[24hoursupport] Re: Win98 SE upgrade

  • From: Ron Allen <chizotz@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "Douglas O." <24hoursupport@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 2 May 2003 19:15:18 -0500


Hello Douglas,

DO> I'm not sure I can agree with all of this.

That's OK, I'm not sure if I do either :)

Explanation: my last direct experience with Linux was circa 2 years ago, so,
obviously, there could have been dramatic improvements since then. My
experience at that time was with Mandrake 7, I think.

DO> In terms of being easier to use, it is not much more difficult to use, per 
DO> The hardest hurdle is installing it, which is usually a breeze these days. 
DO> there is some hardware incompatibility to contend with, but more and more 
DO> is disappearing with HP, Dell,IBM, and others making an effort to 
DO> Linux into their systems.

I encountered a LOT of hardware compatibility issues, even though
every single piece of hardware in my system was on the Mandrake
compatibility list. I got no response from Mandrake to my questions at
their official support address, and the user community on their
discussion boards treated me like something the pet left on the front
lawn. After spending hours, as in, rough but not overestimated guess,
25 hours, I finally managed to dig up an answer to one problem. It
worked, until I rebooted the machine and then the fix had to be
applied again. Finally it stopped working no matter what I did and I
threw up my hands in disgust and went back to Windows. I've never had
that kind of problem with Windows, and if I did I know I have people
on this list and elsewhere who will treat me with respect to help me
out if I need it. And if nothing else works, I can email or call
Microsoft, and they'll at least treat me with respect too.

On top of this, I spent extra to get the full-out Mandrake package
that was supposed to include all this fantastic software. I installed
everything available to install, and never did find half of what I was
supposed to have received. What did get installed, all but two things
didn't even work. Of the two things that worked, one was a game that
looked great in the pictures and opening screen, but then looked like
a low-res DOS game from 20 years ago. The other was a scientific
calculator program; its fine that it worked, but <yawn> whoopdidoo.
And I haven't even mentioned the utilities that apparently did nothing
at all, the system settings utilities that wouldn't let you change any
settings, the built in web browser that wouldn't display anything
right, the... well, you get the picture.

And before you ask me the obvious, yes I was logged in as root when I
was trying to do all this. I have some UNIX experience, including
writing shell scripts for the Bourne and Korn shells and using Oracle
under UNIX. I know a little about UNIX/Linux types of file level
security, and first I thought that had to be my problem. It wasn't. In
fact, I felt that I knew enough from my experience working with UNIX
that Linux would be relatively simple, especially since Mandrake
promised so much. Too bad they delivered so little.

So my experience with Linux, and especially wrt Mandrake, is very
poor. However, that isn't to say that the situation hasn't improved.

There is nothing wrong with Linux as an operating system per se, but
in all honesty I don't think it's ready for the general populace yet.
When 90% or more of all hardware is supported, and install and initial
configuration is as painless as Windows typically is, and installing
software doesn't require you jump through a series of hoops, and there
is a wide enough variety of software -- GOOD software -- readily
available, and at least one Linux company takes customer support and
service seriously... yeah, Linux could be a real contender. As it is,
or at least as it was a couple of years ago and as I believe it still
is, I can't in good faith recommend Linux to everyone. I do believe
that those who consider themselves to be "power users" on Windows
should at least give Linux a look.
DO> There is no such thing as a Mandrake graphical interface. All versions of 
DO> come with the ability of using both a GUI, usually X11, and a terminal 
DO> interface.

I think you're splitting hairs and knew what I meant, but, yeah,
OK, I only went 7 yards instead of the whole 9 and spell this out :)

Mandrake in particular makes, or made, at least, a big marketing thing
out of their GUI. They had modified one of the GUI packages, and
called it X86 (I believe that's the correct name). They also claimed a
lot of other things that turned out to be not so true, at least in my
case. Be that as it may, considering Mandrake's marketing rhetoric, I
think calling it the "Mandrake GUI" isn't too unreasonable.


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