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If Linux was the most used system in the world…

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(This article is a translation and adaptation of one text that was written in portuguese language that I found here.)

I understand problems passing from Windows to Linux which was declared by one individual. I felt I should experiment Windows too, since all of my friends are telling me all the time how great it is.

I went to the Microsoft site to download it, but it was not available. I was frustrated because I spent quite a time uselessly trying to find a download link, so I decided to ask my friend and he told me where I can buy it.

I took my car and drove myself to the mall, where I found a shop that sells software. I asked the seller for a windows OS and he asked me which version I want.
- “I want the most complete distribution”, I said proudly.
- “599 euros please, pass to the cashier”, he said, putting the box into the bag.
I swore and left the shop swiftly.

One of my friends gave me a copy of Windows XP, but told me not to tell anyone. I thought it was a bit odd, because I copy my Linux distro all the time to give it to my friends. Whatever…
I took the CD, inserted it into my CD drive and restarted system and waited for the Live CD boot. That didn’t worked. Only thing CD asked me was to install it. I called my friend over the telephone and he told me that Windows XP cannot be booted from CD,

OK, I have decided that I will install it. I followed instructions from the screen, but I got nervous since it never asked about other operating systems installed. I know whichever Linux I install, it always asks about creating new partition or other related questions. I returned my call to the friend and he told me that Windows XP eliminates all and any operating systems that is already installed.
Well, OK, I restarted my Linux and backed-up all data before I returned to install my Windows copy.

Installation was quite simple, save the part when it asked me about serial number where I needed to type bunch of letters and numbers. My friend was now pissed off that I call him all the time and he came to my home, and typed his number inside.
He repeated that I should not say anything about this to any living soul. He went, and I restarted computer to give it a first run.

I was shocked when it let me change system configurations without asking for root access. My friend now swore when he heard my voice again over the phone. He told me that root access was given at initialization. I found how to create another user with no root access and I logged in. Then I realized that if I want to change something, instead of asking me for root password, I needed to log-off and log-in as administrator (which is name here for root). With this, I realized that there are so many people who log as administrator and I started to feel creeps.

OK, time to work. I went to Start -> Programs, to open a spreadsheet application, but I couldn’t find any. My friend told me that Windows does not have any of those applications by default and that I must download from internet.
“Oh”, I thought,” this is basic distribution of Windows”. I went to “Add/Remove programs” in control panel, just like in Linux, but there were no programs to add. It just let me remove programs. I couldn’t find a button or menu item that me allow to install applications. This is odd!
I phoned my friend again, and he told me that I need to find by myself applications that I want to install, so after Googling, I found OpenOffice.org application to download and install. Now I could finish my work with a spreadsheet.

To tell you the truth, I didn’t have fun at all. I don’t understand this technology well. Why there is drive A, and then drive C, where is drive B? This was certainly some basic distribution. It didn’t include any applications to boost my productivity and I had to waste my time to look for them. My friend told me that I need antivirus application as that does not come with distribution either.

I do not understand what computer virus is. How can dead object get an infection?!

I found using this windows distribution very difficult. It might possibly be good for some people that understand computers, but for me, no thanks. I am going back to my Linux.

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  1. TheGZeus
    July 11th, 2010 at 02:39 | #1

    @Kim
    That’s what you get for installing things from tarballs.

  2. brad
    July 11th, 2010 at 14:00 | #2

    Ill NEVER understand all these threads about how bad windows is.. I use linux, but I also used windows over the years.. i’ve NEVER had to format due a virus, browser hijack, registry error, nor did i have a problem buying or using free (yes there are free) antivirus, spyware tools, firewalls, office suites, etc.. I guess many al-mighty linux users aren’t bright enough to use windows , since so many posts, forums, blogs highlight all these problems linux users have with such a bad/simple/hard to use operating system such as windows.. what a shame, I guess common sense just isn’t too common.

  3. Andrew
    July 11th, 2010 at 17:05 | #3

    @brad
    You’re missing the point of this story.

    This story is simulating (or actually recalling) the point of view of a person who has NEVER used Windows before, attempting to use it after a lifetime of Linux use. The points made are perfectly valid from this perspective.

    Of course there are workarounds for some particular issues, but for the new user with no prior experience with the system there’s no way for them to know about such things. To somebody such as yourself who has extensive experience with the system, these become non-issues because you know from experience how to deal with them. It’s exactly the same with Linux… many of the issues with Linux that are cited by first-time users are non-issues to those experienced with the system, and then they wonder why people complain about it so much if you can ‘just do xyz…’. The situation is exactly the same for people switching from Windows/Linux to an Apple OS, or visa/versa. This is the point of the story.

    Personally I feel that this just supports the idea that user-friendliness is almost entirely dependent on what you already know… This becomes an automatic bias on any opinion we may wish to spew out about one system or another… I’ve been guilty of it plenty of times myself, but I try to keep my horizons broad to minimize such nonsense. I just with others would to the same.

  4. July 11th, 2010 at 19:41 | #4

    Enjoyed the satire :) It seems pretty realistic, as to how the 1st user experience would be if someone did go from Linux to Windows, without having ever heard of Windows.

  5. JustSomeNick
    July 12th, 2010 at 16:52 | #5

    Sigh.

    The flame wars are teh lulz. Lots of misinformation here. Windows defender & Firewall are about as safe as being caught in the middle of a riot with a football helmet.

    @m0sh3g: You serious? Firstly, Nvidia drivers were not discontinued. Secondly, pulse with bluetooth is fine. You sure you added your user to the appropriate group? :p I had to deal with about 50 installs this summer, of a plethora of Distros. My buddy’s dongle and earpiece are working without a hitch. Thirdly, per the Canon driver, check the Linux printer database. If there isn’t a driver they point to (which, if I recall, there is)- there is at least a workaround. I’m not sure what sort of modifications exactly you did, but most of them should work out of the box. If not, you can easily adjust this through the GUI.

  6. m0sh3g
    July 12th, 2010 at 17:27 | #6

    @JustSomeNick: 1. I wasn’t talking about bluetooth, but USB. The user was in correct group.

    2. My mistake, I remembered this article wrongly:
    http://slashdot.org/story/10/03/26/2240250/Nvidia-Drops-Support-For-Its-Open-Source-Driver
    They drop support for open source drivers.

    3. Maybe after wasting another few days on configuration I could have configured all the components of the printer (scanner, fax), but I just didn’t have these few days for fiddling with OS, I had to run a business.

    4. The whole point of my reply was to show that the portraying of Linux in OP as Install-And-Run experience is very flawed. The need to understand which groups the user need to belong for different services to work, which is far not always documented, kills all the joy.

    And if it’s documented, then in some forum post which appears on 3rd page of google search, and only if you search with correct terms, and it takes experience and aquired intuition to understand the search terms logic.

    That all made some sense when I was in the “Gentoo” stage, where recompiling was giving some kind of odd satisfaction, but not I see it more as a perversion, and really waste of valuable time that could be used for activities that bring a real return on investment.

  7. m0sh3g
    July 12th, 2010 at 17:28 | #7

    I’m getting lots of Internal Server Errors on this blog, so if this is a duplicated post, moderator, please delete it.

    @JustSomeNick: 1. I wasn’t talking about bluetooth, but USB. The user was in correct group.

    2. My mistake, I remembered this article wrongly:
    http://slashdot.org/story/10/03/26/2240250/Nvidia-Drops-Support-For-Its-Open-Source-Driver
    They drop support for open source drivers.

    3. Maybe after wasting another few days on configuration I could have configured all the components of the printer (scanner, fax), but I just didn’t have these few days for fiddling with OS, I had to run a business.

    4. The whole point of my reply was to show that the portraying of Linux in OP as Install-And-Run experience is very flawed. The need to understand which groups the user need to belong for different services to work, which is far not always documented, kills all the joy.

    And if it’s documented, then in some forum post which appears on 3rd page of google search, and only if you search with correct terms, and it takes experience and aquired intuition to understand the search terms logic.

    That all made some sense when I was in the “Gentoo” stage, where recompiling was giving some kind of odd satisfaction, but not I see it more as a perversion, and really waste of valuable time that could be used for activities that bring a real return on investment.

  8. July 13th, 2010 at 14:54 | #8

    Imagined a lot about such a world where Linux rules. Amiga OS and Windows come to the market and kicked out by the users due to the vulnerability issues and lack of enough productivity tools bundled with it like Open office, GIMP, K3B, Inkscape etc. People wonder what breed of OS this is! “A Drive” with a floppy icon is the best joke. Icon is there where the media is not. People would try how to unmount this volume where the drive is not inserted!
    Finally the talk goes like this: “An OS launched with a good UI, very tough to understand the file structure and configuration”

  9. Ravi
    July 16th, 2010 at 21:45 | #9

    @random
    i have been using both windows and linux. But think it has less people working on but they are perfect on their design and development. i prefer windows than linux. If i need to make a good presentation i cannot do it in linux. Most of things in linux are not perfect they are still in beta and they have included it with os. what i like most about window is its just perfect perfect in any sense be it development or any thing. One thing i hate about Ubuntu 10.04 is that it uses more battery power than windows.

  10. marvin nubwaxer
    August 8th, 2010 at 01:54 | #10

    it’s called winpe–preinstall environment or something like that. try bart’s pe. i think it’s free or try a torrent site like btjunkie.org. i’ve never had a legit copy of windows but i have every release from dos 6.22 ad widows 1 thru win 7. i even have windows 96, neptune and whistler. right now i’m running pclinuxos in a vmware virtual machine inside xp pro. and i’ve run a hackintosh box too. i like to tell apple and microsoft that i’m number one and you can guess which finger i’m holding up. just say no to hardware and software monopolies.

  11. anonstumbler
    October 16th, 2010 at 22:52 | #11

    I LOL’d

  12. ShaineT
    November 1st, 2010 at 19:21 | #12

    Brad you are emphasizing as though Linux users think there’s nothing free for windows yet in the blog entry he installs openoffice :? All operating systems have their pros & cons and developers continue to improve things. I’m just glad there is a choice and not a complete (although nearly) monopoly.

    Ravi, I’m curious because I’m a health care provider in a hospital I’ve little need for office apps, so what are your road blocks to a good presentation with Linux?

  13. Mark S
    December 11th, 2010 at 20:21 | #13

    This is actually quite amusing. I made the switch from Windows XP to Linux about 6 years ago and just recently had to use Windows due to changing jobs. My gosh … I had similar experiences! I had to do some activity, did a search of the web for the software and could only find it for a fee! I don’t think I’ve had to pay for any of my Linux apps!! It really was a weird eye opener… I eventually figured out how to get my Linux system to work on the company’s VPN and made the switch back.

    To the point of some of the posts, getting the VPN to work was non trivial and took a fair amount of time on various forums …. but no money changed hands!

  14. jas
    December 26th, 2010 at 07:35 | #14

    trolling

  15. lucb1e
    January 21st, 2011 at 20:27 | #15

    brad :
    Ill NEVER understand all these threads about how bad windows is.. I use linux, but I also used windows over the years.. i’ve NEVER had to format due a virus, browser hijack, registry error, nor did i have a problem buying or using free (yes there are free) antivirus, spyware tools, firewalls, office suites, etc.. I guess many al-mighty linux users aren’t bright enough to use windows , since so many posts, forums, blogs highlight all these problems linux users have with such a bad/simple/hard to use operating system such as windows.. what a shame, I guess common sense just isn’t too common.

    Exactly. Very naive perspective from the writer. Stumble -1

  16. Trey
    February 13th, 2011 at 21:41 | #16

    Seriously, your trying to sell that Linux is easier?!? WTF. Linux rules because it is sheer raw power.

    Easy..hell no.

    Awesome, hells yes.

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