De omnibus dubitandum
This is so very, very true…. Although in my case it’s been 13 years.
I’m trying to remember how many years it’s been for me. I remember when there was no such thing as a “world wide web” – the closest was maybe a graphical gopher client, but that was just a pretty face slapped on top of what was still 2400 baud (if that) text. Come to think of it, somewhere I still have a journal article seriously discussing whether 2400 baud was as fast as telephone lines could be forced to transmit data. Uh… I’m thinking it’s got to be about twenty years, more or less. Not that the internet in 1988 was anything like the internet in 2008.
Hmm. That explains where all this white hair came from, I guess. My girlfriend’s (teenage!) daughter has never heard of a command-line, which, by the way, ought to be interesting when I build her a linux box…
There is a way to work with Linux without a command line. It’s called Ubuntu and it’s as much a convincing Linux-based copy of Windows (complete with bugs and system crashes) as I’ve ever seen.
fairly easy to use though, and entirely possible to run without ever touching a command line. Not that that’s a compliment or anything, but it helps with trying to sell it to the masses.
Yeah, I use Ubuntu. Sorta. Actually, I run a highly stripped-down version of xUbuntu with as much Gnome and KDE and XFCE eye-candy and fail-filled rubbish forcibly ripped out as possible. I really only use Ubuntu because it’s got a large userbase and therefore theoretically more feedback, but so far “the community” has been awesomely little help with any of the problems I couldn’t fix for myself.
Well, I also use Ubuntu because there are few other plausible-looking 64-bit distros… Arch, perhaps. And, of course, switching distros is annoying because I’ll have to recompile the stuff that isn’t in the repositories. Not as annoying as switching to Gentoo, but I can still think of other things I’d rather do with my weekend.
Nevertheless, I am starting to get the impression that the Debian folks are actually in the habit of fixing bugs without understanding them. For resultingly small values of “fix,” of course. But the only real instability I’ve seen is: (1) if you don’t have precisely the correct video driver installed the entire computer gets extremely unstable; (2) about every third boot, the whole-disk encryption gets the impression I’ve already entered my password and of course hangs when the drive is discovered to be gibberish (I think this has to do with USB, which I still distrust as filthy voodoo technology); and (3) one of my fairly-obscure filemanager programs (that I only use when I need thumbnails) hangs at random for no readily explicable reason. That’s pretty good, actually.
Nah, as long as you aren’t the one administering it, choice of operating system no longer seriously matters unless you require certain software that only exists on a particular platform. Decent word processor, Firefox, ability to print and transceive emails and what else does a general user really need? Those things exist on all platforms now. And it wasn’t like I was going to give her root access anyway – I can do updates and maintenance over the network using ssh and she’ll never know, or, more importantly, care.
I’m going to build her a linux box because she’ll need a computer, I’ll be the sysadmin anyway, and I will not permit a Vista box on my network, let alone have anything whatsoever to do with maintaining it other than upgrading it to a real OS. My girlfriend, however, is actually a Microsoft DEVELOPER DEVELOPER DEVELOPER DEVELOPER, so she’s sticking with her XP box.
I do not think linux will sell to the masses until the software itself improves, though. OpenOffice gets the job done, but it’s clunky. The Gimp is actually much better than it gets credit for once you figure out how it goes together, but still not as elegant as Photoshop. There is no serious competition to InDesign or QuarkXpress for linux, the technical existance of Inkscape and Scribus notwithstanding. And this business about Ubuntu being linux that you can use without needing the command line is a pathetic, sick joke – sure, if you’re not the one administering the box that’s true, but otherwise, this is a lie. Fortunately, I like the command line, I just don’t like the lack of useful documentation some of the commands have.
Meh, I’m babbling…
Games, frank. Games are what drive PC sales. Every Xbox, Playstation and Wii retard grows up eventually and comes to the realization that either a) they don’t like games after all, or b) they love games and conclude that the Xbox, PS3 and Wii are all weak half-assed derivatives of the real gaming platform: the PC.
So games are the driver behind PC sales. Ever since Zoho and Google Docs appeared, nobody has been able to use the ‘office worker’ excuse to buy a PC anymore. The only real reason to get a Windows machine these days is to play games.
So one of two things must happen for Windows PC’s to lose their dominance:
1) games like World of Warcrack and Supreme Commander must appear on consoles (extremely unlikely due to the console’s innate control issues)
2) games must start appearing more frequently for linux / Mac boxes (also very unlikely due to the low install base and nearly all linux & mac users have a windows PC somewhere anyway).
To summarize, it ain’t gonna happen.
I do not think that is totally true. Businesses do not buy computers for the games, for example. Also, fewer people have broadband than users of Web 2.0 “the presentation is the content” rubbish and do-your-work-on-the-web ridiculousness seem to think. Furthermore, such things are not going to cut it with anyone who works with data that might be Bad to let someone else see, or for anyone who might need to do stuff with those documents away from a network, or who might just not like the idea of not having their own software.
Are you sure there is no perception bias here? A lot of people do buy computers for the games. Seems that a lot buy them to watch movies or listen to music, too. A lot of people buy computers because they have jobs or other hobbies that require it. I doubt a very large percentage of notebook computer sales can be attributed to people who got them for the game play. I can’t find any hard information on who buys computers and why, and I’m not going to speculate otherwise. Looking at sales of software might be more telling, but that’s more effort than I care to go to right now.
However, I think it more likely that Windows is dominant simply because it’s the path of least resistance for the majority of PC owners. Apple, in its insane idiocy, doesn’t want anyone to install OS X on other, lesser hardware (and the rabid fans like to point out inapplicable historical precedent that occurred under radically different circumstances), linux is still too hard, and the massive botnets out there neatly prove, in my view, that a vast number of Windows users simply have no clue whatsoever. I doubt many gamers would put up with the overhead resulting from a massive spyware infestation, would they?
Yeah good point. I was focusing on home users in my “games drive PC sales” tale, but that doesn’t hold up with many home users who buy laptops. I guess my gaming goggles have colored my judgement.