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Friday, October 12, 2007

13 things Linux does right (or that Windows does grossly wrong)

  1. I use Windows and Linux every day. They’re both competent operating systems, each with reasonable applications and windowing systems. I find myself more productive on a Linux system, though, because of a few very simple differences.

    So what are the differences?

    1.A useful terminal emulator. So what if it’s only useful for developers: I’m a developer. I like a terminal with capable cut-and-paste, tabs, and resizing.

    2.All-in-one application sources. Man, I love my apt (or yum, or distro-specific tool of choice). Finding and downloading applications for Windows is a crap-shoot in almost every way. I find this especially handy when building new systems: it takes far longer to build, update, and add needed applications on a Windows system than on most Linux systems.

    3.Cut-and-paste, and focus handling. Middle-click cut-and-paste is even more useful than middle-clicking a URL to a new tab, and XWindows does scroll-wheel window focusing right (scrolls the window under the cursor).

    4.Frequent, painless patches and new stuff, all the time. I’ve had a 3d desktop (compiz) and funky search (deskbar) for more than a year now (and I avoid the bleeding edge).

    5.Multi-desktops. Using a single desktop now is a lot like working at a grade-school desk: it’s just too small to be useful.

    6.Good, free tools. Like vim (or emacs). I know they’re old and crusty, but they both live and breathe text editing.

    7.No reboots. I rarely have to reboot a Linux system when patching. Windows is getting better about reboots, but they’re still too frequent.

    8.Open formats and protocols. My stuff (and my network) is mine, locking my stuff in proprietary, costly formats doesn’t work for me.

    9.No need for paranoia. I don’t like the anti-malware tax: the cost, the CPU cycles, and the wasted fear. Signed application bundles are a big part of how Linux gets this right: you don’t have to fear installing new stuff (the rest is in frequent patching and limiting possible damage).

    10.Respect. Don’t tell me what or how to do it: give me choices. And don’t treat me like a criminal, because I’m not.
            11. In Linux, you can delete, rename and move files freely.
"This file cannot be deleted (or renamed or moved) because it is in use by another application."

How many times have you seen this message? How much annoyance has it caused you? Don't you wish it would tell you WHICH application? Don't you wish it would just not exist in the first place?

On linux, it doesn't exist. For instance, let's say I have a new mp3. I double-click it and it plays - but it sucks! So I want to delete it. On Windows I have to close winamp. On Linux I delete the file and it's gone. And get this - the mp3 keeps on playing. It's like magic.

12. There are no lower-right corner popups!

I hate, hate, hate them. I loathe them with a deep burning gut-rage that tears at my sanity.

Especially when it's the same one again and again. Hey, I clicked the "X" button 4000 times already, do you think you could maybe QUIT SHOWING THE SAME POPUP?
13. MSN Messenger does not run on Linux.

MSN Messenger is not part of the OS, but it's worth a special mention here. It (A) can't be killed. Oh, I've tried. I've tried that startup-cop utility and a half-dozen other things. MSN Messenger gets re-installed as part of every other MS install or update. "Hi!" it says, "Did you miss me?"

Once it's installed, MSN Messenger (B) prolongs the startup/login time by about 8 minutes. If outlook is running, MSN messenger refuses even to even exit, stating that it is "required by outlook" It's not! That is a dirty lie. MSN Messenger is (C) a dirty liar.

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