Need for arguments for a windows vs Linux article

Greetings !!

I have a lot of questions from my students concerning this article: https://itvision.altervista.org/why.linux.is.not.ready.for.the.desktop.current.html

My goal to open the debates is to answer the question: Is Linux an alternative for Windows ?

The main domain of answers will be grouped in those subjects:

  • security (Web server, kernel, iptables, …) – Is Linux more secure ?
  • standards – Is Linux respect the international standards more than Windows ? Is Linux more compatible than Windows ?
  • professional – Is Linux developpement easier, more comfortable, portable than Windows ?
  • inner standardization – Why GNU Linux is not seen as a standard ? The number of distributions are not seen as alternatives but incredible mess, why ?
  • drivers – Is Windows better than Linux to handle new hardwares ?

Another questions:

  • Windows seems to “borrow” more and more open source technologies (which ?) and put the Microsoft label on them… there is no access to the source code… is that true and in this case is that fair ?
  • How can we explain that the drivers (video/audio drivers) are not so efficient than the Windows ones ?
  • Is that true Xorg (X11) is an old technology that have to be upgraded to match with Windows’s Windows Manager ?

On 01/25/2017 12:16 PM, soundlord wrote:
>
> Greetings !!
>
> I have a lot of questions from my students concerning this article:
> http://tinyurl.com/jofl4v9
>
> My goal to open the debates is to answer the question: Is Linux an
> alternative for Windows ?

You’re using an article that states it is not meant to compare Linux and
windows in the second paragraph to start this flame war in class? I guess
depending on your class it will either be really boring (because they do
not get it, or care) or really exciting (because it will be a live flame
war, maybe with real flames).

> The main domain of answers will be grouped in those subjects:
>
> + security (Web server, kernel, iptables, …) – Is Linux more secure ?

Web server is not really a desktop function, and your article is about
desktops.

> + standards – Is Linux respect the international standards more than
> Windows ? Is Linux more compatible than Windows ?

Which standards? Compatible with what?

> + professional – Is Linux developpement easier, more comfortable,
> portable than Windows ?

Development usually happens in languages (Python, PHP, C++) and you’re
talking about platforms that happen to use one or more of those languages,
and possibly allow development too. This seems like a good way to have an
invalid comparison.

> + inner standardization – Why GNU Linux is not seen as a standard ? The
> number of distributions are not seen as alternatives but incredible
> mess, why ?

According to whom, exactly? I didn’t read the whole article because I
avoid trolls and flame wars (usually), but that was pretty subjective.

> + drivers – Is Windows better than Linux to handle new hardwares ?

Probably sometimes, just like windows is sometimes.

> Another questions:
>
> + Windows seems to “borrow” more and more open source technologies
> (which ?) and put the Microsoft label on them… there is no access to
> the source code… is that true and in this case is that fair ?

Define “fair”. If the license allows it then that’s legal at least, which
is often used as a basis for describing fairness, or at least enforcing
the legislature’s version of it. If the license prohibits it, then I
doubt even microsoft is that stupid.

> + How can we explain that the drivers (video/audio drivers) are not so
> efficient than the Windows ones ?

Abstract it enough and it’s the nearly identical: it’s C/c++ code. Does
that make them the same? Not hardly, but I’m not sure why you would want
to make them seem the same or different. That they are different is
obvious, but how different, and in what meaningful ways? How does that
matter?

> + Is that true Xorg (X11) is an old technology that have to be upgraded
> to match with Windows’s Windows Manager ?

Is it an old technology? Yes. Does it need to be upgraded to match
microsoft stuff? It seems that everybody (like me) using it on the
desktop does so despite a lack of whatever upgrade you posit is required,
so the answer would seem to be “no”. On the other hand, maybe there are
specific things targeted that do not work in X11 and I just do not know
what they are, but 99% of users probably don’t know or care.

At the end of the day, the year of the Linux desktop for me was back
around 2000, and has persisted since and every time I’m forced to use
windows for something it is appalling how much windows users put up with
just to be in the comfortable monopoly-controlled domain. Despite all of
that, most technology these days (routers, switches, phones, tablets,
virtualiation platforms, “the cloud”) is based on Linux, and some of that
is what may be considered user-facing (a “desktop” or equivalent) even if
it does not mean most actual desktops are running Linux. All of this
despite being “fragmented”, or “a mess”, or whatever.

Does any of this really matter? The market would seem to say “no”, as it
is moving in other directions regardless, being chased by microsoft who
fell behind when the web made proprietary clients and platforms
less-relevant, even undesirable, because it was easier for developers to
develop to a standard rather than to one platform that was never quite
ubiquitous. We’ll all know the answer, or at least continue the
discussion, in a century or so.


Good luck.

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Yes because, for the most part, the user has no permissioned access to the system while using the desktop.

Linux uses utf-8 encoding (the international standard for the web) which means that any textual material I use/produce in Linux will work on any Linux/Android device in any country and any language - as long as the device has the relevant fonts to display the text.

Yes

Because the GNU/Linux desktop really only matured ten years after Windows appeared by which time Windows had 95% of the world market. But, outside the desktop, Linux powered devices are the de facto standard for interacting with the Internet - from TVs to smartphones.

Depends on the manufacturer but those that made sure that their hardware worked with Windows ten years ago have less and less incentive to do so as Windows’ market share declines.

Microsoft has always ‘begged, borrowed and stolen’ technology - so this is nothing new. Open source licences vary widely in the liberties they allow a user like Microsoft to take; so you cannot generalise in this area. Microsoft has been incredibly stupid waiting so long to use open source technology - they could have used the superior ext3/4 filesystems years ago instead of hanging on the NTFS.

Depends on the manufacturer. When I watch Windows users, I find they take a lot longer to do anything than I would in Linux. There is no point in having more efficient drivers if the system then slows the user down. (Or perhaps they need more efficient drivers to cope with the inefficiencies built into the system.)

Whether or not it is an old technology, it doesn’t slow down my productivity as much as trying to do the same thing on a Windows computer where everything is so tedious.

Personally, I see that as anti-productive.

The Windows vs. Linux topic is like comparing cows to asteroids.

Yes Fraser, John and Ab… I feel ridiculous.

The fact is that in my classroom lot of questions were asked to give reason to the fact that we were using Linux opensuse at the lab but everyone got pc’s with windows on it at home.

As you all know we dived into informatical sciences because we all believed we could set up video games as those we played with.
My students are not different… except that, concerning my experiences, I started with DOS… and then Windows and then Linux…

My students have grown with GUI since the first time they look at a screen… and the smartphones doesn’t help.

Having compiled all these questions I choosed to edit an article about to “try to answer these” with the more objective point of view (that is really true in fact, I’m a Linux Warrior/Defender).

Each time I show an alternative to, for example, photoshop$$$ or Office$$$ or anything else I’m frustrated to hear that students won’t recognize that we could reach objectives with less money loss and the results are quite the same (in my point of view it is better when done using open source softwares, but yes I’m an inquisitor/integrist/terrorist and plotist ^^ and overall hippie and peacemaker).
I demonstrated these facts a lot of times, but it seems the students habits are hard to change…

The only thing they recognize is related to the power of Kali to mess up any computer remotely… that’s fun for them, but I can’t demonstrate such thing in my school… deontology, personnal point of view and laws prevented it.
And in fact I could demonstrate they were unable to mess up nothing because they can’t even understand the basics of pirating/intruding remote servers even if they can flood/DoS a local network as they did.

I always said: computer is a tool and operating system is the design of the tool, and you have to choose the tool you will use to reach your objectives.
Sometimes you have to check different tools and finaly keep the one you are comfortable with, sometimes you have to have a friend to help you use this tool efficiently… to recognise this tool is the one you always needed.

My frustration concerns the fact that Window$$$ invaded the market with liars and tricks (deals with the education ministry to sell Window$$$ to each schools, …) so the battle is not fair…

Reading the refered article in my first post I was close to puke because it wasn’t true concerning my more than ten years experience in Linux – I’m still saying I’m a rookie.
There is a lot of tings that have to be improved we all know that concerning the kernel design, the X11 design, the different libraries design… but it worked with me… I never lost a bit since I migrated to Linux I never had crashes after kernel updates
I just had some troubles with the amd drivers for some of my computers and with intel on others… sometimes with some libraries that are linked with new versions of Kernel not available on some distributions (libdrm 2.4.74 under 12.2 for example) anyway there was always not only one solution/workaround but a lotta…

In Belgium where I live there is not lotta companies using Linux as front OS for developpment nore administration, most of the companies are using the both systems… we could find some that uses Linux, Windows and Mac OS X, I know companies using only Linux, … but these are very little bizness, spin ups from the university or third level service companies depending of very bigger ones.

I know the situation is completly different in Germany, Italy, France, UK, Brazil, South Africa, Ivory Coast, India, but I got no time to compile the experiences of each companies using Linux as the main operating system for desktops/servers/routers and so on.

On Thu, 26 Jan 2017 14:46:01 +0000, soundlord wrote:

> The fact is that in my classroom lot of questions were asked to give
> reason to the fact that we were using Linux opensuse at the lab but
> everyone got pc’s with windows on it at home.

As someone who has taught classes, my advice would be to tell the
students “this is the way we’ve set the class up - the operating system
isn’t important to the concepts we teach in this class” - or something to
that effect. Licensing Windows can be pricey as well, so that also can
figure into a brief explanation as to why you chose Linux.

If you start trying to justify course development decisions, then you’ll
get sidetracked from the course itself, which isn’t going to help you or
your students learn the material.

At the end of the day, your students benefit from using something they’re
not used to - someone I respect a lot is fond of saying that “if you’re
not uncomfortable, you’re not growing” - taking students out of their
comfort zone is something that helps them grow. That’s something else
you might point out as well - that sticking with something familiar
doesn’t give them the opportunity to grow and learn additional things
that will help them in their lives.

Jim


Jim Henderson
openSUSE Forums Administrator
Forum Use Terms & Conditions at http://tinyurl.com/openSUSE-T-C

:slight_smile:
I’ll go ahead and post the following which is admittedly kind of long, but hopefully useful to you…

I skimmed your altervista.org article, and I find it interesting only to the point I was trying to determine where he was getting his experiences, and to try to profile his ethos…

First,
I’m pretty sure he wrote his article approximately 2 years ago, and hasn’t updated it since. Keep in mind that for the past 8 years or so, Linux has had a kind of exponential explosion of new, changing and improved technologies so his list is partially still relevant with varying levels of significance.

His comments reflected a certain technical depth, but only to the point he found himself beyond his limits. In the Windows world, it’s very easy to be a casual user using an OS that’s can do a variety of things, unlike most competing OS. Linux is on the other extreme, where the User is not shielded from a fair amount of complexity, and in fact demands a certain level of expertise but more than the others also supports a wide variety of applications and uses. Android is in between in being a very restricted but fairly stable environment, and Mac is User friendly but is stable only because of its highly restricted hardware and software.

I find his complaints about Linux to be mostly fair but faulty. He has the expertise to identify technical reasons for his problems, but he doesn’t have the technical expertise to understand the “why” and therefor how to solve or mitigate his problems or understand the “process of open source.” He belongs to the camp that choice is less important than stability, performance and capability, but that applies only in his world as an ordinary consumer. He has no experience and perspective when it comes to “real work” applications like line of business.

Bottom line, his complaints might have been a lot more interesting if he had any real technical knowledge of tools and procedures for troubleshooting in the Windows or Linux worlds… Instead, he complains that others haven’t fixed all those problems for him.

Now,
To your own list.
For a long time there have been “Windows vs …” discussions, and IMO 99% of them have little value because typically it’ll be between fanboys only of Windows or whatever is being compared against it. You can’t have an informed discussion unless you have people who are equally skilled and experienced in both Windows and whatever is compared, otherwise you’re going to have an echo chamber (When all anyone knows is the one technology, then they’re always going to agree that what they know is true and best).

Even posing questions or topics requires a person with all perspectives, otherwise like some of your topics you’re asking to compare apples and oranges which won’t result in any kind of true comparison.

Also, if you’re talking about Microsoft technologies and products, a bit of history is important, there seems to be a nexus somewhere around the time that Gates stepped down as CEO and turned the reins over to Ballmer. Overnight, MS primary focus on lavishing attention and resources on Application Developers was turned off, and so the entire ecosystem and world of people writing 3rd party apps that work on Windows was terminated because MS felt that the Windows Desktop was dying as a hardware platform and would be replaced by mobile devices. That might have been true, but was greatly accelerated by turning millions of 3rd party Developers out to pasture who were faced with either learning how to build Windows apps using widely used, non-MS technologies or cutting the cord altogether and doing something non-Microsoft. The result is that for the past many years, the only significant new Windows apps that have been written are games, or are written on an OS-agnostic platform like website technologies.

Today, apps that run only on Windows are mostly games and older, still maintained apps (like Quicken, various AV), and Microsoft owned apps (Office). To the end user now, unless those apps are important to you the choice of OS is now a matter of Usability, reliability and simplicity (as well as cost).

Security
IMO probably a wash. Open Source means that source code can be studied by anybody and everybody, but

  • Almost all people don’t have the expertise to read source
  • It takes resources and is expensive to regularly evaluate code, and who will find the zero days first… Are bad guys funded any less than the good guys, and even a lot of the good guys might have a higher purpose to hide any discoveries.
  • Both MS and open source have their examples of long, unpatched vulnerabilities… MS Internet Explorer (particularly version 6) has long been ridiculed for their running patches which never fundamentally addressed known vulnerabilities, and last years’ openssl and Linux kernel vulnerabilities existed for 8 years or more before discovered (or at least publicized. There is a good likelihood both were well known in closed circles for a long time). Oracle 9 even was left unpatched for years with known and publicized SQL injection vulnerabilities (Oracle’s position was that the User was responsible for putting a FW in front that could block injections).

Standards
This is tricky. There are a few standards bodies, but it’s up to everyone to either follow or not. Most standards apply to individual applications, not to the operating system. And, the more powerful you are in the tech world, the more you are able to do research, contribute to and propose/shape standards. It’s all very political and not always only technical. So, not likely any possible answer.

Development
For anyone who has used Microsoft Visual Studio, it’s completely cut and dry that it’s “the” superlative IDE that is generations ahead of every other IDE out there in terms of Ease of Use, clarity, performance, versatility, automation, extensability… Practically every way possible to measure a development tool. And, although it’s very heavy on resource usage (as any big Dev tool would be) it doesn’t feel heavy. But, there is a price to be paid… Because it enforces a particular structure (especially desirable in group development), you’re forced to write apps in “The Microsoft Way” which means you’re steered to using specific libraries and of course, writing apps that will benefit Microsoft. You can write “other” apps but you might have to do some unnatural things or work harder.

But, depending on the app you’re building Visual Studio may not be the tool to use. If you’re building Java apps, VS does not support it, and you might use Eclipse instead.

Inner standardization
Democracy is messy. The same applies everywhere there is room for choice and independent thinking. When choice exists and someone thinks of something that might be better, then there is divergence. Only when there are independent decisions that there is a single, superior choice is there an agreement resulting in a “standard.”

Drivers
In general, Windows probably still is superior but mainly for business reasons. A device manufacturer identifies what market they want to serve. As long as Windows is still a major OS option, then it will be an automatic decision. Support for other OS depends on where the device is used, if specific applications require the device and how likely that person is using any particular OS.

Is Windows using open source?
There is a lot of false information about Microsoft and open source(and I think you really mean freeware). Windows itself is almost entirely open source because except for the kernel every part of the OS source can be viewed by anyone who asks to view (For awhile there were almost no restrictions, today I hear it might be restricted to business partners). Although open source, it’s not publicly licensed, so for instance you can’t use the code or fork to create your own version of Windows.

It’s also untrue that Microsoft has not supported open source/freeware, although you can always read selfish reasons into most cases. Probably the oldest MS contribution to freeware I know of is to support the creation and development of WinPcap which dates all the way back to Win16 days. I suspect that MS did this because the project was cheap and MS has never, and to this day supported running Windows in promiscuous mode except for a very few products, so it was OK for techies to install this capability only on their own and not endorsed directly by MS.

Since the previously mentioned nexus when Gates retired as CEO, there has also been a major shift in MS participation in open source. If you’re involved in many major projects, you may have noticed MS contributions everywhere. SAMBA 4 would not have become a reality, it languished for over 10 years in an unstable, unfinished state (That’s over 10 years of SAMBA 3 which did not support AD integration). With a very major MS contribution over approximately a year, SAMBA 4 transformed from deathly moribund to our current stable version.

If you’re involved in other projects like JQuery, you’ll also see a great many contributions by MS engineers, likely more than any other contributor. Of course, it’s not entirely selfless, JQuery is now a major supported web technology in Visual Studio.

Video Drivers
I don’t know that basic video capability is any different. You are probably referring to DirectX, which is a proprietary Microsoft technology and yes… DirectX has been proven to be a superior technology important to gaming. OpenGL hasn’t yet proven to be competitive although there were early hopes. That’s the way things go sometimes… Someone invents and owns a major technology that no one else has yet been able to compete with. As hardware video capability improves in general, video capability will improve but as of now anything that uses DirectX will be superior. At least with the fairly recent video KMS, video generally performs better than when in User Mode (IMO) which is incidentally one of the complaints in your altavista article.

Xorg is old?
Yes, it’s old. And, there are complaints which means competitive technologies like Wayland are getting a lot more interest. But, as of today alternatives to Xorg are still not complete, so for example if you install remote Desktop capability, you’ll need an xorg server. BTW - IMO an x server is an imperfect comparison to the MS Desktop Window Manager (DWM). If anything, the DWM is somewhat comparable to a Linux WM.

HTH,
TSU

Possibly not really relevant for the students older than high school age but, you may wish to take a look at Craig Gardner’s session at last years openSUSE conference:
<https://events.opensuse.org/conference/oSC16/program/proposal/832>.
For me, the View Graphs do not advance as expected at that URL but, I have a copy if anyone really needs them.

The slide deck works for me(Viewing in Chrome web browser, with multiple ad blockers but javascript enabled).
If the viewer can see the Slideshare icon in the lower right corner of the presentation, it leads to the Slideshare page which contains a download link.

Interesting and pretty nice presentation although I’d personally disagree that prospective FOSS <must> learn programming, and it’s a prerequisite to participate. Personally, I feel that projects in general can benefit from people with a variety of skills and not just coding. I feel that a FOSS project is not much different than any other kind of business, so requires skilled management, and probably even at least some marketing skills. People who might contribute 10% code (which might not even be accepted) and 90% something else which might be graphics, a twitter feed or facebook page, a blog or something else can be plenty valuable.

Even the members of our Forums who are “only” End Users who discuss and report issues without knowing a lick of coding are extremely valuable to the FOSS projects here.

IMO,
TSU

It also works flawlessly and completely with Konqueror – but, sadly, not with Firefox . . .

On 01/27/2017 09:46 AM, dcurtisfra wrote:
>
> tsu2;2810158 Wrote:
>>
>> The slide deck works for me(Viewing in Chrome web browser, with multiple
>> ad blockers but javascript enabled).
>> If the viewer can see the Slideshare icon in the lower right corner of
>> the presentation, it leads to the Slideshare page which contains a
>> download link.
>>
> It also works flawlessly and completely with Konqueror – but, sadly,
> not with Firefox . . .

Weird; works for me in FF 50.1.0 on openSUSE 13.1 x86_64


Good luck.

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You may wish to think about the Cycle of change http://www.bradlug.co.uk/november-26th-2008-cycle-of-change-desktops-and-a-meeting-place/ which we discussed at our local GNU/Linux group over eight years ago. This is normally applied to smokers - the point being that many go round the cycle several times before they actually give up smoking. The same may apply to Windows users.

In any case, never assume that logic will help you win an argument. Feelings are always more powerful than logic.

S.M.A.R.T. (Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology) for HDDs and SSDs:

  • By default MS Windows seems to have only a limited capability to report SMART events indicating a pending hard drive failure to the user.

Yes, there is a CLI utility (WMIC) but, which “normal” user is going to use a Command Prompt to check the drive’s health? ‘wmic’ and then “diskdrive get status”]

An MS Windows user has to rely on 3rd-Party products such as the “Lenovo Solution Center” or “GSmartControl” (a Windows GUI wrapper for the Linux ‘smartctl’ ;)) for reliable information pertaining to the health of their drive(s).

Windows does not offer the following security auditing “out-of-the-box”:
“The Linux Audit Framework”: <https://doc.opensuse.org/documentation/leap/security/html/book.security/part.audit.html>

Not quite “out-of-the-box” but, simple to install and, it’s in the main openSUSE repository:
“Intrusion Detection with AIDE”: <https://doc.opensuse.org/documentation/leap/security/html/book.security/cha.aide.html>

Further reading in “Security Guide”: <https://doc.opensuse.org/documentation/leap/security/html/book.security/index.html>
[HR][/HR]A default openSUSE Leap 42.2 system has the following “out-of-the-box” Linux Audit collecting events:

 # aureport 

Summary Report
======================
Range of time in logs: 13.02.2017 11:50:29.914 - 06.03.2017 10:45:02.018
Selected time for report: 13.02.2017 11:50:29 - 06.03.2017 10:45:02.018
Number of changes in configuration: 3
Number of changes to accounts, groups, or roles: 5
Number of logins: 15
Number of failed logins: 1
Number of authentications: 455
Number of failed authentications: 15
Number of users: 8
Number of terminals: 21
Number of host names: 3
Number of executables: 18
Number of files: 0
Number of AVC's: 23
Number of MAC events: 0
Number of failed syscalls: 1
Number of anomaly events: 124
Number of responses to anomaly events: 0
Number of crypto events: 204
Number of keys: 0
Number of process IDs: 1920
Number of events: 7154

 # 

Windows IT Professionals use this free tool, it was first released… More than a decade ago?
Point is, I doubt there is any OS that has existed more than a few years that doesn’t have a selection of security audit tools…
https://www.microsoft.com/en-ca/download/details.aspx?id=7558

TSU

Reading the product description, it seems that the Redmond tool only audits the current state (in terms of updates and security settings) of the OS as such:

The Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer provides a streamlined method to identify missing security updates and common security misconfigurations.

On the other hand, the “out-of-the-box” ‘Linux Audit’, is a CAPP-compliant (Controlled Access Protection Profiles) auditing system that reliably collects information about any security-relevant event.

  • It audits the accesses to the system – where each “access” is handled as being an “event” – in real-time.
  • It maps processes to the user ID that started them – meaning that system administrators or security officers can exactly trace which user owns which process.
  • It has tools which can produce human readable audit trails from the logged events – the audit trail can be filtered for items such as “Remote Host Name/Address” or “File”.

Yes, there is a system function in Windows which can handle similar event audits but, the tools needed to use that functionality effectively are not “out-of-the-box” and, they are only available at normal commercial market prices.

Yes,
The Baseline tool is intended to use only for applying a consistent, secure policy across many machines.

If you want to dig into detail,
Then the usual place to start is the Sysinternals Suite, with those utilities you can do just about anything inspecting, and even injecting or modifying sometimes. Also, a lot of stuff that matches what we do in Linux.

For starters, recommend you take a look at process explorer.

TSU