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Laurie Langham [opinions]

Do we have a "Vista for Dummies" yet? [microsoft] [ubuntu] [gnu/linux] [windows] [bloggers] [kubuntu]

Ryan Cartwright wrote an excellent article, Don't compare GNU/Linux with Windows or MacOS – they are not in the same game.

I ran across the same blog he is referring to, while gathering potential stories for FSD and my reaction was very similar.

Ryan questions, “I mean how can you tell how many Ubuntu installs came of a single CD?”

I always download the Kubuntu ISO onto my hard drive and usually only burn off one CD. In the relatively short period since Kubuntu 8.04 came out I have used that single CD to do about a dozen fresh-installs, on four different computers, for various reasons. On all the other releases of Kubuntu, since 6.06, I have done at least as many fresh-installs on numerous computers from the one CD throughout the release cycle.

Try that with Vista and you might soon get to meet some of Microsoft's nastiest lawyers, upfront and very personal.

For the life of me I can't see why the blogger complains about playing MP3's in GNU/Linux. None of the recent releases of the Ubuntu family has any difficulty with MP3's--and you don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure it out, either. In fact, by all accounts, playing music and other entertainment, is the very area in which the hapless user is most likely to run foul of Vista's ruthless DRM, so that the OS ends up closing up shop on you altogether. That simply never happens in GNU/Linux.

Admittedly, GNU/Linux has some problems with hardware when the manufacturers refuse to divulge driver source-code, often at Microsoft's instigation, but there is always some sort of work-around. When Vista decides it doesn't like your hardware it just cuts you off and you are left with very little recourse to ever get it working again.

Complaining about GNU/Linux's documentation was pretty rich. I still remember the world of mystery surrounding Microsoft documentation and shudder to myself. If you had to go to the Microsoft site, to get driver information, the problems increased by several orders of magnitude.

Finally, I remember those wonderful how-to manuals, “Windows for Dummies”. I had one and I jolly well needed it in order to translate Microsoft's lamentable documentation. I don't know if there is a “Vista for Dummies” yet, but it will either be very, very long, or else very, very short, depending on the author's personal sense of humour.

Like Ryan, I have no knowledge of the MacOS, but I surely would have, if there was no GNU/Linux.


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