[clug] A most interesting read, most interesting

Michael Cohen michael.cohen at netspeed.com.au
Wed Dec 27 05:08:21 GMT 2006

On Wed, Dec 27, 2006 at 10:43:31AM +1100, Randall Crook wrote:
> I have a Toshiba Satellite A100 (No laughing, was the best for my budget
> at the time). The experience I must say was not an overly fun or quick
> one. 

Randall, Toshiba hardware is well known for being problematic with unusual
hardware. Let me put to you that this is not a fair comparison because you are
comparing installing a generic linux distribution on a laptop, with installing
a tailored, customised version of windows for that same laptop. Most OEMs ship
windows pre-installed with all the right drivers loaded, and everything
customised to work on their hardware.

If you were to install windoze on the toshiba it might take considerably longer
as you have to hunt around the internet for various drivers for the different
hardware. Generally, if the hardware is a little weird you will have trouble to
get it working under windows as well. Especially as with windows drivers you
need to get _exactly_ the same brand drivers, whereas with linux the drivers
would work as long as the same chipset is used. For example there are many
different sound cards using the same chipsets (so they all run using the same
linux driver), but with windows you need to have the driver supplied by the
specific manufacturer of the card to make it work because they all check the
device id/manufacturer id on the pci bus.

> I am serious, I only just got the last Item I wanted going last night. Now
> it was not because I had hardware issue that it took so long, but because
> of the amount of time I spent googling to find out how I get this piece of
> software to do this and find what libraries I needed to get that piece of
> software to do that. (EG: mp3 play back, Video Play back, Mother board
> monitoring software, perl support for vim.... the list goes on.)

Sounds like you spent time getting the software _you_ wanted installed. Clearly
if you had installed windows you would need to install all the right bits of
software yourself without a package manager - would take much longer. You would
have had to download and install Active State perl, then VIM, then somehow tell
AS perl to be supported by vim (or the other way around). Then install all the
right codecs, like divx, mjpeg (windows doesnt even come with that one - and
its one of the most basic codecs), AC3 etc. For mp3 playback you might want to
install winamp, but you need to buy it or crack it to avoid the annoyances with
adwares etc.

> I had trouble getting all the programs that have sound support that I wish
> to use to all work in unision (still haven't been able to get audacity to
> work properly yet).  I spent 3 hours just trying to see if I could
> get my video capture device to work. It isn't supported . And I spent 4
> hours trying (unsucessfully) to get a a windows graphics program to work
> under wine. (Yes I know use gimp, well Gimp wont do some if the things I
> can get the windows graphics program to).

Thats a great opportunity to suggest these features to gimp developers, or
search around the archives to find some other programs that might do what you
want (gimp may be too feature rich for some applications). Its not fair to say
that gimp doesnt have some of the features program X has, because I can say
that program X doesnt have some of the features gimp has either. For that
matter its the same as saying program Y which runs on windows doesnt have those
features too. Clearly the limitation is with program X that it only runs on
windows (or badly under wine). Lets compare apples with apples.

> I love linux, have done since I first played with SLS back in '93. I am
> not having a go at anyone and I am not having a go at linux, I am how ever
> pointing out that if it takes me 3 to 4 days to get a linux installed and
> running  to the point where it is usable for all the things I want it
> to do. And it takes hours of googling to actually find the info I need to
> get it working (with lots of messing around in text editors and config
> file) then can you imagine the trouble a computer illiterate windows user
> is going to have?

A computer illiterate windows user will have lots of trouble running windows as
well. Most computer illeterate people use a half dozen applications like email,
web surfing, word processing and possible image manipulation tools. We are
claiming that the linux desktop equivalent is far more powerful, and can get
the user to the point of using those applications much simpler. 

I have an opposite experience frequently. At work, trying to install ubuntu on
many different dell laptops is quite surprising becuase most of the time _all_
the hardware works - even suspend just works, and multimedia keys etc. Whereas
installing windows is a real pain unless you use the customised version that
comes with it. You get a usable desktop within 20 minutes with all the apps you
might need installed like, email, web, gimp etc. A few apt-get installs later
and its really usable with xemacs, python etc.

OTOH whenever I have to install a windows machine it takes hours - not just for
getting all the hardware working but also for installing cygwin, firefox,
firebird, python etc... The difference to me is that with a linux install you
get everything you need straight up - windows gives you nothing, you then need
to install what you need by hand one app at a time.


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