I am not a computer novice and liked the idea of starting to use Linux. However even though I have my server up and running there are still things that bug the hell out of me about Linux.
1. When I have a question about Linux and try to Google an answer too often what I find assumes that I am already an expert at Linux... I do not find this to be the case when I am doing windows even when I am looking up complex issues.
2. To install a simple application can be a breeze or it can be very complex. Fine, but I wish that the complex installs would at least have complete directions that didn't assume anything.
I could go on a little but I am more interested in what you guys and gals think.
You'd be amazed how many people make this complaint. They come to Linux, expecting to find essentially a free, open-source version of Windows. Quite often, this is what they've been told to expect by over-zealous Linux users. However, it's a paradoxical hope.
The specific reasons why people try Linux vary wildly, but the overall reason boils down to one thing: They hope Linux will be better than Windows. Common yardsticks for measuring success are cost, choice, performance, and security. There are many others. But every Windows user who tries Linux, does so because they hope it will be better than what they've got.
Therein lies the problem.
It is logically impossible for any thing to be better than any other thing whilst remaining completely identical to it. A perfect copy may be equal, but it can never surpass. So when you gave Linux a try in hopes that it would be better, you were inescapably hoping that it would be different. Too many people ignore this fact, and hold up every difference between the two OSes as a Linux failure.
As a simple example, consider driver upgrades: one typically upgrades a hardware driver on Windows by going to the manufacturer's website and downloading the new driver; whereas in Linux you upgrade the kernel.
This means that a single Linux download & upgrade will give you the newest drivers available for your machine, whereas in Windows you would have to surf to multiple sites and download all the upgrades individually. It's a very different process, but it's certainly not a bad one. But many people complain because it's not what they're used to.
Or, as an example you're more likely to relate to, consider Firefox: One of the biggest open-source success stories. A web browser that took the world by storm. Did it achieve this success by being a perfect imitation of IE, the then-most-popular browser?
No. It was successful because it was better than IE, and it was better because it was different. It had tabbed browsing, live bookmarks, built-in searchbar, PNG support, adblock extensions, and other wonderful things. The "Find" functionality appeared in a toolbar at the bottom and looked for matches as you typed, turning red when you had no match. IE had no tabs, no RSS functionality, searchbars only via third-party extensions, and a find dialogue that required a click on "OK" to start looking and a click on "OK" to clear the "Not found" error message. A clear and inarguable demonstration of an open-source application achieving success by being better, and being better by being different. Had FF been an IE clone, it would have vanished into obscurity. And had Linux been a Windows clone, the same would have happened.
I am primarily a Linuxiiii person, however I also use Windows. If I could help I will not use Windows for anything but I do a lot of gaming and Linux does have any gaming spunk. From a desktop user perspective Linux has come a long way, surely if you want to run a server then it is expected that you understand the underlying technology and how to use it for variety of needs so not be an expert on it is okish but not to be an advanced user is just bad practice if you want to use Linux as a server etc.
As a desktop user, I do not find things hard at all, most of the stuff just works out of the box, the problem comes in when you Windows users try to move to Linux and treat it as Windows which it is not. In Windows you have ease use, that is agreed. However that also sometimes causes damage to your OS when without you knowing/unknowing some Trojon/Worm/Virus hits your system and then you feel helpless. Linux on the other hand works on a different philosophy altogether, if it is too easy to use then it has to be stable meaning it will WORK!. For anything else you gotta take responsibility and have knowledge of doing things hence it is harder to modify stuff. Although this might sound irritating but the advantage is that most users will sticking to a stable distribution will have a stable system for a very long time.
Let me give you an example, I consider myself to be very good at Linux and pretty advanced at Windows.
Linux: Installed a stable distribution (Ubuntu), standard software to go with it, just desktop use. Never had a problem with it since the day I installed it (almost 2 years ago). Everything works, everything I need is installed and present apart from gaming, that is where Windows comes in.
Windows: Installed a stable OS (Vista), have firewall on, behind the router too, Antivirus always running and uptodate, anti spyware runing and uptodate. The only thing I use it for light browsing and gaming. However in past 1 year it has been infected with Viruses about 10 times, has gone sluggish over time and I find it more difficult to find solutions from Microsoft than google when something goes wrong.
So as you can see I prefer Linux for the reasons above, of course Windows is not a Bad OS, if microsoft can work on making it more stable then that will be great. May be I will consider it as primary OS if that happens and I won't have to run two OS'es side by side.
I've actually heard it argued that linux shouldn't be made easier to use specifically to keep such people away from it, and not 'dumb down' the user base. Because that would result in linux being just as 'user friendly' as windows. (Translate 'user friendly' as 'expert frustrating'.)
For people who do know what they're doing, having an OS and a support group who assumes they do is extremely refreshing.
My opinion is this: there are two groups of people that linux is great for as a desktop:
1: The grandma user who never changes any settings and just needs something that works: once someone else configures it, it'll be the perfect system.
2: The guru expert who can make use of all the cool features, and who would feel stifled in the 'user friendly' windows environment.
People who like to tinker, but who don't know much will either A) not like linux or B) eventually become the guru expert.
To solve your problem, two options:
1: Get a good book on the subject an really learn linux.
2: Get one of the paid versions that comes with phone support. (Both SuSE and Redhat offer this, and perhaps others too.)
Thanks for all the reply's so far. I am really enjoying them.
I am not arguing that it should be dumbed down. Just more consistent and better documentation I did after all start computers in a pure DOS environment.
I will give you that once it is up and running that linux has few problems. It is getting it there that can be a problem. I am reminded of the struggle I had getting Sun's Java running on Centos 5, a debranded version of Redhat enterprise.
You do not have to convince me that knowledge of your OS is important. I am making my living as an IT professional. I just wish that the internet had better information on Linux. Maybe Linux's problem is that there are too many "flavors". I am not convinced BTW that the reason that widows has so many viruses etc is that is worse than linux. Maybe if most people used Linux including the novice and computer challenged Linux would be in a similar situation. With knowledge and settings you can avoid most viruses. It has been years since my personal computer has had any viruses.
I use firefox all the time, and I love it, and I must say that it is going to take some hard work on Linux to make this a viable comparison. I was able to swap my computer phobic mother in law to firefox and she has been fine.
I think that if a group of Linux users go together an created a few interface to change a couple of config files rather than just pointing people at a config file and saying have at it. Come on how often do you find on the programs website useful information on there config? Sure Apache does but they are one of the exceptions. It just seems like a lot of programmers who left the "establishment" so they did not have to document their applications. Lazy.
But perhaps I complain too much. I after al am enjoying Linux I just want it to be a better version of itself.
Well, that's the truth of it actually: Windows is by its very design far more vulnerable, which is the main reason it gets so many viruses. The Linux environment and multi-user approach gives viruses an incredibly hard time. Couple that with package management, being centralized on free and open source software, the distinction between running and opening a file, and the education (that should be) given to all new users to never EVER run any desktop application as root, and you have a system that, in a regular user environment just can't be penetrated without the user knowing about it and being able to quite easily prevent it. And in the corporate environment, they would have experts who know the precautions to take when setting up a network, database server, web server or whatever.
Think a moment. All the biggest servers run Linux or a similar Unix-based system. Wouldn't it be grand to be able to take control of those servers? Surely a virus for Linux, though it would reach fewer people as things stand, would be far more profitable? Yet there are only a very very small number, around 10 I think, and none of them really have much effect and can be avoided quite easily (there's one called Bliss that even comes with a command line command to remove itself).
Well as I said that Windows is not a bad OS, however given the amount of money they charge for their product you would expect a much more stable OS, we all want features, eye candy and ease of use, however what should come first in my opinion is a stable base OS on top of which everything else is added as second priority. This is the difference, Linux/Unix started out as a stable OS, and then built everything on top of it. The basic philosophy of nIX flavours is that there is Core OS, then there are tools that makes things easier for end user. I am no expert in Windows OS design but I still see same issues as far as End User is concerned that we had with XP. It has improved slightly but Vista is still hackable easily, prone to attacks etc. Microsoft spent 7 years developing this OS with touting headlines that security and stability is the primary target, yet we see that same issues are still present. It is true that Microsoft has bigger market share hence more attackers target this platform, however if the fundamental base OS is not stable then no matter what MS do, windows platform will always have issues.
As a previous poster pointed out, you can not compare Linux and Windows, they are completely different OS's with different ways in which things work. However the gap in terms of Desktop requirements is closing in, it should not be longer before we see some big companies putting weight behind Linux distributions especially in these times. Microsoft can take steps to keep market share for sure, but they will need to do much better than what they have right now to keep it.
And all those servers have professional staff keeping a close I out for problems. I would go for the low hanging fruit of home users who often do not even know how to update there computer...
Or hackers code their programs in Linux / Mac for Windows. What kind of moron would design a virus for a Windows machine, while running Windows?
The kind with an expendable old computer (or virtual machine) to test run it on.
Installed it for my dad who isn't that good with computers and used Windows for years - and he's fine with it. Of course I had to explain a few things because they were different - as explained before, it can't be the same and better in the same time!
I remembered the time when I first had a taste of linux. installed mandrake on my desktop (which was a very good & newbie-friendly linux distribution at the time) in late 1990s or early 2000s.
now I have ubuntu and the UI has improved so much that most of the times, it is as seamless as windows is, even to non-techie users (or those who have lost touch with the tech world for a very long time like me...;P).
so yes, even as I sometimes wish it is as easy as windows ('clicking & double-clicking' my way thru all the way), I think it is very close to being as user-friendly as windows to end-users.
just my 2 cents...
It is just as easy... Easier in fact... I have to use the windows command line more often than the linux command line ^.^ (In SuSE with KDE).
Depends what your using it for, I would never use a web server which wasn't Linux. I would say imho it's a lot more stable - but admittedly you do have to know what your doing quite often.