A look back at Windows, a Linux user's view.

in General Discussion edited January 2014
Here is a little heads up about this thread.... This thread deals with such far out topics as Linux, Windows and the contrast between them. So don't give me any flack about wanting the time it took you to read this post back because I don't wanna hear it and you have been warned about it's contents. Anyhow...

I have been using Linux as my main OS for a few years now... and I have been very happy with it. Part of being a Linux user is choice, there is so many things to choose when it comes to your operating system unlike just using what "they" give you in the closed source world. Today, I did something that I thought I would never do again. I installed Windows XP on my computer. Why, you might ask? seeing how I am a happy Linux user... Because I thought I would give it another shot from a different point of view.

So this is what I have done. I have installed Windows XP over my old Slackware Linux installation. I plan on keeping Windows on my box (no matter how upsetting/frustrating it gets) until May 9th. At which time I will buy (yes, buy) SuSE Linux Pro 9.1. (which would be just released at that time)

So I am forcing myself to ruff it out for the next few days with Windows. This way I can keep sharp with Windows XP, a very important thing to do when you are in my field, and I can review the OS takes up the majority of desktop market share.

Now, back to Linux reality...

Using Slackware for most of my Linux life has given me the skills to solve most Linux related problems, and a much better understanding of how Linux works then lets say someone with a RedHat background would. Slackware is my hobby, and I love it to death.

Then SuSE knocked on my door. I was reading about their upcoming release (9.1) and saw that they had a live CD for testing (a live CD is just a fully functional Linux operating system that is booted off a CD) and I bit. After booting off the CD I found myself in the wonderful world of SuSE Linux. A clean, simple, and user friendly Linux distribution. My first thought was that I could use this CD to convert my MyCorwSoftlyWindBlowing friends to Linux, then my second thought was that this CD was converting me into a SuSE user.

When the new release of SuSE comes out, it will replace Windows and be installed beside Slackware.

Now, I figured that it is time for me to review all my options and really find what bugs me with each one. On the chopping block is: Slackware Linux, SuSE Linux, and Windows XP. Other major distros of Linux are not of concern to me, I have tried them, and they did not cut it (burn in hell RedHat ) Now that I have spent a lot of time on two sides of the PC OS war I find that there are major cons to each side and that nobody is the clear winner.

Pros of Slackware:

You learn a lot about Linux and that knowledge is very useful. You can configure it into anything you want, desktop, server, workstation, whatever it can be molded to do them all. The X windows system!!!

Pros of SuSE:

Forget about all the horror stories you have heard about setting up Linux, SuSE's YaST/2 program does it all for you. They have a nice integrated KDE desktop and I feel that even my grandmother (yes you know the one ) can learn to use it. Oh and the X windows system!!!

Pros of Windows:

Drivers. Support. Games. And, did I note the drivers?

Cons of Slackware:

The OS is almost a one man show, Pat does it all and that worries me. It is NOT user friendly, one day my dad turned on my computer to see if a CD he burned will work on a PC and he was completely baffled at what he saw. He is a Mac person but common is a command prompt so scary to look at? Slackware by default installation is not secured, the user has to lock it down with iptables scripts and config file changes. (for a good half year I had an FTP server running and I did not know it \)

Cons of SuSE:

Some problems I ran into were solved thanks to the knowledge of Linux Slackware gave me. This is not good because most people who use SuSE are not Linux fluent and would not know how to tackle such problems. SuSE is a commercial distro, meaning that while you can get it for free (like all GPL'd software) unless you pay for it you will be compiling it from source till the cows come home.

Cons of Windows:

Infections, worms, spy-ware, COMMAND shell, explorer shell, and the need to keep your system locked down. Oh, and this one is BIG: NO VURTRULE DESKTOPS!!! this is a huge con for me because over the past few years I have found the VDs to be a huge asset. I am stuck in one desktop hell.

So now that I taken another look at Windows I see that there is much Microsoft can learn from Linux, and there is much Linux distros can learn from MS.

Concluding, it would be a magical world if the best features from Windows were mixed with the best features from Linux... oh wait... OSX seems to be just that, A Unix like OS that has great support, easy to use/setup, games, drivers, and benefits from OSS. Funny that.


  • Reply 1 of 28
    bartobarto Posts: 2,246member
    I was in a similar situation. After running dual booting XP and Slackware for several months, I needed more space on the XP partition so I deleted Slackware. I intended to install SuSE 9.1 when it came out (probably for similar reasons as you, Linux 2.6, KDE 3.2, OpenOffice etc all out of the box).

    Then I discovered College Linux. It's Slackware but with more. The hardware detection software from Red Hat, for example. Slapt-get included by default for almost Mac OS X like software updates. OpenOffice in Slapt-get. KDM configured to run by default. A one size fits all very, VERY fast (about 10-15mins) install. Apache and Webmin included by default (makes configuration so much easier).

    Basically, it's Slackware made easier. Not at a SuSE level of ease of configuration, but a nice compromise.

  • Reply 2 of 28
    cybermonkeycybermonkey Posts: 604member
    I've been using suse since 6.2 and although it is a nice OS and very easy to setup, They have a tendency to release pointless point releases ( There after a steady cash flow ) which tend to mess up your previous system. For example 7.2 was an excellent version everything worked without any tweaking, then 7.3 came out and your suddenly left with no functioning Nvidia drivers, USB that won't respond and the modem goes on the blink.

    The other downside to suse is that they have changed the file system to suit them, so if your familar with say slackware, gentoo etc your in for a big surprise when you want to find something. The most noticable is mounting of drives which normally would be done by mount /mnt/drive under suse it's mount /media/cdrecorder.

    If your happy with the RPM system then it's the best distro out there, But in my opinion RPM is the devils work and needs a better standard packing system like that of Debian, gentoo and the holy grail OS X.
  • Reply 3 of 28
    ghost_user_nameghost_user_name Posts: 22,667member

    Collage Linux is ok, I guess. I gave it a try not so long ago but I found that is not to my liking. It pretty much destroys all the ideals that goes along with Slackware. Redhat's kudzu hardware detection is ok, but I find it slow and bloated. Slapt-get is great, but Swaret is much better IMO. I am glad that Collage Linux has taken Slackware for it's base. That's what the community is for, sharing ideas and improving, and Collage Linux does a great job at showing what can be done within the Linux community in that respect.

    I would suggest that you take a look at VectorLinux or Yoper. VectorLinux is Slackware based (and package compatible) and it sets up a nice desktop. Yoper is optimized for newer hardware and uses RedHat's Kudzu. I have used both and find them well done.




    Only about 4 days left until SuSE 9.1 is released to North America.

    I have been catching up on some gaming with Windows... most are fun. I am a RTS person and sadly Linux does not have any good RTS games so I am getting as much RTS as I can in the next few days.

    Oh, and I really hate the way Windows has set up its cut n' paste. I find it really annoying that I can't just highlight a word and then middle click where I want it to go. Oh and get this, for about a minute I was considering using Light Step because I want VDs so badly, that's just low.
  • Reply 4 of 28
    cybermonkeycybermonkey Posts: 604member
    you can play warcraft through winex and i belive neverwinter nights is available for your RTS pleasure.

    Just thought of another plus for suse, It has the biggest online help database and is pretty spot on for any 'bang head on wall' senario.
  • Reply 5 of 28
    ghost_user_nameghost_user_name Posts: 22,667member

    Originally posted by cybermonkey

    you can play warcraft through winex and i belive neverwinter nights is available for your RTS pleasure.

    True, I will have to check out NWN.

    I would like to see more native games but whatever...


    Originally posted by cybermonkey

    Just thought of another plus for suse, It has the biggest online help database and is pretty spot on for any 'bang head on wall' senario.

    Good point, but the online community (www.linuxquestions.org) is a great site for support of all kinds, not just SuSE. When I have trouble with Slackware, that's where I go.
  • Reply 6 of 28
    psgamer0921psgamer0921 Posts: 393member

    Oh, and this one is BIG: NO VIRTURAL DESKTOPS!!! this is a huge con for me because over the past few years I have found the VDs to be a huge asset. I am stuck in one desktop hell.

    Microsoft's Virtual Desktop Manager Powertoy (DL link, .exe)

    (If you have XP Pro, search and they have it for that, too.
  • Reply 7 of 28
    ghost_user_nameghost_user_name Posts: 22,667member

    That helps!

    It is a shit rendition of a true pager but whatever it fits the bill.

    EDIT: It's but ugly too... but it does its job.

  • Reply 8 of 28
    ghost_user_nameghost_user_name Posts: 22,667member
    Update!!! (not that anyone cares)

    While the official of SuSE Linux 9.1 Pro North American release is a few days away, some contacts of mine pointed me to a few torrents of the official release and as of now the last CD is about to finish downloading. I plan on leaving the torrents up for a day just to give back to the community. Do I feel guilty? No, the software is GPL'd so why should I feel bad about getting the release a few days early and without paying for it?

    Anyway, like I said, I will keep the torrents up for a day and uncap my upload for them... which is only ~ 90 kilobytes/s.

    Now back to looking at Windows.

    The VD switcher that was pointed out earlier in the thread has been a life saver. It does its job and that's all I ask of it. Mind you I still think it's ugly but hey, what can you do. I have modded my desktop as best as I could to fit my "style". I refuse to load StyleXP or anything else like that because I think Microsoft should have incorporated a theme engine into Windows that does not require a third party app to change stuff. This applies to apple too I guess because from what I have heard you need third party apps to do any extra themes besides what's built in.

    Here is a screenshot of my Windows desktop... So you can see what I have done with it.

    As far as the user experience goes, I am content with XP, I mean it is smooth. One thing does stick out, the level of control that I am accustomed to with Linux is not there in Windows. Sure I can get my hands dirty in the registry if I wanted to but I feel that the whole idea of the registry is bonkers. I understand what it does and how it does it but common what the hell were they smoking? App settings/preferences should be separated on a user by user basis and always be in easy reach (ie: the hidden "." files in your home folder) And Windows setting files should only be accessible by the proper settings program. The average user should not have to deal with the registry when it comes to programs that they have installed. It can get really cluttered with ugly programs over time too. Yah so I hate the idea of the registry.

    I have installed Windows services for UNIX, it blows. Most of the code is taken from OpenBSD (which is not why it blows, OBSD is great) and things that I would find important are not there. SSH for example, is not present, or at least I could not find it. It is powerful when dealing with UNIX networking but that is only because it is mostly OpenBSD code. I was a little out of place with the C shell, and Korn shell, I think they should have included TCSH and Bash. An X window system would also be nice but hey I can deal without it. The after taste makes me wanna use colinux instead... and that's not cool. Anyone else use it?

    Spyware has hit me hard. Off a fresh in just a few days I have had to clean out many spyware programs (that's what I get for installing Limewire, the hell was I thinking?) and this has been annoying. But I guess as Linux gets more popular and widely adopted, spyware will be a problem with it too. What is the current spyware problem with OSX? Is there one?

    All in all it has been an interesting week, I don't think I will be doing this again any time soon. If I end up not liking SuSE then I will try another distro, and another, until I get one that is the same or better then Slackware in my eyes. Slackware has set the bar really high on other distros for me, but this is a good thing because I know what I like.

    I am not going to post my Windows desktop in the desktop thread... but I will post my new SuSE desktop after I install it.

    Till then...
  • Reply 9 of 28
    neoneo Posts: 271member

    it stinks IMO...

    ...too XP-ish...

  • Reply 10 of 28
    madmax559madmax559 Posts: 596member

    to update an existing install with all

    the latest & greatest

    (as root)

    emerge -uD world

    of course you can continue using your comp

    while its updating.

    if anyone here wants to give gentoo a try & needs

    help let me know...id be happy to help out

    i use both osx & gentoo & am happy with either
  • Reply 11 of 28
    ghost_user_nameghost_user_name Posts: 22,667member

    Originally posted by Neø

    it stinks IMO...

    ...too XP-ish...


    That's because it is XP... and I don't plan on changing it to look otherwise. It will be wiped from my computer in a few hours anyway. . .

    All this XP makes me really miss my Slackware. SuSE better be worth this trouble in the long run.


    Originally posted by madmax559

    ...Blah Blah Blah, www.gentoo.org

    Blah, Blah...

    Sorry but all I can do is laugh... Pfft.. Gentoo. He he. I have used Gentoo on an iMac... fun stuff but squeezing that extra 5 percent of power out of a box is not worth the time it takes to install everything. IMO that is.
  • Reply 12 of 28
    madmax559madmax559 Posts: 596member

    Originally posted by \\/\\/ickes

    Sorry but all I can do is laugh... Pfft.. Gentoo. He he. I have used Gentoo on an iMac... fun stuff but squeezing that extra 5 percent of power out of a box is not worth the time it takes to install everything. IMO that is.

    i just installed gentoo 2004.1 on a machine in under 17 minutes

    from 0 to full blown desktop running kde 3.2.1 + koffice etc

    these are all x86 class machines

    you dont need to compile everything to be up & running

    i think you missed the emerge -k part in the install


  • Reply 13 of 28
    ghost_user_nameghost_user_name Posts: 22,667member
    Ok fine... I will give it a shot, I mean that's the best part about Linux, choice. But SuSE is still going to be my main OS, I want something user friendly and simple to setup for my main home computer, YaST does this well. Slackware is still my hobby, and I will fall back to it if SuSE becomes annoying.

    It will be nice to get Gentoo (x86) under my belt. Their PPC version was less then perfect. The live CD they put out got me hooked (my dad flipped when he saw his iMac running Gentoo off a CD, but the full version was a bad user experience for the installation and setup on another iMac. It drove me to YDL for that iMac, then YDL (while a good distro, just bad video support) drove me OpenDarwin and because I did not update the firmware before installing it obscured the CRT monitor, then after trying to fix it I killed the CRT compleatly... needless to say that left a bad taste in my mouth even if I was the one at fault.

  • Reply 14 of 28
    1337_5l4xx0r1337_5l4xx0r Posts: 1,558member
    The strength of gentoo is:

    No RPM dependancy hell (linux users, you know what I am talking about. Even building from src.rpms is hell, often.)

    -Optimization for your specific platform (ie: PPC 7450, not 'ppc' or 'g3') and the speed that entails. Also, using the build flags you specify, eg: -qt -kde gnome gtk2 -gtk alsa oss esd x11 -motif

    emerge ufed && ufed

    -fast downloads of new software source code because of the distributed model gentoo uses (emerge mirrorselect && mirrorselect -a5)

    -Always using the latest and greatest code, ie: xorg-x11 instead of waiting for a new version of YDL that uses it... which takes forever. This especially rules if you have brand new hardware (G5) and are waiting for hardware support for you sound/video/whatever.

    -A lean, customized, optimized install.

    the tradeoff is you have to compile the code, which can be timeconsuming (xorg-x11 took 1 hour, 15 minutes to compile on a 867mhz G4 powerbook).

    Not recommended for newbies, heartily recommended for advanced users.

    emerge prelink && prelink -a # yeah baby, yeah!
  • Reply 15 of 28
    ghost_user_nameghost_user_name Posts: 22,667member
    Hate to break up this Gentoo love fest but I am looking at SuSE for it's ease of use and hardware setup. My personal computer has hosted my hobby, Slackware, for quite some time now and I want to start focusing on other things then the fine details of getting a system up and customized. SuSE does what I need it to with little effort and that way I can put my effort into things like my website (which is comming along nicely) and homework. Like I said, Slackware is still my hobby but it needs to be on the back burner for now... at one point I was getting gitty when new software was released because I would spend a school night configuring the hell out of it to see what it can do. Now I need something that does its job so I can do mine, not so I can tell it how to do its'.
  • Reply 16 of 28
    soulcrushersoulcrusher Posts: 587member
    I have two PowerBooks, one running OS X, the other one running Yellow Dog.

    The Yellow Dog machine is for just screwing around, there's a bunch of interesting stuff out there about Linux that I like to play with. But when it comes to getting actual work done Linux sucks. It was a pain to get my wireless working, installation was nasty, I've always had driver problems, the interface is ugly and so much harder to use than OS X.

    Linux is nice to have around, but I don't take it seriously.
  • Reply 17 of 28
    bartobarto Posts: 2,246member

    Originally posted by soulcrusher

    Linux is nice to have around, but I don't take it seriously.

    That is to your detriment. While there are not many reasons to run Linux over Mac OS X, think about all the PC users out there. The alternative to Linux for them is Windows, making Linux very attractive.

    As the SuSE slogan goes, imagine an operating system with 10,000 possibilities, not 10,000 vulnerabilities.

  • Reply 18 of 28
    ghost_user_nameghost_user_name Posts: 22,667member
    Update... again.

    Ok... so it's been a few days and I have decided to not get SuSE (err.. that is not to pay for it now, just wait until it gets released for free (june 4th)).

    Like earlier posted, I gave Gentoo a try... and I'll tell you it's no 17 min install, madmax559! You must have done the stage3 install with GRP packages to get that install in 17 min. And the GRP packages are built to work on most x86 systems, which is good for compatibility, but bad for preformance. And with a distro that prides its self on optimizations and performance such packages are a tarnish.

    The install is still going as we speak but the system is useable during the install. (as I am typing from the box)

    I did a stage2 install, and the few packages that were precompiled were already optimized for my processor.

    The base system was up and ready in about an hour but this was a very minimal base system. Thanks to the Linux experience I have from using Slackware I was able to set everything up without a problem, someone new to Linux would have crapped their pants. Then I started to emerge programs that I use.

    BIG CONS!!

    -Some packages are out of date! After doing an "emerge sync" most of the source packages are a little out of date. Gnome was still at 2.4.1 for example.

    -This shit takes forever! Compiling Gnome (which is still going as I type this) has taken three hours! Now, that is only because it has to compile everything Gnome needs first but still it has been three hours sense I gave the "emerge gnome" command. X took about 40 min, and Qt, OMG!

    -You are up shit creek without some knowledge of Linux.

    I plan on keeping Gentoo for a few weeks (maybe it will be fully installed by then) and play with it some more.


    Either way I am glad Windows is off my system... CnC Generals was the only thing keeping me from killing it earlier.

    One big thing that kinda turned me off of SuSE is that I just bought an external USB HDD encloser and SuSE 9.1 can't seem to get it up and mounted. Even when I mount it by hand the damn thing gives me trouble. I will see how Gentoo handels it soon... and I know it works because it has been used under Windows and MacOS 8.6 to backup files. Sigh.

    Moving along I plan on giving a few other distros a shot... but this is starting to eat to much into my time. Time that should be used for other things.

    EDIT: another update... Gentoo still uses the Gimp 1.2.x... WTF? How is emerge/portage useful if I have to get half the damn sources myself? I like the ideals Gentoo uses but hell I am spoiled by polish.
  • Reply 19 of 28
    valorinvalorin Posts: 4member
    About gentoo, you said it yourself, it's about choice, and that's exactly what gentoo does with it's precompiled GRP packages. I don't see how you can make comments like that. That said, I don't use the GRP packages at all, but I can see many uses for them. Not everyone wants to compile for 24 hours per install...

    As for the outdated packages, the new versions are already in portage but not labelled as the most stable. For example, to emerge gnome 2.6, you would do something like: "emerge gnome-2.6" or emerge the specific ebuild for that version ( look in the /usr/portage directory). They are almost always prompt with getting new ebuild out for new releases. I'm using GIMP 2.0 for example.

    When I installed gentoo I was not a very experienced Linux user, but upon installing gentoo, I learned more than enough to be able to navigate and configure most Linux systems. Isn't that part of the point?

    You are completely right that a distro like SUSE is perfect for someone who just wants a Linux OS which 'works' out of the box. I prefer gentoo for the same reason you prefer Linux in general which is control. I feel much more in control when I have done most of the work for myself. Sometimes though, I also just want something to work, and pending my switch, I hope I'll find that OSX does just that.
  • Reply 20 of 28
    Some of the packages I was looking at were "masked". And even if I type the exact name it refuses to download it. This is fine with me, if the people at Gentoo think it is unstable with their distro at the current point in time then so be it. I have been spoiled by quick releases of software... when using Slackware, the same day a new program or update was released someone would build it against a default Slackware 9.1 install and release packages... ether on linuxpackages.net or they would announce it in different community forums. Mind you these packages were not backed by Pat, but they did work, and well at that. Pat would later add the updates/packages to Slackware-current (the devel version of slack) with fresh builds a few days later. So if you wished to use bleeding edge stuff, you could in one way of another, and in most cases help the community by doing so.

    As for the comments about GRPs... I understand what they are for and how they can be very useful, but the only thing right now that I can side with Gentoo on is its performance and optimizations gained by compiling most if not all the code localy and for your exact box. So, if I was going to install a Linux distro with precompiled packages, then I would look in other directions then Gentoo.

    That said, everything runs really nice with Gentoo. But I don't feel attached to it due to some downfalls I see. So I might give something else a shot. By far Gentoo is high in my books for best distro, but not the highest. I would use Gentoo over RedHat any day! But then again, I would go with anything over RedHat.
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