Last year when my computer had its catastrophic crash, my brother introduced me to Linux.
Windows XP had been ruined by a bad update; my C-drive had been wiped clean by the Windows system. Thank the pope I’d backed up most (I thought, all) of my data on an external drive. (Some I even backed up on CD, that’s really secure… and really out of date now, but you can’t half get a harder copy.)
To quote him, “someone once told me that he’d heard of someone who had a virus on Linux. It’s unconfirmed though.”
The system version of Linux that he loaded for me, is xubuntu. He runs a highly active medical practice with all its records and systems on Ubuntu, and finds it a lot more secure than the hackable Windows, regardless of the version. He also finds he saves a lot – he doesn’t have to buy 10 professional packages of operating systems every second year – because Microsoft only allows you to use a program on one (1) computer, if you have two, sorry you’ll have to buy 2 copies (that’s like buying a copy of “The Mystery of the Solar Wind” and not being allowed to share it with your children or lend it to friends!)
Alright, so here is the low-down.
|Need to buy new update every 2 – 3 years, one per computer.||Updates all the time; all updates optional, all updates for free, most are open-source.|
|Need to upgrade computer accordingly as the updates take more and more memory and need greater and greater speed.||Works on your old computer too.|
|Most updates are “security”, i.e. not genuine improvements. Why? Because viruses “are written” faster than you can defend yourself. This also opens a huge market for antivirus programs; and it forces you to update as your alternative is, as happened to me and other friends, to have your C-drive wiped clean by something.||Virus not a known issue. There is no commercial gain in sending a virus to a Linux system.|
|If a virus doesn’t destroy your old system, a “bad upgrade” does – there is an XP version “update” that downloads itself from the net to your system whether or not you have authorized this. And it deletes the files off your hard drive.||None such nonsense. There is no commercial gain from it.|
|Now as for user-friendliness:|
|Space-age. You click, it does. You can click your way through any program, there are keyboard shortcuts too, everything’s nicely documented, you learn as you go and you don’t need to study rocket science to use what is essentially only a tool. Or in other words, you don’t have to be a motor-engineer to be able to drive your car. The gear lever is in reach of your hand. Variations cause minor annoyances but you adapt fast as most is really intuitive.||(*GROAN*) Sorry. HUGE market gap. Linux throws you back to at least the 80’s, command-line input. You need to understand the chemical properties of benzene rings before being allowed to put in fuel, so to speak. The process, for someone who has got used to 4th-level languages and space-age ease of use, is painful. Yes, I programmed C and Basic and Turbo Pascal in the dim distant past (all those languages have changed or disappeared), do I really have to learn another DOS just to use a tool?|
|Programs: User-friendly, advanced, you “discover” functions as you go along. Learn-by-click…||Programs: (*sigh*) YEARS behind! The available word processors are limping through the mid-nineties at this point. Open-Office and LibreOffice word processors are where “Word Perfect” was. Abiword is barely better than Notepad. If you have a colleague in another town, who uses for argument’s sake Word 2003, fonts will not correspond; formatting will go haywire; reviewing will get lost; in short it cannot be done. Formatting in any case: A major pain. And those versions behave like beta and flop at times. Something a professional does not need.|
So what I really want, is the quiet safety of the Linux environment; with the space-age user-friendly programs that MS has in the meanwhile developed (catching up finally with where Amiga was in 1995).
So we have “Wine”… (windows environment on Linux – note the 😉 implication – you must be drunk to want to use Windows environment, lol) but if I try to install a program there, I have to go into command-line DOS.
Windows brought out a “Play on Linux” (note the condescending tone, the smug little smile – only “play”, if you want to do professional work of course you’ll be using Windows)… I downloaded it, but can’t get it installed – command-line DOS.
I have tried to find online manuals for the command-line DOS of Linux, and short of becoming a Linux programmer, they won’t even tell me what “sodu” means…
Guys, I know what you’re doing with the open-source movement, and I also know who your main sponsors are (except for thousands of people who are also fed up with Windows and their breakage mechanisms). I fully support the motion; there shouldn’t be a monopoly where operating systems are concerned.
But please… compatibility? Ease of use? We are users on this end, and we’re also sick of the commercial game (we’re the unwilling sponsors of it) but if we are professionals in our fields (graphic designers, book editors, online businesses, web designers) we do want to use the state-of-the art or closest second best programs on the market, and we’re prepared to pay something… but not if we know it will be broken for us within months…
I would for instance love to use Linux-based OS, but load Word 2007 on it.
I know it can be done.
I know you disapprove. I don’t care. I don’t have a political agenda with this; I am not into boycotting this force or that; I merely want a functional, high-class toolbox (not a limited toy for a 5-year-old, and not a pay-per-second system that threatens to crash at any moment and take my hardware and data with it). My clients and customers expect high-class quality from me; I need high-class tools to produce it. Everything beyond that is really not my beer. As a small publisher I have no business boycotting the concept of copyright; there’s a very good reason for it. Take away copyright and make all books freeware and writers will stop writing, because there is absolutely no reward in being taken for a ride. Would you be prepared to work on something for 5 years, 8 hours every day including holidays, weekends, nights, and then give it away for free? From a consumer point of view it’s a very greedy, selfish idea to want everything for free. There has to be fair exchange. And of course the same goes for programs; the trouble with MS is not that they charge something but that their stuff is so breakable, and that they charge obscene amounts for a program. So yes, Linux guys, you are indeed the answer to that commercial pirate…
So then, my plea to Linux programmers (and I know some of you are indeed doing it for free, but I also know that others of you are paid):
Please write an easy-to-read instructions document for “dummies” on how to install a new program (or even update – that was OUCH) on Linux. Command-line instructions are fine as long as they are correct and work! Explain to us what we must do. Give us enough that we can customize; talk down to us by all means, we are under-educated in programming as it is not our field.
A much better option would be a cross-platform downloadable point-and-click installation system that auto-installs itself without command-line. But if that is overload for you, we’ll settle for the instructions.
Don’t presume we should study programming; you are professional programmers, we are professional in other areas. We don’t expect you to understand all the fine details of photography before you can upload a photo; or all the tricks of editing before you can read a novel, or learn the violin before you may listen to a live performance. We make our products user-friendly.
Linux is by far the superior operating system. Please make it easier for us to use.
Who agrees there should be a free-to-download, easy-to-find manual on how to operate Linux and its variants?