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Hi. I'm a Unix Administrator, mathematics enthusiast, and amateur philosopher. This is where I rant about that which upsets me, laugh about that which amuses me, and jabber about that which holds my interest most: Unix.
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Posted 11-04-2009 at 05:32 PM by rocket357
Updated 11-04-2009 at 05:39 PM by rocket357

I don't even know what to type out for this blog...I mean, I know what I want to say...I just don't know **how** to go about wording it. See, I've been under the impression that Microsoft and vendors who utilize Microsoft products write easy to use operating systems and software suites. Today I noticed something strikingly similar to "Linux user-unfriendliness".

Now, I personally don't care what the user-friendly camp says. The only argument that makes ANY sense is that the more friendly the software is, the bigger the user base, and that leads to more attention from hardware vendors in the form of drivers. Ok, I can live with that makes sense...but every other pansy cry for more user-friendliness is void and null, IMHO. (Feel free to disagree). And the hardware driver argument is pretty lame, too, considering most Linux users watch the HCL's pretty closely...

So don't take this posting as a whine about Windows or Linux...think of this as an apples-to-apples comparison.

To get to the actual event that took place, I was setting up two Dell machines today for BusinessObjects installations (quite possibly the one company I despise more than Microsoft), and I had to install PERC6/E drivers. Now, I'll give you that we're in a vastly different environment here from typical user-friendly-Windows environments...but follow the logic here: I download the driver, which is an executable, and transfer it to the server. I perform the typical Windows "double-click-it" installation, and I'm shocked to see that the executable simply unpacked itself and then opened the directory where it placed the files! No fancy automatic driver install. No fancy graphics to look at while I wait. Nothing.

I stared at the screen in disbelief for a few moments...whaa?? You mean I have to **do something**?!

Then it hit me. Here I am, in a Windows environment, albeit a professional server environment, and the software vendor is expecting me to exercise some intelligence in figuring out how to get this driver installed (well, ok...they are expecting me to RTFM). I open the README, scroll to the appropriate location, and start reading. I end up pulling up the Device Manager, right-clicking the device that isn't configured, and click "Update driver". I follow the screens, tell it where to find the drivers that were unpacked a few moments ago, and click "ok".

Now, many of you will disagree with this next thought, but how can the people at Dell get away with a driver installer as crappy as this one? Simple: I'm a sysadmin (not a Windows one, but that's besides the point). It's expected that I be able to figure things out for myself. How is that **any** different from Linux? Sure, there are user-friendly distros out there, but in the days before Ubuntu or Mint or whatever, Linux was viewed as an environment where users were expected to utilize intelligence in operating the system. The user-friendly crusade has **ruined** that about the Linux community.

I've since moved on to OpenBSD (as long as Theo is in charge there, users will be expected to use their intelligence to operate the system), but it's always been an issue I think when an operating system pushes the user-friendliness envelope to the point it starts sacrificing stability, security, and reliability. You need look no further than Linus' thoughts on the "masterbating monkeys" on the OpenBSD side of the world to see how far Linus is willing to go to sacrifice security.

Call me an elitist prick, but that's how I see it.
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  1. Old Comment
    I like the post overall. Good thoughts and perception. However, I don't agree with your final analysis. I suggest reading this article to see what I mean.

    Especially notice the last few paragraphs. It's easy for us to get caught in counter-productive zealousness when dealing with open-source related issues, particularly when you and I are involved for idealistic reasons to begin with.

    Linus made a mistake, but overall he isn't what is being depicted. To me, his biggest error in this is saying that he despises "black-and-white" people. That's a personality difference he failed to acknowledge or understand, even though they have as much right to breath as he. Not seeing the good those individual also bring about through their intensity is the greater mistake.

    It's a good post. Keep 'em coming.

    Posted 11-04-2009 at 09:21 PM by ofaring ofaring is offline
  2. Old Comment
    Originally Posted by ofaring View Comment
    To me, his biggest error in this is saying that he despises "black-and-white" people.
    My biggest beef (note: **MY** biggest beef...I don't claim to say this is important to everyone...just me) with Linus' mentality on this topic is that I really don't give a rats about an OS that can glitz me to death on the desktop but stands to be rooted by the first script kiddie that wanders by. Sure, I'm exaggerating some, but let's be realistic here. When a non-security bug is triggered, an application crashes, or (worse) the OS crashes, or somesuch. When a security-related bug is triggered, another intelligent being has potentially gained access to my machine, and all of the data I've placed therein. I don't know if you've ever been the victim of identity theft, ofaring, but I can assure you it is not a fun game. I care very deeply about the security of my machines, and as such my machines run an OS where security is a byproduct of the OS's development cycle, not one where security is a bolt-on after thought.
    Posted 11-04-2009 at 11:50 PM by rocket357 rocket357 is offline
  3. Old Comment
    My apologies for the delayed response.

    I can understand your perspective. I also wonder about the direction of Open Source projects when I see them place their primary priority on dumbing things down or trying to play catch-up with the glamor of OSX. Granted, the average user today doesn't care much about the nuts & bolts of the system, and you could make an argument that such a user shouldn't be made a priority. Of course, you can also argue that without the average user you no longer have a customer base, but that's a different discussion.

    I've heard it said that the difference between a Canadian/American waiter (food service) and a French waiter is this: The Canadian tries to get you whatever you want; the Frenchman tries to educate you on how to choose properly. Kinda sums up a sad attitude overall about Canada/America. People tend to be lazy and just want their way, often without realising the end cost.
    Posted 11-25-2009 at 04:43 PM by ofaring ofaring is offline
  4. Old Comment
    EXACTLY! That waiter comparison is perfect...
    Posted 11-26-2009 at 12:26 AM by rocket357 rocket357 is offline
  5. Old Comment
    pwned! nice post!
    yes opensource fails last time... i don't want this to happen and the only way we can do it is to code for stability, for security, code for it to be awesome, but not just beautiful. we don't need a pretty images without a code of same beauty. i won't give into examples right now, i think you can find them yourself easily taking a quick look over currently active opensource projects on the net.
    it's same for a real life. if we want to stop a global ecological disaster we just stop dumping everywhere. start from ourselves.
    Posted 11-26-2009 at 01:33 AM by Web31337 Web31337 is offline
  6. Old Comment
    Web31337, I wouldn't say *opensource* fails...keep in mind that projects like the OpenBSD project exist and don't take well to the user-friendliness/glitz crusade that Linux appears to have fallen victim to (OpenBSD just recently got unencumbered direct rendering for certain video cards)...and even beyond that not *all* Linux-oriented projects are glitz/glam projects.

    I will *always* be an advocate of open source software...I would rather put my tender parts in a blender than have to use closed-source operating systems exclusively...but when glitter and pizzazz are the most important aspect of a project, I wander off to find projects that match my needs better.
    Posted 11-27-2009 at 08:30 PM by rocket357 rocket357 is offline
  7. Old Comment
    i know, rocket357, i wasn't actually referring to all opensource =) many opensource products failed for that reasons.
    ++ i'm thinking just the same way as you do.
    Posted 11-28-2009 at 01:10 AM by Web31337 Web31337 is offline


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