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invictus 06-28-2003 07:01 PM

Discussion thread: What does Windows do better than Linux and how do we get there?
 
Having just completed the "Why can't linux be more like Windows?" thread, I've decided to start this one up.

Purpose:
1. To suggest reasons as to why M$ Windows is doing so much better in terms of popularity.
2. To create a list of easy-to-use resources for new-to-Linux computer users. The resources need not follow Windows standards (i.e, shortcuts, menu structuring, etc), but should be more obvious than CLI to the average user.

Request for post content:
I request that the following comments not be made, as they tend to be unproductive. Also, they've been made many a time before.

1. Most users are stupid.
Maybe they are, maybe not; I've never administered learning aptitude tests to them. Still, they do make up the majority of the world. This doesn't mean we should discard our own needs to cater to theirs, but it does mean that their needs should at the very least be considered.

2. M$ is brainwashing people to use its software.
Maybe true, but too generic. I don't believe M$ is bursting into peoples' homes, sitting them down in front of a hypnotist and commanding them to do its bidding. (Though it is a rather interesting fantasy to indulge in) It is, however, worthwhile to look at how M$ is achieving such popularity.

3. If you don't like Linux, too bad, n00b. Go back to Winblowz!
Please, we're all here for good reasons, none of which, presumably, involve the further spread of Windows and related software. Telling people to FOAD, in not so many words, isn't going to help our case.

List above may be added to later, but these are the ones I found most often.

2damncommon 06-28-2003 07:04 PM

Posts: 7

Please, stop.

invictus 06-28-2003 07:14 PM

Just because I've only recently started posting on this forum doesn't make the content of my posts any more or less valid. Do you have some particular objection to anything I've written?

Thymox 06-28-2003 07:23 PM

I think one thing that really ought to be sorted out for newbs is the autoinsert notification thing for CDs. Sure, there is now a fairly well functioning automounter, but it needs to go further than that. Some Linux CDs (particularly RH ones) do have automount scripts, but I believe that there needs to be a standardised method of starting an application on cd insert notification. Perhaps if as part of the LSB the users normal/default browser were mentioned in the environment variables (or whatever they're called) so that an autoinsert script would not have to probe for this that or the other, it could just say 'ok, launch this page with their default browser'. Most other things could possibly be launched from the browser.

0.02

Oh, and I think the problem above is that there have been soooo many 'why is this better than that' threads that some people get bored and annoyed.

2damncommon 06-28-2003 07:30 PM

I will post this link and get my elitist Linux butt out of here.
I echo another members question of why someone would sign up to a Linux bullitin board and do nothing but insult Linux?
I question the motives.

You are pretty much on target, Thymox. I keep seeing low post count members starting, basically, "Linux sucks", threads.

mcleodnine 06-28-2003 07:35 PM

Re: Discussion thread: What does Windows do better than Linux and how do we get there
 
What does Windows do better?

- On the desktop side, Office suites, viruses and root exploits mostly.
- On the server side? Directory services, viruses, worms and root exploits.

Why is it so popular? Legacy. MS-DOS was around long before Linux's first appearance (about ten years) and much longer than the first consumer-freindly distributions (almost 15) and Microsoft has made sure that (for the most part) older applications would run on the newer platforms. People became comfortable with that environment and confident that software investments wouldn't be wiped out by an upgrade (think Apple -> Mac). UNIX was still an expensive high-end tool for workstations and servers at that time.

'Linux', GNU, OpenSource doesn't need to do anything to become better. In fact if MS would ever build applications to an accepted RFCxxxx standard it would be wiped off the planet. Why do people use MS Office? Because they have to in order to collaborate with other Office users. You can break out of the mold and use OpenOffice but you will have some difficulties interoperating with MS Office <flavor of the year>. Building incompatibilty into HTML doesn't do much for the 'user experience' other than to force them to use IE, which in turn means they need to Use MS Windows <flavour of the year>.

Q: So what does Windows have that OpenSource doesn't?
A: Hostages

totalcommand 06-28-2003 08:29 PM

Here's what Windows has that OpenSource doesn't - user-friendliness and - I am going to emphasize this because as much as this point has been made, even the moderator does not seem to get it - people who do not know much about computers. So the moderator spent most of his post bashing Windows for it's bad stuff. But windows is much better for people who don't know much about computers. How much does the person who knows very little about computers care whether he or she uses IE? Once Linux fixes the user-friendliness problem, it will be in a position to make its own standards

"I echo another members question of why someone would sign up to a Linux bullitin board and do nothing but insult Linux?
I question the motives."

I am not insulting Linux. It is very good for many tasks. I am trying to get people to understand that we need to improve the user-friendliness in Linux. If Linux's goal is to be mainstream, this needs to be a priority.

invictus 06-28-2003 08:49 PM

Batch reply
 
Thymox, I'll claim newbie status and ask you to explain what you mean. I'm not sure I follow. What's the connection between automount and browser? Also, a question: Since automount doesn't sound like such a difficult thing to implement, but hasn't been made standard part of an install, is there some good reason I'm unaware of for it to remain on manual?

mcleodnine, hostages, yes, definitely. There's always going to be the group of people who don't have the time/desire/whatever to switch to a new program. Still, aren't there conversion utils for that sort of thing? As for software investments, well...

First of all, what with M$ going to a subscription-based .NET structure, there's been a growing concern that should you choose to stop paying for a subscription, you're stuck with files in formats you can't open. Not to mention the whole "my cable connection is down, I might as well go home" problem (Anyone in Toronto area and on Rogers Cable can relate, I'm sure).

Second, the whole backwards-compatibility claim ends up looking rather funny when an Adobe Illustrator 9.0 file totalling 330 Kb in size gets converted to an Adobe Illustrator 8.0 file totalling an amazing 72 Mb. I was impressed.

I can't think of any similarly spectacular issues with native M$ software, but I'm sure a few exist. It's already a pain to keep track of which version you're saving a file in when trying to keep it backwards-compatible, but that's OS-independent, anyway.

A bit of interesting trivia, though: Did you know that M$ sales agents get a higher commission when convincing a customer to switch from a competing product than when signing up a whole new customer? (Source: High-level executive of Research In Motion, in a presentation a few years back) M$ has the right idea, I'd say. Linux may keep coming up with equally good or better software packages, but the developers are fighting an uphill battle -- they're trying to get into a market already controlled by someone else. Compatibility with the most popular format would be an incredible selling point for any app, be it OpenOffice, the GIMP, or LaTeX.

As a side-note on the same point, a conversion util won't cut it. It might work perfectly on my files, but it won't work on my Windows-using client, who has to receive and read my files. I believe that the best approach is a conversion on open and close, keeping the original format of the document.


The whole virus/worm thing will remain a problem with Windows until some sort of permission structure is implemented in the design. No arguments there.


Oh, and 2damncommon, I didn't attack linux. I use it, for cryin' out loud, out of choice, not lack thereof. Doesn't mean I can't point out problems. I can do so with Windows as well. If you prefer fanatical and blind worship of one OS to another, sorry, I don't do that.
And your immediate classification of me as someone who's clueless and is out to bash Linux for the sheer pleasure of it is exactly the attitude I was referring to in the post you so kindly linked.

mcleodnine 06-28-2003 08:59 PM

in responce to the previous poster's comments, 'the moderator' does get it.
Ease of use is subjective to your current knowledge base. If you are familiar with the MS Windows interface then it's easy to use. :)

As for point-and-click my way through through the day - probably the only thing you will see that will come close to that will be Lindows, which will be fine for most users. It appears to have a solid package management tool (it's debian) and should make it appealing to the novice computer user. The advanced support is subscription-based and I would like to see it fly. IMO it remains to be seen how well it will integrate with other OpenSource software. For example, will I be able to build the most recent version of MPlayer on it or will I only be able to use the Lindows-packaged version?

invictus 06-28-2003 09:10 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by mcleodnine
Ease of use is subjective to your current knowledge base. If you are familiar with the MS Windows interface then it's easy to use. :)
Ah, but that's the difference. With M$, the user is pretty much restricted to learning one interface that is used over and over again. With Linux, there are very few common points between, let's say, the controls of BlackBox and TWM. Or BlackBox and Mozilla. Note, I'm not even mentioning VI or Emacs :)

Quote:

{snip} Lindows. {snip} For example, will I be able to build the most recent version of MPlayer on it or will I only be able to use the Lindows-packaged version?
No experience with Lindows... Are they rewriting those apps or just creating nice and colourful gui's for them? There's nothing especially frightening about the process of downloading an upgrade from the net, and that process can be automated easily enough. aptitude does well enough for the most part. I sure hope Lindows doesn't shoot itself in the head by limiting the users to only what comes on the CD.

*is still trying to turn the map the right way to figure out where Canada's left side is*

twilli227 06-28-2003 09:18 PM

totalcommand
If Linux's goal is to be mainstream, this needs to be a priority.

Who's goal are you talking about? I would rather have the linux distros of today and have to use some thought processes for them to work the way ' I ' want them to, than to have a dumbed down version that somebody else thinks I should use.
The distros are getting easier to use. If you have a problem with a certain distro or app, and you really want to see linux succeed, then get involved. Send an e-mail to the developer of the distro or app. Let them know what changes or improvements you would like to see.
Stop posting a thread that has been gone over many times.
Get involved.

mcleodnine 06-28-2003 09:20 PM

Most of the consumer-oriented distributions are focusing on KDE or Gnome as the default UI. The icons look different, and users will note that each use a subset of tools/apps built for that UI. ie: Konqueror for KDE and Galeon for Gnome.

As for the applications themselves there really isn't that much difference between a Windows-based word processor and and a GNU-based one. You type in the white parts, you click on some formatting tools, save your work and print it with the little printer pushy-button thing.

<edit>
invictus - as for Lindows - It sounds to me like they're maintaining their own versions of the packages and making a simple GUI interface to the apt-* package toolset. I honestly believe the most difficult task they face is the wrath of Linux/GNU/FSF 'elitist snobs'. (which I have been called in the past.)

twilli227 06-28-2003 09:23 PM

' print it with the little printer pushy-button thing.'

lol, mcleodnine, you crack me up:D

invictus 06-28-2003 09:36 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by twilli227
I would rather have the linux distros of today and have to use some thought processes for them to work the way ' I ' want them to, than to have a dumbed down version that somebody else thinks I should use.
What's wrong with having both? I want the freedom to not just dig through a dozen config files in order to make something do exactly what I want, I also want the freedom to simply hit one button and have an app that might not do stuff exactly the way I like it, but does stuff nonetheless. I couldn't care less whether I have to manually tell a word processor that I like my text to always be formatted to 1.5 inch columns if I have a five page project proposal due the next morning. Dosh-darnit, I guess I'll set the formatting manually this once!

Quote:

Send an e-mail to the developer of the distro or app. Let them know what changes or improvements you would like to see.
Stop posting a thread that has been gone over many times.
Get involved.

Again, why not both? Have you never encountered a problem with Linux? Why not post it here?

The Gnome Usability Project is doing work in this. It's one place to get involved.

twilli227 06-28-2003 09:47 PM

I have had problems, and I will ask for help. I will not complain about something and not do anything about it.

invictus
The Gnome Usability Project is doing work in this. It's one place to get involved.

If I had problems with Gnome, then I would get involved. I don't use it though.
You also have the freedom not to use something that does not work the way you want it, or do something to make a differance.


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