Sat, Jun 13, 2009 - Page 8 News List

JOHNNY NEIHU’S MAILBAG

Linux versus Windows

Dear Johnny,

Although I’m sure quite a lot of your readers won’t care about this, I’m still willing to fight the fight. I’d like your take on this particular subject.

Linux is free; Windows is not (unless you download a fake copy, crack it successfully and get to the point where you can fool its Windows Genuine Advantage crap).

The other night I came across a very vile Web site (www.promotinglinux.com/truth) and I haven’t even finished reading all the comments. But what I’d like to point out is that Linux is not only free; it also works!

Windows costs money and we are always recommended to upgrade and patch this and that, and so on and so on.

We have paid so much money for cheap and stable computers, but we get Blue Screens of Death so many times.

Having used several distributions of Linux, I’ve found them to be very stable. Moreover, I was quite surprised at what a Live CD can do (see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/live_CD).

I had been under the impression, as I’m sure many Windows users are, that Linux would be tough.

Microsoft is great in many ways, but honestly, when your PC goes down and you feel all crappy, you can’t but feel hate toward Microsoft.

Apple users obviously feel safer, and that also proves my point: Apple and Linux use the same Unix code, while DOS has too many vulnerabilities to dominate the market.

If only Steve Jobs made his machines cheaper, I think we’d all jump on his bandwagon. I’d definitely pay NT$20,000 for a new Mac.

Linux is nice and it’s free. I actually want to donate to somebody, but I haven’t decided which distribution I like the most. So far I’ve tried Knoppix and Ubuntu and pclinuxos … I’m telling you, live CDs are wonderful, especially for recovery.

At times; my PC is all whacked out. I insert these ISO Linux distributions and my PC just fixes itself. Maybe it’s luck — or maybe it’s not Windows!

In the end, the above “truth” Web site makes me angry because it portrays Linux users as bandits, which we are not.

A satirical Web site, you say? No! A hate Web site!

HARRY ADAMOPOULOS

Taipei

Johnny replies: I’m not sure why my take on this subject would be of use to you or anyone else given that a caveman with no sense of sight or hearing, his fingers amputated and his tongue ripped out could enter this debate with more eloquence and background knowledge than I.

What I do have to offer is this: It’s not just individual PC users who get upset over Microsoft software and business practices, but also powerful antitrust agencies that end up delivering huge fines and recommending changes to the law that eventually bring Microsoft back to Earth.

What mystifies me is why all these technology debates get everyone carried away. Technology remains a medium, not the message, unless you are attempting to invent Skynet and destroy the world as we think we know it — or unless you’re a Chinese hacker with a budget from Beijing.

When I see people getting all hot and bothered about which iPhone model kicks ass and how this BlackBerry could be better if it magically linked to this feature from this freeware Web site, and so on, and so on, I look at my granddaughters struggling how to remember the Chinese characters for “Keep your priorities straight” and wonder what the hell we’ve gotten ourselves into.

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