[Ilugc] Are you serious?
- From: ksriram@xxxxxxx (Sriram Krishnan)
- Date: Wed, 31 Mar 2004 15:49:24 +0530
<A layman user>
It doesnt really make a difference between 'open' source or
'restricted' source. The only thing he/she is ever worried about might
hitting a few buttons and getting the job done. For him as you said
'MSDN', 'Google' might fit in. But considering that he is a person
worried about costs, think again!! Ok, let`s keep aside cost for some
time. There is also this famous argument that Windows is best in >'Ease
of use', well not entirely. For an operating system that had a big
headstart compared to Linux, there are tools in Windows itself
which are not at all known by the users, after so many years.Linux
users have a better grasp of Linux than MSians(layman users) who have
been working on windows for years together . This goes to the users
whose regular usage include Word,Outlook express,solitaire........and
their usage does not go beyond these(considering this comes under the
very normal users` heading).
Well, it`s the same here. You are going to type in ur POP3/SMTP address
in Evolution, type in internet address in Mozilla and use Open
Office.org suite. Moreover there are configuration wizards which have
been very specifically designed to implement this 'ease of use'
concept. For this category the availability of code does not matter but
</A layman user>
Ok...when you say that the average Linux user has a better grasp of
his OS than the average Windows user, I definitely agree. But look at
the sheer difference in scale here..Windows runs over 95% of the world's
desktops(I'm making up that statistic..but I'm sure its pretty close to
the real number). Now, a lot of those people are non-techie...and those
people like their hands being held...and they like the fact that Windows
has a very easy learning curve. Microsoft has to worry about the
grandmas, people like my mom and dad. Apart from Mandrake and
Lindows(both of whom shamelessy rip off MS), no Linux distros worries
about the non-geeks. BTW, Microsoft's usability comes from a lot of
stuff other than wizards...usability is a whole field in itself. Linux
could do well to learn from Apple in this respect....
Now, let's say that I want to teach how to use a computer to my mom.
Which OS do you think she would have a better experience with? Windows
which takes you on a tour of the OS at start-up or any Linux distro
which asks you whether you want to partition your hard-disk and whether
you want your bootloader on your MBR? The day the OSS community
understands that programmers are PATHETIC at UI design and usability,
then MS will have a concrete threat (I'm a programmer by the way...:-)
). BTW, I'm not the only one ranting about poor usability in OSS
software...some one called Eric.S.Raymond had a pretty long and nasty
rant about how bad the UI is in most OSS software...(this article got
slashdotted around 2 weeks back...you should be able to google for it
As for the 'costs' factor, I'm a bit confused here. I thought I knew my
GNU manifesto pretty well..whatever happened to 'free as in speech and
not free as in beer'? If OSS says that all their software has to be
free(as in beer),people like IBM and Sun (so called friends of OSS)
would run away screaming. Are you saying that the only way Linux is
better than Windows to the 'lay-man user' is because it is cheaper?
Well, if everything in coding was restricted to just the space provided
by microsoft documentation and google, I dont think there will be >so
many things that we presently see. Creativity is visualizing the unseen
and implementing it. What microsoft does is simple curtail such
activity by giving an illusion that "everything is given", when all
that is given is only the absolutely basic stuff of a programmer`s
coding e-nvironment. For people working on .NET, MSDN shud be more
than enough as it covers .NET technology. For people working on MS, MS
stuff shud be sufficient!!(At times not)
But what abt the space beyond that?? The space does not encompass
Microsoft, but it need not necessarily be void. There is a big world
outside the Microsoft domain and that is infact the real world and
spirit that drives programming. A developer`s only objective is to
develop and improve upon things but he is unable to do it because he
has no scope for doing it, considering that it is taboo in MS.
For this category of 'Engineers' source code is not luxury but a basic
requirement, developing it or using it is absolutely upto the skill
level of the engineer or anjaneyar using it. The 'freedom' as in speech
Ok...I'm an engineer(atleast if I pass all my exams for the next one
year). Now, frankly, I really don't understand what you're saying . I
seriously doubt whether anybody thinks that .NET gives you everything.
What .NET does give you is freedom. Freedom to concentrate on your
problem at hand rather than where that pesky memory leak is from.
Freedom to worry about what happens when the user clicks the button
rather than wiring up the callback functions properly. Freedom to
convert seamlessly from a huge array of data sources and do some
amazingly cool stuff with them (e.g databinding in ASP.NET). Freedom to
think about what your app should do rather than how you can coax your
computer to do what your app wants to do.
I really don't understand what you mean when you say tha there is a big
world outside Microsoft which is the real world. Then, is Microsoft the
equivalent of the Matrix or something ? :-) I'm sure you know the sheer
weight of statistics behind Microsoft's presence today...trust me,
they're very,very real. And I definitely don't agree that developers
only want to improve upon things. I really don't think I want to spend
my life debugging other people's code...I want to write the next Google,
the next Feedster, the next ICQ...I want to become rich like Bill
Gates...not spend my time debugging soembody else's memory management
code...when I'm neither getting paid for it nor am I getting any fame
out of it. Hobbyist programming we all do and enjoy...but in the end,
it's not viable as a full time profession(unless you're as good as Linus
or RMS). Who's gonna get you the money to pay the rent and buy that
shiny new car?
Anyway, I'm drifting ( and ranting a bit ) here. As for engineers, is
this true in other engineering disciplines?Do those ECE guys know how
the spectrometer works internally? Somebody's already built it for
them...some one they trust to make good products...some one who is
*legally* answerable if it doesn't work. And someone who definitely
doesn't want to tell them how it works inside. Why don't we ask Pepsi or
Coke to give up their formulae? How is that any different?
<A normal user>
A normal user sees efficiency in his work and while working in Linux on
any application be it,
"Illegal operations" will not pop up and ask the sufficiently well
informed user to "Abort,Retry or Cancel".
The user can get his/her job done better than almost any application
(except for restarting, which is the most frequently used windows
function).This point of efficiency is more than enough, as a normal
user, who wants to get his "job done quickly".
For this category, getting the job done without hassles is definitely
esential and any normal user who gets a chance to compare both in
terms of better results will know the necessity of having Linux/OSS.
</A normal user>
Ok, I'll let you in on a little secret. Do you know that annoying little
dialog you get when an app crashes on XP? The one that asks you whether
you want to report it to Microsoft. Ever wondered what they did with all
that data....let me tell you what they do. Right now, they've collected
several terabytes (yes..terabytes) of data from that error reporting
service. And you know what they've found? That most crashes comes from
apps not written by Microsoft. Bad device drives. Bad plug-ins. Software
that tries to write to files it doesn't have permission for. That's why
with XP SP2, you're gonna see Microsoft get tough with those who don't
write conformant code....basically, there's a very good chance that a
lot of the software that you use today mught break with SP2. However,
let's say Adobe screws up with Photoshop and it keeps crashing...who do
you blame? DO you blame Adobe? I don't think so....People like my Mom
are gonna say.."MS screwed up with XP...I had this nice little
screensaver which doesn't run anymore'.
However, you see a different attitude with Linux. If an app doesn't run,
you blame the poor quality of that app rather than Linux...why don't you
use the same measuring with Windows. I would recommend reading Raymond
Chen's(he works on the Windows Shell/Explorer team) blog
). He talks of an incident where some
famous software company basically took a pointer to a COM interface
related to Windows explorer...and then walked up the stack till they
found something they wanted..and used it. Now, this worked perfectly on
Win NT4. However, that 'something' they wanted actually turned out to be
one of the parent classes in a multiple inheritance scenario. Now, as
you all know, there is no restriction on the C++ compiler when it comes
to laying out classes in memory...so basically, in Windows 2000, the new
compiler switched the order of the two parent classes in memory. What
happened? Boom...the app refued to run...and it crashed explorer in the
process(it was a plug-in (the official term is a shell extension)). Now,
poor Raymond Chen had to write some code to make the app 'find' what it
This is one incident out of many where MS has bent backwards to ensure
that poorly-written apps don't break. In fact, I remember people at
www.kuro5hin.org being pretty surprised at the number of these
hacks....now, can Linux claim to have the same amount of compatibility?
How would you like it if you fired up Photoshop and it asked you for
version X.Y.ZZ of libsomething, A.B.CC of libsomethingelse??
When you say "the user can get his job done without hassles in Linux" ,
what exactly do you mean? Tell you what, let's have a race...I'll use my
WinXp box and you take a distro of your choice. I'll pull out my
digicam, web cam , USB drive ,portable MP3 player, iPod....let's see
who's able to use them first. Or is it unthinkable that Linux users will
want to listen to music and see pictures that they have taken?
One common misconception is that Microsoft is
opposed to open-source and
releasing their source code...but the truth is that
they're only opposed
to the GPL due to its viral nature(don't flame
I never knew Microsoft was ever 'in' for open-source and whether there
is a 'misconception' about Ms`s policy on open source computing!!
pls correct me if I`m wrong.
Well, now you know :-) Microsoft has a deep relationship with a lot of
universities. In fact a lot of universities (including some of the
Indian IITs, I hear) have full access to Windows Source code. In fact,
the recent Windows code leak came from Mainsoft (which runs Linux
servers btw :-) )
As an engineer, I want to get my job done
quickly..and I feel it is
sufficient if I know my tools well and my domain of
expertise well. And
Well, Linux does not make processes and jobs slow!! Considering that
this "job done quickly" is contextual, then Linux shud be perfect for
you, as it very well saves time and efficiency because of it`s better
internal architecture(compared to MS).
My original argument was that you don't need access to source code to be
efficient or to innovate. Anyway, let me respond to your argument...how
exactly is Linux's internal architecture better than MS's? And which
Windows are you talking about? Win 95 sucks security wise...but that was
a OS released 10 years ago...do you think people won't find security
exploits from the Linux code of 10 years ago? Win2000 and WinXP are
rock-solid. Win2k3 is probably the most secure bit of software to come
out of Redmond...have you seen the kind of automatic lock-down it does?
The ultimate point is: efficiency in work and the freedom to do what
the user(layman/normal/engineer) wants with the system than what the
system wants you to do is a more-than-sufficient argument favoring OSS.
Hmm...do you really need access to the source code to type out a
OpenOffice document. Or does my mom need access to Photoshop's source
code to touch up a few photos?
When performance counts.....................I dont have to say that!!
The entire mailing list knows abt it!!
Err....that's why a majority of the Fortune 500 companies run Windows ,
is it? :-) Seriously, do back up your statements with benchmarks.
Ok, the point I'm trying to make here is that a debate on Linux vs
Windows is pointless. Windows has a different target audience...Linux
has a different target audience. Personally, I find Linux very, very
cool...I run RH9 at home and code a lot in Python. The only thing that
irritates me about the OSS community is their perpetual obsession with
Windows and MS. I mean....I'm on this group to learn about the cool
stuff that Linux can do....not to see mail after mail talking about how
Microsoft is planning to take over the world? Let's say that Microsoft
suddenly ceases to exist one day....then what happens. Who are you gonna
target next? Apple?
Do understand that Microsoft has a huge bunch of very talented people
who produce some great software. You want to impress me..do so with
software. Make Linux do stuff that Windows cannot do. Make OpenOffice do
stuff that would kick MS Office's behind. Make FireFox so good that you
give the IE team in Redmond sleepless nights. Forget about the
MS-bashing...its just a huge waste of everyone's time.
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