Why GNU/Linux….. or Why not GNU/Linux………..

In a previous post, I promised to express my thoughts on the question of taking up GNU/Linux for an average computer user…who are usually referred to as a noob in the terminology of GNU/Linux enthusiasts. As is obvious from the terminology, GNU/Linux enthusiasts often do not think highly about their fellows still chained to other Operating Systems (really??Operating systems?? No…but more on this later). But to say the least, the feeling is mutual. Noobs usually think of GNU/Linux enthusiasts either as stupid, misguided souls who are politically motivated and hence  brainwashed in some way or another to use inferior operating systems Or as geeks or programming gurus whose snobbery prevents them to use something which is both good and easy to use.

This is my attempt to start a conversation………..to break the ice so to speak….with the average user. But I do not want to explain the political ideology behind the idea of free software , open source software or GNU/Linux or Unix ( please note that the ideas behind these four are not the same at all). There are many good references……excellently written material on all these. I do not want to say to a average computer user that you should use GNU/Linux so that you can participate in something that strives for a revolutionary transformation of society towards a better society. The reason that I do not want want to say this is not that I think they are false. NO…..the ideas the politics involved here is truly revolutionary………but because you, an average computer user have probably heard these arguments before and concluded ( as an average person concludes about anyone trying to do something that strives to make the world a better place ) the speaker to be a fool, a misguided soul at best.

All I want to say here is this: You should use GNU/Linux because it is simply far far far better.

Before starting, let me first say for whom this post is not. First of all, if you are already a GNU/Linux enthusiast, read my post if you want to, send me your feedback on my attempt. But you are not, strictly speaking, a target audience of this post.
Now the other exceptions….

  • If you are a seasoned Gamer        
    I am really sorry brothers and sisters, but my advice to you ( I am sure you do not need it ) is Not to use GNU/Linux. Playing your favorite games in GNU/Linux will not only by all probability be impossible, but you will have a hard and painful time trying and ultimately you will give up, but being infuriated about GNU/Linux in the process. There are games in GNU/Linux  if you think they can be as interesting to you as the games you play now, by all means try GNU/Linux  Also, if you think you do not always play games and use your machine for other purposes too, try using a dual boot machine where you can try everything else in GNU/Linux and boot into the other one when u want to play games.But you should understand one thing………if your favorite game does not run in GNU/Linux, this is not because ‘GNU/Linux sucks’……rather it is because the corporations that creates your games suck. They purposefully do not create and release a version of your game for the best system that there is on earth, mostly because of their open or secret ties with Microsoft.
  • For nearly the same reasons, if you have to use your machine for full-fledged 3D hardware acceleration from your bleeding-edge new graphics card with tons of  VRAM,  GNU/Linux is probably not a good choice. Gaming essentially can also be considered as subcategory of this one, as though some Windows games do run on GNU/Linux using some applications like wine and playonlinux, most popular games uses high-end graphics, making it impossible to play them this way in GNU/Linux. But again, the reason is  that the hardware manufacturer purposefully uses non-standard architecture or instruction sets for your Graphics card keeps and then its driver codes/ instructions sets/ architecture  secret. Of course, when I say “purposefully” I meant for reasons other than the technological requirements. If they had to use something new to make their card perform better, everyone would understand. But mostly, that’s not the case. They specifically introduce non-standard elements to make it hard for anyone to write a driver for their cards other than they themselves. So GNU/Linux community can not get access to it to write suitable driver for your graphics card. To get it to work, they have to write the drivers for themselves having no help ( in some cases active opposition ) from the hardware manufacturer relying mostly on guesswork and reverse engineering techniques, which makes it very hard to have full support to utilize the card to its limits, especially if your hardware model is brand new. But most cards work to almost their full capability in GNU/linux nowadays. As far as I am aware of, all Nvidia cards and most ATI Raedon cards work pretty close to their full capability. ( But this is on today’s date….everything changes very quickly in today’s ever changing hardware market ) . So you are strongly advised to check the compatibility of your hardware (some wireless devices falls in this category also….. these problems are what GNU/Linux enthusiasts call  Proprietary Firmware problem ) with GNU/Linux before planning to try GNU/Linux out.
    • If you have to run Servers on your machineIf you are running servers on your machine and still not running GNU/Linux, then probably……..
    1. You are using some other clone of UNIX….may be UNIX itself, or Solaris and the like.Then you are doing the right thing of course. But nonetheless UNIX ( and some other UNIX clone ) is not free and though Solaris has a free version,  it is not received not even anything close to half as much developments some of the GNU/Linux distros  are getting nowadays. So I suggest you can try it out if you can find the time.
    2. If you know your work well and you are running servers and still not running any UNIX  clones, then probably you have a very special and particular reason to do so.  Maybe some tool on some of the server you run has a particular issue with UNIX systems (very unlikely, but hey…you know your job well….so you know better).
    3. If none of the above is true, then by all probability you must be unimaginably stupid or completely insane or both. Servers belong to UNIX systems. GNU/Linux is a UNIX clone and a free one at that.
  • If you are a compulsive obsessive masochist who really enjoys being told what you should and should not desire about what your machine should do and how your machine should do it, i.e, in short, if you are a Mac-user. Windows users never tasted freedom, they don’t know how it feels like to have freedom. But Mac user’s dictionary is too crowded to have a place for the word freedom. For the uninitiated, their dictionary contains only one word….the Holy word…..APPLE.
    If you are asking apple is the fruit that caused the first sin, so how can that be the Holy word then surely you are a misguided soul and have not read the brand new 21st Century Bible, The New Testament, Steve Jobes Version….King James is ancient man!!
    If you are saying “OK, A for Apple is fine…but where are the other words and where are the other alphabets?”………….then welcome aboard….as you are definitely not a mac user and can not ever be, as mac users are born, not made.
    (Note: Jokes apart, but curiously enough, technically Mac OS X is indeed itself a UNIX-clone…..but this is the most restrictive (and hence, most non-UNIX like ) UNIX clone mankind could have ever dreamed of creating and so I will not be discussing it as a UNIX clone at all and as a matter of fact, I shall leave all discussions of Mac to ma(so)c(h)-ists from here onward.)

If you are not any of the above, then allow me to try and and convince you that GNU/Linux is far superior. But I promise I shall be honest. I shall also specifically point out the weaknesses of the system and the problems that you might expect to face if you try to use GNU/Linux as we go along.

[To be Continued….. 08/10/2012]

Cont from 8th October 2012….

So now I begin with the comparative study of GNU/Linux and Windows systems….
The first topic of discussion will be Security.

Security: Virus-antivirus-firewall……the dreaded vicious cycle….

If you are a Windows user…………definitely you have asked a lot of people, discussed with a lot of people and spent countless hours and bandwidth to download and install ( or installing from CD, in that case which means you paid money also ) your favorite anti-virus software………and downloading updates of virus definition databases of your antivirus…….many heated discussions over Mcfee or AVG or …..so on and so forth…
and still after all that, sometimes the anti-virus software and its resident shields and so on and so forth things make your life miserable by asking you every time whenever you open a site in internet or plug in a usb device……..and makes your machine so slow that sometimes you think that the worst virus you can have in your machine is most probably that cursed anti-virus software itself……….and still sometimes, there are viruses in your machine and you realize that your annoying, bulky anti-virus is helpless against it….you loose valuable data, still more valuable time and always live in a perpetual state of fear about possible virus threats in your computer.  So are you happy with the situation?

At the point you are probably thinking “This is not about my Windows…..It is about my anti-virus software …They are crap, but what does it have to do with Windows? Windows did not provide the anti-virus software”. Exactly. Windows do not provide you security.
GNU/Linux on the other hand, provides you a far secure system. You don’t need an anti-virus. I personally once had the hobby of collecting viruses….Yes, you can keep viruses as your pets….( so that if you get angry with some of your friends who uses windows, you can send them a mail attaching that virus as attachment and enjoy the fun……………….kidding apart, do not do that…although they use Windows, they are just uninitiated, not your enemies). But let me explain why….

I must admit that one reason is that GNU/Linux systems are not that popular among normal users yet…so writing a virus for GNU/Linux is less effective (and more difficult too, but that is the next point) if the writer wants to damage a large number of users with his/her virus.
So this is about to change if GNU/Linux becomes the popular system of choice.

But the second reason is the key point, which will not change….that GNU/Linux, being a UNIX clone is a far more secure system than Windows. Let me briefly explain why…..
if a virus somehow enters your system….it must first run itself…..it is a program…so it needs to be run in order to do its job…..as long as it is not run, i.e executed………it is just an file containing binary data….
How do viruses achieve this? usually by faking the disguise of something that your Windows system usually runs….like some Java codes from your browser…..Windows allows your browser to run the Java codes (and allows many other programs to run many things ) and allows it to make changes to your system. This is the big difference……….of course, Java codes are also run browsers running on GNU/Linux and GNU/Linux allows that………but what it does not allow is to make any change to the system itself without your explicit authorization.  Why Windows don’t do that? Well….I hope you installed application software in Windows, right?  What does it do? You click on a .exe file which contains the executable binary codes and the system runs the code (as you instructed it to do so by clicking the code ) and the code then makes changes to the system. That is how software get installed in a Windows system. So system has to allow codes to make changes to the system. Well, I admit that this can be turned off by using a guest account rather than an account with administrator privileges…but if you are really an average user, you probably have no idea what I said in this last line and using a guest account is quite inconvenient too. So now all the virus has to do is to fake your “click”, so to speak. The system will think you instructed it to run and voila…..next thing you know is it is time to call your assembler….your machine is under attack by a virus…and your assembler is fighting hard to save as much of your valuable data as he/she can.

GNU/Linux does not allow anything to make changes to the system without your explicit authorization. You can think this can also be faked the same way your ‘click’ can be faked. After all, your ‘click’ is also a sort of authorization right? Well, in principle it can be…….but practically it is much more difficult than faking the ‘click’. First of all, here the system will ask for your superuser password or root password, which you will then have to type. So to fake this authorization, the virus program have to know what your password is. That in itself is hard enough, but there is an added layer of security….the root password is never ‘written’ anywhere in your machine. It is stored, but in an encrypted-way….in a machine readable format, not like words that are written in a text file which you can read by opening it. So even if the virus manages to get a hold of the file where your password is stored, still the virus program can not know the password without breaking the encryption. Of course, the stronger the encryption, the stronger is your system’s security. Some GNU/Linux distros like Ubuntu however extensively uses sudo in place of su…in plain English, it asks for your login password ( explicitly , i.e although you are logged in, still it asks for your login password again ) instead of superuser password to grant you superuser rights. However you can always change this behavior by enabling the root account.
It is a fortress compared to Windows systems.….

So if you use any distro of GNU/Linux……..you can stop worrying about viruses and in fact, can keep them as pets. No scans, no obnoxious resident shields, no slowing down your machine….no virus definition database update…………..nothing.
Freedom from your fears of viruses. This is the first taste of freedom you are getting. Enjoy it. No worries.     Hakuna Matata

[To be continued………09/10/2012]

Continued from 09/10/2012…………

Sorry everyone for the unusually long pause…….

Our next topic is going to be …

Boot and Startup:  Frankly, there is nothing to discuss in detail….  Nowadays, GNU/Linux systems in general boot faster. Especially Ubuntu has taken it to unbelievable level… It really boots within a blink of an eye…..

Software Installation: The repositories……

If you are a windows user, you know that after installing windows, you actually had to install a long, long, long list of softwares……… most likely MS Office, Adobe acrobat, Adobe Photoshop etc or CorelDraw or even drivers for your CD-writer ( Probably you got a free Nero with it ) or printer……… and then you used your default browser, the internet explorer, for the one and only time in your life…… to download and install google chrome, mozilla firefox or opera….

GNU/Linux systems comes with most of the basic softwares included…. so they get installed along with the operating system itself….
But that’s not the only fun part… it is in fact nothing compared to the other one………
They have repositories…… Well, bear with me a while………. I am aware you are a windows user… so the word repository probably means nothing to you.
A repository is exactly what it sounds like…. a repository of softwares……..a place where you get any GNU/Linux software you want and many other Open-Source or free software that runs on the linux system……
So if you have a working internet connection……… you have whatever software you like in a central place.… no more searching and downloading pirated versions from filehippo and of course not paying to buy softwares.

[To be Continued….. 06/06/2013]

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20 thoughts on “Why GNU/Linux….. or Why not GNU/Linux………..

  1. you forgot to mention about Office softwares in Linux. LibreOffice is no where close to MS Office in productivity. That’s a pretty huge deal for many, especially in professional circles. Also, Linux can be used from VMs rather than dual boot. That’s even simpler I guess, although I personally dual boot.

    • @ Arka: No I did not forget…..I did not write it because I can not agree with you at all…In fact, I disagree as strongly as I can…..LibreOffice is still a developing office suite…..developed in quite a hurry once Oracle bought OpenOffice…..
      But I sure would like to know (and I am also sure many like me would want to know too ) in exactly which respect do you say MS Office is better than say, OpenOffice?? First of all, have you ever used OpenOffice? If you have, then please enlighten my readers and me why do you think MS Office is better than OpenOffice? What is that you can do in MS Office and Open Office does not do better? …..Yes, I am not even talking about what MS Office can do and Open Office cant….because nothing of the sort exists….I am asking what it can not do better than MS Office? By the way, I hope your answer is not opening .docx files….because that I am sure this is one thing that MS Office does better than Open Office.
      🙂

      • ohh and by the way………..yes I know it is simpler to use VMs….I run my windows on VM in my linux…….
        🙂
        and the reverse??? ha ha ha ha………Have u really ever tried running virtual machine on a windows system?….Even if you have, that´s probably on a system having tons of RAM……..I run a Windows XP on VM on Debian Linux on my home desktop with 512 MB of RAM…….With 512 MB of RAM, Windows can not even run itself………let alone a virtual machine…..

  2. I admit that my reaction to your comment is a tad aggressive……but that is because your tone was so definitive……..anyone pretending to speak “the last word” or “the absolute truth” infuriates me……….However I shall talk about both Office suites and Virtual Machines later in this sequel of posts…So we will have ample opportunities to discuss the issue then…….but seriously I really am eager to know what makes you think MS Office is better……I am not just talking for myself……I do not use office suites that much…(practically I dont use it at all)……..but to all those who have to use office suites a lot and have used both (without any bias or preconceptions, judging them from the point of view of functionality and quality of software) that I know of, surely have exactly the opposite opinion. If you are anything close to serious, then surely you are not talking about MS Word………as frankly speaking, people using windows and MS office are yet to know what word processing really is. The only case is MS Excel….I agree it is one of those few pieces of software produced by Microsoft that gives you back something close to what can be called ´value for money´. However, what I heard from people who used both and have to heavily use it….OpenOffice spreadsheet is equally good. If your experience tells you otherwise, please share with us. I am happy to correct my opinions. But please, if you have not used both the suits without preconceived notions, then I would suggest you first try it out and then share what you think about it. It is extremely easy to do……..OpenOffice is a Open-source software and windows versions are available free of charge to download from internet. The first thing that anyone can notice is the space the installation takes is smaller, even on a windows platform than a MS Office installation.( Let alone the Linux version…..the space and the time MS office takes in its installation, I think you will be able to install a full operating system).

  3. @Arka: One more thing perhaps you dont know that a major portion of the corporate sector uses open office as their office suit for two basic reasons, one open office is far faster than MS Office and can handle enormous amount of data (try it, I already have) and secondly it is free of cost (they had to pay a lot of money to Microsoft to use their office suit).

  4. @ Mr. Dasgupta : “The extraordinary jump in the number of flaws discovered by researchers in the components of Office has worried system administrators and forced Microsoft to spend development time on fixing the issues.

    “When our security process gets activated, the application team is essentially ours,” said Stephen Toulouse, security program manager for Microsoft’s Security Response Center (MSRC). “It is not just that they are on-call, but they are working around the clock on response and updates.”

    The deluge of vulnerabilities for the Office programs–Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and, for professional users, Access–signals a shift in the focus of vulnerability research and underscores the impact of flaw-finding tools known as fuzzers. The vulnerabilities in Office also highlight the threat that such files, if remained unchecked, can pose to a corporate network. Not since the days of macro viruses and Melissa have Office files posed such a danger to computer security.

    The focus on Office flaws is a microcosm of the overall shift among vulnerability researchers from network service and server flaws to the application flaws that can be exploited to compromise a user’s PC. Browsers, of course, are a popular target, but vulnerabilities have also been found in music-player software, image formats, the Macromedia Flash and Shockwave, e-mail readers and desktop security software.

    “Nobody, I think, a year and a half ago would have thought that iTunes would have been a threat,” Microsoft’s Toulouse said.

    Microsoft frequently sees such shifts in what vulnerability researchers find interesting, according to Toulouse. Yet, finding out what attracts researchers is more difficult, he said.

    The initial signs of interest in Microsoft Office appeared last December, when one researcher attempted to auction off a vulnerability in Excel, only to have the high-profile auction canceled by eBay. Microsoft released its first major round of fixes for Office about four months later, approximately the average time that the software giant takes to patch flaws.

    After that, a trickle turned into a flood.”
    You can hope for LibreOffice, but I am really sorry that microsoft office has already been a “hype”.
    And so far dual boot is concerned, VM in linux is more powerful and a better resource handler than that of WINDOWS.(i tried and i run windows 95, 98, XP in VM- nostalgia gentleman)

  5. @Davis: Just one point……..VM in Windows is so horribly bad not because of the application….VMware is actually a good software…..but Windows is not even remotely close when compared with the sheer power and robustness of a Linux system……as for economy of resources……….
    🙂
    I guess even a die-hard Windows fan will not claim that Windows is resource-efficient…
    It still runs because people usually don’t need the tons of RAM and tons of hard disk space that their laptops already have……anyone having to do anything which requires a lot of memory…..they wouldn’t even dream of using Windows 7. But that is my point to user who do still use Windows….I understand you have tons of memory and space….but you have enough does not mean you should misspend it…and in today’s world, memory and space one can not really have enough………the difference of space between my Linux installation and a Windows 7 installation is usually at least 3 more movies…..and memory…….well to me it translates into keeping open 35-40 more tabs on Google chrome simultaneously along with some other application windows (for me it is Kile+Deluze+ an Amarok running in the tray) without crashing neither the system nor any of the applications…..I wonder whether any windows installation ever seen so many open Windows even in its last breath (that is, just before the point when it ´hangs´/´freezes´).

  6. guys hold on!! no reason to gang up on me. I’ve been a linux user for the past 4 years. I have used both LibreOffice and OpenOffice. I don’t use Office software too much to make an expert comment on their differences with MS Word, but I know this much that every time I work on MS Word my documents get churned out faster and better. For instance, I have found tables, bullets, spacings, fomat painter, etc. to be much more comfortable and easy to use in MS Word. These are trivial things but the frequency of their use cuts down your editing time. As for Sil’s comment that they don’t open docx files as well as MS Office does, it really is a big deal. Because the docs that come over to you for editing are ALWAYS in docx . Granted that it is because of the overwhelming populatrity of MS office, but it’s still true. the fact that I’ve been so definitive about my first comment was because i was not really aware that there was an MS Word vs. Open Office debate, because even hardy Linux users I have spoken to have never defended OpenOffice against MS Word, we all generally agree that ‘lack’ of a good office software is what still forces us to use a little bit of windows that we do. in any case, i withdraw my first comment and add an ‘in my opinion’ to everything i have said so far. hope that cools you down!!

    @Surajit, yes your are right i wasn’t aware that Openoffice was used anywhere in the corporate sector. I have never used it in an office environment.

    @Mr.Dutta, agreed on the security issues, but we all know about those. That’s an inherent problem in Windows. I think the ‘productivity of Office suite’ shouldn’t be dragged into it.

    • @Arka:
      I am sorry to express my strong doubts that how hardy the “hardy Linux user you’ve spoken to” really are. I dont know whom do you refer to by saying “we all agree that ‘lack’ of a good office software”……because there is really no lack of a good office software…….another excellent is KOffice….default office suite with KDE…..The issue of Office software in Linux is completely different and does not concern an average user (and hence this post ) at all.It is free software vs open-source software debate and many other such issues……Oracle bought OpenOffice…………that is the reason to develop LibreOffice….. not becasue of the reason that OpenOffice is not good……Similarly the reason to develop OpenOffice was It was getting more difficult to integrate StarOffice (another excellent Office suite that probably no longer receives any development ) with the newer versions of Desktop environments and we needed a native Office suite for Gnome ( KOffice was fine and still is fine and still is far better than MS Office, but that is KDE’s Office suit….which does not stop you from using it in Gnome….but there is slight trouble with integration………By the way, we Linux people are hard to please…………..so what we call slight trouble will seem nothing to a Windows user because he/she is forced to live with far larger troubles and he/she has so grown used to those troubles that they do not find it troublesome at all)…….

      “I know this much that every time I work on MS Word my documents get churned out faster and better.”

      ……………ohh really????? Absolutely the opposite is the case………try for yourself please……….and without having a preconceived notion……..and start from scratch………if you are taking a .docx file which has been edited in MS Office and then you edit it further with OpenOffice and expect to have a better result than MS Word then sadly, you will be disappointed. But do you think your expectation is justified? Would you expect me to know your room better than you yourself???………..
      In fact, Linux software are so better than their MS counterparts that you are actually somewhat justified in expecting this. For example, .wma and .wmv files, windows media audio and video…the format for Windows media player Library , plays better in vlc than it does in Windows Media Player itself…….

      🙂
      So all I can agree that yes, this is not the case with Office suites…..Linux Office suites do not handle MS Office files better than MS Office itself……..
      But as Office Suites, they are already way better……not just security….which is a joke in anything related to Windows or Microsoft….but also in productivity….

      and not to mention things like exporting to PDF…… which is a ‘feature’ in MS Office ……and a very poorly implemented one at that (Just try to export one of your word document to PDF and try looking at the ugly output it produces using yet another software Adobe Reader …….(ha ha ha ………funny ……….the so called “most popular operating system” actually can do nothing on its own….everything is done by application software developed by other companies…..almost all of them costs money ) )…….and is as easy as breathing to any Linux Office suite whatsoever….

      “Granted that it is because of the overwhelming popularity of MS office, but it’s still true.”.

      ……………………It is not at all because of overwhelming popularity of MS Office dear…………..it is because of overwhelming popularity of Windows and the pervasiveness of the bad manners it teaches you.………….Why send your files in a format so that the person receiving it need to have Windows to edit it?? Do you write a mail to your Australian colleague in Bengali??
      You don’t………..because that’s bad manners and pointless………..Why not send your files in .odt format so that anyone can open it….OpenOffice being a open-source software has versions for Windows, all Linux systems, possibly also on BSD and Solaris running X-windows and I don’t know about Mac….but even if it is not already there, developing for Mac should be child’s play………..Programmers at Apple will just have to download the source code from OpenOffice and adapt it to the need of their system.

      And by the way, do not expect to talk nonsense and people to accept it because you have ‘used’ Linux for 4 years…..May I know for how many years have you used a system with only Linux in it? ?…….I know the answer from what you are writing……0…..I used only Linux machines for more than 4 years mate…… and I have been using it since the time when Mandriva was still mandrake……ubuntu wasn’t born and to install any Linux distro, you need to know quite a lot about UNIX systems and commands……
      I have run ( yes, run…..if you really are a hardy Linux user that you are trying to pretend it to be…you would have said ‘run’…….No hardy Linux user says ‘used’….That’s what Windows users do…..’use’ Windows…and Microsoft happily uses their money….With Linux, you build a relationship with your system…..You don’t just use them mate…..we the real ‘hardy’ Linux users run them, configure them, work with them, play with them, tweak them ……in short, live with them ) Mandrake,SUSE, RedHat, Knoppix (a live cd linux), Debian, Ubuntu (starting from Bridgy Badger………at that time they send 20 CDs and I still have many left, as in spite of my best efforts , I couldn’t really convince 20 people to use Linux……….But them I can understand……..Bridgy was hard to use……You need to be a hardy Linux user and a UNIX fan (every ‘hardy’ Linux user who deserves this adjective must be one…)….but what I don’t understand is people like you who refuse to open their eyes and preach other people about things about which they don’t have the slightest idea), Linux Mint, Gnuwave………..and two UNIX….Solaris and SCO Unixware….
      and I really regret that I never used Slackware……..the oldest Linux distro that’s still in use…….
      So please………if you have anything constructive to say…….you are welcome by all means….you are welcome to differ……..but it only counts if you say it with your eyes and ears open…. If you want to shut down your eyes, ears and brain before the blue welcome screen of Windows…..then you are as obstinate as MA(so)C(h)-ists that I already mentioned and then you need not bother yourself with what I write in this post. This is my blog, and I have no intention of holding a public debate with ‘hardy’ Windows users…..This is me trying to have a conversation with some people who does not have blind faith in Windows…..and have the ability to feel that their system is not probably giving them what their hardware should be giving…….but does not know enough about Linux and its usability…..and hence hesitant to try it out.

  7. How much I use the office, I never feel any difference between MSoffice and openoffice from the beginning. But swarnenduda I am not agree with u about VM in windows. It does not take ton of ram . yes i dont know whether it is possible in 512mb or not but it works with 1 gb.

    • @Koni: First of all……..1 Gb is more than 512 MB….and then you dont understand…..I believe you have tried running a Linux on VM on Windows…….and Linux usually runs a Windows on VM…see the difference? Linux is having to do the more difficult job, running a resorce-hungry system on VM..Ever tried running a Windows (for example lets say , running an XP on VM on Windows 7) on Windows?? You will see what I mean………If you really want to experiment……..you should do it with a scientific mindset…………..checking all the possibilities………..I really did run all possible combinations……….If you do the same, you´ll find a direct experimental proof that Windows system is really nothing compared to a Linux system….You can not run Windows XP running AUTOCAD in it on VM in Windows 7 even with 1 GB of RAM………you try it. Let me know if you succeed, I know you wont.
      Yes I admit that running XP with AUTOCAD on VM on 512 MB of RAM is difficult even in Linux….for example you can not do it in Gnome/KDE…or even with Gnome-base/KDE-base……..If you know what I mean I need to run LXDE or just OpenBox on my Debian Squeeze to get it running smoothly……But on a Windows 7 machine, it would be impossible even with 1 GB of RAM, no matter whatever tweak I try to do (which means turning off as many services as I can) .

  8. Swarnendu, you are being excited more than required. There is nothing to be so aggressive about. There might be some people who are comfortable with some bad habits, you should point out why that habit is bad, without targeting the person, IMHO.

    Okay, coming back to point, I am loving this post, and waiting for it to finish so that I can circulate it in my college. Until now, I have tried volunteering for basic GNU/Linux tutorials, and LaTeX tutorials, but always wanted to have a handy point by point analysis. Your document might help me in that way.

    Office suit? Wait, who uses that? Not the technical practitioners, because they have LaTeX. For spreadsheet operations only, sometimes they look for the office thingy, but generally, its kinda underutilized. Now, for the majority of the PC users, office is important because of Writer and Spreadsheet, the other components like presentation maker, and website maker, and database handling are much less used than those two. For spreadsheet, I like MS Excel too, because of its nice soothing colors and gradients, rounded edges, easy basic computation, plotting, a large automation options, etc, out of which, I miss only the nice design aspect when I use Spreadsheet in either Open Office or Libre Office. I mean, yeah, I may be a noob but nice designs attract me and when I see nicer designs in non-GNU/Linux environment, I feel a bit sad.

    What I don’t get in GNU/Linux? Nothing as such, except my need for some specific programs as a noob. Here is an extended list of them.

    1. A software equal to or better than Adobe Lightroom 4.x. Please developers, a LOT of photography enthusiasts are waiting for this, and frankly speaking Darktable, RawTherapee, or likes cannot give the immense ease of use bundled with the fantastic rendering algorithms. I am NOT saying that what can be done in Lightroom cannot be done in Darktable. Yes, it can be done, but it does not satisfy my shortest path problem, and it makes my learning curve steeper, purely from a consumerist “user” point of view, for whom this article is targeted at. I don’t want to know the RGB value of the exact tone i step darker than “Creamtone”, I need a GUI, and I am waiting for such a program in GNU/Linux.

    2. A program which “easily” allows me create a “non-ad-hoc” wifi hotspot from my wired internet connection, without the need to write any code and meddle with any file inside /etc.

    3. In line with point 1, a good program to replace Adobe’s design and layout software like Indesign and Illustrator. Scribus still lacks a lot of development and features.

    4. Ummmm… let me think… I will come up with more of them, un-hopefully.

    • @Ghoti: Well……….I agree with all you said…….you can see that I specifically mentioned Excel……..That´s the only possible candidate for such a discussion…..But Arka went back to discussing MS Word…….and I totally agree that I know no one who uses word software at all ( What was Latex invented for ? 🙂 )……But even if they do……OpenOffice Word processor is better ……..and I agree that spreadsheet lacks the elegance of MS Excel….Its powerful, but a little ugly…
      The 3 points you made……..you are bang on target……actually I am about to discuss them specifically……..I have another one……….Video conferencing software in Linux………after Microsoft bought Skype…..This is another problem……….and I have in mind a few more………but since I shall be discussing them in the post itself………..there is no point discussing it now in the comments….Thanks for the feedback…..

      • @Ghoti: One more thing (again which I shall discuss in the post itself )……….Scribus is basically a replacement for Adobe Pagemaker…….for which it is great……….but yes….there are no such good replacements for the beautiful Adobe software you mentioned.

  9. True, but professional layout society has left Pagemaker long back, so we the GNU/Linux lovers demand a pro software like Indesign!

    And swarnendu, I would love to see the name of GNU with Linux whenever you mention it, to me it sort of acknowledges the equal contribution of Linus Torvalds and Richard Stallman 🙂

    • I agree once again…….. 🙂 I have previously decided to write in the end……that whenever I use the word Linux, read it as GNU/Linux…….because it is inconvenient to write GNU/Linux every time…….But it is just plain wrong to write only Linux…..The only thing I shall disagree is that to me, contribution of Stallman is greater than that of Linus…..not just to the development of Linux ( without GNU the first Linux kernel would still remain a toy thing for programmers, what is exactly what it was meant to be when Toravald wrote it)….but the entire idea of freedom associated with it….Sorry Linus, you did great…..but still Dick is my man 🙂
      But since it displeases you ( I am really very happy that it does)……I shall change tonight……

  10. @Sil: Well if you doubt how ‘hardy’ they are, let me ask you what in your opinion defines a ‘hardy Linux user’? In the context of the discussion, I feel a person who uses Linux for their day to day stuff can be considered hardy enough. you really are getting too excited. there’s hardly a reason to doubt me or my credentials or my colleagues’ credentials over something like this. you might be quicker on your docs with openoffice. i wouldn’t know. i just talked about how it is with me, and perhaps with the majority. i am not advocating MS software over GNU/LInux and i don’t have a preconceived notion here (i have already mentioned that I HAVE USED MS office and openoffice and libreoffice). i feel it is high time that you introspect lest it turns out it was you who was having the ‘preconceived notion’ all along.
    latex is primarily (again, in my opinion) used in the scientific environment. i don’t know of anyone using latex in the industry. also, i never said i was expecting openoffice to do better than MS Word on docx files. i’m saying that docx is overwhelmingly the most used format and the fact that openoffice doesn’t handle it well makes it difficult to use.
    @aghatak: while your intentions are good, you should know i don’t think of this as a bad habit really. i think it’s important to keep an open mind and appreciate what is good in everything. linux users often tend to start frothing at the mouth whenever somebody appreciates something in Windows. I just don’t want to be in that category. (this is not directed at you personally, given the highly charged atmosphere i think it’s important to clarify).

    • “Linux users often tend to start frothing at the mouth whenever somebody appreciates something in Windows. I just don’t want to be in that category. “…..Yes of course you don’t want to……..all of us got that part long ago….what I don’t get and what infuriates me is that why are you trying to pretend to be a Linux user at all?……..
      Anyway, all these fuss is totally pointless anyway…..

      • Why do you say I’m trying to pretend to be a Linux user? I mentioned in my first comment that I’ve been a Linux user for the past 4 years (more, in fact). Why you or anyone else would think otherwise beats me. You don’t even know anything about me. Just because I prefer to use MS Office for my word processing? In fact the point I’m trying to make is exactly that, that even being a Linux user I can appreciate the things that are good in Windows. When I said ‘I don’t want to be in that category’, all I meant was that I want to be impartial when I judge something. Twisting it to mean something else isn’t appropriate.
        Anyway, as you say the fuss is pointless. So I’ll sign off from the mudslinging. Good luck to you!!

  11. @Arka: Yes…….all these must really end……… just one thing…….If you have not already formed another preconceived notion about me being “the Linux user who start frothing at the mouth whenever somebody says something good about windows”….you would not miss it that I already agreed with another person right in these comments that MS Excel, though functionally equivalent, but produces better looking output for spreadsheets….. In fact I would have totally understood if you talked about Excel only……and I made that very clear in my first post….. Anyway, if you really think MS Word is better than their GNU/Linux equivalents……You are of course free to do so, aren’t you? Mac users also believes Apple makes the best software……You can not ever convince a Mac user that any piece of software in his/her system is not the best one in the world…..while in reality, its exactly the opposite…….It is really a matter of habit mate…even if I refrain from entering into the debate of whether it is good or bad…. but some habits are more productive in the long run than others…that’s all….
    Anyway, all I have to say is this……..I am writing this mainly for one reason….a lot of GNU/Linux users feel that there are tons of advantages of using GNU/Linux and some difficulties……whenever they try to share these feelings with Windows users…..most of the time the impression he/she gets is two-fold……1) The Windows user thinks GNU/Linux has many insoluble problems and so is pretty unusable…. and 2) Windows does not really gives him/her difficulties…..(Whatever problems Windows give him/her, he/she thinks it is the flaw of modern day technology………..Virus, slow booting, slow system everything is part of life….He/she simply “believes” everything else will be much worse )
    Both are absolutely false statements……So what I am trying to do here is
    1) To make a concrete, as much as possible exhaustive list of everything in which GNU/Linux is better
    2) Most common difficulties encountered in GNU/Linux……..what can be done about them
    But this is not my preaching….I am trying to collect it all in one place mate….. All GNU/Linux lover I know have felt this need…….I am trying to carry it out….and of course, collectively…..But whatever your experience is, it is not shared by most GNU/Linux lovers worldwide….. I am sure if I go down that road, i.e if I start including anything that has been felt inadequate compared to Windows stuff by even a single person into the list of ‘negatives’ of using GNU/Linux ……….I am sure finally the list will contain all negatives and no positive at all….. This is basically the reason why Windows is so popular……all of us have some ‘bad’ habits to start with……… especially since we started our life with computers in Windows…….. we all have them or at least had lots of them…..some goes away, some remains…..you enjoy GNU/Linux is fine and great…..You feel the need to use Windows too….That’s fine too…. I myself use Windows (though the reason is funny……my ipod, which can only be synced using itunes….and yes, I haven’t jailbroken it). There are still many things that you might need your computer to do can only be done in Windows…..(But as I am about to discuss later in the post, for these jobs what you can do is run Windows in Linux, yes virtualization of course…….and this I am prepared to bet my money on that it is demonstrably far superior solution than the other way round )
    But it is not a consensus among GNU/Linux users that Office Suite is one of them mate… especially not a word processor……. Spreadsheet…yes…almost everyone will agree that Excel is more elegant……..though many will argue that by functionality they are equivalent….and what is perceived a elegance is also a product of prolonged bad habit, which might well be true….

    but at least that is a point of discussion……..Word is not even in the picture…..and it is not difficult to verify……………there are loads of GNU/Linux user communities and forums and you can browse and see if I am telling the truth or not….but ahh well, you already said you are not interested in mudslinging, right?

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