View Full Version : Linux Rant

June 5th, 2004, 07:49 PM
You know what? I owe Microsoft an apology. I really do...

I have just completed my third, and last, attempt to install a Linux OS on one of my computers, and just as the other two, it failed miserably.

First time was with Slackware. I couldn't even get it to boot. The second time, Debian, but tons of kernerl errors made me de-partition the drive out of frustration, and now, Gentoo.

Two weeks. That's how long I spent trying to get Gentoo to work on my 133. The first week was me just getting down the basics again: file systems, mounting, chrooting, stuff like that, but then my computer spent 3 1/2 days compiling all the kernels. Now that I finally got a Linux OS to boot, it's giving me tons of DEVFS-or-something errors from a compiling error.

Now don't get me wrong, I have no doubts that any mainstream LINUX GUI OS is stable and a fine performer when installed correctly, but installing Linux is without a doubt THE most hellish computer order I've ever had to endure. I would honestly prefer to be kicked in the nuts than install Linux again. Atleast with the kick in the nuts, the pain goes away after a few minutes...

With Windows, even on my slowest computer, it never took more than 1 1/2 hours to go right from a clean hard drive to a working GUI OS. Now Windows may be a bit buggy (as with any software, really), blatantly overpriced, and owned and distributed by an evil corporation (hehe), but atleast I can install it! Installing Linux was like dragging a screaming 4-year old through a shopping mall. Constant interruptions, mashing of teeth and urges to lay a backhand in the hopes if it straightening up and flying right.

So you Linux jockeys can keep your free-source jargon, bickering to Windows users how "superior" Linux is to Windows, but in the time it takes you'se to compile, mount and update kernels, I'll have been cruising the web, chatting and porn-surfing long before you even prepare to install Gnome or XWindow.

With this in mind, I wonder what "Longhorn" is gonna' be like... probably easy to install. :)

June 5th, 2004, 08:13 PM
Although I like it, I always realized that Unix/Linux was not going to be the OS of choice for the masses for this very reason.

It's just too confusing and difficult for most folks to use.

That's one reason that MS has the market cornered. They may not have the best product, but it does work and it's easy to get working.


Terry Yager
June 6th, 2004, 06:54 AM
Hmmmnn, it's been a long time since I played around seriously with linux, (on a '386) but I was under the impression that most of the installation kinks had been worked out in the modern distros. Back when I first started messing around with it, you had to download everything, in disk-image form, sometimes as many as 20-30 images (at 2400-bps) by modem, (figure a minimum of 18-20 hours just to d/l a minimal system), then create your own bootdisk and rootdisk, just to get the installation started. You learned real quickly to dread the words "Kernel Panic."
OTOH, I remember having similar luck with installing the early versions of OS/2 (2.0, 2.1) from floppies. That's why that OS never caught on with me either, I could never get it to work right (not even on pure True-Blue IBM hardware).
Oh, BTW, I still can't get linux to run properly on my ThinkPad 770X either, even tho it's now IBM's OS-of-choice.


June 6th, 2004, 02:39 PM
To some degree, I have to agree with Super-Slasher. I test installed Debian on my home computer (which is far from vintage, if that may be a problem which Windows solves better than Linux) a few months ago, and also runs Debian on work. The install process is both unclear and tedious in some respects like configuring keyboard and mouse, not to mention getting 3rd party drivers for your graphics card and get those to work without reading a library worth of documentation that still doesn't answer the question you raise.

It may have become much easier to use, in particulary graphically, in the last few years, but as long as the documentation isn't included with neither the binary nor source distribution, Microsoft doesn't have to worry about the home and small office users too much. At least not those who don't have free access to a professional IT help person/support desk.

Anyway, I still think that Microsoft should issue their next version of Windows in two versions; the FREE Basic edition for personal and small office use and a commercial Professional edition for those who require something extra. Maybe the same can be done with the Office package (which I realize they're not allowed to integrate with the OS).

If this new Windows both takes reasonably little resources, is more stable as ever before, easy to use and prevents badly written software, viruses and other threats from instantly overtake the computer, it would be a smash hit which has the possibility to kick back the competitors, including even Mac OSX, into the gutter.

I don't know how Microsoft would finance it (advertisments?) but the risk is that taking the other route will make more people grit their teeth and endure a few weeks of Linux swearing (or pay the neighbour's son on the side) only for the money saved.

Terry Yager
June 6th, 2004, 02:54 PM
I don't know how Microsoft would finance it (advertisments?)...

Oh, great! Just what we need...commercials embedded into an OS that is already too InYourFace to begin with. I think that even if it were free, I'd probably opt for the paid-for, ad-free version.


June 6th, 2004, 08:27 PM
I have just completed my third, and last, attempt to install a Linux OS on one of my computers, and just as the other two, it failed miserably.

The last time I installed Red Hat Linux (9, IIRC) I checked a book out from the library and was up and running in less than 30 minutes.

With Windows, even on my slowest computer, it never took more than 1 1/2 hours to go right from a clean hard drive to a working GUI OS.

I can't say that I have ever had a working Windows anything. Even XP has bugs. (Can you spell FT_Thunk?)

They've never finished a version yet before moving on to the next one.

June 6th, 2004, 11:42 PM
The newer versions of Mandrake are very simple to install (installer does all the partitioning work etc) but still has bugs. I did a clean install os (9.0 I beleieve?) and all went well then did an internet update and it crashed the whole system.

If you have the newest hardware getting drivers installed for video cards is a pain in the ass. I also think it taked a while for the system to boot.

Anyway MS doesnt have much to worry about yet.

June 7th, 2004, 01:54 AM
I realize that too new or too odd hardware will not be supported, as most of the time the vendors don't bother or are hostile against Linux and other cost-free systems. Maybe this business decision will be changed as time passes, but it is a catch 22 - not until the drivers are there, the system is easy to get to work, and the system has to be easy to use to make people install it and thus creating a demand for drivers.

The home-grown drivers probably are fine, but it takes a while to reverse engineer as many aspects as possible to make a driver which will work in most cases.

Regarding Microsoft, they recently brought back Windows 98SE from being EOL:ed to be used in schools. Some schools get computers donated from companies with operating system pre-installed, and in order to afford to use the computer, these schools can get (transfer) old licenses for 98SE, ME and I think 2000 for a much reduced fee. Yet another market share where Linux could have stepped in as the cost-free alternative.

June 12th, 2004, 03:42 PM
Just as you wouldn't try to load WinXP on a P133, you need to pick a more appropriate vintage of Linux. The recent ones tend to assume they will have more CPU and resources available. For a 133, I'd suggest you try RedHat 5.2 - it's very stable; check a mirror like ftp://ftp.rutgers.edu . Or, if you don't specifically need Linux, try OpenBSD, http://openbsd.org . I've loaded it on machines all the way back to a 486/50 laptop with 16MB of RAM. All you need is a boot floppy and internet access. -- ahm

Rick Ethridge
June 21st, 2004, 07:54 AM
Don't be so quick to apologize! One of my computers has a dual-boot of WIN98SE and Mandrake 9.1. The Mandrake installation was quick and painless. Update installation was easy. I've tried Mandrake 10 and found it lacking. The 10 RC1 seemed much better at installing although some programs I was used to running won't work. I highly recommend Mandrake 9.1. RLE :)

June 22nd, 2004, 12:41 PM
Some criticism.

You picked Debian and Gentoo as your starting points? Are you nuts? The whole point of Gentoo is to compile it yourself. You set yourself up for a hard time.

In many years of using Linux I've not had a difficult install. Pick a distro that's designed for your needs though. You sound like a candidate for Redhat. Save the kernel compiles for when you need to do something advanced. Sure, if you have to compile a kernel just to install then of course it's harder than Windows.

486-66 Running RedHat 6.1, custom kernel
PII-450 Running RedHat 9. Previously 6.1 and 7.3
Althlon 1200 running RedHat 8.
Celeron 1100 running Fedore Core 1
PII-666 Running SuSE 8
Via EPIA 800 running modified Redhat 8, completely diskless!

The 486 was the most trouble because I insisted on a custom compiled kernel to cut the size down and squeeze the max performance. Except for the diskless box, all of the other installs were vanilla and perfect.

CP/M User
July 3rd, 2004, 02:19 AM
"Erik" wrote:

> Although I like it, I always realized that Unix/Linux
> was not going to be the OS of choice for the masses
> for this very reason.

> It's just too confusing and difficult for most folks to
> use.

> That's one reason that MS has the market cornered.
> They may not have the best product, but it does work
> and it's easy to get working.

Which is why if I ever get a brand new computer again,
it won't be an IBM!

Apart from the price, there's nothing wrong except bring
over you're IBM programs, but for Web Browsing,
Emails, Word Processing, this, that & the other thing, a
Mac is pefectly capable of doing that. And you don't have
to put up with an OS which Microsoft 'borrowed' in the
first place! ;-)

CP/M User.

Tim Wellman
August 23rd, 2004, 02:29 AM
I've used probably a dozen or so different Linux releases in the last few years... Mandrake is the easiest to install... it also recognizes NTFS drives so if you dual boot, you can access your windows nt/2000/xp partition... which is also a good way to recover data if and when xp crashes. Mandrake also plays mp3's... Redhat won't do either of these things without add-on programs you have to download and try to install. The problem you will always run into is Linux doesn't support nearly as many cards, printers, scanners, etc, as windows does, simply because all those things have been specifically designed for windows-based systems... right now, the newest Linux releases are somewhere around what windows 95 is... nice gui, works reasonably well, but if you need to configure something that's not working, you're in for a nice long sitdown :-)

Linux also has a problem with over-selling itself... it'll sometimes recognize your hardware, and you'll see it listed as working, when it really isn't working at all (onboard sound cards seem to be the worst, but also trying to burn cd's in Linux can be a real headache). Linux is best when used as part of a proprietary system... as used by some call centers and telemarketers... one program running, the linux kernel configured for the exact system it's on, etc... Linux can run for years without a problem. As a home computer's main o/s, I think it still has a long way to go, but it's a lot of fun to play with, and on systems like the computers Walmart sells that are configured for Linux right out of the box, it should be much easier to use, since the parts installed are sure to work with linux.

But, if you want to try a ready-made linux installation, go to http://linuxiso.org/
and download Demo Linux

after you burn this iso to cd, you can boot from the cd, and a complete installation of linux is there to use and play with... although your older computer might not be able to boot from cd.

But I agree with most of the comments here, Linux isn't nearly the o/s that windows is... or for that matter, what OS/2 is, and there's still DOS, far from a dead o/s. I thought when Corel got into the linux business, they would make a better version that could actually compete with windows, but it didn't turn out that way.

And now, from what I read about MS trying to license their FAT patent... Linux may be a deadend O/S (Linux uses MS's patented FAT to read and write to windows-based harddrives)... anyone hear any latest news on this? The patent office was supposed to review the patent. That was a couple months ago. I know Microsoft finally paid Lindows 20 million dollars to get them to change their name when they saw they couldn't win the court case.

I mean, I don't like Microsoft... I wish there was something to take it's place and still be able to use my windows based programs... but, windows costs 200 dollars (for xp pro)... I've got 2000 or more tied up in programs that will only run on windows... so, I think the hardcore Linux people are trying to make a statement when they talk about linux in superior terms, unfortunately, they overstate their case from time to time. 'Free' is good... but rarely better.