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10,000 bugs away from World Domination April 10, 2006

Posted by rjdohnert in Tech News.
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An ex-Microsoft employee has written a blog entry on how Linux is 10,000 bugs away from World Domination.  Some issues I have with his post though:

" Linux supports a wide variety of PC devices. The driver support in Linux is as least as good as Windows and must represent an enormous effort by a veritable army of programmers."

Actually not true, Linux does not support as many devices as Windows and its not so user friendly at adding devices.  When a person can plug in his USB wireless adapter without having to muck about with NDIS wrapper or delve into the command line at all, which by the way you have to do with Ubuntu, it will be ready.  Technical people can get it to work, non-Technical people who dont know what "make" is or when you mention Java they say "Two creams and a sugar please" will find the task quite unpleasant and will surely disagree with you.

" Linux supports laptops now with sleep & hibernate, power management, Wi-Fi, external monitors, ability to plugin USB keys and cameras, Cleartype (LCD sub-pixel smoothing), etc."

Some Laptops support Linux well some dont, My Sony Vaio has a problem with the keyboard controls such as volume and display brightness and contrast and if it goes to sleep, oops, reboot time.  My Thinkpad on the other hand does work flawlessly.  Depends on the system.

" Excellent interoperability with Windows: SAMBA file sharing, Office file-format interop, WMA/WMV codecs"

Office Compatibilty has well improved, but is not perfect.  There are some things not supported in Open Office and to install the Windows Codecs its still very much a manual process to install them. 

"I am an ex-Microsoft programmer of 10 years who hadn’t spent 10 minutes with any Open Source code till I left Microsoft–which is actually very typical for MS employees."

I personally know many Microsoft developers and staff who have used OpenSource solutions, who do still use some Open Source software and solutions even on their work machines.  Or are you calling them liars?

If he is going to come to the conclusion that Linux is ready for the desktop on his reasons given in his blog entry, I can turn around and give the same reasons and make the case for FreeBSD being ready for world domination..

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Comments»

1. John Drinkwater - April 10, 2006

“which is actually very typical for MS employees.”

He said very typical. It might be that he never met one that did, MS has a lot of peeps there.

are you calling him a liar? : )

2. rjdohnert is a troll - April 10, 2006

You will always remain a troll, you know that, people have already seen your pro-MS reactions in Osnews’ comments section.

Just admit it.

3. Kim Dabelstein Petersen - April 10, 2006

I find your comments interesting – but also quite biased – let me elaborate on that:

When commenting on the fact that Linux has a very large device support – you give an example of some very specific hardware, and from that you conclude that Linux hasn’t support for devices …. Well, first of all you actually state that the device is supported under Linux (its just technical to install it) – secondly you overlook completely that 99% of all hardware on Linux doesn’t even need installation of a driver (as opposed to Windows).

Secondly – the article you are referring to doesn’t state that ALL laptops work with the specific features – its saying that those are things that now _can_ work (albeith not as you note on all hardware).

Thirdly – Office compatibility will probably never be 100% – since MS is sitting on the specifications – the interesting thing is how close is it, and how many features would you miss or gain…. There has (to my knowledge) never been a 100% compatibility between programs like this (not even between different major versions of the same product… As for the codecs – well that depends on the Linux distribution of your choice – if you choose RH … well then it will be _very_ manually, since RH doesn’t include them for fear of patent and other rights violations.

Fourth – did the referenced article state that _every_ MS person didn’t look at / run opensource software ? no! Did it state that almost noone there did ? no. Let me rephrase your question – are you saying that the author of the article lies?

Fifth – Yes you can state the same about FreeBSD – noone is opposing that … its one of the wonders of an open-source community – that applications and ideas actually _can_ travel from one system to another.

Regards Kim D. Petersen

4. gregp - April 10, 2006

Re the drivers, sometimes I have to wonder about Microsoft types. There are two parts to driver support.

Part 1 is the part that most users will experience: when you install a good linux distro, either commercial or free, almost all of your hardware will be detected. Period, end of story. On my current box, I had to install on xp: networking drivers, to get networking; usb drivers, to get usb, motherboard drivers, for core functionality, and video drivers to get past 640 resolution. In other words, installing xp required about 10 reboots before I had a functioning system.

With linux (debian based, kanotix), all my hardware was recognized out of the box except my video card. But even the video display was acceptable after I increased the 2d native resolution support. Installing the video drives was single command line item, and does not require a reboot.

My scanner was also recognized and worked out of the box.

Part 2 is more valid. If you install new hardware after the install, or if you have hardware that was not recognized, it’s going to be much harder installing the drivers. That is absolutey true, and it’s why you pick hardware that will work out of the box.

However, criticizing linux systems for not being able to deal with proprietary windows stuff, like winmodems and many wireless networking cards, is highly misleading. Windows doesn’t recognize many linux features either, it doesn’t support using a real boot manager natively, it wipes out existing mbr on install, it doesn’t see reiserfs, or any other non windows filesystem natively.

The weird thing about reading this type of discussion is how people seem to mistake all windows products, drivers, proprietary hardware, commercial software (and free/shareware) etc, for the base windows platform itself. Windows by itself is just a stripped down product that does almost nothing for the end user, you have to replace the native windows browser and email programs if you want to access the web safely. XP SP 2 did not fix that issue. Which leaves you basically with windows media player and a handlful of other apps on install.

Windows does support more software, more commercial software especially, of course that’s true. But it would be nice if these discussions actually talked about reality.

Is gnu/linux ready for your grandmother? Maybe yes, maybe no, depends on your grandmother. Will it support every geek toy made for everyone? No. Will it provide a rock solid computing environment for the people who can take advantage of that feature? Yes. Is it for everyone? No.

Just like with Firefox, the first people to use it will be the power users, the technically savy. Then it will slowly trickle down to the average user. Some will like it, some won’t.

5. mukund - April 11, 2006

wats bad in using Opensource Softwares…even if u are a microsoft Employer.
I mean what’s the fight is all about. 😀

6. rjdohnert - April 15, 2006

" When commenting on the fact that Linux has a very large device support – you give an example of some very specific hardware, and from that you conclude that Linux hasn’t support for devices …. Well, first of all you actually state that the device is supported under Linux (its just technical to install it) – secondly you overlook completely that 99% of all hardware on Linux doesn’t even need installation of a driver (as opposed to Windows)."

I just gave examples as the author did, while yes limited does Linux support every hardware device on the market. I have installed Linux on several types of PC's and different configurations. Hardware seems to be the barrier thats hard to crack. Its not only wireless cards but web cams, USB mass storage readers, even some SCSI PCI devices and RAID adaptors all seem to have problems with Linux. Of course it depends on the brand and how much support there is for that device in the Linux community. But one thing I know for sure it comes with a Windows driver disk.

" Secondly – the article you are referring to doesn’t state that ALL laptops work with the specific features – its saying that those are things that now _can_ work (albeith not as you note on all hardware)."

Once again, not everyone has the same hardware I do so of course mileage is going to vary, but once again its going to take some knowledge and time to get everything working on any Laptop.

Unfortunately Thinkpads are not the only type of laptops people attempt to use Linux with 

" Yes you can state the same about FreeBSD – noone is opposing that … its one of the wonders of an open-source community – that applications and ideas actually _can_ travel from one system to another."

Thats my point, if he is going to use his examples and say that Linux is ready for the desktop then so is BSD. Both Linux and FreeBSD are basically functionally equal.  What can I use on Linux that I cant use in FreeBSD?
" Fourth – did the referenced article state that _every_ MS person didn’t look at / run opensource software ? no! Did it state that almost noone there did ? no. Let me rephrase your question – are you saying that the author of the article lies?"

He said " I am an ex-Microsoft programmer of 10 years who hadn’t spent 10 minutes with any Open Source code till I left Microsoft–which is actually very typical for MS employees." either he is ignorrant after all of the activities of other Microsoft employee's or he is just feeding the FUD against Microsoft.  He implied its typical for Microsoft employees not to use OSS software which is untrue.

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8. QuickRob » Blog Archive » Wikipedia Zealots Distorting Climate Science to Subdue Dissent - Enabling Political Self-Help - April 19, 2008

[…] Petersen’s website(?) in 2006, insofar as I can gather from this comment he left discussing Linux and Microsoft. Link gets 503 error. Politicization of science – This is an old […]


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