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Thread: MYTH: Windows Is "Easier."

  1. #1
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    Default MYTH: Windows Is "Easier."

    You can give Microsoft and Windows credit for this: their products generally work well and are easy to use as installed (important point, back to it in a moment!) on a new machine. But my assistant and I were talking yesterday about this, and he mentioned a comment that Caitlyn Martin had made in a Linux forum online the other day: Windows' "ease of use" is largely an illusion, because most users buy the computer pre-loaded with all of the software that they'll ordinarily use.

    If you have to install Windows from scratch, heaven help you. It's just that simple. Period, dot.

    When I upgraded my motherboard last week, I (obviously) had to update/change a lot of drivers for the new hardware. This is one of those typical "all-in-one" boards; NVidia chipset and video, built-in LAN, and so on. There's a lot of stuff on there.

    After resolving one minor issue with the LAN (a simple BIOS setting), I put in the Opensuse CD for a NET install and just let it run overnight. The next morning, my system was 95% ready to go, with OpenOffice, Mozilla and most everything else I needed or wanted. All of the hardware, except for my printer, had been configured (and the printer was solved with a one-click install of an updated driver). Suse had upgraded/installed "around" my original /home folder, so most of my desktop settings were intact.

    (OK, in fairness: the video worked fine and the desktop was usable, but of course I had to one-click install the NVidia drivers to get 3D accelaration. I can see where this might be difficult for a newbie, but I've done it so many times now, it's second nature to "init 3," run "sax -r," then back to "init 5" and run "nvidia-settings" to get what I want.)

    Bottom line: the OpenSuse Linux installation was a BREEZE. I fully agree with Ms. Martin -- people who say that "windows is easier" have obviously never had to install or reinstall the thing. Now ... for the REST of the story ... .. ..

    If you have to replace a hard drive, or buy a new motherboard, or do anything else that requires a major upgrade or reinstallation of Windows, IT IS A NIGHTMARE. (Pardon me for yelling, but it's the truth.)

    1. You have to dig up/find all of the CDs containing drivers and software packages, and/or hope that you can fetch them online. And hope that the @#$#@! key codes are still readable. And hope that you don't have to install 4 gigabytes of updates for EACH PACKAGE.

    2. Oh, but first, you have to get the network up and running! This is where it was absolutely hilarious: Windows kept complaining that I needed to "revalidate" XP, since my hardware had changed. So, keep this in mind: through all of this happiness, rebooting time and time again, I had to keep whacking the "I'll register later" button over and over and over.

    Besides, I couldn't re-validate until I got the network up. But Biostar's CD wanted to install the drivers itself, and yet, Windows' Found New Hardware "Wizard" kept arguing with it. Seriously. I'd install one driver, I'd get the usual "Windows needs to reboot" dialog, I'd let it reboot, then move to the next driver. But in this case, it rebooted into a blank desktop -- nothing but wallpaper. On faith, I started Biostar's installer. It stopped and said, "sorry, the Windows Found New Hardware Wizard needs to be closed first."

    Good thing I knew the old WinTel "three-finger-salute" -- CTRL-ALT-DEL, bring up the task list, then start slaughtering **** right and left. I finally get the desktop, reload the Biostar installation thingie, and get the network running.

    (After another reboot. Of course.)

    THEN I revalidated. THEN I reinstalled the rest of the stuff. THEN I had to wait for all of the updates, the whole time worried that my machine was vulnerable WHILE the updates were being downloaded and installed (and it IS vulnerable, by the way ... most people don't know that; it's a well-kept dirty secret about Windows).

    Bottom line: ANYONE ... and I mean, ANYONE ... who thinks that Windows is easier to install on the average PC, with the average hardware, should be (1) wrapped in a clean, white straitjacket and (2) quietly led away so that they don't drool on the carpet.

    Believe me, this is the shortened version. There's no need to belabor the fact that, after EACH package or driver is installed, you have to reboot, which takes time.

    There. Thanks for letting me get that off my chest.

    But PS: no WONDER there are so many "computer repair" and "on site service" companies in the Yellow Pages nowadays. Man, I could make a decent living just helping people re-install their stupid printers under Windows when they have to replace a hard drive!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: MYTH: Windows Is "Easier."

    > Man, I could make a
    > decent living just helping people re-install their stupid printers under
    > Windows when they have to replace a hard drive!


    Ummm. People do. But don't think it wouldn't be the same if Linux was the
    dominant desktop. There will always be people that don't 'get it'. Not
    really their fault they just aren't wired for understanding it or just don't
    want to.




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    Default Re: MYTH: Windows Is "Easier."

    Quote Originally Posted by smpoole7 View Post
    Bottom line: ANYONE ... and I mean, ANYONE ... who thinks that Windows is easier to install on the average PC, with the average hardware, should be (1) wrapped in a clean, white straitjacket and (2) quietly led away so that they don't drool on the carpet.
    I understand the sentiment.

    I left Windoze back toward the end of the win95 days (in mid-1998), using Linux on my home desktop since. Hence I really struggle with Windoze. Now I am forced to use Windoze at the office for paper work stuff (memos, email ... ) and hence I can do basic navigation on WinNT and WinXP. However I don't have admin permissions on the office Windoze PC and can not install sofware on Windoze. So I've never learned the "tricks" (if here are any). For to install applications on Windoze, if I am forced trying to first find the software, and install Windoze software on some one's home PC, I tend to go ballistic. There is no nice list (in Windoze) as there is in openSUSE as to the apps I can chose from to install. I'm fed up with Windoze spam filled web sites, fed up with having to virus scan every file that I put on the PC, fed up with having to answer and research dozen's of zone alarm warnings for every application I install. My frustration levels on Windoze sky rocket. My wife knows that to ask me a Windoze support question requires a LOT of payment in return.

    On openSUSE, since I've been using it for years, I can add an rpm from a repos in a FRACTION of the time, with far less pain, than I can install an app with Windoze. Of course in openSUSE the trick is to stick with apps in the repos, ... which is something that an incredible amount of new Linux users refuse to do. The beauty of openSUSE (and some other distro's like Fedora and Debian based) is there are a massive number of applications precompiled/packaged, ready to install incredibly easy.

    I can be wound up real easy in what a comparative PITA Windoze installs are (in comparison to an openSUSE repos install).

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    Default Re: MYTH: Windows Is "Easier."

    It's easy to summarise: Windows is "easier" to install because you don't do the install, the manufacturer does. It's a tribute to modern Linux distros that they are increasingly able to handle most of the mish-mash of hardware thrown at them.

    Windows is also "easier" to use, because that's what people are used to. In truth, someone given a modern desktop like GNOME or KDE and not told it's not Windows will get on just fine and even sometimes complement the desktop on how smooth it is. And with emphasis moving away from desktop apps to web apps, the platform is increasingly irrelevant. That's what M$ fears about the projected Chrome OS based machines.

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    Default Re: MYTH: Windows Is "Easier."

    Quote Originally Posted by GofBorg View Post
    > But don't think it wouldn't be the same if Linux was the dominant desktop. There will always be people that don't 'get it'. Not really their fault they just aren't wired for understanding it or just don't want to.
    I think you miss the point. If I'm sitting in my chair, looking at a brand new, "barebones" PC (or a PC that I've recently repaired, whatever), I want to reinstall Windows and/or Linux. At that point, whether I'm Edward HackerHands (tm) or a gurgling newbie, the task at hand is the issue. And given that set of conditions, the fact is that a good distro like OpenSUSE is far, FAR easier to install than is Windows.

    My comment about people charging to help with Windows brings to mind the "Geek Team" at a well-known retailer. I wanted a stick of RAM and was too impatient to wait for mail order, so I went into one of these stores the other day. I watched (and listened) to these "experts" helping others and was endlessly amused. These people make a killing simply helping others to swap a hard drive or add RAM -- tasks that, by any measure, are far simpler under Linux.

    Let me give you an example: under Windows, you generally back up "My Documents;" under Linux, it's the /home folder. Theoretically, you can nuke, reinstall, and copy the folder back in place to get most of what you had before. But trying to do this under Windows, you'll not only miss files that WEREN'T put in My Documents (many items are written in the Registry), as you expected, you'll get file access violations during the copy if any process has opened and "locked" the file. This *one fact* makes Windows much, much more difficult to back up and restore. (Speaking from real-life experience.)

    (My friend, there's a REASON why many retailers' "recovery" disks warn you that you're about to lose everything, then nuke and start you over with a clean system.)

    But back to The Geeks(tm)(r)(C). I already knew what I needed; when the salesperson told me I'd have to wait for one of the "geeks" to become free -- they stay busy, believe me -- I told him that I most assuredly knew several times more than the "geek," and that if he'd just let me around the counter, I could pick out the RAM I wanted and get out of his hair.

    (He didn't quite know how to take that. But he let me grab the RAM and run, which suited me fine.

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    Default Re: MYTH: Windows Is "Easier."

    Quote Originally Posted by oldcpu View Post
    Now I am forced to use Windoze at the office for paper work stuff ... if I am forced trying to first find the software, and install Windoze software on some one's home PC, I tend to go ballistic.
    And I feel you right back. My assistants get tickled at me every time I have to use one of our Windows-based workstations because I invariably start with, "I hate Windows." I chant and mutter this mantra the whole time I'm there.

    (For those who are curious, the system that we're using is the most popular radio automation package: RCS NexGen Digital Studio Automation Software)

    They think I'm joking. I know I'm serious. And since I'm the one living in my head, my opinion is what matters.

    Shoot, the first thing I miss is my multiple KDE desktops. The first thing I hate is playing "whack a mole" with all the "helpful" (wink, wink) balloons that keep popping up from the taskbar while I'm trying to address an emergency ... say, we're OFF AIR and LOSING MONEY??!? And I get, "you have unused icons on your desktop," and "SuperWidgieWhirlie wants to install an update!"

    Or ... here's my favorite! ... wait for it! ... you're in the middle of a critical operation, and Windoze has installed an update "in the background" ... and while you're frantically working to correct a serious problem (remember, we're OFF AIR), every few minutes you are klonged to a screeching HALT by that stupid, "Windows has finished updating and needs to reboot" dialog.

    There's no way to tell that stupid thing, "I'm aware of your concern, now shut up and go away. I'll eventually restart and make you happy, but right now, I'm busy ..."

    Under Linux, even when the updater installs a new kernel, I get ONE (1) polite little KUpdaterApplet window at the top of the screen: "you need to reboot your system as soon as possible." Then it goes away.

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    Default Re: MYTH: Windows Is "Easier."

    Quote Originally Posted by ken_yap View Post
    It's a tribute to modern Linux distros that they are increasingly able to handle most of the mish-mash of hardware thrown at them.
    They deserve all the credit in the world. Seriously. Sure, sometimes I get annoyed, same as anyone else, when a driver package doesn't work straight out of install (like the printer mentioned above), but believe me: when I "fuss" at Linux, it's a lover's spat. With Windows, it's pure hatred.

    Windows is also "easier" to use, because that's what people are used to. In truth, someone given a modern desktop like GNOME or KDE and not told it's not Windows will get on just fine and even sometimes complement the desktop on how smooth it is. And with emphasis moving away from desktop apps to web apps, the platform is increasingly irrelevant. That's what M$ fears about the projected Chrome OS based machines.
    VERY well said. I fully agree.

    My assistant tried Chrome the other day, by the way. He says it's not ready for Prime, but it's intriguing. I've tried the Chrome *browser* under Windoze (WHEN will they finally release a build for Linux???), but I didn't see enough to make me switch from my beloved Firefox yet.

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    Default Re: MYTH: Windows Is "Easier."

    Quote Originally Posted by smpoole7 View Post
    Or ... here's my favorite! ... wait for it! ... you're in the middle of a critical operation, and Windoze has installed an update "in the background" ... and ...
    Its the weekly virus scans that take place at the office that drive me up the wall. ... In defence of our Windows system administrators, there are really very very good (especially given what they have to work with = windoze) and they try hard to pick a time when the antivirus software can run (typically lunch hour). They are also very polite, and knowledgeable about the quirks of Windoze (of which there are many)

    The problem is I work in operations where anomalies / urgent requests from the boss don't wait for the antiviral stuff to finish before they happen. I'll be working on a tight deadline, with a significant impact if I am late, when my Windoze PC will do what it does best ... DOZE .... DOZE especially when the anti-virus software starts running. Of course there is no 4-desktop to spread out the apps I need open to make it easier to find things. So instead I then have to use the overcrowded bar at the bottom of the Windoze desktop to look thru the many apps that I have running, to find the weekly anti-virus software (which takes almost an hour to run) to stop the anti-virus scans (which does mean I'll "pay" later in the week for a restart of the entire anti-viral scans).

    Murphy's law says the anti-virus scans will happen at the worst time, and they do. Indeed those scans prove Murphy to be an optimist, and they drive me up the wall.

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    Default Re: MYTH: Windows Is "Easier."

    Quote Originally Posted by smpoole7 View Post
    I've tried the Chrome *browser* under Windoze (WHEN will they finally release a build for Linux???)
    You can get builds for Chromium for Linux for various distros. I think there is another thread on this forum on it. I've run it under Ubuntu (because it what I use at work and I try all sorts of new stuff on that machine) and also because adding the PPA repo pulls in the daily build. One thing that is noticeable is the rendering speed. It doesn't have all the features people are used to having on Firefox, but it is maturing rapidly.

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    Default Re: MYTH: Windows Is "Easier."

    Quote Originally Posted by oldcpu View Post
    Its the weekly virus scans that take place at the office that drive me up the wall.
    Thank the Lord, that's one irritation I don't have to worry about. Since my assistant and I administer (and thus make the rules for) that audio network, we've corralled that entire network behind a brick firewall. They can't install software, browse the Web or check email on those machines, either. Therefore, we don't run AV on them (we couldn't, precisely because of the performance issues you mention).

    In the studios, we use the Linux Terminal Project for the Internet-capable workstations, so no AV there, either.

    Bribe your sysadmins to look into the LTSP. If they could ever convince your PHB's to go for it, the company would save a boatload of money, their jobs would be much, much easier and you'd be a lot happier!

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