Linux will not displace Windows so soon

Having installed and used Windows XP Professional on my work laptop for the past two days, I am amazed by the progress Windows has made. I have been “using” it on my home desktop for some time, but since it is only to play games (this is my own XBox), I have not had any opportunity to see how Windows XP performs for serious tasks (such as programming).

Well, my brief experience has already convinced me that the average Joe will not abandon Windows for Linux so soon. Those who still think that Linux will conquer the desktop should take some time off advocating, sit in front of a computer running Windows XP and give it a serious test-drive.

10 Replies to “Linux will not displace Windows so soon”

  1. I tend to agree with you. Sure, Linux has it’s uses, but for general computing it still comes down to either Windows or Mac.

    As for programming on Windows, it depends what you want to do. Windows programmers are using Borland C++ Builder, Delphi, or .NET. Or you can install Cygwin to have a unix shell environment that you can configure and use things like your favorite shell (bash, for me), gcc, perl, python, php, etc. And ActiveState also maintains their own language distributions for Perl, Python, and Tcl/Tk. Basically you can program in pretty much any language you want, you just won’t always have a shell, if you’re not working inside Cygwin.

    Personally, I want a unix-like environment that “just works” without lots of configuration, so naturally I want an iBook or PowerBook. I do a fair bit of C++ programming, and am learning QT.

  2. Eddy, I agree with you. While linux has made a lot of progress, there’s a lot of improvement still to be made before it is ready for desktop use by the average joe. Stuff has to ‘just work’.

    Another big issue for me is the availability of industry-standard multimedia production software. While I love my FreeBSD box, I do not see myself using it for serious work because spend most of my time working with Macromedia and Adobe software. Macromedia is supposedly working to get its software working on *nix via WINE, but I’m not holding my breath. They don’t even have flash player 7 working on linux (FreeBSD uses the linux flash plugin).

    For serious work I need either OS X or Windows. I run Windows XP on my desktop machine at home, and use OS X at uni. I usually access my FreeBSD desktop from my Windows box, using TightVNC and twin monitors. I flick my mouse towards the monitor on the left, and I’m in Gnome. A flick to the right, and I’m in Windows. However, I don’t do much work at all in FreeBSD. I surf the web, post on usenet and feed my need to tinker and customise everything within reach. I also run my firewall off it, and the web and database servers that I use for web development.

    I was looking to install Eclipse on FreeBSD to have an excuse to code PHP on it, but the port seems to be broken.

    I guess I like FreeBSD because I love to tinker with my OS. Windows XP allows me to get work done. So does Mac OS X.

  3. As a programmer, I should not have to deal with re-compiling kernels and such things. What I really want (and what drove me to buy and iBook in the first place) is the ability to boot into my operating system and become productive immediately. My experience with installing Gentoo Linux on the iBook convinced me that this is not possible with Linux.

  4. I would like to point out that Gentoo isn’t the linux distro you should be looking at if you don’t want to get your hands dirty :P

  5. True, true. But as I pointed out in earlier post, being a user of FreeBSD, Gentoo Linux was the distribution that was the most natural choice for me.

  6. the SUSE PPC distor sux. YDL is a red hat port and werx ok. Still no flash action, so I dual boot my powerbook with OS X. Yah the ‘doze boxes are for playing games, OS X for designing and Linux for coding. any ubergeek must feel at home in all 3. And Solaris too… (Death to SCO!)

  7. Interesting conversation. Seems like a lot of you are caught between a “love” for Linux and a business “need” for Windows. I guess I’m lucky. Most of my work involves programming in Linux. I’ve spent many years on that platform and I’m now very comfortable walking around the great variety of applications to get my work done. I especially like the fact that many of them are “free” (easy to get actually) allowing me the freedom to select from many different offerings. That said, I have partners who use Windows. They, like many of you, like Windows XP especially on a high performance machine. The Internet is definitely Windows friendly with so much content built for Flash or Windows Media. Their greatest worry is how complex the operating system has become. Adding and removing software, making spurious configuration changes is not done lightly. Programs still run into each other and cause havoc from time to time.
    My kids use a Mac. They can do everything on that Mac. Their school is full of Macs. I would never foist a Linux box on them. That would be way too much of a hassle. Conversely, for me, moving to Windows would be way too much work.

  8. Linux is already powering up NASA why do you still want 2 believe that it cannot do the same job on for you on your workstation.Development is already the highest priority for all programers and open source oriented software has blown a hole the size of the solar system in bill`s pocket…in 10 years it will be the best software and it will replace windows as the majos OS.

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