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NeXT
April 26th, 2010, 07:49 AM
I think this is more of a vent if anything. :/

Okay, so in the past 15 years or so Linux went from some little half-assed side project into quite possibly one of the three most popular operating systems next to Windows and OSX.
Over the years it's been ported to everything from various computer architectures down to wrist watches. During which time however the clash of the fanboyism skyrocketed and I hate it now.
I go on to a forum and say I'm having trouble installing or using an OS and one of first few replies will be "just wipe it and install linux on it man", and sometimes followed by an explanation on why linux is so inferior and how it's compatible with everything....and then other people saying another OS is better...
I would like to beat this mans face in with a hammer.
From past knowledge, if you let a lot of people try and tweak and develop an OS without a finer set of standards, things get buggy, hardware conflicts, and resources are sucked up by crap code and useless patches.
Okay, I can see Linux working well on almost any computer made within the last three years or so but older than that and you start running into constraints.
For example, when I first started to use Linux back in 2005 I could run it on a 1ghz PIII Dell with 256mb ram and a 64mb video card and it worked well. Two years later and even with twice the ram the system would resort to swapping, the CPU was struggling to run a lot of applications quickly and the video card was no longer able of playing most videos without lag or some other problem.
Now if you enter our realm of computers (anything from before 2000), Linux is a serving of bulls*it and chips.
Yes, you can still run linux on a 95 laptop with a 100mhz Pentium, 16mb ram and Cirrus Logic video card with a meg of VRAM but most of the killer apps that linux has will not work at all and if you are lucky, you will have some sort of incredibly crude framebuffer. By this point here linux is no longer a fun OS. It requires you to know the nitty-gritty things like config files, custom kernels and other scary things that the average computer user might have trouble understanding. I still find however that I'm still persisted that it is the better way to enjoy my computer "without soiling it by using the evils of a giant corporation", even if I pull my hair out in the process.
If a specific computer works best with a specific OS (EG: IRIX on an SGI or CP/M on a kaypro), use it. Just because another OS is newer does not mean it will be a lot more useful.

Raven
April 26th, 2010, 08:33 AM
Couldn't agree more.

What really annoys me is that bit about the system requirements. Linux used to be super lightweight, universally. Sure you can get a lighter weight distribution still, but the popular feature-filled ones won't run on older hardware anymore. Bloat like that needs to be an optional feature. Granted you can install a bare-bones text-based distro and built it up to where you want it, but that's a pain in the ass and it takes hours - especially on source-based distributions where the old machine has to struggle to compile things.

As for the fanboyism, Linux is becoming the next Mac - it pisses me off. It's like the mission of every Mac and Linux fanboy is to make you stay away from their OS, lest you become a douchebag like them. Don't get me wrong, I see through that crap and enjoy both OSes for what they're worth, but they're all roughly equal in features and such, it's just a matter of what software you want to run and your personal preferences.

Chuck(G)
April 26th, 2010, 08:46 AM
There's always Solaris or NetBSD if you don't want to go with the fandom. I run whatever I need to run. Today, I'm running XP, but yesterday it was Xubuntu and Win2K and 98SE on different systems. As long as they network and support the hardware and software I need, I don't care.

I still remember the SCOPE vs. KRONOS contingients at CDC in the 70s--this is nothing new.

Bobthearch
April 26th, 2010, 09:48 AM
I've been using Linux on-and-off since ~1999. Lindows was perhaps the most user-friendly distro ever. Mandrake, way back when, created overlapping partitions during the install. And I'll never forget the way that Red Hat once scrambled the entire partition table during a complex install.

I really dislike the Unix-based file system. Blechhh!

Thought I'd found a decent alternative, Gobo Linux, which uses a simple and logical file layout. It worked pretty well from the LiveCD version, but had some trouble with the hard drive install. I muddled through those installation difficulties, but in the end hit a brick wall with sound.

Just don't get me started on the Linux Software Suppositories! I've never seen a software distribution method so user un-friendly. Lists of applications with cryptic gibberish names, no screenshots, vague descriptions if any, no user ratings...

Fortunately most, or all, of the best Linux programs are also available to Windows users with no need to venture near a "Repository".


By this point here linux is no longer a fun OS.
I don't think it was ever intended to be fun. For a fun OS, try BeOS. ;)

-----------
Nice topic for a rant, BTW. :)

barythrin
April 26th, 2010, 09:57 AM
I won't get into the holy war as I agree with the OP and could easily add to the vent for no useful reason. I'm thinking/tempted to install something on my work laptop other than Windows right now (mostly for kicks) but there were a few key elements I needed that I didn't feel like hunting down in linux such as tethering my phone to the system via USB and using it as a modem. Assuming I decide I won't do that on the work laptop though I wish there was a good lightweight OS where I could at least get a Remote Desktop client to get to other windows domain systems. I'd try BeOS or Zeta but as they aren't free it takes away the charm. Even Ecomstation would be cool but again.. not free :-( Hm.. maybe Haiku?

Chuck(G)
April 26th, 2010, 10:38 AM
I really dislike the Unix-based file system. Blechhh!

Which one?

So don't use it. AFAIK, releases of Linux exit where one can use FAT, NTFS or HPFS (and perhaps even HFS) filesystems.

Bobthearch
April 26th, 2010, 05:03 PM
Which one?

So don't use it. AFAIK, releases of Linux exit where one can use FAT, NTFS or HPFS (and perhaps even HFS) filesystems.
I mean the file system hierarchy. bin, lib, dev...

Of course Windows isn't perfect either.


I'd try BeOS or Zeta but as they aren't free it takes away the charm.
BeOS PE was released for free, and there are a couple of PE-based distros that work very well; BeOS Max and Developers Edition come to mind.
Haiku, as you probably know, is the ongoing effort to create a BeOS clone. While not completely ready for end users yet, I've had mostly good luck with it. Even in it's un-ready state, it's certain to retain the "fun" aspect of BeOS.

Chuck(G)
April 26th, 2010, 06:00 PM
I mean the file system hierarchy. bin, lib, dev....

What sort of organization do you prefer? I like the Unix organization and even tended to organize my MS-DOS systems that way. It's there in Mac OS X also--heck, my modem uses it.

ahm
April 26th, 2010, 06:19 PM
Yes, Linux has become more and more bloated over time, at least since I've been watching/using it (~October 1993; SLS 1.0.3 was my first distro).
It used to much more lightweight, and I do miss that.

If you're determined to load Linux on older hardware, the trick is to find a distro that was contemporary with the hardware. Of course, you'll miss out of any development that has happened since then. For example, you may be stuck with SSH 1.0 (uh oh). Given a choice, I prefer to build systems using OpenBSD: relatively small initial load, and then just keep adding binary packages. Small footprint and modern packages == win/win.

BTW, you can find zealots all over the net, for all sorts of things. You can't let it get you down.

Mike Chambers
April 26th, 2010, 06:24 PM
man i couldn't agree more with the OP! here's an example. an old friend of mine was back in town to see his family, since he's been living in arizona for the last 4 years or so. we were hanging out too, and he ended up giving me this old compaq proliant 2500, a dual pentium pro server box. neat computer. anyway a few days later he's back home and i'm talking to him online. he *COMPLETELY BLEW UP* when i told him i put windows server 2003 on it! and he was serious about it.

he demanded that i put linux on instead of "soiling it" with an "inferior, more bloated" OS...

i love linux on servers, but i just felt like giving windows server a run on this one. i kept telling him how much less memory and CPU server 2k3 takes than almost any recent linux distro, but he wouldn't even listen. now here's the kicker. he went on about how much slower the windows GUI is than X. i couldn't believe what i was hearing, lol!

here's an experiment i told him to do. i know he has an old pentium 1 laptop kicking around somewhere, and i told him put your favorite linux distro on it with X and GNOME or KDE, play with it for a while. then wipe the drive, and install windows 2000 or even windows XP. play with it, tell me what's faster. i still haven't heard back about it. not sure if any of you guys have tried a recent distro on an old machine like that but windows is at least 5 times faster, easily.

i started getting technical about it with him, explaining how when you have X and a window manager it's SO inefficient, it's a joke. you've linux itself, the core with it's API. X sits there on top of it working with that API. then you have the WM sitting on top of THAT, working through X's API, which is in turn then working on the kernel's API and god knows what else in between it all.

now look at the windows GUI. the whole damn thing is integrated INTO the kernel. no wasted memory or CPU cycles. it's one single API, with every little bit of code well integrated and streamlined. he wouldn't listen to me, of course. btw he does programming for boeing.

Bobthearch
April 26th, 2010, 06:33 PM
What sort of organization do you prefer? I like the Unix organization and even tended to organize my MS-DOS systems that way. It's there in Mac OS X also--heck, my modem uses it.

Well, for one thing it drives me crazy that in the Linux file hierarchy that the CD-ROM drive appears as a sub-folder within a sub-folder on the hard drive. Completely illogical.

Second, it's very frustrating, and completely unnecessary, to not use REAL WORDS for the hierarchy names. Here's how I would do it:

-----------------------

A: Floppy Drive

C: Hard Drive

/System Files

/[whatever sub folders]
/Programs

/[Program name]
/[Program name]
/User Files

/[User Name]

/Documents
/Settings
D: Optical Drive

Chuck(G)
April 26th, 2010, 06:51 PM
/dev isn't on the hard disk any more than, say, /proc is. You can create links and call your devices whatever you please. For that matter, starting at /, you can generally configure things to fall wherever you want; e.g., keep /home on one partition or drive, /tmp on another and so on.

FWIW, most of my "production" work when I don't need direct hardware access is done on Win2K--it's stable and fairly small and still runs most common things. I do run Linux when it's convenient--and I install WINE just in case.

Other than the "what %&!@# nincompoop wrote the man page for this thing? (or forgot to update it)" issues with Linux and "oh g*d, not another reboot" and "why the heck doesn't my code work after that last update" issues with Windows, I don't feel particularly uncomfortable with either.

Personally, I thought that OS/2 Warp had the right idea... :)

Ole Juul
April 26th, 2010, 07:01 PM
Yes, Linux has become more and more bloated over time, at least since I've been watching/using it (~October 1993; SLS 1.0.3 was my first distro).
It used to much more lightweight, and I do miss that.

Looks like you and I are on the same string. That's when I started and yes, it certainly has become bloated. I kept using it because I couldn't deal with MS ethics and the price of running MS systems has always been way out of my league. Still, I've become more and more disillusioned with Linux as it has grown and grown. In fact Linux has been generally striving to copy everything that MS does - witness the growth of the GUI and indiscriminate use of the mouse. It was sorry to see it go that way. However, I am unable to write my own OS so I take what I can get.

Regarding the OP: one of those "Linux fanboi" things is often a complete ignorance of resources. I frequent Linux forums and see it a lot. They don't seem to understand that that you may not have a hard drive. I also like to point out that 640K ought to be enough for anybody. :) Then they laugh. Then I tell them that it's enough for me. Then they shut up.


If you're determined to load Linux on older hardware, the trick is to find a distro that was contemporary with the hardware. Of course, you'll miss out of any development that has happened since then.

I agree. It's funny though how little interest there is in old distros. They're around though. I think it takes quite a bit of knowledge to get some newer things working though. I think MS has the advantage here. I've heard of people tweaking XP to run on some pretty minimal stuff.



For example, you may be stuck with SSH 1.0 (uh oh). Given a choice, I prefer to build systems using OpenBSD: relatively small initial load, and then just keep adding binary packages. Small footprint and modern packages == win/win.

Funny, but I've got SSH version 2 on my pure DOS machine. Regarding OpenBSD, yep that's the way to go. I'm starting to get to know it better and one of these days I just may say goodbye to Linux. I sure like the BSD way of doing things.


BTW, you can find zealots all over the net, for all sorts of things. You can't let it get you down.

I found some real anti Linux zealots in the BSD world too. You're quite right. They're everywhere. I don't understand it. Anybody in their right mind would stick to DOS. No? :)

glitch
April 26th, 2010, 07:50 PM
Sounds like this crowd detests Ubuntu and its children as much as I do...

I got started with SunOS 4 under a shell account with the Ann Arbor GREX system pre-2000 (don't remember exactly when). Mostly I used it for e-mail back then, but eventually started writing textfiles using pico, since I could write them from school using telnet (this is pre-USB flash, and school computers usually had floppy drives locked out). I played with a few distros at home, mostly Mandrake (version 8 I think) and MINIX, but never really liked the desktop Linux thing until I came upon Vector Linux, which was (is?) intended for old machines with few resources -- exactly what a middle school/high school student had access to!

Anyway, I ended up switching to Slackware, which is what Vector is based on, since it was difficult to upgrade Vector. A clean Slackware install running IceWM kept me using the same 1.5 GHz Pentium 4 with 256 MB RAM and 80 GB hard drive until after my sophomore year of college (summer 2007) -- fast, did everything I wanted to, and customizable. I made the mistake of trying Gentoo when I got an AMD64 based system since most distros didn't have 64-bit support yet...waste of time, and the package manager ended up eating the dual-library setup anyway. Mostly I use Arch Linux nowadays, since it's simple to set up and is optimized for i686 and x86_64 machines. It's fairly no-fluff.

As someone who started out with a command-line-only UNIX experience, I definitely agree that distros are way too bloated. I don't understand this push to bring Linux to the mainstream...at least not the forceful approach so many people seem to be willing to take. Most of all, I can't stand the insistence that Linux is the best choice for all tasks -- even though I use it almost exclusively, I still keep a virtualized Windows install for things like Microhip's MPLAB, for which there is no sufficient Linux counterpart.

CP/M User
April 26th, 2010, 08:21 PM
Yes I confess I'm not an Linux fan! :shock: Not that it was the actual Operating System which annoyed me, it was the fact I travelled to the other side of the city to what I thought was a lecture on Linux instead popping in to a Linux workshop for people who wanted Linux on their system! :( So after that I installed OS/2 Warp, CP/M-86, DOS, Win 3.1 & Win 2.x and the rest is history. I nearly installed Minix for my 386 though it never eventuated!

lutiana
April 26th, 2010, 08:49 PM
Linux has its future in dedicated devices such as cell phones, e-book readers, mp3 players etc. I do not see it ever "replacing" the desktop operating systems that every day people use from day to day.

A big part of this is that it is as OS designed for the tech savvy by the tech savvy and as such will never be tailored to the every day persons wants and needs, in fact I find most hardcore linux users don't seem to care what the everyday person wants or needs.

I agree with the OP, the fan boys to tend to piss me off since they assume anyone who does not want to run some sort of *nix is an idiot who does not know what they are doing and worse yet some feel they need to educate the person regardless of their knowledge.

I have tried linux, it has it uses, its not for me. I prefer good 'ol Windows. I do not want to have to recompile the damned kernel every time I put in a new piece of hardware, or for that matter have to compile a driver that needs about a hundred tools just to do that much. I tried to use MythBuntu and XBMC for my media PC and though there were features in there I liked, there were things I did not like, and I tried to change them and customize the box and I gave up after about 2 weeks because every time I customized something, something else would go out of whack and need fixing. It got old fast.

I will say though, that if you have a low end system or old system you can probably find a distribution out there to fit its hardware. No matter how old it is. The more popular the system was/is the higher the chance of you using it.

Chuck(G)
April 26th, 2010, 09:12 PM
Didn't Wal Mart, sometime in the last couple of years, offer a cut-rate system with Linux bundled instead of Windows? I recall that it didn't go too well...

Posted using Firefox/Win2K on a PIII 600MHz box

lutiana
April 26th, 2010, 09:27 PM
Didn't Wal Mart, sometime in the last couple of years, offer a cut-rate system with Linux bundled instead of Windows? I recall that it didn't go too well...


They did, it was either $199 or $299. IIRC it was an ATOM processor, with 1gb of RAM on a BTX board running some slime version of gOS.

Chuck(G)
April 26th, 2010, 09:48 PM
They did, it was either $199 or $299. IIRC it was an ATOM processor, with 1gb of RAM on a BTX board running some slime version of gOS.

Found the news item (http://www.desktoplinux.com/news/NS8642294935.html). It was a 1.5GHz Via C7-D CPU with 512MB of RAM. $199 sans monitor; it did indeed use gOS. Motherboard was by Everex.

Ole Juul
April 26th, 2010, 10:43 PM
I'm not sure if you're trolling here, but since I like you, I'll bite. :)


Linux has its future in dedicated devices such as cell phones, e-book readers, mp3 players etc. I do not see it ever "replacing" the desktop operating systems that every day people use from day to day.

You may be right, but "replacing" is indeed an odd word in this case. It implies that someone is already using something else. That is not the case for a lot of us common folk out here. Perhaps most, but I personally think it is good to not generalize when it comes to people.


A big part of this is that it is as OS designed for the tech savvy by the tech savvy and as such will never be tailored to the every day persons wants and needs, in fact I find most hardcore linux users don't seem to care what the everyday person wants or needs.

I am no professional, but I will admit to being somewhat tech savvy. My partner however is neither. A couple of years ago she was an average Windows user. I added a new HDD with Kubuntu for her which of course can read and write to the XP drive as well. After a couple of days she stopped booting into XP and has never gone back. To her it was a huge relief to not use XP any more. She does all her own upgrades and general software management and doesn't actually need me for anything OS related. I'm just the hardware guy now. She even installed wine so she could run PSPpad and Photoshop. She uses google to figure this stuff out. I understand different people see it differently, but one has to take ALL people's experience into account - not just a presumed majority. :)

I'm not sure why you would mention "tech savvy" as a requirement. Perhaps I'm the one generalizing here, but one would expect that younger people would find Linux fairly easy to figure out considering that they've grown up with computers. Maybe they just don't want to - which is fair enough. We're older folk around here. My partner hasn't grown up with computers. There are very many similar "testimonials" on the web. It is not important what the proportion is, but it is important to understand that people have different experiences as well as needs. I think that is what the OP hinges on.


I agree with the OP, the fan boys to tend to piss me off since they assume anyone who does not want to run some sort of *nix is an idiot who does not know what they are doing and worse yet some feel they need to educate the person regardless of their knowledge.

That pisses me off as well.


I have tried linux, it has it uses, its not for me. I prefer good 'ol Windows. I do not want to have to recompile the damned kernel every time I put in a new piece of hardware, or for that matter have to compile a driver that needs about a hundred tools just to do that much. I tried to use MythBuntu and XBMC for my media PC and though there were features in there I liked, there were things I did not like, and I tried to change them and customize the box and I gave up after about 2 weeks because every time I customized something, something else would go out of whack and need fixing. It got old fast.

You obviously have very specialized needs. Recompiling the kernel is not needed for most people's desktop use. However I have complete respect for your personal preferences. :) They may actually be difficult to achieve with Linux. For me, neither Linux nor Windows can come close to fulfilling my preferences. DOS can though. :) We're all different.


I will say though, that if you have a low end system or old system you can probably find a distribution out there to fit its hardware. No matter how old it is. The more popular the system was/is the higher the chance of you using it.

That just doesn't seem right to me. :( Linux is quite difficult on low resource systems. Yes, I am very familiar with DSL, Puppy, and particularly Vector, but they won't run on anything remotely what I would call low resource. Unless 64MB ram is low resource to you. It's borderline to me. From what I hear people reporting, I honestly think that MS has the low resource thing covered much better. My neighbour puts XP on all the old/slow/low-ram machines she finds at the dump. I wouldn't know how to compete using Linux. Perhaps if I recompiled the kernel and put together a distro from scratch - but that is beyond me and most people.

glitch
April 27th, 2010, 04:55 AM
A big part of this is that it is as OS designed for the tech savvy by the tech savvy and as such will never be tailored to the every day persons wants and needs, in fact I find most hardcore linux users don't seem to care what the everyday person wants or needs.
Not only that, but I wish their needs would stop getting people to try to make things easier for the everyday person! If you want user-friendly *nix, get a Mac.

Conversely, I think the "user-friendly" part just has to do with most people coming from a Windows world. People mastered DOS before Windows and didn't seem to have trouble there. I've also noticed that people with little/no experience with computers have no trouble picking Linux up, or at least not nearly as much trouble as people who have previously used Windows. For the most part though, unless you've got someone who's familiar with Linux and willing to maintain it for you, most people are going to be happier with OS X/Windows.

linuxlove
April 27th, 2010, 05:52 AM
Some of the reasons I don't actually use Linux is because there are a few hardware things that I can't find drivers for or I have to edit the kernel (which is beyond me) for things to work. Another reason is just that there's no decent video editor for it :P

NeXT
April 27th, 2010, 06:47 AM
Another thing I don't like is how Linux has essentially murdered every other *nix out there.
You had companies producing far more efficient and specialized versions of Unix (Sun and Solaris, HP and HP-UX, DIGITAL and Tru64, and Silicon Graphics and Irix to name a few) for their specific workstations but then Linux came along and because it is more of a "pick a few modules and build a kernel" OS than the closed-source stuff that was available, cross-platform compatibility suddenly became a lot more important than actual efficiency and those who decided to fight the power eventually lost (Take a look at SGI and how they went from one of the best supercomputer builders in the world to a name owned by another company who sells rebadged servers).
Then of course I find that Linux also kills off the older and sometimes better architectures in favor of the x86/x64 architectures that Intel and AMD have created and when you try to port linux back to say MIPS, it's piss slow (I had an SGI O2 running some form of linux and it was awful to the point I couldn't even get it to paly an MP3).

Raven
April 27th, 2010, 06:58 AM
That just doesn't seem right to me. :( Linux is quite difficult on low resource systems. Yes, I am very familiar with DSL, Puppy, and particularly Vector, but they won't run on anything remotely what I would call low resource. Unless 64MB ram is low resource to you. It's borderline to me. From what I hear people reporting, I honestly think that MS has the low resource thing covered much better. My neighbour puts XP on all the old/slow/low-ram machines she finds at the dump. I wouldn't know how to compete using Linux. Perhaps if I recompiled the kernel and put together a distro from scratch - but that is beyond me and most people.

The big problem here is inherent to non-commercial OSes. In a commercial OS, we have large major releases that are distinct and separate from one another. This makes it clear when you move to a new version with new requirements, etc. If you get an older machine with older specs, you can easily figure out what version will run best on it. As well, software is clearly labeled as to which versions it will run on. With OSS, not so much.

With Linux (and other OSS operating systems) you can either completely customize a system from the ground up starting with a text based environment, or you can install one of the normal distros. Let's use Ubuntu as an example, due to it's popularity. I can use Ubuntu 5 or 6 on the same hardware that will run Windows 98 or 2000. I cannot use Ubuntu 10 on that hardware without much painful slowness and fail. They don't have distinct names other than a version number, so it isn't as plain that one will run on a system while the other will not. As well, there are no laid out system requirements for each version, you're expected to just have newer hardware and keep upgrading. It's being targeted like, say, Mac OSX. They make lots of assumptions about the userbase which become correct as the other users leave due to frustration. Linux used to be more versatile, and technically it still is, but only if you work from a lower level and build your system up. Even a plain text-based Ubuntu 10 system is slow as crap on a Pentium III - the kernel itself literally suffers from these assumptions.

MikeS
April 27th, 2010, 09:46 AM
What sort of organization do you prefer? I like the Unix organization and even tended to organize my MS-DOS systems that way. It's there in Mac OS X also--heck, my modem uses it.Heh; you too?

Most folks I know who used UNIX before MS-DOS did the same thing, and there are probably still MS-DOS systems out there configured by folks like us with bin, pkg, etc. directories.

Something that not everyone is aware of is the availability of links, both hard and symbolic, in the later versions of Windows, which gives you some more flexibility in organizing your files system and lets you get around issues with hard-coded locations that don't fit your scheme:

http://shell-shocked.org/article.php?id=284

Don't get me started on the religious wars or the fanboys; we use computers to run applications, not operating systems, so who cares as long as the apps do what we want.

Anonymous Freak
April 27th, 2010, 10:30 AM
Yeah, I organized MS-DOS systems with "programs" and "documnts" root-level directories, and Macs with "Applications" and "Documents" folders long before those became SOP for the respective vendors. (It actually threw me for a loop when Windows 95 made the "Program Files" folder. My first thought upon upgrading was "Hey, they renamed my programs folder, and deleted my old programs!")

Chuck(G)
April 27th, 2010, 10:34 AM
I want to post a followup to Bobthearch's complaint about *nix file and device naming. Windows, in fact, uses much the same scheme (being a POSIX-compliant/conforming OS) as Unix/Linux. It's just that the symbolic linking of names has already been done for you--and your ability to change those links is severely restricted.

As an example, consider your C: drive. "C:" in fact, is nothing more than a name in the \?? namespace that's been symbolically linked to "\Device\HarddiskVolume1", which in turn, is a filesystem driver for the first partition on "\Device\Harddisk0", usually located on the "\Device\Ide\IdePort0" controller.

A useful utility to see the Windows name space and all of the symbolic links is Mark Russinovich's WinObj (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb896657.aspx).

Raven
April 27th, 2010, 10:45 AM
Yeah the NT object layer is quite an interesting bit of technical info that most people are completely unaware of.

MikeS
April 27th, 2010, 10:53 AM
<snip>
A useful utility to see the Windows name space and all of the symbolic links is Mark Russinovich's WinObj (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb896657.aspx).Thanks for that pointer, Chuck (turns out I already had it as part of the sysinternals suite, but had never gotten around to see what it did).

Looks like a useful tool, especially once you start adding links of your own.

lutiana
April 27th, 2010, 10:55 AM
Found the news item (http://www.desktoplinux.com/news/NS8642294935.html). It was a 1.5GHz Via C7-D CPU with 512MB of RAM. $199 sans monitor; it did indeed use gOS. Motherboard was by Everex.

Ahh, well at least I was right about the OS :D

lutiana
April 27th, 2010, 11:30 AM
You may be right, but "replacing" is indeed an odd word in this case. It implies that someone is already using something else. That is not the case for a lot of us common folk out here. Perhaps most, but I personally think it is good to not generalize when it comes to people.


Yes, I was talking about people all ready using Windows, even just casually. People that have never used either will most likely be ok with whichever one you put in front of them (to a point).



Maybe they just don't want to - which is fair enough.


Thats exactly it. They don't want to, and until the linux folks give them an extremely compelling reason to they won't change. And that's what I was trying to say, the tech savvy, well lets say hardcore linux fanboys, don't tend think like the average user, and have different priorities and they tend to dismiss the end users desires and needs, or at least don't seem to know how to market the OS to them in a way that they would understand.

I mean it took me about a year to convince my parents to replace their PC and then go from Windows 98 to Windows XP. They just did not want to deal with the change, and the machine was doing what they needed it to do, and the main reason they did not want to upgrade was that they did not want to switch to XP. Eventually they had no choice, hated it at first, but worked it out and are now comfortable with it. And XP is not that different to Win98 for the end user for most things, I shudder to think of me trying to switch them to something completely different like Linux or Windows 7.

I put Office 2007 on their machine, about 2 weeks later my Dad told me that if I did not remove it and put 2003 on there for them he was going to dis-own me and go back to bashing rocks together. His argument was that it may be better, but he simply did not have the time to learn something new, it was taking him about 4 or 5 times longer to get a spreadsheet together simply because he was having to re-learn where everything was.

I think this is the typical users opinion on these things, and in my experience tech guys don't understand this, and feel that catering to it is a waste of time. Maybe it is, maybe it is not I don't know, but I feel that it is a major reason why Linux is never going to be the standard for home PCs.



You obviously have very specialized needs.


Yes, I can see how you would think this, and maybe they were specialized. But in most cases all I was trying to do was install a NIC card, or a RAID card. Or some other rudimentary task like this. It just seems like every time I want to do something on a Linux machine it turns into a major project with more reading and research than it is worth. It has gotten better, but not by much.




That just doesn't seem right to me. :( Linux is quite difficult on low resource systems.

Well, it depends on what you want to do with the OS. If you stick with a text based setup it can be pretty resource friendly. But when you try to make it more like a modern GUI based OS then it becomes just as resource intensive as the Mac OS or Windows.

For example, I used Smooth Wall as my router for the longest time. It ran very well on a Celeron 300 w/ 128mb of RAM. There was no gui, but the command line was quick and responsive.

Chuck(G)
April 27th, 2010, 12:11 PM
I'll agree that the X environment is cumbersome, which is probably why OS X didn't use it as the default GUI (I know it's possible to run X on OS X), but there's been a real shift in what we call an "Operating System". Windows 1.x, 2.x and 3.x were generally thought of as environments run on top of an operating system (DOS).

In fact, it's perfectly possible to run XP or Windows 7 as a command-line only OS, though you may have to write some of your own system management utilities. As such, I doubt that the speed would be significantly greater or less than any *nix-type OS operated as a command line-only setup.

Personally, I like being able to have multiple command-line windows open on both, so I stick with the GUI.

Speaking of which, does anyone use any of the alternative desktops, such as Litestep (http://www.litestep.net/) on their Windows systems?

Raven
April 27th, 2010, 01:41 PM
I've tried every third party shell/desktop for Windows available for every version of Windows available, from 3.x to Win7. Calmira, Cairo, Litestep, Darkstep, Winstep, and so many more. I eventually just started writing my own, because none of them made me happy. I really should finish that.

http://code.google.com/p/periscope-file-manager/

In fact, I think I'll code that some today.

Anonymous Freak
April 27th, 2010, 01:41 PM
I'll agree that the X environment is cumbersome, which is probably why OS X didn't use it as the default GUI (I know it's possible to run X on OS X)

Yup, I use remote X from my OS X box to my Linux server on a fairly regular basis.


In fact, it's perfectly possible to run XP or Windows 7 as a command-line only OS...

Windows Server 2008 (based on Vista,) and Server 2008 R2 (based on Win7,) both have "Server Core" options that are command-line only, no GUI. With those, should they still be called "Windows"? Some of the underlying GUI infrastructure is still present, but none of the "Explorer" layer is. Basically, Windows apps expect a GUI, so many will refuse to run without it; even though you can interact with them 100% via CLI. So the underlying GUI infrastructure is still there so the apps are willing to run. It does have MS' new "PowerShell", though, which is a quite powerful CLI.

What's really silly is that the CLI appears as a command-prompt-in-a-window in what remains of the GUI! No full-screen GUI.

Raven
April 27th, 2010, 03:06 PM
Windows is no longer just a GUI. That stopped with Windows 95. Granted it was just barely it's own OS in the 9x line, but NT is NT no matter what GUI or CLI you're using. Windows might not apply as a proper symbolic name anymore, but it's what it's called, and if you strip an NT box down to a CLI it's still Windows NT.

Chuck(G)
April 27th, 2010, 03:20 PM
Windows is no longer just a GUI. That stopped with Windows 95. Granted it was just barely it's own OS in the 9x line, but NT is NT no matter what GUI or CLI you're using. Windows might not apply as a proper symbolic name anymore, but it's what it's called, and if you strip an NT box down to a CLI it's still Windows NT.

You miss the point, I think. It's a naming convention thing--recall that at one point, Microsoft attempted to advance the notion that IE was part of the operating system.

To my way of thinking, an OS is that which implements device interfaces and the filesystem. A GUI or CLI is a nice layer, but it has nothing to do with the basic business of an operating system. To my knowledge, no one confuses X with Linux or Unix as an operating system. It's been a very useful legal concept for Microsoft to throw a net around everything that comes with Windows and call it "the operating system". Too bad it didn't work with IE.

sombunall
April 28th, 2010, 04:00 PM
I have been trying to get a linux machine going for a friend for a while now. It will be his first computer so I decided to go with Xubuntu Hardy Heron LTS. It is a Celery 400 with 256 RAM. Now I'm starting to wonder if it was such a good decision.

You would think with hardy being years old they had time to fix all the bugs? The panel crashes when you try to move a launcher under heavy load. Gnome commander crashes when you try to connect to an FTP server (affects nautilus too). Orage keeps on showing the preferences on every reboot. The extra volume control sliders can't be removed, it just ignores changes. In gnome-ppp you can't have remember password unchecked or it freezes. The cd burner never worked until I installed cdrecord and k3b so that k3b would use cdrecord instead of the big embarrassment that is wodim.Then the proprietary nvidia driver will not do hardware DVD decoding which I know the card supports so DVD playback drops lots of frames. Not a single music app with a working shoutcast browser.

Before that I was going to use freeBSD but chose hardy instead because I ran a debian server for years. Oh well.

Chuck(G)
April 28th, 2010, 04:52 PM
Thatś really strange. I'm entering this message on an Athlon (socket 754) 1GB system loaded with Xubuntu 9.10. No issues that I can see--and I even run Sibelius under WINE on it. Seems to come up nice and fast, establishes a wireless connection via a Linksys WMP-54GS (a miserable card to install on any system, but this one was pretty easy). I have no complaints, really.

Of course, I don run on "bleeding edge" hardware when I use Linux, having learned my lesson a long time ago.

Ole Juul
April 28th, 2010, 04:52 PM
I have been trying to get a linux machine going for a friend for a while now. It will be his first computer so I decided to go with Xubuntu Hardy Heron LTS. It is a Celery 400 with 256 RAM. Now I'm starting to wonder if it was such a good decision.

Hardy?!! I think that is actually stated to require at least 512. I do think you chose the wrong distro for such a small amount of ram and you can't blame others for that choice. I don't think anybody (except the, here villainized, fansbois) would expect Hardy to work in your case. You probably have special skills to aid you here, but really, you should just have to stick in the iso and go. If that is not the case, I would rethink the distro choice.

There are distro's out there which work well on 256. I've got a nice installation of DSL 3.3 on a P133 with 64MB RAM. I didn't need to do anything special. I've also had good luck with Vector Linux. They also have a "light" edition for the truly ram challenged. Although the Standard Edition is said to work with 128 and up, in reality that means that it needs twice that or more in order to "work" in the practical sense of the word. :) Remember that Linux needs ram (much) more than it need CPU cycles.

I'm with everyone here in thinking that Linux "fans" make assumptions that you have a modern machine and too often take an, arrogant at worst, and ignorant at best, attitude. Hopefully we are experienced enough here to ignore that and make our own practical choices.

I recommend the light edition of Vector Linux (http://vectorlinux.com/products). It is made for this situation.


The Light Edition maintains the VectorLinux philosophy of speed and stability, but is designed for older computers, for those with hard disk space concerns, for those who are not easily able to download a full 700MB ISO, or for those who appreciate bloat-free, fast computing. It is based upon the lightweight and fast JWM and Fluxbox window managers. It is supplied with Opera as the browser/email/chat client and also includes some of the applications found in our Standard Edition. This distro edition is usable on computers with only 64MB of RAM.


Anyway, if one want's to run a semi-modern system with Linux, I wouldn't bother unless the machine has at least 1GB of RAM. Anything less and there are going to be compromises. To many people that compromise will likely be paying for another copy of MS-Windows. I'm not a Windows fan, but I have to admit that all those old machines out there which originally came with Windows 98 probably run best with, you guessed it, Windows 98. :)

Ole Juul
April 28th, 2010, 04:53 PM
How much ram do you have on that machine Chuck?
Edit: Oops! I just saw that you said 1GB system. (blush)

sbrown
April 28th, 2010, 08:48 PM
I'm with everyone here in thinking that Linux "fans" make assumptions that you have a modern machine and too often take an, arrogant at worst, and ignorant at best, attitude. Hopefully we are experienced enough here to ignore that and make our own practical choices.

Some do. In my experience they're the ones that are still in the training wheels phase, and have a massive chip on the shoulder. Ubuntu & others spoon feed the user no easier then Windows. It's just a heck of a lot easier to find a deal to "fix" a Windows system.

As an example, last year I replaced four old MS-DOS based systems w/ Linux systems at work. They only ever run one program, had to store all data on a floppy, and it had been a PITA to keep the floppy drives from flaking out on a weekly basis due to the environment. I re-purposed a set of machines that used to belong to the sales staff (old K6-2 & early Celerons), slapped an old NIC in each (hurrah for spares laying around), 128Mb ram in each (64 works, but I've caught them running 5 copies of AbiWord - swap city!), and loaded up a stripped down Debian install with DOSemu. Fluxbox + a quick & dirty dialog script and now the old buggering thing works flawless; the only thing that goes wrong is when equipment it controls decides it wants attention.

I've only gotten two kinds of responses from others in our industry with the same equipment or similar: Cool!, and the misguided assumption that every Linux install is the same bloated Gnome/KDE fest - you should have stuck with an MS product. I would have, could I have done all the automation inhouse and if the program worked with Win2k.

For desktop use, I won't argue against the 1Gb recommendation; non-normal people & non-desktop usage is another thing entirely. I haven't had a sub-1Gb system in years for real work. If someone needs the trainwreck that is the whole Gnome/KDE DE then you're welcome to it. I'll stick to E16 & Fluxbox while ignoring the DE's & Windows Vista/7 - I'm already dreading the day that becomes my least dreadful option for Windows.

My list of grievances has grow since I built a new system last year. ALSA is a major PITA when it doesn't work automagically, and is the death knell for any remaining ISA sound cards. HAL may be a godsend during installation but fate help you if your distro set things up to be too helpful as far as HAL goes. Flash is a bloody mess on any platform as far as I've seen in the last couple of years, and Linux/amd64 is no exception. Laptop support is better then it used to be 10 years back but anything is an improvement from non-existent; I still believe that an out of warranty laptop is a ticking time bomb since I've had a hard enough time getting support during warranty. The whole history through the 2.4 & 2.6 kernels has been a shift towards a server point of view, with a dash of power user and a big honking rig. nVidia is still a minor PITA, but ATI hasn't gotten much better and is still on my bad list since the 9xxx Radeons. Linux hasn't solved global warming, won the Nobel Peace Prize, developed a telepathinc interface, made me a bowl of homemade ice cream, or walked the dog. To be fair, I don't think there been progress elsewhere on those either.

To each task, its own with the hope that it doesn't require the sledgehammer today.

sombunall
April 28th, 2010, 09:10 PM
I have to admit this thread is a real eye opener. I think I may have made some bad assumptions on my distro choice but I have kept my friend waiting so long I think I will have to live with it.

You know what I've done now? I have x11vnc working over an ssh tunnel to putty that connects to tightvnc on windows. I have to get it to work over a 56k modem. Hardy doesn't have the latest version of x11vnc so I can't blank the background with xfce without compiling. Even taking off the background I see my SSH telling me it's taking 15KB/s over my LAN with SSH compression and tightVNC compression at 9! I will be testing tomorrow to see how it performs over 56k modem (GULP!).

sombunall
April 28th, 2010, 09:32 PM
Ok here was my mentality. DSL uses to 2.4 kernel which has vulnerabilities. I wanted a distro that would get regular security updates and not take much maintenance once it's setup. I also didn't want it to break easily because of an update. That means I want a stable version not cutting edge. I heard puppy linux and similar distros don't get updates so much and require more maintenance. Also the APT package manager is really attractive to me.

Can anybody see any flaws in my thinking? I wish I had talked to you guys sooner. :blush:

lutiana
April 28th, 2010, 09:41 PM
Why not look into an older version of Ubuntu, and just update the kernel? Or use DSL and update the kernel. I must admit I don't know linux all that well, so I am not sure if you can simply update the kernel, but I seem to remember someone telling me you could.

Ole Juul
April 28th, 2010, 11:35 PM
Ok here was my mentality. DSL uses to 2.4 kernel which has vulnerabilities. I wanted a distro that would get regular security updates and not take much maintenance once it's setup. I also didn't want it to break easily because of an update. That means I want a stable version not cutting edge. I heard puppy linux and similar distros don't get updates so much and require more maintenance. Also the APT package manager is really attractive to me.

I like APT too. :) Regarding security, in my experience it isn't that important, but it may be that your application is critical. Mine never is, but it is also important to note that in years of Linuxing, I've not had any problems.

Yes, DSL is very popular so it may get more/better updates than some others. The reason I suggested Vector is that is a desktop oriented distro which aims to look/feel contemporary and not be a shocker for regular desktop users, yet still use less resources than the "biggies".


Can anybody see any flaws in my thinking? I wish I had talked to you guys sooner. :blush:
It looks like sbrown is the real expert here.

sbrown
April 29th, 2010, 07:04 PM
It looks like sbrown is the real expert here.

I'm hardly an expert. I know just enough to maintain my own stuff and not blow up (with a couple of exceptions & and few near misses) my computer. There's far better around here then my SoC ramblings.

My .02 USD is that if you want more regular updates you might as well move from DSL to Debian or from Vector to Slackware, especially if you're just installing the base & then pulling in whatever you want. Just stick to a lighter window manager or DE . If I had to choose between DSL or Vector I'd go for the later though.

I've stuck with Debian for years since I've only done new installs on a new arch. Otherwise I managed to take my old x86 install through 4 dist-upgrades with only one issue; I had to correct 3 symlinks years ago that the nVidia driver altered, resulting in no X11 after a dist-upgrade. I've heard similar for Slack.

Doing a kernel recompile yourself for the first time is a bit of adventure. Once you know if all your other stuff is at the minimum versions all that left is the long litany of updating .config. My first Linux systems back in the late 2.0/early 2.2 days had their .configs built from scratch. 2.4 was a nightmare to do that with and I wouldn't even consider it on 2.6. Still, if you go in knowing what hardware you have a leap from a 2.4 to 2.6 series kernel is doable for some value thereof. 2.4 is still technically maintained but fewer & fewer distros suport it due to some core packages taking advantage of some things that are only in the 2.6 series.

As for the VNC bit, I don't know what VNC clients you have available but xtightvncviewer does exist if you prefer Tight VNC. I'm about as clueless as they come with regards to VNC and whether tight or x11vnc is lower bandwidth. If I could I'd connect to my work machine & check some of the options there, but I believe the WinVNC server in Tight VNC can default to lower bandwidth connections. What that means in numbers is beyond my memory. If you can live without the ssh tunnel I'd test to see what your bandwidth difference is just for giggles.

sombunall
April 29th, 2010, 07:49 PM
Otherwise I managed to take my old x86 install through 4 dist-upgrades with only one issue


When I went from etch to lenny it took me a week as it broke samba and nfs. That's when I learned you just aptitude purge and reinstall. Sarge to etch went smooth. My experiences with debian is very positive, it's just too bad about wodim http://cdrecord.berlios.de/private/linux-dist.html



As for the VNC bit, I don't know what VNC clients you have available but xtightvncviewer does exist if you prefer Tight VNC. I'm about as clueless as they come with regards to VNC and whether tight or x11vnc is lower bandwidth.

I chose x11vnc so my friend can see what I'm doing like on windows. I'm going to try -ssl switch instead of a tunnel. Right now it takes a few seconds for the screen the fully refresh over 56k. :p
If I'm not mistaken tightvnc doesn't support ssl so going to use just plain realvnc viewer.