Linux, far fom competition

[LEFT]Yesterday I went to a friend to install openSUSE so he could use linux for internet and multimedia purposes. It was my second attempt because years ago he had this weird asus MB witch had the stupidest lan card, even win struggled.
I got him hyped over linux because he saw that everything (cough) worked with such eye candy that he wonted it. finally made all the preparations on his machine and in goes openSUSE 11.2. Then came a problem. His only option for internet was a HSDPA modem witch doesnt work. So I read the forum found a guy with the same problem who had fixed it. Spent 2 hours reading and setting it up. He sat there and admired my persistence. Told me “when you hold out a linux dvd you should supply a whip for the sado/mazo part”.
Eventually I gave up and popped in Fedora 12. I dont know where, but my friend said Fedora was the Vista of linux. Dont know where he picked up that. Surprise, HSDPA modem worked on the live CD mode. I installed Fedora and told him that is equally easy to use it. Then I started to set it up with all the repos, mp3, nvidia drivers. It was a little slow because I use only SUSE.
In the meantime 4 hours had passed and i got tired, had to leave so I left him with Fedora 12 with no instructions how to use it, and he needs some additional programs like a net meter to monitor his 6GB internet limit and so on.
He struggles with english knows only windows (not that good) and I know what will be the result. In couple of days he will format it and install another windows xp.
So with all done I took a moment to realize that for the majority of people just the task of setting up repos and installing mp3 support is hard enough. I dont blame SUSE for that HSDPA modem, the operator didnt give any info how to connect because all info is in the device with autorun.exe (figures)
The only progress I made was with a couple of Ubuntu education copies and it was before SUSE had education fork. And that was with problems because they had dial up, but their kids liked the games so it staid on those machines[/LEFT]

How did your friend find Fedora 12 to be after running it for a while.
Another distro to also try I really enjoy is Debian and I currently run 5.0 on my desktop.

I’ve had people ask me about Linux, but I confess I am not adventurous as you. I first ask them a LOT of questions as to their hardware, how they access the internet, what applications are MUST applications in windoze, etc … If I see what may be a snag for Internet access or any graphic hardware hiccup, I recommend that they do not spend the time with Linux. If it appears Internet access and hardware will be easy, then I will help with a dual boot.

But I confess I am rather lazy, and I won’t waste their time and mine if research suggests a simple “just works” won’t work for them.

I’m very slowly converting people. Mostly the ones in my very early IT classes. I sit in the front of the class and use my laptop to take notes. The whole time really showing off my desktop and all the eye candy. Even though a lot of it isn’t necessary (like having a cube desktop) it’s still functional and works for me. When I show them multiple desktops it’s a whole new concept to them.

If they really want to get into linux, I stress to them (and I mean I STRESS it) that linux is not windows and it takes getting use to. First I give them a livecd of KDE4. Have them test it out, see what does and doesn’t work or where they’ll have snags. I then find time to go over how to do things in linux with the livecd and show them all the programs and how easy openSUSE specifically is. They’re always amazed at the package management and the idea of repositories.

Once they’ve tested it out and I’ve assessed any problems they might encounter, and only after asking them a couple hundred times to make sure they want it, then I install it for them. And every single user I’ve installed for so far LOVES openSUSE with KDE4. I haven’t had any complaints yet. The only time I’ve had someone come back for help is when their vista side got a virus and when they sent it back the company wiped the whole hard drive. They ended up coming back to me to put linux back onto it :slight_smile:

As with everyone your mileage may vary. But so far I’ve not had any problems with HP’s or Dells. Of course I know what I’m doing for the most part, so just as a computer company may install all the windows drivers and set everything up so windows “just works” when you receive it, I set everything up and make sure openSUSE with KDE4 “just works” for the people I set it up for. I think that makes a lot of difference.

Just my two cents.

Take Care,


What language does he speak then? One of the better things about Linux is that the localisation is pretty consistent, eg. if I set my language to German (admittedly a fairly common language amongst opensource devs) then everything, all applications are consistently in that lang. In Windows it tends to be a dogs breakfast - some apps are localised while some are in en_US, mainly because to localise them you’d have to buy them again in their localised version (like even Windows itself before Win7).

So with all done I took a moment to realize that for the majority of people just the task of setting up repos and installing mp3 support is hard enough. [/LEFT]

I disagree, it couldn’t be easier and it’s certainly easier than in Windows (which doesn’t ship with DVD or DivX playing software either): Restricted Formats - openSUSE-Community

Still your experience does go to show that hardware that doesn’t work out of the box is an insurmountable challenge for most non-technical users, and that is a problem for Linux.

You know on a fresh install of windows you have to install codecs as well?
And yes there are a few devices that dont work under linux.
But there are some devices that might not work on windows anymore either.
But come on you cant judge linux on these two things and call it “far from competition”
Like I said buy a fresh copy of windows, not one that came preinstalled on the computer but a fresh, 100% new copy of windows and you will see its no better.
Especially if you have a fresh copy of XP

yes but windows has this issue too, look at vista and win7, most of the devices that worked fine in XP are not functional in those two versions of windows.
Linux is improving its hardware compatibility over time

This is also my perception. Added to that, is the memory most new Linux users have wrt their experience with Windoze, where they had problems with Windoze, but Windoze did mostly work for their hardware. However they can not get that performance out of Linux (mostly due to their complete lack of familiarity with Linux).

So when they struggle initially with Linux, they start to think it is “better the devil you know, than the one you don’t”, and hence the temptation to go back to Windows is incredibly strong.

I had 4 things going for me when I installed Linux for the first time (back in 1998):

  • I had some VMS and Unix experience for years before I attempted Linux, so working at a VMS/Unix command prompt was something I was familiar with, something I liked, and the Linux environment with a command line was something I enjoyed and felt comfortable with;
  • I spent about 3 months reading on Linux (articles on the command line, articles on X window, etc … ) BEFORE I installed Linux. So even though comfortable with a VMS/Unix command line, I did NOT take for granted that VMS/Unix would be the same (as oppposed to a lot of self-proclaimed Unix experts who move to Linux who mistakenly assume Linux should be the same as VMS/Unix) and I did accept I would have a steep learning curve, despite a LOT of reading
  • I researched my hardware BEFORE installing, and found three excellent articles on the Internet, by users with the same Compaq LTE5200 laptop, who had successfully installed and configured Linux on this laptop with everything working, and who had posted all their details, and
  • I put Linux on a separate internal (but removeable) hard drive on the laptop. I had no dual boot. So once in Linux, to go back to win95 meant I had to switch off the PC, and physically remove the drive. It was a pain to do that, so the temptation for me to switch OUT of Linux was much smaller.

But everyone’s situation is different, and in today’s point-and-click world, and also in today’s things must “just work” world, I think the barriers to moving to Linux are almost as big today, as they were 11 years ago, in part because attitudes have changed.

Yes but linux is evolving, windows is not.
There is still not a difference between windows as it is today and as it was in 95.
Sure its gotten a lot of fancy interfaces now, a lot of nice bling and software but at its core it has changed very little other then its now based on NT as opposed to DOS.
But linux is a far different beast then it was 11 years ago, heck its different then it was in 2005 when I first used it.
Linux can meet the challenge of Microsoft easy, its just a matter of how big MS is and how much it can handle.
But linux is catching up, faster then most realize.
The OP is basing his experience on a non OEM OS, when you dont get the OS from the OEM and get a fresh copy of a OS its bound to have issues.
But this is true in BOTH linux and windows, windows is not as ideal as everyone makes it out to be as when you try a fresh brand new copy of windows from the store it has the same issues and limitations as linux does.
The advantage of windows has is hardware but that is evaporating over time, linux has gotten very good at hardware detection and the days of commandlines are almost behind us.

BS… “other than its now based on NT as opposed to DOS”.? The DOS based Windows and the NT based one are like night and day different underneath. Windows is evolving too, don’t be fooled or blinded by its surface. Underneath there are big structural changes and much much more are to come in the near future (hint: MinWin)… So, before bashing on Windows, at least do it accurately than saying stuff like that which isn’t true at all

Yes but it still has the same interfaces, the same mindset, the same style of doing things.
Windows might be evolving yes, but at its heart its still the same OS it was in 95.
Yes the coding is different, the look and feel is different but the same ideas and principals still apply in windows from version to version.
Scratch the surface of Windows 7 and its really no different then windows 2000, and scratch the surface of 2000 its not that different then 95 other then kernel, codebase, and structure… but from a end user standpoint nothing really changed at all other then 2000 being more stable and secure.
The structure of windows has changed, but certainly not its core ideals and the company behind it.

For the end users perspective Windows really has not changed at all really, linux on the other hand has changed a lot.

Again, not true at all so please don’t make up such things if you don’t know much about them.

interface/mindset/style have little to do with the underlying technology. The NT system is very much different from the DOS based one, not just in coding, but in core design, how it interacts, the possibilities it gives, etc. You better go read up on these things before writing such claims, which are as false as they come. If I apply your way of thinking, then Linux hasn’t evolved at all too since it is a clone of and follows the UNIX specs (mostly) which were first invented, what?, 40 years ago?, so scratching the surface of Linux will give you technology ideas invented before you were even born. Looks and feels are one thing, but how such looks and feels get accomplished, how they get implemented is another thing. Scratch the surface of Win 95 and of 2000 and you’ll see two entirely different systems, even though with the surface on top, you won’t notice it

Alot of people buy second rate laptops and then perhaps Win 7 will have issues but I have a nearly three old Dell laptop E1505, which runs Win 7 flawlessly with zero tweaking. The big box stores sell “name brand” laptops on sale, but one should be careful when buying them because the hardware may only work with the native OS and not anything else.

From a end users perspective its all the same to me, from windows 95 to 7.
Look I know things have changed in Windows underneath in terms of kernel and all that nonsense as has linux.
There are a lot of windows users I know however feel that little to nothing has changed about windows in the last 17 or so years now.
Look dont need to treat me like a child here, for me as a end user I see nothing new or innovating about Windows 7 that makes me want to go out to a store and buy it for 100 and some odd dollars, however i see a lot of promise in linux.
Its much different now then when I first used it 5 years ago, and as a end user I see linux has made more progress then microsoft has done in 10 years.

Just look at this topic in the register, it does a good job at explaining my position:

it may be all the same to you, but saying that there’s no difference between NT and DOS based Win systems, is very inaccurate. Most consumers don’t even scratch the surface of what’s possible with NT, let alone even know about what it can do or use advanced stuff like ACLs (which, btw, are much better under Windows than under UNIX… oh the irony) and the sort. And I didn’t treat you like a child (everytime someone points out few facts you interpret that as treating you as a child?) nor were those my intentions. I agree that from interface point of view, Windows hasn’t changed much and there are some reasons for this, but writing that underneath it only “got swapped” from DOS to NT and there’s no difference, is just false.

Hmm, I really doubt that win xp clear installation will have working sound without explicit driver installation. Without driver and graphics card will work with weird resolution. Strangely on Vista wireless won’t work without driver from manufacturer as well(at least on my machine).
All this stuff worked out of the box with openSuSE 11.2 for me(I know that it depends on ones particular hardware, and 3D need driver).
IMHO, what make most people not switching are habits, and some apps they are used to.

P.S. Win 7 and Vista are quite different from earlier versions, they even can run on quad core processors(xp usually has better performance on dual core than quad core), well actually it’s not quite true for Vista(it still sucks) :slight_smile:

So my friend text me today and said that Fedora froze his machine and he rushed to format it with XP. :sarcastic:
I think he just made an excuse because i put a lot of effort into it (4h).

You know on a fresh install of windows you have to install codecs as well?

Yes, I said that SUSE didnt work for him because of HSDPA modem so fedora was a different thing.
And about that 1-click-install for multimedia codecs in SUSE, where are they? If a person doesnt google or read in this forum how can he find thet hidden site?
openSUSE Community site is like some shameful ******* child that Novel will never acknowledge (wow, that sounded great) and will never link to. So much of our community.
Face it guys we live in a setup.exe world and there is a lot of effort but its not even close. Linux programmers even sad that they will dedicate their time to make driver for free and the majority doesnt care, they dont like to give out their hardware specs. Take a look how many things is reverse engineered? I think that its a highest form of programing but why? Why spend 4 hours to read, educate and do something just to make a modem work. And that same modem has these drivers in its flash drive. They just dont care. I find it challenging and fun to do that but what about those 99.9% people who just wont it to work NOW.
In my opinion when Linux 1 distro (make it 3 for all good sake) and a big corporate company (open-source of course) this will be a waist. And by waist I mean of brilliant people, time and enormous creative energy that gnu, linux and open-source is.

P.S. writing in this post i find it difficult not to start a flame war or to be called a troll, we (linux users) have strong opinions and love freedoms but I think others are not ready for it
P.P.S I got my firs censored word rotfl!

yes but if there was just one linux and one company behind it it would be no better then Windows and Microsoft.
I would agree however finding multimedia in openSUSE is a rough find, you should have tried him on Mint, PClinux or Mepis that all have codecs out of the box.
Or even Ubuntu, ubuntu-restricted-extras is very easy to find compared to finding the openSUSE multimedia package.
What you and your friend must realise is that there is only one OS that is exactly like windows and that is windows.
Use any other OS then windows and you will see the others work DIFFERENT then windows, OSX works different, Linux works different, BSD works different.
You cannot simply say “Linux far from competition” without knowing that each OS is DIFFERENT
I say brush up on OSX some time, or BSD, each have similarities to linux or windows but each one has its own set of benefits and drawbacks.

Not true.

When SuSE-GmbH was on the verge of bankruptcy, who bailed them out financially? If you do not know, then IMHO you need to research this. That bale-out is just one of many examples. I have no idea where you came up with that “shameful” assessment because its not out in left field, … no … rather its not even in the same ball park, it is soooo wrong.

Well, for starters, they could do what I do. I research my hardware for Linux compatibility BEFORE buying. Just because a piece of hardware is neat and shiny and I read some obscure reference that it “might” work on Linux, does not mean I’ll buy it. Obscure reference is not enough. I want either (a) manufacturer label on the side of the packaging claiming Linux compatibility or (b) I want solid reports that it is EASY to work under Linux. Note the EASY in caps. … Thats what I do. My hardware “just works”. None of this ATI nonsense that many users experienced. And I don’t have this ndiswrapper experience that many users experience for wireless. My hardware just works.

So you ask about those 99.9% and I just told you.

Listen, I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. YOU should me a Mac user who never checks for Mac compatibility BEFORE purchasing, and I will show you a very unhappy Mac user. Its that simple. Check first for EASY compatibility BEFORE buying.

Given that some of the major Linux companies (Red Hat, openSUSE, … ) have survived ONLY because of massive cash infusions by corporations (IBM, Novell) I have to say that I could not disagree with you more. I disagree 100%.

I think you need to research more about the history of the various distributions, and where some of the most popular (not Ubuntu) got their money to survive. Because I do not believe you know.

You must have like three devices that actually say “linux” on the side of them, there is not much out there that has linux compatibility written on the side of the box.
I take advantage of the receipt personally.

I feel like Im on a dissection table.

I think you need to research more about the history of the various distributions, and where some of the most popular (not Ubuntu) got their money to survive. Because I do not believe you know.

Im the person who will research if you tell me to, I like to read, listen and make something work (thanks for that webcam thread that is in progress)
All Im saying that I dont have problems installing or googling or fouming or what ever. Im not a programmer Im a student of ecology. Its not about me, I tried every major distro because Im curious but Im talking about what I encountered when installing linux for my friends. They think its sado-mazo we call it being informed