so the various upstream projects have a chance to catch up. But, hey, it all works and will do so for some decades, and, for edge cases and people who want to be different, there are viable alternatives.

            Ace isn't it?

            (*) British for 'sort him out'

        2. FormerKowloonTonger
          Facepalm

          Re: Desktop?

          What a load of studied gibberish.

          Is there an Authorized Version?

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Don't sweat it man,all these comments, the point of the article that is being referring to, and the point I was making (Hey! I actually got one of my post brought up this article!!!) is simply that there are some assholes in the Linux community. Not all, but a few. After being a "commentard" on the Register for years, reading the comments of Linux users, and having experienced some of these people in real life, I, and many others, have come to the simple conclusion that these people have issues. I'm not a shrink so what those issues are is beyond me, but they have names, and we all know what those names are.

        Here's the thing, this is just a site, their comments or the posters cant hurt anyone, not really, I rarely if ever go back and see what others respond. They get pissed, respond, give negative points (Like that really does anything.......seriously, if I get -200 downvotes, what DOES it matter?) but the point is, if you go outside, the weather is beautiful, wish everyone was here. No haters, no commenter.

        Just ignore them, go outside, enjoy life. that's the worse response anyone can give them is to keep ignoring them, they are doing nothing but hurting the Linux development altogether. I've gotten by without Linux for this long, so as everyone else, that wont be changing.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Facepalm

          Without realising it, you're behaving in the same manner that you're describing.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Linux support is apparently a bit lacking. Perhaps it's worth what you paid for it?

        What do you expect when you install a free homemade hobby operating system on a business computer???

        But seriously, say what you want about Microsoft, but the advantage is that you can move between (non-IT) jobs and still know how to work with Windows and MS Office. That consistent user interface, and working right out of the box, is what made Microsoft billions.

        Linux, by definition, will never have more than 5% market share in business desktops because of all the different distros.

      5. illiad

        And all the blowhards shout 'why dont you use linux???'

        the comments on here is a good reason why!!!! >:(

        The reason why windows, apple, android sells, is it has ONE design, ONE desktop type, ONE simple thing to install...

        and how many different designs, desktops, install types does linux have, that you need to make a decision about????

    2. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge
      Windows

      "Linux: Too hard for Windows users."

      Don't worry. We're dumbing it down for the riff-raff. Wayland. Systemd.

      1. Michael Hoffmann

        Systemd is "dumbing things down"?!

        Well, thank you very fucking much, because now I know that my problems wrangling that miserable beast must be due to dementia setting in.

        Off to cry in a corner then call a nursing home...

      2. Suricou Raven

        Unity. As in all other fields, Linux had a painful pseudo-touchy-hybrid interface before Microsoft had theirs ready for Windows 8.

    3. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Linux users asking on 4chan: Not gonna end well.

    4. h3

      Linux is bad for everybody the way it currently is.

      Lennard Pottering is the main problem.

      The whole UNIX design meant after a bit of learning everything was obvious.

      Everything he introduces is totally different to anything else and then forced as a dependency by everyone else. (And breaks everything Redhat has no interest in).

      The BSD's and Debian are ok for a server. But all the gui stuff contains so many linux features which end up having to copied by the BSD's (Which had a clean understandable consistent design up until not too long ago).

      Solaris 11 (When it was Opensolaris) was good as a desktop but £3000 a year for security updates for a normal user is not practical.

      Funnily enough modern versions of Powershell are brilliant / consistent and logical after a small amount of learning. Just like Linux / UNIX used to be

      1. keithpeter
        Windows

        Re: Linux is bad for everybody the way it currently is.

        "The BSD's and Debian are ok for a server. But all the gui stuff contains so many linux features which end up having to copied by the BSD's (Which had a clean understandable consistent design up until not too long ago)."

        Stock OpenBSD install with cwm set as window manager in the .xinitrc and netsurf(*) as a graphical Web browser on my testing laptop seems pretty clean to me. LaTeX and an editor for document production. mpg123 for music while I work.

        Retro GUI could be in this autumn. Read about the tilde club as an example.

        (*)Xombero for javascript use, needed to deal with those redirect based wifi access points you see a lot of.

    5. MrRtd
      Devil

      Ha!

      Windows is too hard for Windows users.

      1. Ian 55

        Windows is too hard for Windows users

        I recently installed a new SSD on this Linux Mint / Win7 dual boot PC as the old SSD had some hardware issue. Prices being what they are, it is twice the size of its predecessor. "Hmm, I could fit Windows on this one as well as Linux Mint's root partition. It's not as if I used most of the old one, so I can give Windows about 200Gb."

        Copying Mint onto it was no problem: use partclone to copy the old data onto the spinning rust disk, swap SSDs, copy the data onto the new one, works.

        Getting Windows onto it was... a problem. I've followed about three different 'here's how to do it' recipes, involving the rescue disk / command line / assorted third party utilities. None of them worked, possibly because I dared to do the Linux partition first and Windows thinks it is the first and the last OS on anything. Windows' retention of the braindead drive letter system doesn't help.

        I've ended up thinking "How often do I boot into Windows anyway?" ("Hardly ever".) So I will be using the extra space as cache for various things.

        1. Dr. Ellen

          Re: Windows is too hard for Windows users

          If you are going to swap disks anyhow, clone directly to the SSD. Then swap the disks. Worked just fine for me. Add in drive trays, and the dual boot problem goes away -- just swap in a Linux disk instead. And if your old SSD still is functional, you can swap it in when you intend to take risks. Best reason ever for using a tower.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Windows is too hard for Windows users

            What do you use to clone it?

            dd if=/dev/sda or Acronis true Image, Norton Ghost?

            1. Ian 55

              Cloning 2

              For backing up / restoring the Linux root partition, partclone.

              For trying to do the Windows loader and main partitions, Clonezilla (a UI for partclone on a live CD, from what I can see), something that was bundled with the SSD and, erm, can't remember.

              My copies of Norton Ghost and True Image are too old to be able to do Win 7. The idea of paying more money to people who keep changing image file formats to enforce upgrades doesn't appeal.

          2. Ian 55

            Cloning

            The issue with cloning direct is that the Windows partitions were on spinning rust along with the Linux /home partition and none of the free / bundled Windows and live Linux CD-based utilities I tried could cope with 'clone the disk.. but only these two partitions' to something smaller.

            If I can be arsed, I may do a new Windows install to the new SSD, but now Windows is just there for one game and installing BIOS/firmware updates. And I can play the game on my daughter's PC which may not have a SSD but has a sound card that has Windows 7 drivers, unlike mine. (Obviously, it works in Linux.)

            The old SSD has gone back to Amazon (who, to my surprise came straight out with a full refund, even though I'd bought it about eleven months ago).

  2. Vociferous

    It's gotten better.

    My first dealings with Linux was back in the Redhat 3.0, and while I had an extensive computer background from Spectrum 48K via C64, Amiga, Warp and Win 3.11 - Win95, but I was completely lost when a cleaner turned off the computer by pulling the plug from the wall, resulting in disk corruption and making it impossible to log on. I made the fatal error of asking for help on a Linux forum. Counterstrike is civil compared to the beating I got for being such a f@g n00b.

    (Eventually I got a Linux-owning friend to explain to me that you fix problems like this by logging in from a remote computer, su root and issuing the command e3fsck -f -b 8193 /dev/hda1. How's that for intuitive?)

    Today you rarely have to ask anyone when things go south, there's pretty much always a detailed walk-through somewhere on the web. The web is the real manual, the real man page, for Linux.

    1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

      Re: It's gotten better.

      I never really experienced that (aside from seeing the odd user who seemed to go looking for posts to flame on), or perhaps I did and just failed to notice it.

    2. frank ly Silver badge

      Re: It's gotten better.

      I read the Linux forums and the various Linux 'howto' wikis, after a quick Google search for the topic. Then I read more forums to get a consensus opinion. After that I can clone my hard drive and do reckless things if I want to. It's worked nicely for me so far but I'd venture to say that the average member of the public wouldn't be able to do that or would get fed up very quicjkly. I remember I did a lot of swearing in the first month but after that I was fine and happy.

    3. keithpeter
      Windows

      Re: It's gotten better.

      "(Eventually I got a Linux-owning friend to explain to me that you fix problems like this by logging in from a remote computer, su root and issuing the command e3fsck -f -b 8193 /dev/hda1. How's that for intuitive?)"

      These days for most distros you just boot from a live CD and work through a repair menu. Worst case 'touch /forcefsck' from the single user mode prompt.

      But I do take the point...

      1. James Loughner

        Re: It's gotten better.

        Same type of problem in Windows (Yes Windows goes tits up too) means a reinstall. You can repair Linux problems far easier then you can the equivalent Windows problem.

        The biggest problem is doing the initial install. Since you may need to find drivers or configurations for your particular hardware. Note also you got the same problem on a OEM Windows install. People don't see this because 99% get Windows pre-installed or an image disk from their computer maker.

        I help out on the openSUSE forum and in the fast number of cases everyone is treated with respect. The exception is when some one simply does not want help and simply wants to vent. Note respect goes both ways.

        1. cmannett85

          Re: It's gotten better.

          I was fortunate enough to find openSUSE early in my Linux life, and I've always found the forums to be lovely. If you want to see real Linux arseholes, visit Phoronix and mention how great BSD or Mir is...

        2. Tweetiepooh

          Re: It's gotten better.

          I've often found Linux easier to install than Windows. The former has only ever once failed to see my hard disks whereas the latter wants a driver disk. Windows has been installed by the "builder" and so it works but try to repair the booting and no disks found. Fortunately GRUB can boot Windows for me so all is not lost.

          1. P. Lee Silver badge

            Re: It's gotten better.

            It get even worse if you want to network boot or install windows.

            I find windows just too hard to be bothered with now - if nothing else, licensing is just a pain. We have three laptops, two desktops and a server in the house. The laptops have XP COA's on the undersides, which are now not worthwhile. How much is that going to cost me to do Windows?

            It isn't just licensing either. BCDedit? How did they manage to make that so hard? The Win8 GUI is bad bad bad. Click on the start menu and up pops the start screen from the bottom. Bother, I want to go back down to the desktop... click the arrow near the bottom of the screen pointing down... it scrolls down, but not back down to the desktop, it goes to an application selection screen. Oh yes, the desktop was up on the start screen as a tile, now, where is that up arrow? At the top of the screen (big mouse movement required). It's like being in Zork's twisty maze of passages all alike, where you can go north, then south and not end up back where you started. "Connect to Network" doesn't take you to your NIC settings! "Storage" doesn't take you to disk management! GAAAH! It's too hard. too unintuitive, too restrictive. I only use it for games, and one-third of all my games run natively on Linux anyway.

            *Nix is designed to allow operators to do useful data processing. In windows, if there isn't a specific app for the task, you need a developer or a ported unix tool/language. In *nix, you can put things together yourself. Having said that, I could easily use Linux on a day-to-day basis without using the command line. The command line is there for doing clever stuff. Pull all the music from an iTunes library, filter out all the Apple-specific stuff and serve it out over NFS or SMB if required - dead easy. Airplay may be able to do it, but then I'd need a recent Apple devices everywhere, costing $$$ instead of recycling old kit acquired for next to nothing. I see no reason to pay someone else when I can do things myself.

        3. heyrick Silver badge

          Re: It's gotten better.

          "Same type of problem in Windows (Yes Windows goes tits up too) means a reinstall. You can repair Linux problems far easier then you can the equivalent Windows problem."

          Nope. Seen that problem on numerous XP boxes in years gone by. Pop Hirren's BootCD into the caddy, start the computer on that. Load up the DOS-with-NTFS and run chkdsk (it's all on the CD distro). Problem is sorted in about five minutes. Dunno why the hell Windows couldn't do that for itself instead of blue-screening. Maybe later versions can?

          I gave Ubuntu 9 (10? the brown/orange one) a whirl a few years ago, but it steadfastly refused to acknowledge my printer/scanner existed. I found a document on the web explaining how to resolve this. It ran to nearly twelve pages (printed from the browser) and half of that was command-line gibberish that made no sense to me (so yay for the chance to mistype something). I went back to Windows... I'm not really bothered what OS I use, so long as it does what I want it to do without starting an argument first.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: It's gotten better.

            refused to acknowledge my printer/scanner existed.

            ...

            It ran to nearly twelve pages (printed from the browser)

            So it fixed itself, then? Excellent!

            <rubs chin>

            1. heyrick Silver badge

              Re: It's gotten better.

              "So it fixed itself, then? Excellent!"

              Too far beyond the realms of possibility that I have more than one computer?

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: It's gotten better.

                Too far beyond the realms of possibility that I have more than one computer?

                Aha! I know what your problem was, then: Your printer was connected to the other computer.

                Seriously, though - you shouldn't really be printing out terminal commands only to type them out. Linux does have a clipboard.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Windows

                Re: It's gotten better.

                @heyrick

                To a Linux user?

                Yes!!!

          2. Kwac

            Re: It's gotten better.

            Why are you blaming Linux for your printer manufacturer not supplying you with a driver to use under Linux?

            Try complaining to them instead of rubbishing GNU/Linux.

          3. Kwac
            FAIL

            Re: It's gotten better.

            " It ran to nearly twelve pages (printed from the browser) and half of that was command-line gibberish that made no sense to me (so yay for the chance to mistype something)."

            I assume you're like my wife, who drives a car and also uses Linux. She hasn't got a clue to using the command line nor anything past putting petrol in.

            She wouldn't have a clue about using the command line in Windows either, but she could go to a document and cut and paste from a web page.

        4. Vociferous

          Re: It's gotten better.

          > The biggest problem is doing the initial install.

          I disagree. Even back in the Redhat 3.0 days, installation was pretty painless. Yes, there were devices such as my USB stick which didn't have drivers under Linux, and yes the community told me to "write your own F'ing driver" when I asked if anyone had a driver for it, but I haven't seen this problem in years now (to be fair, most of the systems I install are virtual machines). In recent time the only problems I've had with Linux installs have been when I've tried to do very specific things which God never intended, like using a case-insensitive file system (crashes the Ubuntu installer).

          And everyday hum-drum usage is no different from Windows. No, the most difficult part about Linux is the usage when you need to do something specific. Like I said, usually there are detailed walk-through guides on the net.

          I do still have niggles with Linux as a desktop OS. For instance, the file system. I still don't like that there are no disks except when there are, and that the /home/luser/cat_pictures directory can be much bigger and on a completely different disk than its parent dir /home/luser, I don't like the hidden files, I don't like the case sensitivity (who the hell ever thought that was a good idea?), and I don't like the rights management. Windows handles all of that better.

          But from a general home market penetration point of view, Linux one big problem has always been that It's Not Windows(tm), and doesn't run the windows applications and games everyone wants to run. And no, it doesn't matter that at least the applications have almost-as-good counterparts on Linux, or that some specialized applications, like MySQL, are much better on Linux.

          I'm guessing Androids inevitable expansion onto desktop will eventually cause that to change.

          1. Fozzie Bear
            Linux

            Re: It's gotten better.

            > I don't like the case sensitivity (who the hell ever thought that was a good idea?)

            Who the hell thinks case insensitivity is a good idea!

            Alan.

          2. Ben Tasker Silver badge

            Re: It's gotten better.

            > I still don't like ... that the /home/luser/cat_pictures directory can be much bigger and on a completely different disk than its parent dir /home/luser

            You can do that on Windows too.

            Does the average user actually need to know which physical disk something is on, so long as they know the path they need to navigate to reach it?

            And case insensitivity is a stupid thing to have on a file-system IMO, but I guess if you're used to it, it's probably frustrating as hell working with something that cares about case.

      2. Anonymous Bullard

        Re: It's gotten better.

        I actually found Linux much easier to use than Windows when I switched over a couple of years ago. I was gob-smacked of the lack of fuss, compared to almost two decades of installing Windows. Those who think it's too hard just haven't tried it (or did 10 years ago), or already have difficulties with computers.

        As for developing on, it blows Windows out the water!

        Here's another anecdote; My daughter, she's 8, and was able to install minecraft and download and extract add-ons, change the background, etc. without assistance. Where as half an hour of her on Windows, and the homepage + search would be hijacked, ask toolbar installed, and pop-ups saying my registry needs cleaning.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: It's gotten better. @Anonymous Bullard

          "I actually found Linux much easier to use than Windows when I switched over a couple of years ago. I was gob-smacked of the lack of fuss, compared to almost two decades of installing Windows. Those who think it's too hard just haven't tried it (or did 10 years ago), or already have difficulties with computers."

          Has to be said, I've moved to a linux sysadmin position (I still have the sysadmin part in air quotes while I'm learning some of the more in depth stuff, but I'm pretty comfortable with the basics) from over 15 years supporting Windows, and I must admit, it's a breath of fresh air to have a sensibly structured file system, plain config files you can just whoosh across from one system to another, etc.

          I'm currently messing about scripting up something that will pull the HTML, SQL and configs from one nginx reverse proxied Drupal host to a recovery node so that in the event of a failure, you just fix the DNS entry and the recovery node is available with a recent copy of the site and it's contents, and the basics are easy peasy.

          Grab a few files from main hosts /var and /etc, generate a package list, do a sqldump, pull that all to the new server, install the apps from the package list, drop the files in place, push the sqldump up to the SQL server, restart the services, and bosh, that should be it, bar some minor hand fettling of configs. Are there better ways of doing it? Almost certainly - SQL replication, block device copies or other such stuff, but really I'm just doing this as a practical exercise to learn some scripting and common tasks - something that works, rather than it being 'the best way'. I'll get one of the more senior sysadmins to look over it on Monday and laugh at my ToyTown stuff, and show me a better way of doing it ;-)

          It's just a case of getting my head around the commands to put in the script to get stuff to wait for transfers to complete, install the required apps in a certain order, push the files to the correct locations on the recovery node, make sure they have the correct permissions, restart the services etc (hence the airquotes - theory = fine, practical = learning). I'm pretty sure I can work that out this afternoon with a coffee and a toasted sandwich, given that I've spent about an hour or so working on it so far, without having looked at anything like that before - because once you get past the command line fear (which I've never had, but I know is an issue for some) and work out what goes where, it's just nice and sensible. It's all recently 'clicked' with me and things are just getting easier and easier.

          The idea of trying to do that on a Windows server...eugh. Registry pish everywhere, SIDs to worry about, licensing, etc. FaffTown.

          In short, I'm enjoying my new job far more than the old Windows stuff. It really is a breath of fresh air to work on an OS that has some fairly well defined, sanely designed borders, limits and specifications. Windows has really become a behemoth, something of a rod for it's own back, these days.

          Edit to add - I've been using Ubuntu as my desktop at home for many a year now, so I've not gone straight from Windows to Linux. Ubuntu may not be a hackers OS, but it's good for learning the basics and still having a nice GUI to live in for productivities sake - it's where I learned most of the command line stuff that I use at work, etc. Going straight from Windows to Linux is as tricky as going from any OS to any other OS - there's a learning curve but it's far from vertical by any stretch, if you're interested in it.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: It's gotten better.

          @Anonymous Bullard

          And your inability to stop the crap from being installed on windows is who's fault exactly????

          1. Anonymous Bullard

            Re: It's gotten better.

            > And your inability to stop the crap from being installed on windows is who's fault exactly

            My inability would be my own fault, since I'm a so-called IT professional. I've done something about it by ditching Windows.

    4. Vic

      Re: It's gotten better.

      Eventually I got a Linux-owning friend to explain to me that you fix problems like this by logging in from a remote computer, su root and issuing the command e3fsck -f -b 8193 /dev/hda1. How's that for intuitive?

      Just because you got some advice that, at best, is only appropriate for a paricularly unlikely type of breakage, and at worst, is plain wrong, that doesn't mean the whole community is at fault...

      Vic.

  3. djl47
    Linux

    My Experience

    I've tried Fedora three times starting in the nineties when it was still called Red Hat. The first two times I had varying degrees of success and eventually returned to Windows. Most recently I installed Fedora 20. The support at the forums and elsewhere has been very good for me and it is what I use at home. Among the best resources is Google. "How do I play a DVD on Fedora" Google sent me to the answers. Linux isn't too hard for Windows users. The vast majority of Windows users don't have the patience to learn their way around a new OS. I think the key is to ask a specific question in the forums and research the problem before asking. Many of the questions have been asked and answered. It's easy to snark about Windows users. Most of them have never heard of Linux, Firefox, Open Office, Libre Office, Opera and so on. Just remember, You cannot evangelize FOSS by insulting those few who take the initial steps.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: My Experience

      You are absolutely right, I too started as RH/Fedora user. What always gets me about community support forums is those asking the questions expectation of service and a solution with minimal effort on their part. On Windows forums, this seems to be expected and is why most Windows forum posts end up over 3 pages long just getting to what the actual problem is.

      That simply doesn't work on Linux forums. The knowledgeable people on Linux forums have taken the time to become that knowledgeable. When a user comes along who can't get something to work and hasn't even bothered to read the manual before asking questions, usually without explaining what the problem is or what they've tried - they get, however rightly or wrongly, ignored or abused as a lazy user who will get their answer, disappear and provide nothing back to the community that helped them.

      Personally I think it's a culture clash more than anything. Linux is primarily used by geeks who are motivated to go learn stuff for themselves (because it's fun) whereas Windows users may not be at all geeky but just trying something new, they expect support in the same sense as you'd get if you bought a computer from PC World (possibly a bad example). "There's a problem, fix it". Linux forums encourage you to fix it yourself, but you have to be willing to do that.

      On a final note, I would recommend Fedora to new users simply because of the moderators and users at FedoraForum. There will always be elitists, but FedoraForums mods are brilliant at keeping it in check and there a lot of very friendly, helpful users there. Just don't get Fedora within the first few months of it's release.

      http://www.catb.org/esr/faqs/smart-questions.html

  4. jtaylor

    Yay reasonable people

    Like others here, I have moved on past the struggle to justify which tools I use, and I now struggle to produce good things with those tools.

    It probably helps that I know more about operating systems than most of the kneebiters. And I use OpenBSD; Linux trolls are dilettantes.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yay reasonable people

      I now struggle to produce good things with those tools. ... I use OpenBSD

      *snigger*

  5. phil dude
    Linux

    corporate profit, quarters, staff etc..

    I'm not going to defend linux. I am just going to say that modern computing is amazing.

    With the source code probably anyone can learn how anything can be run on a computer.

    With assembler code, perhaps some can learn how something can be run on a computer.

    If a "bug" ( or feature depending on your point of view!) occurs in proprietary software, for it to get fixed depends on how important it is, and whether there are $STAFF to fix it.

    If a "bug" ( or feature depending on your point of view!) occurs in FOSS software, for it to get fixed depends on how important it is, and whether there are $VOLUNTEERS to fix it.

    Or you can fix it yourself and the world becomes a slightly better place...

    P.

  6. bill 27

    No Windows here.

    I have 5 computers here, and one at another place, none of them are running Windows. After fiddling with Windows for decades, I used to get paid to support them along with VAX and UNIX machines. Just for fun I used to run Windows 1.0 in a dosbox. Then I realized that there was only one package that I used that required Windows. I quit using it and scratched 3 different versions of Windows.

    Linux folks are usually pretty nice, I know I try, but the openbsd, and yes one of the computers is running it, people are...so friendly that I unsubscribed from the newsgroup after a few weeks.

    Can everybody do it? No, not really, but I still haven't figured out how a touch-screen is going to help anybody in a business environment.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I started on red hat 7.. Went to fedora 2, then Debian then Slackware then Gentoo.

    Biggest problem for a windows user on every distro was two things...

    1. How do I get my resolution native??

    Linux answer was usually a cryptic cmd to copy from IRC to your shell and hope it worked. Assuming you didn't have an ati card, otherwise you were gubbed

    2. Why don't mp3s work?

    Codec and legal issues or some crap... Either way both tasks required support... Such basic desktop experiences immediately put non Linux users off.

    Bottom line is, by the time you get to recompiling your kernel to suit the hardware and get things going, Linux is an amazing platform for getting the most out

    Of your machine.

    I now admin Linux servers on a daily basis, but it's still a pretty large learning curve for most to get proficient with the system. Linux support bods could be a little less stuck up too though :/

    1. bill 27

      You did pretty good...

      except for a few things:

      "1. How do I get my resolution native??"

      I'm assuming you mean the auto-detect during install. I haven't run into that problem for a long, long time. What I do hear is people with NVIDIA (I think it was that card) and having to use their proprietary software to drive it and having problems. You should have been around when the initial install dumped you to a giant TTY and you had to use vi(repeatedly) to manually define everything about your video card/CRT(yeah big glass-tube) before you could even think about starting(repeatedly) a X-windows environment.

      "2. Why don't mp3s work?"

      Yep, and your next line "Codec and legal issues or some crap" pretty much explains the problem. The "for a fee" OS vendors pre-pay for the "legal issues" and pass the savings on to you (or whoever). I mostly have problems playing DVD's, vlc works swell, and there are easily found solutions.

      "by the time you get to recompiling your kernel to suit the hardware and get things going"

      I haven't done that since somewhere along the time of RedHat 3.* At the time I was running a serial mouse using the same IRQ/IO addresses as the network card wanted.

      But I do agree that the support you get from folks online can be a little curt, it's especially important to give them enough information about the environment you're in as you know. But then, even now, I've never been afraid to just email the coder and ask WTF? Sometimes they even fix the problem at their end.

    2. Chemist

      "Bottom line is, by the time you get to recompiling your kernel to suit the hardware and get things going, Linux is an amazing platform for getting the most out"

      You really expect that most people with any knowledge of Linux would believe this ?

      I've not compiled a kernel for probably 15 years and I use Linux (OpenSUSE) all the time on all my machines.

      Installs also automatically get the resolution of the monitors correct, even my TV plugged in as a second monitor is recognized.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I'd say a recompile isn't necessary by any means and almost all Linux users would never need to do this.

        However, with a recompiled kernel inclusive of tuning tweaks you are going to get the best possible performance out of your kit for your application. In an hpc environment or in ultra low latency environments, this could matter.

        Also, going through a recompile really helps you grasp how the kernel works under the surface and overall increases your proficiency in the system.

  8. pompurin

    I've just bought a brand new laptop (Medion online) which came with Windows 8 installed. I tried it for about a week before I gave up even trying and had a dilemma between going back to trusted Windows 7 or for a brand new Linux Mint 17 installation with Cinnamon. I've went with Linux and so far it is turning out well.

    It hasn't been all straight forward, I had issues with my wifi drivers as the wifi would randomly drop after about 5 minutes. An upgrade of the Kernel to the latest version managed to resolve this. Apparently my wireless chip is quite new and wasn't well supported in previous kernels.

    There have been other strange things, like the difference between exFAT and FAT32 on USB sticksa and how you need extra packages installed to read these on Linux. It didn't take long to sort.

    I did have a bit of issue with the video drivers that were installed by default as I was getting serious tearing with youtube videos. I added a ppa repository and updated to the latest nvidia package via that and everything has been stable since.

    Chromium is the best browser I've used as there were issues with running a video full screen with firefox as any activity on the second monitor would cause the fullscreen to quit. No such problems with Chromium.

    I couldn't get Linux Mint to boot at all with UEFI on this laptop no matter what I tried. I ended up giving up and going back to BIOS as there is really no difference apart from maybe a couple of seconds in speed on bootup. The hibernate/sleep function is unstable. My laptop will almost definitely give a hard freeze (ie alt+f2 won't even work) and I have to do a reset by holding down the power button for 6 seconds. This is unfortunate but I've decided I can live with it for now. I may find a solution in the future. For some reason my brightness up/down settings occasionally stop responding and I have to restart the laptop before I can change them again. Oh yes and if any of you use the CAPS lock key rather than shift for capitalization then you will run into a very frustrating 'feature' than means CAPS lock is not turned off until it is fully released. This ends up with a lot of typing LOoking LIke THis. I can't help having learnt with caps lock as it works fine on Windows but there is no fix for Linux it's just something you have to get used to even though it is a well known problem going back for almost a decade!

    Everything else is working, multiple monitors (two on this laptop), printer and scanner from the Brother printer (brother have excellent Linux support), webcam, usb sticks (Apart from exFat issue above), my usb phone tether, wireless mice, sound, videos, wired network.

    I think Microsoft have really shot themselves in the foot with Windows 8. I've given Linux a try ever since the Ubuntu 8.04 days but there was always something that forced me back to Windows. This is the first time I think Linux is finally ready for the desktop.

    1. itzman

      Re: Linux is finally ready for the desktop.

      Yes. My experience really matches yours.

      There are still bugs and things that dont work exactly as they should, but the latest Mint is - on reasonable standard hardware - perfectly optimised for a desktop.

      Issues of power management and odd controls on laptops means its still slightly crappy to run on one if it isn't the 'right' one.

      The ubuntu/mint team have it is true made an environment that is nauseatingly windows-like by default BUT if you want to start tweaking, its very rapidly and easily customisable.

      It may not be what linux purists want to see, but of you are windows and fed up, Mint is easier to install, more stable and a lot cheaper ;-)

    2. Vociferous

      > I couldn't get Linux Mint to boot at all with UEFI on this laptop

      That's a feature. The real point of "secure boot" is to disallow users from installing replacement OS's on their devices, it's effectively DRM; that it also provides a measure of protection against bootblock viruses (remember those?) is incidental.

      If you can disable secure boot in your UEFI, do so and you'll be able to install Linux.

      That said, Mint did jump the hoops and pay the fees to get an official UEFI certificate, and should install on UEFI systems with secure boot now, so maybe you need to update your firmware: early UEFI systems preinstalled with Windows 8 were locked to not accept any replacement OS.

  9. John Tserkezis

    "Linux support is apparently a bit lacking. Perhaps it's worth what you paid for it?"

    That's entirely unfair, and you're really not helping the situation at all.

    After all, Windows is the most pirated operating system overall, and it has a good help system based on third party sites (yes, they're fucking FREE) that cover you from the most basic operational questions, to some gnarly registry issues.

    The clear differenciator is, they don't kick you in the nuts when you ask why your wallpaper selection isn't working.

    So it's obvious that windows users are nicer than linux users. Other personality issues aside to argue another day - they're at least nicer.

    1. itzman

      support..

      ..is available on user forums.

      The problem is reporting bugs as a noob to developers.

      They simply dont want to know.

  10. Bladeforce

    Where does this Microsoft spend more on R&D BS come from?

    http://money.cnn.com/2013/11/20/technology/mobile/apple-rd-spend/

    Truth is Microsoft spend more on patent trolling than anyone else

  11. wanderson

    Article writer comments are very misleading, since several of better known and respected Linux distributions - today, October 10th, 2014 - do not require or suggest "dropping to a command line" in order to perform certain functions.

    The other rather telling comment is his referencing "playing around" with Linux as an alternative to his dis-satisfaction with Microsoft Windows. Since Linux "is not" Windows, those interested in seriously evaluating this incredible Operating System (OS) need to get help and advice "beforehand", rather than “playing around” and stumbling along ignorantly into a very new computing paradigm, and wasting a great deal of valuable time and energy when so much intuitive and expert assistance is readily available - mostly without any costs or obligations.

    Over the past ten plus years, and especially during last 2 - 3 years, I have taught Linux and Free/Open Source Software topics in Greater New York area to those of all levels of technical proficiencies and all ages - up to 80 years of age - with ultimate success.

    One key consideration is willingness to learn and not making asinine assumptions about Linux as many in USA, like article writer, frequently do coming from a very limited Microsoft Windows only experience.

    It is instructive that the adoption of Linux and FOSS in most other developed nations has been quite noticeably easier and more acceptable to adults and the young, than for most Americans. Maybe basic intellect play a significant part!

    1. Ross K Silver badge
      Devil

      It is instructive that the adoption of Linux and FOSS in most other developed nations has been quite noticeably easier and more acceptable to adults and the young, than for most Americans. Maybe basic intellect play a significant part!

      You need intellect to be a linux user? You wouldn't think so if you read the comments of the linux fanboys on this thread.

      But I'm more interested in you. You're an angry little man, aren't you? 15 posts since 2009, mostly bitching about Microsoft...

      Just out of curiosity: do you operate the kimalcorp userid in addition to your wanderson userid? What did I say earlier in this thread about people posting under multiple identities?

  12. dan1980

    I just don't understand why anyone feels strongly enough about their operating system to argue about them.

    I really don't.

    I use Windows both at home and at work, and it is adequate for what I need but not without its share of annoyances or things that I would change, were it up to me. I use Linux both at home and at work and I find it adequate for what I need but not without its share of annoyances or things that I would change. I use Macs infrequently but I recognise that they work very well for somethings and some people but, again, they are not without their share of annoyances or things that I would change.

    On people, I have seen Windows users go into bat for their OS of choice and criticise the alternatives while being dismissive of or rude to those who use them and I have seen this in equal measure from Linux and Mac users, too.

    Each of these operating systems does some things better than the others and other things less well. They are each aimed slightly differently but their apostles seem to suggest that they are the best option for everyone in every circumstance and for every workload.

    Rot.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I pay M$soft $3.20 for Android, $0.0 for Windows 8.1

    Microsoft are dead in the water anyway.

  14. This post has been deleted by its author

  15. Marvin O'Gravel Balloon Face

    I've used Linux as home / remote servers for years. Recently built a new home server in a nice DVD player style case as a media PC attached to the living room TV. Works well now, but problems with drivers for third party hardware and hassles with screen tearing and audio dogged the box for a while. Fortunately the webcam I attached has a decent inbuilt microphone, because I could route sound via HDMI, or onboard sound card, but not both - which kinda scuppered using it as a standalone CD player.

    Setting up the remote control and wireless air keyboard thingy also required a lot of patience. Ditched CUPS as a print server when I got a new colour laser printer with built in network and tbh was glad to see the back of it. Still a little dissapointed about the lack of official support by movie streaming sites for Linux, but YouTube and most of the iPlayer type services are OK.

    All in all, it enables me to do most things I want (including running the security cameras and acting as a web dev and music server). Frustrating at times, but configurable, free, and fun to learn. I've always found the forums to be helpful places, but a lot of that is down to not weighing in with your own frustrations, arrogance and sense of entitlement.

  16. daealc
    Holmes

    Quite a heated debate

    I am not saying what my favourite OS is.

  17. Canocola

    Converted

    I have only the faintest idea what a partition is, haven't bothered to find out what one does to compile code, and still have the nagging feeling that sudos are found in a corner of Private Eye. I run Mint on my laptop though, because unlike Windows, it just bloody works. On the rare occasion that something has gone wrong or won't work, the solution is generally easy to find, and I've never had an update create more than momentary trouble (I turned to Linux first when Windows messed up an update and wrecked the whole OS - having used Ubuntu to rescue my files, I couldn't face the five days of downloading patches if I restored Windows - so didn't).

    I suspect the problem is people judging the merits of the two on the way things were a decade ago - when Linux only worked if you understood command lines and Windows was pretty usable out of the box. Nowadays Linux appears to be designed for normal people and Windows is the one with the terrible interface and endless obstructions to getting your device to work how you want it to. Quite the turn around.

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