Thursday, August 16, 2007

Choosing Windows Vs. Linux - Which One & Why & What Lies Ahead !

Choosing Windows Vs. Linux - Which One & Why & What Lies Ahead !

Hello everyone...

With the arrival of Windows Vista , lots of people are looking for alternatives. And Linux has emerged as the best contender.

As i have used Windows XP and Linux for last 5 years, and Vista since its release, i thought why not write an article for the people who may want to know/use/switch to Linux from Windows.

This article is about :

1. Things you may want to know about Linux, being from a windows background.

2. A comparison between windows & Linux.

3. Whether you should start using Linux or not or be comfortable with Windows XP or Vista.

4. And if yes, what you need to do for that.

I hope this article will help people in knowing about Linux and Windows. And those who are already using Linux, i hope it will be a good read for them also.

AND YES, THIS IS NOT AN ANTI-MICROSOFT ARTICLE AS YOU MAY BE THINKING. (Since most of Linux users tend to bash Microsoft when they talk about Windows. Though i have written some facts which may make Windows Lovers feel Bad. ).

So here it begins...

1. What is Windows ?

Do i even need to answer this question ? All of us are born in Windows world, and understand and know using computers with Windows be it 98, XP or Vista.

2. What is Linux ?

Though it will itself take an article to tell you about this, in short :

"Richard Stallman working at the MIT AI-lab - during the time he studied for his BA in Physics from Harvard - became part of a programming group at the AI-lab. These guys were all working and sharing in a very friendly way. The arrival of the world of commercial software development, and things like non-disclosure agreements, basically meant the end of that era. That is, if it wasn't for Richard Stallman.

A non-working laser printer (and a few other setbacks) in the 1980s had triggered a one-man coding spree and the creation of a completely free operating system. Free to use and copy. Sounds familiar? It should. That's Linux...

The one-man coding spree quickly turned into a project known as GNU, pronounced as guh-noo. Richard Stallman basically wrote a complete operating system from scratch, a free Unix operating system. Luckily he has gotten quite a bit of help in his endeavors. But if it wasn't for Richard Stallman, there wouldn't be a GNU/Linux and we'd all be using Windows now. In the process of creating the GNU project, he also made a software license allowing you access to source code (the original files) and the right to copy its software and share it with your friends. This copyright license is called GPL, the GNU General Public License.

During the late 1980s and early 1990s, the GNU project set out for a kernel (the car's engine) for the operating system. The decisions that were made for this kernel were the correct ones at the time. This state-of-the-art kernel, called GNU Hurd, however proved tricky to build. So the GNU OS wasn't quite completed when Linus stepped in and created his kernel which was designed somewhat easier. And there you have it. The creation of GNU/Linux.

Many people however don't call GNU/Linux GNU/Linux. They call it Linux, totally ignoring the fact that it couldn't have been made without the GNU tools and it couldn't do anything without the GNU operating system around it. Sounds a bit unfair doesn't it? It is. To make matters worse, at one point Richard Stallman and his Free Software Foundation actually received an award for his work, and rightly so. But the award was called "The Linus Torvalds Award". Which is not only ironic, but somewhat insulting.

The Brief History of Linux: Linus invented the kernel, Richard and his Free Software Foundation invented GNU. "

(Taken from PCLinuxOS wiki)

To know more, just Google it.

3. Why Should You Use Windows & Not Linux ?

1. Ease of Installation & Use.

( Odd statement but true practically, reason being again same, "We are born in Windows World", where we see people around us installing and using Windows, so we just consider Windows as being the only way of using computers. But in fact, both Windows & Linux are equally easy to install & use.)

2. If you are so lazy enough to bring a change in the way you use computers, and consider that learning/using/switching to [L/U/S] Linux is new & difficult than you use Windows.

(Let me tell you [L/U/S]Linux is no doubt different from Windows, but not a bit difficult or new. Just ask yourself, "Did you know how to use Windows when you had used computers for very first time ?")

3. If you can't use computers without the official support and help provided by Microsoft & other companies producing Windows softwares.

(No doubt, Windows & softwares come with really good technical support & guarantee, but even with Linux, you have extensive support and help available from forums, and even technical support from companies who charge for this support like Novell, Red hat.)

4. If you work with some software which is either available only on Windows or is the best on Windows.

(This is true. Some softwares on Windows are really good. But there is always a good enough corresponding software available on Linux, though it may require you to make some compromises in functionality or require some learning.)

5. If your computer doesn't fully support Linux.

(What i mean here is that there may be a chance that one of your computer hardware component may not work on Linux. Most frequent culprits are Modems & Graphic cards.

There is a reason for this :

Since Windows occupies 90 % of desktop market, most of hardware manufacturers make driver for their hardware only for windows because developing drivers is a tedious and money requiring task, and these manufacturers don't see the need or demand for producing driver for Linux also. But he scenario is changing :

(a.) More & more hardware manufacturing have begun supporting their hardware on Linux

(b.) Lot of big companies are coming in support of Linux. recent examples, Dell, Lenovo. And some big ones have always been like IBM, Intel, HP etc.

(c.) Linux developers keep on working to support most latest hardware's available as well as the older ones. In fact Linux is the most widely implemented Operating system, on various platforms, other than desktop, such as Servers, Mobile Platform, Supercomputers etc. This proves the wide applicability of Linux.

{This should clear the misconception that the fact "Windows XP Supports All Hardwares Out of Box" is something not attributable to Microsoft. Rather it has been the biased attitude of hardware manufacturers, responsible for this}

6. If you don't have an Internet connection.

(You must be surprised by this statement. But i will explain. On Linux, software installation usually require installation of various dependencies (files required for installation of a particular software). Its not like windows, where you simply double click an EXE file and your software is installed. So if you are not connected to Internet, it becomes a difficult task (namely compiling) to install software on Linux, though not impossible all the way.

I feel Linux developers should work on this. And in fact, there was a discussion on this aspect in some previous Linux developers meetings & summits.

7. If you consider Linux insecure, as there is not much discussion about anti-viruses and anti-spywares available for Linux, then my friend, Windows is definitely your choice.

(You must have got your laughter dose here.)

4. Why Should You Choose Linux & Not Windows

1. Free (Or technically speaking, Open Source) in contrast to Windows.

(But paying for softwares does exists in the Linux world, in the form of getting official support and help from various companies, or their enterprise softwares , like Novell, Red Hat.

{This may not be an issue with people using PIRATED WINDOWS & SOFTWARES.}

2. Very fast development cycles, so you remain updated with the latest, most efficient software technologies available.

(This is sharply in contrast to Windows, because Windows development is done only by Microsoft, while Linux development is something,done by thousands or even million of Open Source developers and now even the support of so many companies coming on Linux front (I mentioned previously). Consequently Linux updates come on a very regular and short period, while Windows development is undoubtedly slow. )

And yes, in Linux update is for whole system, rather than just operating system. So you don't have to update each of your applications.

One more Linux magic, Linux doesn't require you to REBOOT your computer after updates, even if you update the whole Linux Kernel(the very base of any operating system. In windows, you never get a kernel update during updates.)

3. Most of Linux operating system (or Distos, so called) come pre-installed with :

(a.) Your hardware drivers. (unlike windows where you have to install them later from your driver CD).

(b.) Open Office Suite. (Microsoft Office has to be bought separately, at a cost even higher than your Windows.)

4. Linux comes in various forms, so called distros, which are produced by different people / companies by combining Linux Kernel, GNU Softwares, and their own specific softwares. Each distro is good and better than other on some fronts, and less good at others. Some famous ones are :

PCLinuxOS, Ubuntu, OpenSUSE, Mandriva, Linspire, Knoppix etc.

These are just the most famous ones. There are thousands there !!! Even you can produce you own distro if you know how to do this.

This is in sharp contrast to Windows, where the whole world has the same thing on their computer, and you can't change a thing in Windows if you find something bad, or feel like adding something.

So, using Linux is like having attending a grand party where you can choose what to eat from various dishes or order something new (i mean make your own distro), while using Windows is like attending a prison where you have to eat what you are served.....

No Choice, Poor Fella !!!

5. In Linux you can not use any anti-viruses or anti-spywares, whatsoever.

(Reasons for this:

(a.) There are very few anti-viruses or anti-spywares available for Linux.

(b.) There are no viruses against Linux in its very first place, reason for above point.

So you don't have to buy (or crack) anymore Norton or Mac-fee or AVG anti-virus or anti-spywares or COMPLETE PROTECTION SUITES.

This also help saving your system memory for other worth of you work, than nurturing these memory hogs.

6. As i talked of various distros, even on a single distro, you can use different Desktop Environments (DE) /Desktop Manager(the whole graphical interface you interact use to use your computer), unlike Windows which has never changed since Windows 95 to Vista even today.

(Different DE serve different purposes. For example:

- KDE is meant for all round, highly configurable, powerful, and flashy(like Mac) interface.

- GNOME DE is meant for simplicity.

- XFCE and Fluxbox are meant for low end configurations computers.

7. And finally, 3-d Desktop.

(You must have been stunned hearing and seeing the too hyped "THE AERO" Interface and "LIVE THUMBNAILS " of Windows Vista. Then just wait for the lethal dose of Linux.

Linux has the whole 3-d desktop available for you. Called, Beryl and Compiz, you have you whole desktop working 3-d with such stunning and awesome effects that above said GREAT Vista features are literally nothing, NOTHING, in front of these.

Here is more.

To run these GREAT Vista 3-d feature, you need 2 GB RAM, and a Separate Graphic card.

Did you hear that !!! 2 GB RAM.... I mean how many people have that. And even if you have or buy, what do you get, these two kiddish effects.

And Linux 3-d desktop, on my own old Laptop, with total 512 MB RAM, with 128 MB Shared Graphic Memory (Intel 915 chipset) runs like killing any vista user.....

Just check out some videos on you-tube, by searching for Beryl, Compiz or Compiz Fusion. Don't blame me now, if you already bought Vista....)

8. You may say Vista is highly Stable and Secure.

a.) I agree on this Stability point, specially when you compare it with XP. In Vista, Microsoft has introduced clear-cut distinction between services and processes. An now when you kill some hanged process or service via Ctrl-Alt-Del, it doesn't cause your system to crash unlike Windows XP.

But Linux had this thing right from origin. Linux doesn't crash if you kill some task. It has never done so......

(b). About security, no doubt Vista is more secure, BUT more than XP, not than Linux. What Microsoft has done in Vista today, has been in Linux right from its very conception. User Access Control Rights(or something like that, i am not sure), in Vista is a feature ripped from Linux, and in trying to make it look like a new innovation, Microsoft has implemented it in such a way that it becomes an annoyance rather than of comfort. You are confronted with this to do even very small things in Vista.

And still, what more, You still have to use an Anti-virus or Anti-spyware.... Microsoft still recommends to use these security softwares to its users...... Now that's called confidence in ones security.......

{I want to share one more major innovation By Microsoft in Vista. Vista claims to have system wide search feature in vista, in which you can search for anything on your desktop, or web, from vista search menu. Guys this is a feature ripped from Mac OS X. Mac has this feature, from last 3 or 4 years. But Microsoft has done innovation, & that is , instead of putting search menu on top right like Mac, they have put it on bottom left. Wow !!!}

{Did you know Mac OS X is a Unix Like OS like Linux. Just for ur knowledge.}

5. Then Why Has Windows 90 % Share In Desktop Market If Linux Is So Superior ?

Good question. Well only few reasons i see:

1. Very Aggressive Marketing Strategy :

Microsoft right from start, has been marketing its product on a very big scale using every medium, be it newspapers or television or Internet lately, while Linux marketing has traditionally been by means of User to User spread. Microsoft, has great earnings from its softwares right from start, whose very little fraction is enough to market any product deep down the brains of people of this world, while Linux developers were not charging for their products. They were developing these softwares, just for the spirit of humanity, the spirit of Open Source. They were not businessmen like Microsoft or Apple guys. So they didn't give attention to marketing strategies, neither they had money & resources to do that. This was one of the major stumbling block in Linux adoption.

But the scene is changing now. With the entry of big companies on Linux front, Linux is gaining popularity.

2. Microsoft's alliance with computer manufacturers, to persuade them sell computers, pre-installed Windows.

This resulted in most people having their first experience with using computer on windows. And i believe, this also somehow resulted in a "chain reaction" of people telling others about Windows, and thus creation of a "Windows World", being supplemented by the fact that Linux Developers were not telling people about their operating system by marketing their products.

This is also changing now. Dell, no. 1 Computer manufacturer in US, has decided to sell computers pre-installed with Ubuntu. Lenovo, the Chinese computer manufacturer has also joined the line. More are coming. HP already officially supports Linux developments. Acer has been selling command line versions of Linux.

3. Microsoft aggressive strategies to weed out the competitor from market.

Microsoft has always adopted vigorous competition policies, sometime forcing closure of its rival business. Very famous example, include, introduction of Internet Explorer with every Windows since 98, to weed out Netscape, Other are Windows Media Player against Real Player. Such strategies have gained Microsoft many anti-trust cases in US courts and other European countries.

Similar things have been started by Microsoft, seeing the prominent arrival of Linux against Windows. Recently, Microsoft claimed that Linux violates Microsoft's 235 patents, without giving any detail of such violation. This was intended to frighten people and companies who are considering or have started adopting Linux.

When asked by Open Source developers about details of patent violation, so that they may correct if any whatsoever, Microsoft denied giving any details, saying it will disclose details directly with companies ready to make agreements with Microsoft. Thus fulfilled its target of shoving away people from Linux.

4. Microsoft Agreements With Various Governments.

Microsoft makes agreements with various countries to encourage adoption of Microsoft Windows & softwares in govt. infrastructure, thus promoting its products in the whole country. While there is no such one agency to support and make such agreements. There do exists Open Source developer groups and promoters, but they are scattered.

5. Microsoft uses its influence to implements its document formats as World standard.

There is a very current example of this. Microsoft is pushing hard to make its Open XML document as second standard beside Open Document format which already is there.

Microsoft is influencing smaller countries to make them vote in its favor.

No other company has software to deal with this format, and if this gets adopted as standard, people who use it (& they will have to use at sometime, being this standard), will have to buy Microsoft softwares.

6. Conclusion

Vista arrival has opened new avenues for Linux. As most users find themselves unable or unwilling to switch to Vista, for reasons outlined above, they want to change, (and they will have to, as Microsoft & Windows Software developers will stop supporting Windows XP Within 1 or 2 years.

And there has been no better time for Linux than today. More and more companies are coming in support of Linux, list of Linux developers keeps getting long, resulting in an extremely fast acceleration of Linux development.

Mark Shuttleworth (Ubuntu Founder) of distributing free Linux Cd's to whole world and increase in broadband connectivity, and Linux vendors is giving a major thrust to wide spread adoption of Linux across the globe.

7. So Should You Use Linux & If Yes How ?

Well definitely you should start using Linux, except if you have any one of reason i gave above "To Use Windows & Not Use Linux".

To start, i will suggest, you should install Linux along with Windows (so called dual-boot), because :

(i) It will make the process of learning/using/switching Linux gradual thus comfortable. If you completely replace Windows with Linux all of a sudden, you will have problems, which may make you dis-believe in power of Linux & Open Source.

(ii). It will allow you to use Windows for some of purposes which may not be served by Linux. (depending on individual case, like Internet connectivity, any specific software or other reasons i discussed).

You may find good tutorials on Internet describing "How to Install & Use Linux" for new users. Simply search on Google, and read carefully.

Or best way is to ask from someone who is already using Linux, be your friend, brother, relative.

8. Which Linux Distro To Use & How to Get Installation Cd

For a new user, i will suggest PCLinuxOS 2007. You can download it from an Internet. (Google PCLinuxOS 2007 Download). Or you may find it in one of Computer magazine.

If you can't do above two things, then you can use Ubuntu/Kubuntu. You will get it freely delivered at your home.(For this, search in google, "Ubuntu/Kubuntu Free CD Shipit")

(Though i have suggested PCLinuxOS above Ubuntu/Kubuntu, this is only directed at new user coming from windows. Otherwise Ubuntu has definitely emerged as best Linux desktop.)

Final Words

Hope you liked this article. And will benefit from the things i wrote.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Why Is PCLinuxOS 2007 Better Than Ubuntu ? - For new user coming from Windows

Why Is PCLinuxOS 2007 Better Than Ubuntu ?

(Ubuntu feisty vs PCLinuxOS 2007)

Hello guys...

I am one of Linux enthusiast like you people, and have used almost all major Linux distros in past.

Currently I triple boot Windows XP/ Ubuntu Feisty /PCLinuxOS 2007.

I am very impressed with PCLOS 2k7, even more than i was with Ubuntu. So i though why not write something which may help other people....

So here it goes as if why PCLOS 2k7 is better than Ubuntu :

{All things written below are completely my own views, based on my experiences with Linux and Windows, during past years and are no way related to PCLinuxOS OS or Ubuntu developers, or any other person or company mentioned below.}

1. First reason, PCLOS is based on KDE, while Ubuntu is based on GNOME.

And the hard truth is that KDE is definitely better than GNOME. ( I know die hard GNOME users must be frowning). Well, I have points to prove :

(i). KDE gives so much power and options to user to configure their system and desktop, while GNOME in their goal of striving hard for simplicity (unnecessarily and sometimes more than required) cripples normal user (sometime even Linux geeks) in terms of above said parameters. KDE Control center gives far more options than GNOME.

Even Mr. Linus Trovald supports this fact in public and encourages users to use KDE( google it to read Linus's comments.)

(ii). KDE developers are far more active than GNOME people.

This is evident by the fact that KDE is going to release its 4th version (which is a major release, a complete overhaul,i mean everything has been reviewed), while GNOME has no plans of releasing even 3rd version.

(iii). Lots of day to day used apps, like media player, torrent client, file manager, are far superior in KDE. To name a few, Amarok vs. Rhythymbox, Ktorrent vs (hey GNOME doesn't even has a torrent client), Konqueror vs Nautilus, Gaim/Pidgin vs Kopete.... Almost everywhere KDE apps surpass over GNOME apps.

(iv). Now explanations to some of facts for which KD is criticized by GNOME users mostly :

a. KDE is more like Windows.

Well first of all its not true. Because Windows itself copies all things from Mac, but you can't do anything about that, because Mac people are almost always first to bring innovation in GUI. And if Mac people were first to develop the GUI [Graphic User Interface] (rather they also bought it from Xerox company in 80's). So everything traces back to roots and looks similar. And GNOME doesn't look like Windows because GNOME in first place doesn't give many options in GUI. You know, GNOME's philosophy is simplicity.

So better allegation would be that KDE is more like Mac. But believe me fellas, KDE people bring the best of all, along with their own innovations.

b. KDE is slower than GNOME.

Again same explanation, if you need power to configure, you need to have tools to do that. And it needs, both memory and processing. And i use both GNOME and KDE, i don't see or feel much difference.

2. PCLOS has far more stability than Ubuntu. Reasons for that :

(i). PCLOS repository has softwares which have been tested by PCLOS developers completely, while Ubuntu has so many repositories available today, (though it is good in a sense that Ubuntu has max. no of softwares available), that there are very high chances that some program or library dependency from unofficial repository may cause trouble to your system. (OK, this is not for geeks..... BUT this is hell lot of problem for newbies, and mid-experienced users....)

(ii). PCLOS is .rpm based which is better and more efficient packaging model for Linux binaries, than .deb, used by Ubuntu.

[Lot of people may not agree with this. So i want to clear that this is what i have learned from my personal experience, and research on Internet. So your thoughts are equally respected on this.]

3. PCLOS comes pre-installed with most of commonly used multimedia formats(except real player, quick time, and mpg), while Ubuntu doesn't.

This point gives PCLOS a great push ahead of Ubuntu. Its too convenient in conditions like:

(i). Newbies who when using Linux for first time, just get shot when they see that their brand new Linux OS is not playing their favorite songs(mp3).

(ii). Now you will say, person above may simply double click the song, and Ubuntu will automatically install required binaries. True. But, just Imagine someone in developing nation, where Internet penetration is not good or not even available. How do you provide required binaries, as there are always dependencies involved in any Linux binary installation ? Will those people ever replace their perfectly running PIRATED Windows XP in such scenario ? Well, the answer is, NEVER.....

[I could never understand why doesn't Ubuntu pre-installs required multimedia formats. Legal Issues ? Well, i think , they are already getting into legal issues by providing it in repositories. so why not on CD ? May be some complex legal stuff..... if anyone kind enough to explain to me...]

5. PCLOS control center is a big and easy tool to configure system with just few clicks, while

there is not anything analogous in Ubuntu.

6. Some things which i personally experienced with my own system:

(i). PCLOS automatically detected that i needed a software to correct my screen resolution, while Ubuntu didn't.

(ii). PCLOS automatically configured my laptop touchpad correcly, while in Ubuntu, i had to edit x org file to get it working good. For newbies out there, its a nightmare to even find that file without any help from forums or people.

(iii). PCLOS detected my wireless card while Ubuntu didn't.

(iv). On PCLOS, i could run 3d desktops (beryl and compiz) right after install while in Ubuntu i had to install these things from repositories.

(v). On PCLOS i can run even 2 or 3 videos with 3d desktop enabled, while in Ubuntu, whenever i even clicked a video file to play, it would simply exit without anything playing. ( I have a little old laptop with no separate graphic card)

This thing made me a fan of PCLOS. I thought while using Ubuntu that i will never be able to use 3d desktop on permanent basis but with PCLOS i am a complete 3d convert.

[For newbies : 3d desktop on Linux are freaking awesome. Windows vista with its too much hyped "Live Thumbnails in Taskbar" and "Aero Flip Through Windows" should be ashamed. I mean guys, it nothing in front of Linux 3d desktops. And Microsoft spends 5 BILLION DOLLARS on research (did u read that !).

Do check out some videos on you tube. Vista users will feet like scratching their brand new Vista DVD by their own hand after seeing these videos..... So be cautious, Vista victims.......]

(v). I couldn't get flash videos playback with sound on Ubuntu, even after installing same codecs as on PCLOS, and doing all possible tweaks. PCLOS played it like a charm right after install......

(vi). With PCLOS i could select what things not to install (like i kinda don't like open office) during installation by simply uninstalling that software from synaptic, while i couldn't achieve same thing in Ubuntu.

7. What Surprises Me Really As if why Ubuntu hasn't been able to do same things despite the facts that ;

(i). Ubuntu is supported and developed by multimillionaire Mark Shuttleworth and his company Canonical, while PCLOS is developed by some great Linux geek fellas(Texter and ripper gang as they call themselves). I mean where is all that money being spent.

I respect Mark Shuttleworth a lot and am a regular reader of his blog. It seems he needs to audit his company great time.

(ii). Some big computer manufacturer like Dell (and recently Lenovo) and are supporting Ubuntu.

8. Why Has Then Ubuntu Become So Much Popular than Other Linux Distros like OpenSUSE, Mandriva. Well i see few reasons which led to that ;

(i). Mark Shuttleworth decision of sending out free Ubuntu Cd's without any cost in any part of World. This had a huge impact, because it led to wide adoption of Ubuntu in developing nations where people have Internet access but not of broadband like people in developed nations. People out there on their dial up connections could simply request Ubuntu installation Cd's on Ubuntu websites, and get them at their home for free.

(ii). Even today, Ubuntu is definitely second best to PCLOS as:

(a). single CD operating system unlike OpenSUSE or Red hat.

(b). Big community support which has developed over time due to Ubuntu's wide reach attributed to point 8(ii). And MIND YOU....... there is no doubt that Ubuntu's community support is definitely largest and post a query at, and you get the response within minutes......

(iii). And above all, PCLOS hadn't arrived before 2003.................

Hope this article will help newbies to make a right decisions by choosing PCLinuxOS 2007 as their first distro, and already Linux convert to switch or at least give a try to PCLOS 2k7 ( did someone said "distro hoping")......