Saturday, 30 May 2009

Windows 7 Vs. Linux: OS Face-Off: The Muppets Return!

Why does the Microsoft press insist on perpetuating this phoney war? Are they that desperate to stave off the mass exodus of Windows users to Linux? Is there a mass exodus? You'd be forgiven for thinking there was given the way some "journalists" are writing these days trying to trumpet the merits of Windows Vista 7.

Speaking of which. An article from Information Week, the type of article that likes to pretend to be balanced and unbiased, caught my eye. Particularly this little snippet.

... Another issue may be the fact that while it's possible to install 7 on top of Vista and preserve one's applications and settings, it isn't yet possible to do this in Linux.

It is possible to automatically migrate documents and some fairly generic system settings -- Ubuntu does this, for instance -- but not the apps themselves. (For those planning on performing an entirely clean installation of either OS, though, it's a moot point.) ...

What complete and total bollocks! Fair enough. We can't really preserve Windows applications settings yet. But why would we want to?

I'm not sure what the author is expecting Ubuntu to do here. Migrate Windows OS and application settings to Ubuntu? Windows doesn't migrate anything from Linux. It can't even read Linux partitions as standard. And guess what? Windows doesn't even preserve the GRUB boot-loader. Even on Multi-boot systems!

If a user wishes to preserve application settings from Ubuntu 8.10 to 9.04 for example they can. First of all many applications use user specific settings stored in the "/home" directory. The easiest way to preserve these settings is to simply split "/home" off into it's own partition or even it's own hard drive. So when you do a simple upgrade. Everything in your own user account should still be as it was.

Even better though! With "/home" hived off in it's own little world we can do a complete re-installation of the OS and applications and still preserve out local application settings. So what about global settings?

It's quite simple really. Back-up before before you upgrade. That way you can restore your settings after the upgrade is done. This I think is a safer way to do things. Firstly it encourages you to make back-ups which can't possibly be bad. Secondly old global settings for old versions of applications aren't always appropriate for the newer versions.

In fact considering the pace that open source software development moves at. It's probably better to go with the new defaults than try to shoehorn old square preferences into a newer rounder hole. After all bad application configurations cause things to break.

Monday, 25 May 2009

Drivers! Drivers! Drivers!

Why the hell do "journalists" always pick on Linux for needing drivers to run a piece of hardware? Even when the driver exists they make a big song and dance about Linux needing a "third party" driver to run the WiFi or the graphics.

Guess what people. Windows uses drivers too. Of course the Microsoft-centric tech press that is a cancer on the web likes to pretend all that stuff is produced by Microsoft. WOW do these people have short memories. Remember the Vista fiasco where neither ATI nor NVIDIA amongst others had their drivers ready in time for the Vista release?

As for netbooks. Those that come with Linux come with a version of Linux tailored to that specific hardware set. Just like Mac OS X is tailored to Mac hardware. If Apple can do it why can't everybody? Why isn't Mac OS X being slated in the press every week because it doesn't run perfectly on non-Apple hardware? Why does it suddenly become a major minus point when Linux displaces Windows?

So guess what. If you take something like Puppy Linux and use it to replace a customised Linux distro specially put together to run the hardware on your netbook you might have problems. That's a bit of a no brainer. Of course if these so called journalists were reviewing a netbook running Windows they wouldn't even consider testing the hardware with an obscure unfunded fringe "spare time" project version of the OS. Would they? I honestly doubt it.

Over the past couple of weeks I've seen a disturbing trend developing in the so called tech press. As Windows Vista 7 gets ever closer to release all the Microsoft zombies are falling into line and desperately looking for ways to run down Linux. Which is just sad.

Linux as the underdog in the desktop and notebook markets has done well for it's self. It found a niche where it could grow and prosper and give people a real choice in how they use their hardware. It also allowed hardware vendors to slash their prices. Which in turn turned out to be of benefit to the Microsofties as Microsoft responded in kind and slashed the price of XP licences and then gave XP stay of execution time and time again and it's still not dead even though Windows Vista 7 is well and truely almost here and supposedly netbook friendly.

But no. Rather than appreciate what a little genuine competition targeted squarely at Microsofts core markets has done for consumers and businesses alike not to mention all the meaty tech news that has been generated, keeping the zombies in their jobs. These brain donors would rather agree to the Microsoft EULA which has apparently not just cost them their privacy, the right to use their PCs, netbooks and notebooks as they see fit, but also their souls and any kind of decency they might have had.

To all these people I say shut the fuck up and get a life.