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Switching to Windows from Linux - A Linux user goes back

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On the other hand, wasn't the "no real root" approach supposed to keep users from messing up their machines as root? Has it?

I do like the fact that I can kill anything in linux....though admittingly program crashes that tank the system in W2K have been fairly rare as well.

-Chris

Maybe it is set up that way to stop people from messing up their machines. But it doesn't really work that way, since people can mess thier NT machines pretty quickly with Admin privledges only anyway.

I also admit that I havn't had any problems with NT services, probably since microsoft knows how vulnerable the system is to services that run amok, and test them fairly thoughourly. But considering ISS and MSSQL run as a service, it doesn't fill me with confidence (due to the sheer complexity of these components).

I really only stumbled across this problem while writing my own service programs (and having it go into infinte loops). But I also recognise that this is a problem that may bite me in the future when I use NT.

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Yeah....you can still mess up your system, apps can still crash the system, and remote exploits are still frequent. I know a particular windows fan who argued that not having a true superuser was a strength of windows, though I can't remember any of his reasons. I'm certainly not seeing any now, but perhaps someone more familiar with windows internals can fill me in.

-Chris

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Cost per page over the warranty period of the printer my friend. I did some calulations a couple years ago and they went like this: inkjets are cheaper to buy, lasers are cheaper to operate per page. This is where I get the memory lapse. If you print fewer than 2000 pages a month(?) it is more economical to buy an inkjet.

However, your Winprinter argument is well taken.

This opinion is based off the use of an HP Deskjet 930 printer, which I like quite a lot. (so flame me for getting an HP and liking it, I don't care) I am even using it in a USB port under linux and Windows 2000. :D

The decent inkjets arn't really all that bad. The consumable ink is quite expensive per page, but they don't require expensive components like new drums and fusors. (which, when you need them, cost an ABSOLUTE fortune)

Decent inkjet printers are quiet, reasonably fast and reasonably inexpensive to run (not as cheap as laser though). They don't require drying time, and print very good text as well as vivid colour graphics. They also consume much less space than any decent laser printer. Most decent inkjet printers also have linux drivers. (stay away from lexmark inkjet printers, they don't have ANY linux support)

Now cheap or older model inkjet printers though, that is a completely different story. They ARE slow, expensive PITA's that leave wet ink everywhere and produce colour documents that you could have produced with a sponge. (using my old lexmark 1000 as a reference here) Did I mention that they were really, really slow :D

As much as I would love a laser printer, I can't afford to buy or run it, so my HP inkjet will have to suffice :)

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shoemakc, Cliptin:

Lasers have dropped in price considerably. The top-rated Samsung ML-1210 can be had for $170 at amazon.com. No dearer than a mid-level inkjet after you've paid for ONE set of replacement ink cartridges.

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Hmm....interesting. It doesn't appear to be like the okidata LED scams either from a few years ago. 1000 pages toner along with a drum that had to be replaced every 3 toner recharges... no thanks.

Definately interesting.

The color is a big issue though...people do want to print photos and make birthday cards and the like. And then you have the dpi issue.....2880 dpi on the inkjet vs 600 dpi on most low end lasers. Of course we all know that a 600 dpi laser will run circles around the inkjet....particularly on plain paper. Most customers don't know that however.

-Chris

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Most customers also don't know that a laser (at least the mid-eighties, industrial strengh lasers) will last 20 years (my Laserjet IIP isn't that much younger than I am). Neither do they know that 2880 dpi is only achieved on premium photo paper (something like 30 cents per sheet, iirc).

(I really shoud cut down on the brackets).

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Hmm....interesting. It doesn't appear to be like the okidata LED scams either from a few years ago. 1000 pages toner along with a drum that had to be replaced every 3 toner recharges... no thanks.

Around here, brother was the first low cost laser to take on Okidata. Then Samsung came into the market with guns blazing in 2000. I haven't seen an Okidata laser on the shelves ever since :)

The color is a big issue though...people do want to print photos and make birthday cards and the like. And then you have the dpi issue.....2880 dpi on the inkjet vs 600 dpi on most low end lasers. Of course we all know that a 600 dpi laser will run circles around the inkjet....particularly on plain paper. Most customers don't know that however.

That is true, but I have to think that after many years of inkjet popularity, most customers would have lived with their inkjets long enough to discover all their flaws.

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Vantage wrote:

Yes, in '96 BSD was much less secure that it is today. but look at how much less it had to evolve to get to where it is.

Says who? It's not at all clear to me that you have any understanding of the fundamental differences between the BSD derived kernels, Linux, and NT.

Says microsoft for one. One of there selling points last year was that BSD was based on outdated kernel design that had not been updated at the speed they updated windows.

As for my knowledge. I am not sure what part of the statement you are questioning?? The NT kernel has ben almost completely rebuilt since 4.0 came out and the transition from 3 to 4 was,......uhh......a complete redesign. BSD is pretty much tha same as it has been since the BSD 4.4 LITE cam out back in....... When like 1994. There have been some code improvements but no where near the redesigns that went into NT.

As for linux........ In my opinion it is a better OS than NT. It has a lot of maturing to do before it is as secure as BSD but it is as stable, or nearly as stable, as BSD now. It has more hardware support and more people working on it. It is also driving some realy nice advances in GUIs. I am not happy with any of the firewalls that is offers though. Some of the other software isnt up to the quality of the BSD counterparts. I do love the modular kernel design though. BSDs monolithic kernel can be so annoying you have to recompile every time the admin farts. In a server though, how often do you change any hardware other than the hard drive.

James Ashton

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It's not at all clear to me...

Now it is. Crystal.

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I can't believe I read that entire thread. 8O And most of that went over my head. :lol:

FWIW, I've never used Linux, though I'd like to give it a whirl when I have some more time. I put Win2K on my parents' system because Win98 didn't have the security and stability I wanted. Now the system just runs when it's supposed to and I can keep them from installing stuff (I've only given them User rights :)).

For the workstation, Win2K has been a nice improvement in stability over NT4, but I still manage to pound it hard enough to crash it a few times a week. Unlike my old HP-UX box, I can't kill just the one balking process w/o the whole thing coming down. I don't think Linux is an option for us, as our CAD package just won't run under it. Same with much of the engineering software we use on the typical desktop station.

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Mickey,

It will be nice to have some of the larger software packaged ported to Linux or BSD. I am looking forward to photoshop. I am thinking about putting some effort into getting the MAC OSX version running on FreeBSD. That would be cool. As for engineering packages....... Do any of the ones you use run on OSX. A good bit of software will work cross platform. It might be an interesting expiriment.

Cas,

Please clarify what was clarified. That comment sounds like a "cheap shot". I didnt think this would degrade into an insult match.

James Ashton

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Mickey,

It will be nice to have some of the larger software packaged ported to Linux or BSD. I am looking forward to photoshop. I am thinking about putting some effort into getting the MAC OSX version running on FreeBSD. That would be cool.

holy stinker, i'm dying here

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Guest russofris
I cannot for the life of me understand why laser printers haven't become the standard printer of choice

Some reasons -

-Many system purchases throw in the inkjet for free.

-Many people only print a few pages each month...for them even an entry level $400 laser is overkill.

-Color lasers are still no where near afforable

-Not factoring in / being misled about the cost of consumables and the total cost of ownership.

-Chris

Shoe, you've got to be kidding!!!

Thermal wax printers (tektronix phaser 740, and the new Xerox ones) are the way of the future.

Real color (as was defined long ago by Kodak), fast printing, low cost of ink..... Aside from their innitial mechanical problems, this appears to be the cheapest alternative to a personal dye sublimation/thermal dye printer, with 99% of the quality.

Thank you for your time,

Frank Russo

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Honold,

What exactily is so funny?? My spelling over the last couple of days???

I think photshop on Linux would be great. I would probably get rid of win2K all together. I just dont feel that comfotable with theGIMP. As for mac photoshop on freebsd.... i like to pound my head against walls. It would be nice if someone would get that to work.... Maybe someone will get it working on HURD.

James Ashton

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your discussion with cas was amusing in and of itself, but i was laughing about the fact that somebody a) thinks that they can offer something to a cross-platform port and B) doesn't realize that the gui of the source os has absolutely nothing to do with the target os despite the fact that the underpinning userland (not even the kernel) of the source is based on it.

you think somebody just needs to tweak a config file and write a howto to get it to run on freebsd? YOU WOULD HAVE TO PORT THE ENTIRE (PROPRIETARY, ILLEGAL TO REVERSE ENGINEER) DISPLAY LAYER OF OSX TO FREEBSD IN ORDER TO GET IT TO RUN

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I agree that there is likely some issue with my workstation aside from just the software, but so far it only crashes when running my CAD package. Even then, it's not a given that it will always crash at the same point; I have noticed, however, that certain commands seem to trigger it. Normally, when an app hangs I can kill the process w/o bringing down Win2K. The way this package works, it usually ends up dragging down Win2K, or making it so unstable I usually reboot to save myself time later. :D

Unfortunately, MS says it's a conflict between the video driver and the CAD software, the CAD vendor says it's a problem between the video driver and Win2K, and the video vendor says it's a problem with Win2K. :roll: I'm just a regular user at work, so I'm not going to spend a lot of time trying to fix this myself. The Unix users never have this problem and the NT users have learned to accept this as the price of running stuff on NT.

BTW, none of our engineering packages runs on OS-X. They all either run on NT4/2K/XP, HP-UX, or Solaris.

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I feel compelled to point out here that W2k/.NET even as a server OS is completely stable, to industrial levels of availability (4 9's and above), provided the following is true.

The hardware platform is tested, stable, and reliable

The drivers are properly written to all current MS specs, with no "shortcuts" taken

The OS is properly configured and installed.

Most major tier-1 OEM's will guarantee, with Microsoft, IN WRITING, 99.99% uptime on W2k. The product is called Datacenter, but is nothing more than W2k advanced server, with a stable, tested driver base on stable, tested, hardware.

Security? Again, if security patches are properly applied, KV5 properly implemented, services configured correctly, W2k is capable of B1 level security.

So..whats the real problem? Why do people complain about bluescreens all the time under W2k and XP? Or security holes?

1) Poorly written software. Most software people run is not tested, or logo certified.

2) Security hole - Running in Admin mode. A properly written application should not require admin mode to execute. Problem is, most apps are NOT properly written. Why the HELL aren't games written to run in standard user mode? Who knows.

3) Poor drivers/hardware. If you have a creative labs soundcard in your system, you know what I mean. Creative lab designed a card (SBLive) that did NOT meet PCI 2.1 spec, then wrote lousy WDM drivers to top it off. When Audigy came out, Creative designed a "slightly" better card, but still has lousy WDM drivers. AFAIK, none of Creatives drivers to date have passed WHQL (ie: not "certified". Unfortunately, Creative is not alone here, they're just one example.

4) On that note, if you're installing non-signed drivers under XP (or W2k), don't come crying.

5) Backlevel drivers/firmware/Bios/software

DON'T try to run your old DOS games. DOS is dead, and DOS software is outdated and pathetic.

DON'T try to run your old Win9x crap...see above.

DON'T download hacked, or leaked drivers, then complain when you get BSOD's

DON'T use unstable hardware. With hardware, you get what you pay for.

Running a VIA chipset is bad enough. Running a VIA chipset, with your standard PC2100 RAM running aggresive memory settings, FSB at 150, and a massive heatsink to cool it off, is running your system way...WAY..beyond spec. Yes, you'll boot. Yes, you may even run for a while, just don't expect it to ever be truly stable. Hardware problems can manifest themselves many MANY different, not so obvious ways. As someone who has debugged bluescreens for a living, I know.

You can have speed, stability, or low price. Pick any two.

There is a significant reason why no Tier-1 OEM builds any AMD/VIA based servers..you figure it out.

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There is a significant reason why no Tier-1 OEM builds any AMD/VIA based servers..you figure it out.

My current home system is by far the most stable computer I have ever had the pleasure of using. 193 days of continuous uptime without rebooting. AMD CPU and northbridge, VIA southbridge.

Conversely, every single computer I have used at every place I have worked would be lucky if it went a few days without crashing. And yes, all these corpoate computers were Intel based solutions from IBM, Compaq, and Dell.

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shoemakc, Cliptin:

Lasers have dropped in price considerably. The top-rated Samsung ML-1210 can be had for $170 at amazon.com. No dearer than a mid-level inkjet after you've paid for ONE set of replacement ink cartridges.

This sure sounds interesting. I am glad to hear that laser printers are coming down in price. Do you have a lead for a different model?

The negative feedback on cnet for this model was a little scary. Linux, OSX and windows users all compaining about different stuff.

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Well, I certainly chose the wrong week to fade out of existance...

To quote one example:

The good: I recently borrowed a digital camera from a mate at work' date=' to take photos of my case mod. Imagine how happy I was when I plugged it into my nearest USB port, and it was automatically configured (as a SCSI device) and mounted! SuSE even added it to my /etc/fstab file so that it always automounted when plugged in. I was very impressed.

The bad: Along came my new IDE CDRW drive. At AU$99, I couldn't pass up the purchase. Plugging it in gave me no joy. I was very disappointed that a device so common couldn't be detected and automatically configured under a modern operating system. The instructions on the SuSE support site said to add lines to lilo.conf and reboot. While this is a perfectly acceptable way to get hardware working for a geek familiar with *NIX, I believe that a home user shouldn't have to do more than plug it in. It's an IDE device, it's not that complicated![/quote']

This is a perfect example of one basic design flaw in Linux. Nothing they do, short of a massive redesign of the kernal, will ever really solve the hardware driver issue.

That isn't really a driver problem as much as a configuration problem. Linux undoubtedly detected the drive just fine (IDE support is compiled into just about every kernel), it was just a matter of telling the system what directory to mount the drive to. There are various GUi tools to do this, but adding a CD-ROM drive is clearly easier to do in Windows.

One can give individual examples all day though. Here are a few "adding new hardware" examples of my own:

My mother uses Linux (Redhat 7.2 with Ximian GNOME, and no she is most definitely not a computer person) and my step-father uses Windows 2000. At the time of this example, my mother used regular SuSE 7.xsomething.

Both used Matrox cards. During a visit, I upgraded the step-father's system to a G400 which my mother used and put the G200 in her system because 2D performance is not as important for her.

Under Windows 2000, I installed the card, started the system, everything was in 640x480x4(bit). I went to the Matrox website, though I had to do some resizing of the browser window because this is certainly not the regular resolution, I downloaded the rather bloated driver from the site and installed it. I could not change the resolution that the system would restart to because the display properties panel does not fit on a 640x480 screen. It installed, rebooted, was in 800x600x8 bit, I changed it to the regular resolution and regular refresh rate (because 60Hz is horrible) and clicked "apply."

It changed the resolution just fine as well as the depth, after warning me etc. but did not change the refresh rate, so I re-opened the display control panel and changed the refresh rate, got a warning about frying the monitor, clicked past it and the change went well.

On my mother's system, the SuSE Linux system, I installed the new card, restarted, and it worked. Resolution was the same, refresh the same, didn't have to spend 20 mins downloading any drivers from a website that does not look particularly good nor fit particularly well in standard VGA.

Another:

Both parents got a printer, the Windows sytem an HP Laserjet 4000 something and the Linux system an Epson Stylus. The HP printer's driver on the CD was incompatible with Windows 2000 so I went to the HP website to download the driver. Nope, you can't download drivers, you have to order a CD. So, paid HP $5 or $10 or whatever it is and seven weeks(!!) later the CD arrived. I explained over the phone how to install it and after about 20 minutes it worked perfectly.

Linux system: Opened whatever tool you use to configure the printer in SuSE (I can't remember the name offhand) which uses CUPS (Common Unix Printing System) and told it to add a new printer. Epson --> Stylus 800 --> Print test page. Works fine. CUPS already had a driver for that printer, the HP printer as well (I checked) and a completely insane number of other printers all included, the database of which can easily be updated with a few clicks (at least using Ximian GNOME)

Another: Try changing the motherboard on Windows. I recently did (due to the motherboard dying and taking two RAM chips on it's way out) and was greeted with a friendly "STOP" error telling me that the boot drive could not be found, even though it was still the first partition of the primary master hard drive. I put my Linux drive in and it didn't even notice.

All that said, most joe average users never actually add hardware short of maybe upgrading RAM. Generally they buy a system, and if they want something better they buy a new system. Dell, Gateway, etc. generally come with hardware that works just fine with most Linux distros out of the box, Winmodems being a noteable exception.

BTW, in case no one noticed I am not using "Linux" to refer to just the kernel. That just makes conversation more complicated.

Before Windows 2000/XP came out, one of the big points of Linux was stability. As quoted here:
I can't comment on the Windows using community yet. I've not yet had a problem that a simple point and click couldn't fix. However, I will say that my original concern with Windows '95 has been addressed in Windows XP. The stability is finally there.

Stability was the really big thorn in Window's side, and for all intents and purposes, it is a non-issue in 2000/XP. I haven't had a system crash in so long, I'm starting to forget what they look like. :P

Stability is certainly far better in 2K/XP, but quite a few people still have horrendous problems, and the horrible drivers that many companies of extremely popular products like the Sound Blaster series and many HP printers can cause system crashes easily. Some systems with this hardware work fine, many do not. Many products do not have WHQL drivers (I have had crashes with WHQL ATI card drivers, by the way) available and many that do, like the Soundblaster cards, are lacking horribly in the features department. Never have I seen a driver with a distro's kernel crash the system. I have used many device drivers clearly marked as "alpha" or "pre-alpha, do not use!!!" and they have always worked perfectly. I have even, probably stupidly, used extremely early release software RAID with the Linux 2.2x series of kernels and it never had so much as a hiccup.

For the systems that no longer have any system crashes, which should never have happened in any Windows version, you are correct: stability is no longer an issue on desktop systems.

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One of the problems Microsoft has had is an inability to control the hardware and software installed on the machine, and they also have very little control over drivers.

One of the reasons Apple has had such a stable OS reputation for so long is they control the hardware.

Linux does have its upsides, adding a video card to a Linux box is almost always eaiser than it is to do this to a Windows box, which hates it.

Windows also does not do so great with many printers...

MS needs to get better control over what has the Windows logo on it, make that logo actually mean something.

Jason

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I agree with most of the article, but i do disagree slightly with neededing a complete redesign of the kernel for hardware support. Where the author is incorrect is that yes, many power linux users do compile their own monolithic custom kernels....however there is no reason why modular kernels.....either default or custom compiled coulded be used.

The problem with drivers is not really the need to recompile the entire kernal, it is that drivers are not compatible across minor kernal versions all of the time.

What works here and there doesn't work everywhere. That unlimited user power causes these kinds of problems. Modules do work just fine in most cases, so long as the driver was compiled in that version of the kernal.

If it wasn't, you need the source to do it right, and not all drivers have the source.

It comes down to this... The 2000/XP version of nVidia's drivers work on all 2000/XP boxes. The 2.4 kernal version of those same drivers do not work on all versions of the 2.4 kernal, and don't work on all distros...

Which ones DO they work on? Trial and error, or posting and asking are the only ways to know for sure. That is simply not acceptable for a desktop OS.

For those that add hardware all the time and want a minimum of fuss, it is pretty much guaranteed that if software works on any Linux distro it will work on Redhat. So use Redhat (or one of the other major, major distros)

Generally users do not have to find drivers anyway. If the device is supported at all, chances are the driver is already on the system, like the webcam example. If it isn't supported, well, it probably wasn't a good idea to get an obscure device. If it is really needed, use Windows. Use what gets the job done, including hardware.

compile just the module, depmod -a and your all set.

Compile the whatsit? Huh?

Sure, I know what you mean, and tech junkies do as well, but no one outside of the tech world is ever going to bother with any of that.

And that is the primary reason why Linux is not a serious threat to Windows, it is unlikely to ever get that much easier. To make it that easy would remove most of the power.

I agree that requiring the compilation, or use of the command line at all, is totally unacceptable for the average joe. I disagree that it is unlikely to get much easier and strongly disagree that making it much easier would remove much of Linux's power.

Everything in Linux has become much easier, as it has in Windows, and both have more power than they did before. Many common GUI functions are easier in KDE than in Windows and installation of certain distros, like SuSE and ... um, that distribution that allows you to play Solitaire while installing, are easier to, well, install. In many ways finding and installing software has become easier on certain Linux distributions.

For example Kportagemaster (A Gentoo Linux application for KDE) allows you to choose from a hierarchal organized tree of thousands of applications, complete with description, and click on a single button and it is installed. You do not need to buy it on CD, you do not need to find a website to download it from, you do not even need to click "next, next, next" and you certainly do not have to reboot. The app, which is a KDE graphical application, will download it, compile it, install it, put an icon for it in your KDE menu, and you can run it right now.

Keeping power while maintaining simplicity is simply a matter of having the common, frequently used and most important features in the little graphical menus or whatever and then having a special section for "advanced" features and having all features tweakable in the configuration files.

If joe user does not want to use an advanced feature like he would not do in Windows, he can simply not worry about it. If he does, however, it is at least an option to him and still certainly not very difficult. (At worst opening up a simple text editor and adding a line to a config file per the instructions/docs)

Case in point. I recently bought a new scanner. Plugged it into the USB port, Windows XP detected it and asked for the CD. I inserted the CD, it found the driver, installed it, and boom, it worked... I opened up PhotoPaint and scanned in an image, took all of 3 or 4 minutes and I didn't have to know anything at all. My mom could have done it... and that is of course the point..

I haven't installed a scanner in Linux so can't really compare, but I have heard that SANE (Scanner Access Now Easy) makes adding scanners as easy as adding a printer which I described earlier.

You can stick Windows XP on almost any machine built from 1995 to 2001 and have a 98%+ chance of having it work out of the box without needing anything else.

...Except a RAM upgrade, faster hard drive, and an upgraded CPU. ;-)

Seriously though, I personally cannot stand Windows XP, but it does indeed support more hardware than Linux--no argument here. As does Windows 2000 and 98. The majority of PC users have common (by definition), fully supported hardware that works fine in both Linux and Windows. For those that don't, well, use Windows or replace the hardware. Obscure hardware is usually cheap, generic hardware that probably should be replaced anyway or is expensive, high end hardware that usually comes on systems with the software pre-installed for its use.

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