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Old 03-05-2005, 06:46 PM   #1
Registered: Feb 2005
Location: Southampton, UK
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Whats so great?

I'm a total newbie to Linux so roll your eyes and gnash your teeth etc etc
I have Mandrake 10.1 installed in a dual boot with XP, all running quite happily together.

I've been a Windows user since 3.1 so I think I have a fairly good understanding of it. I am impressed with what I've seen of Mandrake so far, and the attraction of something that is free is huge, however, Microsoft monopolising aside, why is Linux so much better than Windows?
Personally I find Windows far more user freindly. The lack of command line input makes life much easier, especially for an old fart like me who has trouble remembering all the commands!
I know people say security is a huge problem with Windows, but I have a fully updated XP with up to date firewall, anti-virus and spyware tools and my system seems quite happy. Is Linux any more secure? Or is it just a case of less people trying to hack Linux because less people use Linux?

Like I said earlier I am a total newbie with Linux and I do intend to keep persevering with it (so please don't flame me too much), although I won't be washing my hands of Windows just yet,but apart from it not being written by Microsoft, what are the advantages of Linux over Windows?)
Old 03-05-2005, 07:07 PM   #2
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Re: Whats so great?

Originally posted by prh
why is Linux so much better than Windows?
It's only better in some respects. As you pointed out, if you want to click your way through everything, Windows has that down pat. Even with Windows, the command line is still far superior to the GUI counterpart. I have to write NTBACkUP scripts all the time. Another Windows commandline tool is NET use. A script to take down a cluster in a certain order will utilize that command. All these tasks could be done with the GUI, but they'd take a lot more time.

Security-wise, hands down Linux is better. Linux is more secure out of the box, but it all depends how paraniod you are. Even if you are a linux guru, if you aren't watching the logs your firewall doesn't mean squat.

I've gotten rid of all but one windows machine. The reason for that is burning DVDs. I've yet to get a quick/easy solution in linux. It can be done, but 5 clicks in windows is better than 5 minutes of commands and clicks on my linux box.

You pointed out most of what I said, so your on the right track. The other benifits to linux are:
Programming - I think its easier.
file servers
web servers
Database servers
The ability to customize my kernel.
Not installing 2GB of worthless junk. I think XP is 1.8 GB as a fresh install.

I do believe print servers are better on windows. Just because cups doesn't support some of the "end user" type printers. If all I had to deal with were large laser jets, I'd use linux for that.
Old 03-05-2005, 07:13 PM   #3
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Umm, I think there are a lot of reasons, but ultimately, whtever cheers you up. Some people love Apples. I don't. Each to their own.

For me, the advantages of Linux over Windows are software availability for anything I want to do, interoperability, general openness. Most of all, the Linux approach is to make things work from the distro, whereas Windows expects every provider of software or hardware to make things work for Windows.

Anyway, if you don't like Linux, Windows for you (or try an Apple Mac).

Old 03-05-2005, 07:24 PM   #4
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It depends on you. Windows has a much more advanced GUI if that's what you like. Linux can be more secure but a fully patched Windows box running anti-virus software and a firewall should be quite safe as well.

Personal preference, I just prefer linux because I can customise it very easily and it's free.
Old 03-05-2005, 07:26 PM   #5
Registered: Apr 2002
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I think one of the most overlooked things is that windows
was originally meant to be a GUI for a single-user system
where one person tries to do reasonably simple things,
like writing a letter, enter values in a spreadsheet or
send e-Mails ...

Linux (Unix) has a completely different background, the
fact that the ARE GUIs for it these days, many of which try
to mimic the behaviour of other GUI driven OSes can't hide
the fact that Linux is best at automation, and mass-processing
of data... from an admin-perspective Linux/Unix is a dream
come true. Admitted, if you do something once, mouse may
be a good enough approach. If you have to repeat the same
mouse-sequence with 15 clicks, 10 selects from a pull down
and scrolling about a 200 times you may start to feel differently
about ease of use. In Linux, if I want to change more than one
users permitted login-times I'll run a sed one-liner on which I
spent one minute of thought against /etc/shadow, and will be
done 1 second later, 1 user or 200, it's all the same...

An example from my work-field ... for YEARS my windows-using
colleagues have had an obnoxious chore to manually extract
information from an arbitrary number of changed log-files every
morning, entering the values into a spread-sheet tediously. Takes
about 20 minutes every day. I sat down, scripted for a few hours,
and now the process is completed within 5 seconds, running a
combo of find & an awk-script against 4 windows-shares from a
linux-machine. And to do something similar with windows-built-ins
... I don't know, must be more complicated I suppose, since the
guys know windows scripting host and vb ;)


Last edited by Tinkster; 03-06-2005 at 12:09 AM.
Old 03-05-2005, 10:06 PM   #6
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I found Linux better for programming. Everything I need comes with and works out of the box in Linux: from compilers to text editors, libraries, API's, servers and fully operational IDE's at no cost. That's pretty much what any distribution offer today, at no cost.

The installation of Windows, however, offers only a crap browser and a cheap text editor with few games we all used to play back in the 90's. You have to either open your wallet and spend a lot of cash for getting the good stuff to make Windows useful, download it illegally or download some hard-to-find free software for Windows, as Borland and DevC++.

Still, I'd choose Windows anytime when it comes down to games. Not because it's better at it, but because it supports way more games. I say, not because it's better, because if you've ever played a native Linux games as Neverwinter or Unreal2k3, you know it's also superior on that matter, just not very well supported

I've to admit though, it has been a while since I last used Linux or FreeBSD in my desktop(but I do, use them as server). I run WindowsXP currently on my desktop and I program in C++, python and PHP with it. No big deal which OS you use, just how you use it at the end...
Old 03-05-2005, 11:25 PM   #7
Registered: Jan 2005
Location: Clackamas, Oregon, US
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i find linux is superiorly better in the fact that it does what I want it to do.

when i want something to quit, i can go to all sorts of places and tell the thing to die, easily with the "killall -KILL" command.

on windows, i've had this happen before. I load up an application, then i decide after waiting too long that i don't feel like using it. So i open up the task manager, go to the tasks and "TERMINATE". Yet, it doesn't work, so I open up the process tree and choose to terminate it from there. Still doesn't work and I don't feel like waiting forever for that one thing to load, so I decide to restart. AND RIGHT WHEN IT'S ABOUT TO RESTART, the thing quits!

That's one of the main reasons why I hate windows.
Old 03-05-2005, 11:53 PM   #8
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Re: Whats so great?

Originally posted by prh
Is Linux any more secure? Or is it just a case of less people trying to hack Linux because less people use Linux?

just my two cents

the open non-linear non-comercial non-corporate totally decentralized culture of Linux is in fact
"what's so great"

since there are lots of servers on the internet running linux there are lots of people trying to hack linux
all the best hackers are trying to hack linux.

linux is not in any way all homogeneous (is that even a word) like MS products are.
an exploit that might work on one machine won't work on another one
when i do see where someone has run an exploit on my machine it never works
the equation is simple to big when you add alot of variation to the puzzle.
it's like a 100 digit combination lock instead of one with only one number.

Spyware addware and trojan hourses and viruses are rampant on MS products.
these things do not exist in linux bacause of the open non comercial culture.
all that click and go on windows comes at the price of allowing others to do anything they want on your machine and not being allowed to stop it or even understand it.

Linux is also alot more powerfull on so many levels than windows it's almost hard to describe.

Linux is also alot alot more stable than windows because you are in controll and you can make it stable and secure instead of relying on others who do not have your best interest at heart but rather only serve corporate profit.
when someting goes wrong with linux you can fix it easy
everytime i install a new device driver in windows for someone and something goes weird like an antivirus program i didn't know was running gets in the way or something you are right on the verge of a total reinstall because point and click went south.
that simply never happens to linux ever and i have never messed up a good linux install so it didn't work and i couldn't fix it.

to say what's so great about inux is like saying what's so great about anti-oxidants in fruits and vegatables. They do the same thing as big pharmas pills only better and without the nasty side effects, they are free, and you get to decide which ones you want to eat and when without a physicians use license. It alll seems rather obvious.

Last edited by foo_bar_foo; 03-05-2005 at 11:56 PM.
Old 03-20-2005, 06:09 AM   #9
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Re: Re: Whats so great?

Originally posted by foo_bar_foo

Linux is also alot alot more stable than windows because you are in controll and you can make it stable and secure instead of relying on others who do not have your best interest at heart but rather only serve corporate profit.
By contrast, a newbie who doesn't fully understand the hardware in his system could make a kernel that is completely unstable and boots to a kernel error every time. I've done that many times in my learning process. Odds are this guy is a newbie, therefore it isn't going to be as easy as windows until you fail a few times. I've failed 6 times trying to install Gentoo and the manual shows you command by command what to do. Linux is a learning experience and ultimitely will benefit you if you go into any type of techology based job.
Old 03-20-2005, 07:30 AM   #10
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The major differences and advantages are "under the hood". The fewer automatic configuration "tools" you have, the more stable your machine will be. Linux uses a far simpler approach to a lot of things that windoze makes very complex for some reason.

For someone migrating from the 100% point and click world into Linux, there is a pretty large learning curve. Luckily, unlike windoze, Linux and Linux users have a huge community of people who are willing and able to help with that learning. This is one of the biggest advantages of Linux. The community atmosphere of Linux is unrivaled by any other OS.

Once you have a stable system, there's very little you need to do to keep it running. Want to install an application? No problem, and no reboot (usually). Want to fix some problem on your machine? No problem, you can actually go into the OS and make whatever changes are need to solve the problem. Nothing is hidden from you.

One of the biggest things I like about Linux is choice. You have a choice about nearly everything. You aren't forced to use any certain tool. You aren't forced to do things any certain way. You don't like your desktop environment? Install a new one. Don't like the way app1 does a certain job? No problem, there's probably app2, app3 or app4 that will do it differently. Or edit the config file to change the way app1 does certain things.

Kernel doesn't support some function or hardware? Compile a new one. Piece of cake (after some reading up on kernels). Once you've compiled a kernel a few times, you forget how hard you thought it was in the beginning. And while, yes, you can compile a kernel to be unstable or even not work at all, but anyone using good practices will keep a stable working kernel listed as an option in their boot manager "just in case".

Choices. You have so many choices available to you that it can be staggering and even confusing. AIn't it great?


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