Friday, March 6, 2009

Myths about Linux

Okay, here is another really stupid luser site. This one claims to 'debunk' the top 10 'myths' (i.e. facts) about Linux.

NOTE: Well, apparently it was created in 2005 (stupid linux reddit; this isn't new), but I did not realize it until this rant was mostly done. It doesn't matter much because lusers are still making the same claims, and they are still totally full of shit. Let's give a response. It is rather amazing and quite sad.

Myth 1: Linux is too difficult for ordinary people to use because it uses only text and requires programming.

The truth: Although Linux was originally designed for those with computer expertise, the situation has changed dramatically in the past several years. Today it has a highly intuitive GUI (graphical user interface) similar to those on the Macintosh and Microsoft Windows and it is as easy to use as those operating systems.


Having a GUI does not automatically make Linux easy to use. The GUI has to be designed with the users needs in mind, and this is something that lusers have demonstrated an inability to do well.

No knowledge of programming is required.


Wow, I do not need to know how to code quicksort in Intercal to browse the web! This is almost Mac-like friendliness!

Moreover, once people become familiar with Linux, they rarely want to revert to their previous operating system.


So why are all those netbooks being returned?

In some ways Linux is actually easier to use than Microsoft Windows.


In some ways, you don't know what the hell you're talking about.

This is in large part because it is little affected by viruses and other malicious code


Yeah, LH already covered this.

system crashes are rare.


This has been covered too.

Myth 2: Linux is less secure than Microsoft Windows because the source code is available to anybody.

The truth: Actually, Linux is far more secure (i.e., resistant to viruses, worms and other types of malicious code) than Microsoft Windows. And this is, in large part, a result of the fact that the source code (i.e., the version as originally written by humans using a programming language) is freely available. By allowing everyone access to the source code, programmers and security experts all over the world are able to frequently inspect it to find possible security holes, and patches for any holes are then created as quickly as possible (often within hours).


You forgot to mention that giving access to the source code also allows lusers who don't know what they are doing to seriously fuck things up.

Myth 3: It is not worth bothering to learn Linux because most companies use Microsoft Windows and thus a knowledge of Windows is desired for most jobs.

The truth: It is true that most companies still use the various Microsoft Windows operating systems. However, it is also true that Linux is being used by more and more businesses, government agencies and other organizations. In fact, the main thing that it preventing its use from growing even faster is the shortage of people who are trained in setting it up and administering it (e.g., system engineers and administrators).


Really. If there was such a serious demand for Linux sysadmins, I think the 'shortage' problem would have been solved by now. There seems to be no shortage of expert lusers on the 'net.

Moreover, people with Linux skills typically get paid substantially more than people with Windows skills.


The reason lusers get paid more is because it takes a lot more skill and work to manage a *nix system. Unix has been called an Administrator Full Employment Act.

Myth 4: Linux cannot have much of a future because it is free and thus there is no way for businesses to make money from it.

The truth: This is one of those arguments that sounds good superficially but which is not borne out by the evidence. The reality is that not only are more and more businesses and other organizations finding out that Linux can help reduce the costs of using computers, but also that more and more companies are likewise discovering that Linux can also be a great way to make money. For example, Linux is often bundled together with other software, hardware and consulting services.


Yes, that is all well and good, but what is the business model if you want to sell software. Not everything can fit under the 'services' umbrella. If you have to depend on hobbyists, you are screwed.

Myth 5: Linux and other free software is a type of software piracy because much of it was copied from other operating systems.

The truth: Linux contains all original source code and definitely does not represent any kind of software piracy.


Linux may not represent piracy, but it still copies. Linux is a copycat of Unix, and most of the Linux GUIs are half-assed clones of Windows.

Rather it is the other way around: much of the most popular commercial software is based on software that was originally developed at the public expense, including at universities such as the University of California at Berkeley (UCB).


WTF? Are you talking about Windows 95's TCP/IP stack? That was thirteen years ago!

Myth 7: There are few application programs available for Linux.

The truth: Actually, there thousands of application programs already available for Linux and the number continues to increase.


I think you mean there are thousands of crappy applications available for Linux. How much of that shit is actually worth using?

Myth 8: Linux has poor support because there is no single company behind it, but rather just a bunch of hackers and amateurs.

The truth: Quite the opposite: Linux has excellent support, often much better and faster than that for commercial software.


What was the last commercial app you used?

There is a great deal of information available on the Internet and questions posted to newsgroups are typically answered within a few hours.


The same is true for both Windows and OSX.

Moreover, this support is free and there are no costly service contracts required.


Ditto.

Also to kept in mind is the fact than many users find that less support is required than for other operating systems


Just who are these users you're talking about? You and your freetard friends don't count.

because Linux has relatively few bugs (i.e., errors in the way it was written) and is highly resistant to viruses and other malicious code.


Oh boy! Most problems normal people have with software is not the result of glitches. Many users don't even understand the most basic concepts about computers. To develop a product they can use, you have to provide a clean, consistent interface that is both well-documented (so they can look stuff up), popular (so they can get help from their friends), and contains the smallest possible configuration space (to minimize the knowledge necessary to use the product). Linux has none of these things.

Myth 9: Linux is obsolete because it is mainly just a clone of an operating system that was developed more than 30 years ago.

The truth: It is true that Linux is based on UNIX, which was developed in 1969. However, UNIX and its descendants (referred to as Unix-like operating systems) are regarded by many computer experts as the best (e.g., the most robust and the most flexible) operating systems ever developed.


There is a group of people who would take issue with that.

They have survived more than 30 years of rigorous testing and incremental improvement by the world's foremost computer scientists, whereas other operating systems do not survive for more than a few years, usually because of some combination of technical inferiority and planned obsolescence.


Unix did not survive because of technical merits. It survived because it was simple (hence portable) and given away freely to universities. The best systems are not the ones best suited to survive; the worst ones are.

Myth 10: Linux will have a hard time surviving in the long run because it has become fragmented into too many different versions.

The truth: It is a fact that there are numerous distributions (i.e., versions) of Linux that have been developed by various companies, organizations and individuals. However, there is little true fragmentation of Linux into incompatible systems, in large part because all of these versions use the same basic kernels, commands and application programs.


HAHAHA!! I can't believe this luser is saying, "well, because all the distros have mostly all the same apps, Linux cannot be called fragmented." They forget that this fragmentation makes it really fun for IHVs and ISVs to support Linux. Not to mention that the fragmentation makes technical support quite a challenge. The Linux community is tiny enough as it is, but it is now broken up into dozens of little distributions.

Rather, Linux is just an extremely flexible operating system that can be configured as desired by vendors and users according to the intended applications, users' preferences, etc.


Ahh, the fallacy of choice rears its ugly head!

In fact, the various Microsoft Windows operating systems (e.g., Windows 95, ME, NT, CE, 2000, XP and Longhorn), although they superficially resemble each other, are more fragmented than Linux.


You are forgetting that four of those systems have been EOLed and are no longer supported. CE is quite different from the rest, but it is not really considered when talking about the desktop. Anyway, even though the systems are different, they look roughly similar to the average desktop user, and the APIs are similar enough that there is a decent (not great, but decent) chance of an application written for Windows 95 running on Vista. The major differences on the Windows platform are the DOS/NT kernel, Start Menu/Vista shell, various IE versions, and various DirectX versions. Do you really think this compares with Linux and its mass of shells, X11 servers, window managers, desktop environments, graphical toolkits and sound systems? Please.

Moreover, each of these systems is fragmented into various versions and then further changed by various service packs (i.e., patches which are supplied to users to correct various bugs and security holes).


Oh come on! Microsoft releases a service pack every two years or so. Ubuntu, the most popular desktop Linux distro, releases an entirely new version every six months. Do you really want to be making this comparison?

Myth 11: Linux and other free software cannot compete with commercial software in terms of quality because it is developed by an assorted collection of hackers and amateurs rather than the professional programmers employed by large corporations.

The truth: Linux and other free software has been created and refined by some of the most talented programmers in the world


It takes more than programming talent to develop quality software. Alan Cox once said, 'Linus is a great programmer, but a horrible engineer.'

Moreover, programmers from the of the largest corporations, including IBM and HP, have, and continue to, contribute to it.


However, most of these major companies are supporting Linux's development as a server. They don't seem to care much about Linux's use on the desktop.

Myth 12: Linux is free at the start, but the total cost of ownership (TCO) is higher than for Microsoft Windows. This has been demonstrated by various studies.

The truth: A major reason (but not the only one) for Linux's rapid growth around the world is that its TCO is substantially lower than that for commercial software.


Oh, I just have to hear these reasons!

(1) the fact that it is free


as in it costs nothing (except bandwidth)

(2) it is more reliable and robust (i.e., rarely crashes or causes data loss)

Windows has made major strides in reliability as well. Solaris is also a (free) contender.

(3) support can be very inexpensive (although costly service contracts are available)


As mentioned before, you can get free support for Windows as well (with about the same quality). Also, have you seen the pricetag for some of those service contracts! Damn!!

(4) it can operate on older hardware and reduce the need for buying new hardware


So can Windows 2000. Also, low-end desktops are going for $400 nowadays. Servicing old hardware and replacing old parts is likely to be more expensive than buying a new low-end PC every 3-4 years.

(5) there are no forced upgrades


There are no forced upgrades on Windows either. Bill Gates doesn't point a gun to your head and order you to buy a new copy of Windows. Companies upgrade because their system is no longer supported. The same thing is true for every major Linux distro with the exception of Debian stable; Ubuntu LTS releases are only supported for 3-5 years.

(6) no tedious and costly license compliance monitoring is required.


I admit that is a valid point. So out of six points, you have two valid ones. You are doing better than most lusers. However, I highly doubt the difference in sticker price and license enforcement costs make up for Linux's TCO problems.

A major reason provided for the supposedly higher TCO of Linux is that Linux system administrators are more expensive to hire than persons with expertise in Microsoft products.


This is definitely a major issue for companies, but you are forgetting a major problem: Linux desktops tend to have lower productivity than Windows desktops. The transition to a service economy has replaced capital-intensive enterprises with labor-intensive enterprises. When a businesses' biggest cost is their employees salaries, productivity issues are incredibly important. Assume all the desk clerks in a company are worth $30 an hour ($0.50 a minute) and work five eight-hour days; also assume that the cost of one Windows Business license is $280. If Windows Vista gives them a twenty-minute per day productivity boost over Ubuntu, then within six weeks Vista will have more than paid for itself.

Well, I think we have now debunked the REAL Linux myths.

12 comments:

yOSHi314 said...

"Moreover, once people become familiar with Linux, they rarely want to revert to their previous operating system.

So why are all those netbooks being returned?"

you missed the key point here - "getting familiar".

getting familiar with anything requires a bit of an effort on human side. most of people used to windows are lazy and don't even want to try out new things.

so they didn't even bother and returned the netbooks. maybe some of them were a bit more curious, who knows.

to me, that mass return was bound to happen, sooner or later.

"WTF? Are you talking about Windows 95's TCP/IP stack? That was thirteen years ago!"

what if they mean something else? like mac os, that was based off bsd licensed code?

"What was the last commercial app you used?"

commercially-licensed qt 3 and qt 4 toolkits. oh, and a proprietary ERP system used where i work.

you should add "legally purchased" to the question, and keep waiting for windows users to answer you :]

" (4) it can operate on older hardware and reduce the need for buying new hardware

So can Windows 2000."

the difference is that win2k has no security updates anymore, and no driver updates.

this one is pretty funny when compared:
-- > "As mentioned before, you can get free support for Windows as well (with about the same quality). "

where do you get free windows support, outside from microsoft?

-- > "There are no forced upgrades on Windows either. Bill Gates doesn't point a gun to your head and order you to buy a new copy of Windows. Companies upgrade because their system is no longer supported."

so, why don't they turn to that free support you mentioned? this should help, right?

"They forget that this fragmentation makes it really fun for IHVs and ISVs to support Linux. Not to mention that the fragmentation makes technical support quite a challenge."

that is what LSB was created for.

Linux Haters Redux said...

getting familiar with anything requires a bit of an effort on human side. most of people used to windows are lazy and don't even want to try out new things.

Of course, a good number of people have gotten very familiar with Linux and eventually given up on it after they fully realized its limitations, so your 'familiarity' condition is not fully correct.

commercially-licensed qt 3 and qt 4 toolkits. oh, and a proprietary ERP system used where i work.

I wasn't asking what the last application you used, I was asking what was the last application the freetard who wrote that post used.

you should add "legally purchased" to the question, and keep waiting for windows users to answer you :]

That is irrelevant to the discussion.

this one is pretty funny when compared:

You do realize that 'support' can mean more than merely providing updates? It also entails troubleshooting, Q/A, etc.

where do you get free windows support, outside from microsoft?

If you really want to be a cheap skate, you can read about Windows problems on Microsoft's support website, and you can ask questions on theTechGuy forums. It is rather easy to get free Windows support that is of similar quality to the free Linux support.

so, why don't they turn to that free support you mentioned? this should help, right?


Like I said, support is about more than updates. You are trying to point out a contradiction where none exists.

that is what LSB was created for.

Yes, and in its eight years of existence, it has been so successful in standardizing Linux.

yOSHi314 said...

"You do realize that 'support' can mean more than merely providing updates? It also entails troubleshooting, Q/A, etc. ."

and, what is most important, security updates.


who will give you security updates and core system bugfixes, when microsoft stops supporting the version of windows you use? you cannot have free support for that.

then again, microsoft was never too fast at addressing bugs in their systems, wasn't it?

"that is what LSB was created for.

Yes, and in its eight years of existence, it has been so successful in standardizing Linux."

of course is has. do you think linux would be better without LSB (and FHS too) ?

thanks to it, we can have e.g. opera and acrobat reader working on almost any distribution following those specs, as long as the required libraries are available.

Anonymous said...

The best UI experience ive had with linux was a thing of my own design. I used samba to share the / directory, then used putty to get at it.

Then I did all my work from a windows box, because notepad.exe tends to be less quirky than linux editors.

That is the proper way to deal with and maintain linux.

Elzair said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Linux Haters Redux said...

and, what is most important, security updates.

Do you think Linux is any different in this regard? Ubuntu stops officially supporting its LTS releases after five years. Even the community support on most distros does not last forever. Fedora Legacy stopped supporting all the Red Hat Linux versions in 2007. Sure, you have access to the source, but that does not always get you what you want. Leaving aside the fact that it is a bad idea for a sysadmin to be recompiling a production server, you cannot always get support for older versions. Most open source projects do not backport bugfixes and security updates to older versions; if you want those things, you have to update to the latest version and get all the latest features you don't need that might break something you do need. Sure, distros do backport somethings, but that only lasts a while.

of course is has. do you think linux would be better without LSB (and FHS too) ?

No, it hasn't been completely useless, but after 8 (and 15) years I would expect more progress than this.

thanks to it, we can have e.g. opera and acrobat reader working on almost any distribution following those specs, as long as the required libraries are available.

Yes, it is so wonderful to have a proprietary PDF reader (that doesn't seem to be all that better than the ones that come with Gnome & KDE) and a proprietary browser (that is marginally more useful than the open source ones). Of course the same functionality could have been achieved if they had just bundled all the libraries they needed. Even today, if you download Opera, you will see this page. If you use Ubuntu, then you will have to fool around with importing it into Synaptic, etc. If you really want a sign of progress, imagine A Linux binary under the Windows and OSX binaries for most popular apps.

Anonymous said...

So boring.

Lintards have been claiming that all Linux problems are a myth and a thing of the past for over the last ten years.

Give them another ten years, they'll still be saying the same. Poor delusional bastards.

oiaohm said...

I am sorry the means to seriously stuff something up is not source Dependant. UAC that is a serious stuff up.

People binary patching into games another cause of serious stuff up. List is long how to serious stuff a OS up. Trust but verify need to be the rule. Problem is there are not enough test case systems in existence to verify everything. Linux is not alone with that problem.

Linux Standard Bases progress has been on time table. Ok lot of people would want a city built in a day. That is this less complexity than creating a standard from nothing for a OS.

Linux Hater's Redux have you ever put in a request for a better installer to anything.

Lots of people here like throwing rocks when standing in glass houses.

Anonymous said...

No one doubts that you are having all sorts of problems with windows. We do not run into similar issues. In our mind your repeated failure to make windows work properly says more about you then it does windows. Because, we don't ever have issues as severe as you.

Still I think you are mostly a liar, and at the very least exagerate the issues you do have. Well that is when they are not complete fabrications

Anonymous said...

Still I think you are mostly a liar, and at the very least exagerate the issues you do have. Well that is when they are not complete fabrications
Is this supposed to be some sort of a fact? Do you have any evidence for this?

yOSHi314 said...

"Ubuntu stops officially supporting its LTS releases after five years. Even the community support on most distros does not last forever."

that is correct.

but if, for some strange reason, you would decide to stick with a particular release for e.g. 10 years, nobody prevents you from packaging security updates for it.

plus, in case of ubuntu, you can upgrade your current system for free.

Anonymous said...

You are a total dumbass.. Linux has in only a couple of years taken over the mobile world.. Almost 40% of handsets are Android..

Linux servers serve 73% of all websites online.. I would hardly call that small peanuts now would you!!

Linux server is so good that even microcrap use it.. Google Netcraft and then enter download.microsoft dot com and you will see.

Linux is the ONLY desktop with a growing marketshare becuase Microcrap have just fallen below 90% for the 1st time ever.. Linux has google on board, Linux now has Yahoo on board aswell..

Linux saves companies ££££££ because there are no licence fees to pay.

Linux Mint is the most usable desktop there is for somebody coming from windows, all the main cross-platform programs are there, it boots straight off a cd or usb and you can be online in less than a minute watching youtube or listening to music, chatting on msn or whatever, it's all ready to go.. You can also edit your hard drives and move files around and partition from a live cd/usb.. You can then install it which takes minutes and provides more functionality than windows provides in 5 hours wasting time installing and setting it up.

Don't you hate it when windows says.. The file is currently in use by another program! Doesn't happen in Linux..

91% of all the worlds supercomputers run Linux and in the top 500 supercomputer list, they are every computer in the top 10. Supercomputers run the world.

People are flocking to linux in their droves as you just can't compete with free.