0

Nothing is virus safe...

Whilst that is true, 99.999% of attackers just don't write viruses for Linux because:
a) Most computer users use Windows
b) A lot of Linux users are highly paranoid about security ;)
c) A lot of Linux distros tend to be more secure than Windows; for example Windows has (had?) the autorun feature which a lot of viruses explited to spread easily, but with most (all?) Linux distros, there was no such thing
d) Linux setups are all different - different distros, different configuration etc. so one virus may not work on all Linux installations.

So while you are very true in saying that nothing is virus safe, Linux and Mac are just far less prone to viruses, mainly because of the lak of people writing viruses for them :)

90% of questions are answered with a rude "read the f*ing manpage, idiot"...

Perhaps if you mentioned that you read the manpage as well? Besides which, people have put a lot of time and effort into writing manpages only to have them ignored, so of course they're going to tell you to read the manpage first, if you already haven't.

including questions on how to use man to read manpages.

Did you try man man? ;) No I'm kidding, fair enough about that point.

Of course half those manpages either don't exist or are years out of date...

I don't know what distro you're using, but a lot of my manpages are always being updated. For me, they come down with new, updated packages, or as a manpage package if they don't belong to any specific package. But I do notice the date on the ASCII manpage to be Feb 2009, but ASCII hasn't changed much since then, has it? ;)

Edited by Assembly Guy

2

Here is what I have to say. I used a mac all throughout my childhood, then got a windows computer for school and got used to it. Then when I got really into programming I put a linux partition on my laptop. So I have experience with most OSs and I try to have an unbiased view (even though personally I hate crapples). So here we go... Pro/Con list and ideal users:

Apple OSs: Computer N00bs with money

The good thing about apple computers is that, while saying that they are the most user-friendly is quite an exageration, they tend to need very little maintanance. When they do need maintenance apple stores will be able to help, although it can be very hard to find one near you. On top of that Apple OSs tend to come with a lot of default software and easy to get apps. These programs are not as well designed as more expensive ones, but because they give easy access to some basic computer skills novice computer users are capable of doing near-professional grade work. The two biggest downsides I have found are cost and efficiency. Apples are waaay overpriced. As far as I am concerned there is really no argument there... about a year ago I looked at the price for an apple laptop and found that for just the price of the hard drive upgrade I could create the upgraded version with a slightly larger form-factor. The only difference would be size/weight/lack of om-nommed apple/lack of inefficient OS. Which brings me to the OS. It is designed to be easy to use, and it is, but it is very hard to use efficiently. It allows for multiple shortcuts for multiple applications, and has very few "standard" shortcuts. On top of that the idea of putting all the controls in one place for each window is obviously flawed. Also by abstracting the file system away it becomes difficult to manage certain files. From my experience it is possible to program relatively efficiently on MacOSs, but it requires some set-up and a bit of command-line knowledge, if you are skilled enough with computers to program on a macintosh than the free software really isn't worth it. Unless you are an avid fan of om-nommed apples then if you can set up an IDE on a mac you should probably be on a Linux distro, save yourself the cash!

Windows OSs: Gamers and Average+ computer users.

The issues with windows are that it is possibly the least stable OS (since most of the world uses windows, most malware is written for windows computers, on top of that since it is really the only decent OS that isnt -nix based it does not have the stable base that -nix systems are known for). Windows also doesn't come with nearly as much free software, so if you have trouble installing things windows just won't work for you. The real seller about windows is that many many games will only run on windows systems (except of course console games). On top of that many production grade programs will only run on windows, or at least are less complicated to acquire on windows. For examples I point you to Adobe/MS Suite. Again, due to the massive number of window's program developers getting software to do... basically anything is quite easy (this includes IDEs!). Even if you are quite experienced with computers and usually use some Linux distro I would recommend buying at least a low quality or old version of windows, just so that you do not cut yourself off from some of the great programs out there.

Linux Distros: Pro users, sysadmins (or really any admins), programmers

The nice thing about the linux distributions is that they tend to be very very stable. For example, recently my windows partition on my laptop was corrupted so I had no way of getting online in windows, yet my Ubuntu partition was completely unaffected. This makes Linux distros perfect for any system that you really rely on. Of course most good systems will at least have a linux distro on at least one partition/drive. This means that even average or slightly above average computer users should make an effort to be aquainted with them. Knowing how to use linux effectively is a very marketable skill! Now time for the downsides. If you do not know what you are doing, Linux can really screw you over. For one thing, installing requires a bit of knowledge, unlike windows and macintosh which usually either come pre-installed or with a very easy and intuitive installer, linux distros usually require that you understand the inner workings of your computer a bit more to install. Also installing anything on linux distributions is rather complicated (relative to mac or windows), although Ubuntu now has the software center to help and most linux distros have decent default software (hurray for the GNU library). The biggest issue with linux distros is the severe lack of available software. Even with wine it is extremely hard to get many of the programs that are so easy to find for windows. Finally, programming is actually somewhat tricky on linux distributions, but linux is the best for programming, probably, since it forces you to learn your command line, allowing you to customize how you compile your code.

Other OSs: kids! and maybe survivalist uncles?

There are child-friendly OSs now (at least according to my cs prof). I haven't looked into them though.

IN SUMMARY (ALL CAPS FOR TL;DRs): WINDOWS+LINUX DISTRO COMBINED!

2

I has a dual-boot system Ubuntu/Win7 for some time. I just couldn't get to grip with Linux. When confronted with synaptics and no documentation that I could understand, I started booting it less and less. Don't get me started on drivers :( It looked crap too.

I love the idea of Linux, but I don't think I'll ever try it again. Win7 does what I need, I'm comfortable with it. No brainer for me. I won't be upgrading (was that downgrading you mentioned?? v. funny) to W8 anytime soon either.

0

I guess it's true that Linux does require a bit of an initial push, like being forced to use it for some job or project. As exemplified by some of the posters here, if you just install Linux to try it out, with no real purpose or reason for just pushing through some of the initial bumps on the road (some inevitable config tweeks, "strange" software that you're not used to, and re-learning some basic skills that you take for granted on the OS you're used to), then you can easily get cold feet or just lose interest. But once you went past the initial steep hill, it really is a wonderful system, in my opinion. It's far more rare to hear people who used Linux for a good amount of time as a primary OS and decided to go back to Windows or Mac. I compare it a little bit to LaTeX vs. MS-Word, most people are initially scared and confused when using LaTeX, but most people who do a lot of technical writing (theses, scientific articles, etc.) swear only by LaTeX. MS-Word is easy to adopt, but constantly aggravating, while LaTeX is hard to adopt, but smooth sailing and impeccable afterwards.

There are things that are just so easy with Linux it's not even funny. For example, I remember some years ago I was writing an engineering report for which I had to collect a bunch of images into a single pdf file. It was such a pain-staking process in Windows, with Adobe Acrobat Professional, I had to do it all manually and it was getting really slow because of previews in the wizard and other crap like that. In Linux, I do this all the time, here's how you do it:

$ convert *.jpg output.pdf

and that's it. Maybe there's an equivalently easy way to do it in Windows, but it's out-of-sight.

The nice thing about the linux distributions is that they tend to be very very stable.

I totally agree. Linux looks unstable at first glance, mostly due to its shortcomings in dealing with all the different hardware (which usually come with Windows drivers, but Linux drivers are mostly written by volunteers) and the few occasional unstable programs, but once you get those few issues sorted out, this thing is just rock solid. It also helps when viruses are not a real concern, and with rebootless updates. A Linux box corrupting a file-system is almost unheard of. No evil registry bloat. And pretty much the worse that can happen is that the X server crashes (which has happen to me maybe a dozen times in about 5 years), in which case, you're brought back to the login screen, you login, and immediately recover any unsaved files.

For one thing, installing requires a bit of knowledge, unlike windows and macintosh which usually either come pre-installed or with a very easy and intuitive installer, linux distros usually require that you understand the inner workings of your computer a bit more to install.

I'm not sure I agree with that. Of course, it depends on the distro, but for most mainstream ones, I find the install process just as easy as for the others. Installing Windows on a computer is a really painful (and long) process, I've found it incredibly frustrating every time I had to do it. I just installed OS X on a virtualbox, and it was an OK process. I've installed Linux many times, and different distros (Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Mint, Fedora, etc.), and it's always been easy and quick. I think much of the reputation of Linux being difficult to install is due to the fact that it is almost always installed in a dual-boot setup, which is going to require a bit of know-how and carefulness regardless of what OS you're trying to install. You're gonna have to make a partition / free-space, figure out where you want the bootloader (grub) to go, maybe chain-boot the system, etc.., these are the things that are harder to do. When I installed Linux on an old laptop, making it a Linux-only box, the process was super smooth: pop in the live USB, go through the install, default options all the way, and have a working and up-to-date system within about an hour or so.

Also installing anything on linux distributions is rather complicated (relative to mac or windows), although Ubuntu now has the software center to help and most linux distros have decent default software (hurray for the GNU library). The biggest issue with linux distros is the severe lack of available software. Even with wine it is extremely hard to get many of the programs that are so easy to find for windows.

I think you might be looking for the wrong software, or looking in the wrong places, i.e., using Windows-reflexes when looking for solutions to your problems. Of course, one barrier with Linux is that it's a "different" environment, with different software. Of course, if you say "I want Photoshop! How do I get Photoshop on Linux?!?", then you might be in trouble, and might not know to look for Gimp instead, and you might not know you can install it in one click in the software center (or by issueing the command $ sudo apt-get install gimp). Or another typical example is stuff that you think you need a special program for but it's actually a built-in function, for example, mounting a disk-image on a virtual drive, which, in Windows, you typically have to hunt for some sketchy freeware to get it done, while in Linux, it's a built-in kernel module. Or things like the pdf example above, if you miss not having Adobe Acrobat in Linux, then you really don't have a clue, when virtually every software that could need to convert to or from pdf files in Linux have built-in facilities for it (through poppler).

That said, Windows is still a necessity for many special software (and games, of course). This seems to be shifting quite quickly though, especially since Mac OS X, given that the effort to port something to Mac can now be profitable and if you port to Mac OS X, it's very little extra effort to support Linux too. I'm constantly getting surprised at things that support Linux. There are even some engineering software companies who decided it was better to migrate to Linux-only support than to try to migrate from XP to post-XP versions of Windows, because when you pay thousands of dollars for a piece of specialized software you really don't care what OS it needs to run on, and so, the more stable choice is the better choice (and Linux wins hands down in that department).

Finally, programming is actually somewhat tricky on linux distributions, but linux is the best for programming, probably, since it forces you to learn your command line, allowing you to customize how you compile your code.

Again, this is like the LaTeX vs. MS-Word example. The Windows IDE-heavy environments (and maybe Xcode too) is, I guess, easier to adopt at first, but it's constant pain and hardship from that moment on. I can't even start on this, there's just no comparison between Windows and Linux for programming, it's night and day. And I'd be damned the day anyone would say that you shouldn't expect programmers to be willing to learn/use a command-line interface, that too, when coding, is night and day.

0

depends on what the home user is looking for, what experience he has and what his overall expectations are.
the "home user" that is more a gamer 'll have a different opinion than the "home user" that is more into designing and creating software, graphics, ... then just playing them.
and then there's the "home user" who just needs to be able to use open office. so: define home user?

0

And here-in lays the problem with Linux (over-choice) ;)

On a serious note, let's target gamers. They're going to be a big driving force in OS switch.

Edited by Ketsuekiame

0

I think you might be looking for the wrong software, or looking in the wrong places, i.e., using Windows-reflexes when looking for solutions to your problems.

What I meant by complicated is that it takes extra knowledge. I am well aware that installing things on my Ubuntu is far faster and takes far fewer steps than on windows (especially since most software that you would ever need can probably be gotten via the sudo apt-get install SoftwareName line). The issue is that A) you need to have the raw knowledge to know that for example you want gimp, instead of photoshop (not to mention that (at least IMO) photoshop tends to have a few more useful tools than gimp. On top of that I am really talking about when somebody says "Hey you should get <Insert software name here>!" if you want to download that... you may have some issues.

On a serious note, let's target gamers. They're going to be a big driving force in OS switch.

I agree completely. Especially as video games gain respect in the art community gaming is going to get really awesome (if interested in the artistic theory of games [not to be confused with game theory] I would have you watch Penny Arcade's Extra Credits). As it stands right now pretty much every decent game out there is either for a console or windows, with the odd one ported to apple computers. Steam IS available on linux now, but only some of the games are available and, at least from my experience, the steam system is prone to errors on linux OSs. Wine also allows for a few more games to be played, but it still isn't enough. Honestly, I don't see this changing. This is mainly since choosing a gaming OS is actually relatively arbitrary, its not like windows has some magical game-running power. Its just that it was pretty much the ONLY decent OS out there for awhile and thus it quickly dominated the gaming market. On top of that, while OpenGL is used for many games, many also run on DirectX which, as far as I know, is a microsoft thing. If I remember correctly the Xbox's original name was the DirectXbox. As such many game programmers are familiar with DirectX and thus do not want to write for a different OS because they would have to teach themselves a new API. The only reason to get linux for gaming is if you want to be a really really hardcore gamer that needs a super-computer, generally to get the most out of a super computer you need a custom linux distribution. :)

0

As I recall a few years ago (2006) a *nix super computer beat the world chess champion at a game of chess (link). The program could probably not have been accomplished under MS-Windows.

*nix and Unix is so cryptic in both filenames and parameters most likely becuse it was invented by geeks for geeks on mainframe computers. No one in 1969 imagined there would be computers in people's bedrooms that have more processing power and operating systems than the mainframes of 1969. And most certainly it was not originally intended that Unix would be used by every person over 5 years old in the world.

0

*nix and Unix is so cryptic in both filenames and parameters

Yeah, that's true. I suppose it's just one of the changes that you have to get used to if you are going to use a POSIX system. I accept that as one of it's flaws (until you learn enough) and admit that I was confused with the more in-depth areas of Linux when I was a newbie, but now that I'm used to it, I find myself somewhat uncomfortable when dealing with some aspects of a Windows environment. I guess it's just what you get used to.

No one in 1969 imagined there would be computers in people's bedrooms that have more processing power and operating systems than the mainframes of 1969. And most certainly it was not originally intended that Unix would be used by every person over 5 years old in the world.

Indeed that is true, I remember a quote from a 1949 Popular Mechanics Magazine (yes, I realise this was 20 years prior to 1969) that read "In the future, computers may weigh no more than five tonnes." Due to people's thinking and mindset back then, Unix (and thus Linux) was only really written for Techy Sysadmins, but if you take into account the tools and utilities which people have written (Gnome, Dolphin and so on) Linux can be used by people as young as five.

Edited by Assembly Guy

0

I remember a quote from a 1949 Popular Mechanics Magazine (yes, I realise this was 20 years prior to 1969) that read "In the future, computers may weigh no more than five tonnes."

similar to IBMs statement around that time that "there will never be a need for more than 5 computers in the world" :)

0

similar to IBMs statement around that time that "there will never be a need for more than 5 computers in the world" :)

Yeah, there's that one too :)

I think apple because it is really fast and doesn't slow down after 3 years.

Mac OS (much like all OSes) does have its strong points, but a lot of machines running other OSes haven't slowed down too, you know ;) And while it may not relate directly to the OS, Apple have a tendency to try and get people to buy their hardware, for example, it's difficult to impossible to develop an iOS app without a Mac. But from experience, it's more stable than Windows.

1

If you pour crap in your gas tank your car will perform poorly. Same thing if you install crap on your Windows based PC. That's been my experience after a couple of decades supporting Windows PCs at work. The machines that didn't get screwed up by the users performed quite nicely.

0

yup. My 10 year old machine's still chugging along nicely as a file and print server. Been rebooted twice in the last 5 years, both times after a blackout caused it to lose power.
Only other real trouble I've had with computers since like 1995 have been triggered by hardware failure or other reasons external to Windows as well.

0

The service pack updates don't help. Unavoidable "crap" that you need to install into Windows that does slow it down. The impact of these is less than the random "crap" most people install, but after 5 or so years of Windows Update, I agree that they tend to slow down from what they once were.

0

Best? The one that's not causing me to pull out any more hair at the given moment.

Overall, in the Windows camp I'd say Win7 is best of the lot. I like XP and have it on several boxes still (heck, I still have a Win98SE box in occaisional use). Win8 has nothing to recommend it for doing real work - it's meant for the touchy-feely twitty facey-spacey crowd. Now, if the rumors of Win8 update giving back default access to the desktop and a reasonable startbutton/menu facility pan out, Win8 will gain a lot of favor.

I can't really comment on -nix or Mac OS - just don't really use any of them with any regularity or depth.

0

I'm using windows 8 now, I have used all other oprating system like linux, window 7 etc but windows 8 is better then any other oprating systam (this is just my opinion). I'm not using Mac OS X yet but may be tryit leter.

0

The service pack updates don't help. Unavoidable "crap" that you need to install into Windows that does slow it down.

That's quite true. I've got Windows XP with no updates or service packs installed on a VM (just as a testing environment for the occasional Windows program I write), and it runs quite smoothly. I have access to a physical machine with a Windows that's all up-to-date and over the installation's life, it's gotten slower and slower, with more and more memory used after a fresh boot, as updates and service packs were installed.
That's one of the main areas that Microsoft has let itself down. Updates and patches should be to not only fix bugs, but also update the existing software to speed it up.

This question has already been answered. Start a new discussion instead.
Have something to contribute to this discussion? Please be thoughtful, detailed and courteous, and be sure to adhere to our posting rules.