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Windows vs Linux mk 2 26 December, 2008

Posted by aronzak in Linux, Windows, XP.

A short while ago, I installed Windows XP on one of my computers. *horror*. It’s not so bad. It does some things quite well. Even after bloating it up with about 50 open source apps, it still seems to chug away quite merrily. I gor rid of the antivirus software, as it slowed the system down. What is this  ‘virus’ thing that everyone keeps talking about anyway? Today, a win to Linux and a win to Windows XP.

Round 1: Camera images. Winner: XP

First, I tried to copy some images off a camera. Not having a card reader handy, I used the camera itself. Plugging it into Debian did SFA. didn’t bother doing anything. Ubuntu seemed not to want to boot a few times (she can be rather tempramental) and finally, when it did, it failed. A camera icon came up, clicking on which did nothing. CentOS failed, bringing up an error that some driver or another wasn’t there. Plugging this into the XP installation, it worked straight away, with no need for any extra software. I remember the dumbed down system is terrible, so I opted to use ‘advanced mode’ and just copy the pictures straight off the machine. Worked a treat. Win to XP.

Round 2: Shell extensions. Winner: KDE

Right. THat was done. Next, I had a bizarre idea of trying to make QEMU easier to use by creating a shell extension in the context menu, so that I can double click on a disk image (.iso) and automatically virtualise it. It isn’t at all obvious how to do this. Searching for some combination of ‘context menu’ and ‘windows XP’ on the net is disastrous. Huge numbers of results come up, all telling me a very particular way of doing one particular thing. Most of them want me to install thier own crappy freeware utilities, which will pimp out some aspect of my context menu or another. After going through the registry (I remember that thing! I hate it! I really do hate it! In fact, it’s the worst thing there is about Windows. It’s worse even than shared dlls, which accumulate like cholesterol) in several different places, and hoping that modifying any of the different keys and values wouldn’t set my computer on fire, I achieved little. Well, now I can get a command prompt to open when I click on a folder.

After ploughing through the arcane scrolls of the Windows registry, I decide to venture into ‘Folder options’ and file associations. I have to create my own entry for .iso, as the dumb system doesn’t recognise it by default (come on!). Anyway, the long and short of all of this is that after spending over an hour loking up different things nothing worked. Amazingly, QEMU seems to like being run from a shell, and given the name of an iso after -cdrom, but using “%1” does not work. Really strange.

Then, swith to KDE to see if it is possible. I right clicked on an iso, clicked on “open with > other” and then clicked on a drop down box. I noted vlc %U, then simply entered qemu -cdrom %U. Works a charm.That took me two clicks and about ten seconds. Win: Linux.

Really, the final winner is Linux. I know that pictures have worked for me straight away with no hassles in Ubuntu before, but that was an old install. It’s the conficurability that gets me more. I mean, I wasted a whole lot of time on the assumption that operating systems are made to be configured to suit the user’s needs. With Windows, this simply isn’t true.

I think that the whole XP experience has taught me a few useful lessons.

1. Linux is not ‘vastly superior’. Many Linux people have not used Windows on a powerful computer at home. The last version of Windows that I had run before was ME, which was fairly unimpressive. I had only seen XP on an underpowered laptop (where it ran appalingly) and on school and uni machines. I think that there’s a risk of ‘setting up the straw man’. That’s when you argue against a something that you claim is an opposition’s arguement, but isn’t. There’s a risk of that if Linux people have never really used Windows for themselves, and merely rely on what other Linux people tell them. Finally, I think that it’s good to acnowledge this:

Windows XP is good but has some faults.

Windows Vista is good but has many faults.

Mac OSX is good but has some faults.

Linux is good but has some faults.

In some tests, Linux will vastly outperform Windows. But that;s just propaganda. In reality, both have their strong points and substantial weak points. Windows is mainly weak on letting power users get on with what they want to do. Linux is extremely weak at helping new users, but is getting much better.

2. Open source is best marketed on the Windwos platform.

There are hundreds of open source applications that are cross paltform and will run under Windows. More people downloaded Open Office 3 Windows executables than Linux packages when it came out. Yes, many Linux people will use their distribution’s own software updating system to get a new version, but still, it says something. I think that trying to get people to use open source programs will be more successful if you offer them new applications, rather than a whole new operating system. People are generally afraid of breaking their system, and having to ‘learn something new’. Keep a few installers on a USB stick, as well as a live Linux distribution.


The Open Disk 5 December, 2008

Posted by aronzak in Windows, XP.
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Microsoft is getting slightly desperate. Smart students can use Linux for free, making universities a free software heartland. In response, they run a program called MSDN academic alliance, allowing Computer Science and Software Engineering IT people to give out free copies of XP Professional, Vista 32 bit and a whole lot of other Microsoft tools. These departments have to pay $2000 every three years, and can give out as many copies as they like. Effectively it’s free, paying for itself with ten copies of XP, which could be given out in no time.

Installing my free, and indeed legal copy of XP was easy. Unlike with bootleg versions, I haven’t had any problems. In fact, my desktop’s mainboard had a driver CD that means that I actually have working integrated 3D graphics, something I haven’t managed in Linux.

The first thing that you will notice when you move from Linux to Windows is that Windows comes without any useful software (whatsoever). Though it has just enough to make your computer usable. To do this, open up Internet Explorer, go to firefox.com and proceed to download. This is IE’s most useful feature. Next, Download 7-zip, and download the Open Disk.

The Open Disk is a CD that has a collection of useful open source software for Windows, including Firefox and OpenOffice along with Inkscape, the GNU IMP, and a whole lot of others. This makes it a great tool for yourself, but the best thing is that you can burn a whole lot and give them out.

While, according to NetApplications, Linux has less than 1% OS market share, Firefox has 20% browser share. If you credit some figures, that’s as much as 30% in some areas, such as Europe. When people hear about cool software, they are more likely to install an application than install a whole OS. I think using the Open Disk for FOSS advocacy will be more successful than trying to give out whole Linux distributions. But that’s just me.

One final thought, what about all of the others like me that are installing Windows using MSDNAA? They are a prime target for FOSS advocacy, as they probably already know about Firefox, and don’t have much software on their computers to start with. I think this page should be used as a hit list.

XO 18 November, 2008

Posted by aronzak in Windows, XP.
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The New York Times is running an article on how media groups are going to donate advertising space to help OLPC. This is intending to sell the pathetic ‘give one, get one’ campaign. I wanted to write a longer post, but I can’t be bothered and there’s no need. First, one of the main problems with OLPC is that they didn’t let countries order a small shipment of the XOs to do pilot testing. Major flaw.

Second, in the rough words of Hans Rosling; you know about two kinds of countries; developed and developing. I know about 200 kinds of countries. While a customised version of Linux with no printing support or interoperability is great in a few of the deepest, darkest corners of the world, you are forgetting the rest, especially Newly Industrialised Countries (NIC’s). There are vast regions of the world that already have power, internet, printers, etc. Think of the number of poor people across China, SE Asia, Middle and South America, and even Europe. Mexico has power. THey also have a lot of slums. Why would you make a computer that needs to be hand cranked? The first thing that Egypt said was something like ‘will these computer work with our WinXP xomputers?’ And the answer is no. Score 0 OLPC.

Third, if the computers are’nt really that great in NICs, they’re crap in developed countries. What can you do with them. FSJ frequently made fun of the freetard idiots that went out to buy ones.This sums it up:


And Finally, a quote from FSJ:

it was never about education or poverty or helping kids and was, rather, all about a bunch of amateur techies trying to prove that they could make a better computer than Microsoft and Intel?

Guess what, freetard morons. You couldn’t. You didn’t.

Check out more of his rants here.

Also check out OVPC.(One Velociraptor Per Child)

Edit: If you want a gift to give at Christmas that isn’t useless junk and will actually help children in developing countries, consider something like usefulgifts.org. Lots of charities do these things.

Over 1% Running Linux? 9 September, 2008

Posted by aronzak in Dying XP, Linux, web, Windows.
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Saw this article that references Ubuntu marketing as saying that there are already 8 million installations of Ubuntu. If that’s accurate, that means that there’s a huge lot of Linux installations. Based on figures from the article:

Ubuntu 8 million
Windows 1 billion (rough, by 2010)
Ubuntu is a 125th of Windows
Windows has ~ 90 % share
0.8% x 110%

Now, if these figures are accurate, then that’s only 30% of linux distributions. So the figures are wrong somewhere (it’s definitely not above 2%) but Linux probably has over 1 % of market share. This page suggests that Linux has 0.93% as of August.

Aspire one: number one in bad marketing 21 August, 2008

Posted by aronzak in Acer, Aspire one, Asus, Cloud Computing, EeePC, Linpus, Netbooks, Uncategorized, XP.
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Poorly directed marketing

Poorly directed marketing

Many global corporations seem to like using different advertising in different regions. Acer has a good general marketing campaign that attempts to market the Aspire One as a wanted product. But someone decided to put this on the Australian site. And I thought that I might buy one(*sigh*). After getting through the cringeworthy presentation, what I thought was the intro, oh look it repeats. Great.

The focus on children is greatly misdirected. Originally Asus had a focus on children, childhood and learning with the EeePC. Crap version of Linux, crap hardware. Who would ever want to buy that? Unfortunately for them, all of the people that don’t want to shell out 2000+ for an ultraportable. Apple must not be happy. It seems that nobody expected that consumers would flock to the devices, eager to mod and hack, getting rid of the childish OS on it and putting on something decent (like Hackintosh ). Or, just putting up with it and using it as a coffee shop toy (cynically, that’s all the Mac book air is, too).

Better, more trendy, and perhaps more effective marketing

Better, more trendy, and perhaps more effective marketing

Coming round to the realisation that ordinary consumers don’t want to be sold things marketed as children’s toys, Asus has cleverly updated their UK site to better target the market. Hopefully other manufacturers will learn from the mistakes of Asus, and now Acer.

Edit: I think that I should also show good marketing from MSI.

"Love edition"
“Love edition”