6
   

Starting down the road of a Microsoft free life.

 
 
BillRM
 
Reply Sat 14 Feb, 2009 08:59 pm
I just installed my very first Linux Os on an old computer of my wife as I am thinking of getting off the Microsoft OS treadmill and so need to learn Linus.

I am now running XP and I am fairly happy with if however in a few years getting drivers and support for it will not be possible and I have no great desire to keep climbing the Microsoft ladder with ever more security fault ridden and resources demanding OSs..

This last Tuesday patch from our friends at Microsoft had 230 or so meg of security patches including seven for internet explorer seven!

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Type: Discussion • Score: 6 • Views: 1,807 • Replies: 33
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Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Sat 14 Feb, 2009 09:24 pm
@BillRM,
Hope it works out for you, here's a tip:

WINE - The biggest obstacle most people run into is the inability to run needed applications on Linux. WINE will let you run nearly any Windows program and on my Linux laptop I find it indispensable.
0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Sat 14 Feb, 2009 10:27 pm
@BillRM,
Well, you're on the right track, but you could just skip the middle step and go right to OS X. Smile

Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Sat 14 Feb, 2009 11:20 pm
@rosborne979,
If he's trying to escape proprietary software that would be a big step backwards.
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Feb, 2009 12:22 am
@BillRM,
Good luck! I have my machine set up to dual-boot Windows XP and Ubuntu. It might be a useful intermediate step for you.

PS: WINE must have come a long way over the last 10 years. When I tried it out back in college, it was just functional enough to load the program and crash. I quickly got frustrated and have never bothered with it since. Glad to hear it now works -- I'll check it out!
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Feb, 2009 01:10 am
@Thomas,
Yeah, WINE took 12 years to reach BETA and just last year (after 15 years of development) came out of BETA to release the 1.0 version. Other than a few annoyances I've had no problems with it.

They also have a database of applications with useful notes on how well they are supported on WINE, and any particular workarounds that the community has submitted here: http://appdb.winehq.org/
0 Replies
 
BillRM
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Feb, 2009 01:26 am
@Robert Gentel,
If he's trying to escape proprietary software that would be a big step backwards.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Why Bob?

All my security software is open source where ever possible now such as truecrypt. Not only is truecrypt open source it is one of the best running and design programs I had ever seen.

However running a whole complex OS that no one perhaps not even Bill Gate know what it contain seem not the best idea in the world if you happen to be one of the crazy people who care about security to start with.

Then we have the ever increasing demand of the microsoft OS family on the hardware and even given the very fast increase in our computers power it seem a complete waste to used such a large percent on the OS.

Having been around when a cpu ran at 8 meg cps and memory was measure in units of k instead of g, I was always under the impression that any OS should be as light as possible on system resources and that is clearly not the case with any of the micrsoft family since dos 3.1.

When you do get a little bit comfoatable with a microsoft OS such as XP Mr. Gate is doing his very best to force you into newer versions that are full of problems of all kinds.

I am hoping that by the time that no new hardware is shipped with XP drivers and microsoft is no longer patching security holes in XP I will have move completely over to linux for all the above reasons and more.

Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Feb, 2009 01:31 am
@BillRM,
Robert wasn't saying it's a step backwards to escape proprietary software. He said that if you want to escape, choosing MacOS over Linux would be a step backwards. Robert was responding to rosborne.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Feb, 2009 02:55 am
@BillRM,
BillRM wrote:

If he's trying to escape proprietary software that would be a big step backwards.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Why Bob?


Thomas has already answered accurately, but I'll explain at greater length.

I currently have and use all the operating systems discussed on this thread and I recognize the advantages of each in various situations.

The thoughtless cliché to "Get a Mac" is what I am responding to. Nothing against Macs but they seem to embody the things you are trying to escape from, like proprietary software and vendor lock in. I am platform agnostic and want the best tool for the situation, not what is cool to believe and self-identify with, so thoughtless ideology bothers me, whether it's for or against Macs, Windows or Linux.

Speaking of which (and pard0n the coming rants):

Quote:
However running a whole complex OS that no one perhaps not even Bill Gate know what it contain seem not the best idea in the world if you happen to be one of the crazy people who care about security to start with.


Look, I fully support your desire to use Linux if you want, but this is nonsense. I've never had my security compromised on any operating system I fully controlled (I've had systems compromised where I had only partial control, such as servers managed by others, and incidentally I've had that happen with Linux more often than Windows).

I am very interested in computer security and am very familiar with it, and the notion that you need to get off of Windows to have a secure computer is just nonsense. The only times my Windows installs have ever been compromised is when I intentionally infect them to study a virus or malware.

Windows can be just as secure as Linux as long as you just follow best security practices and Linux can be just as insecure as any OS if you don't. As an example, the biggest difference in security is that Linux users don't tend to run at root or admin level access. And incidentally, that is something Windows addressed in Vista, and Vista is the most secure operating system Microsoft has produced, exceeding XP in this regard.

If you run Linux as root, and download and run things from the internet that don't come from trustworthy sources your computer is easy to get root control over. If you don't patch Linux with critical updates it too will sometimes be a wide open hole asking to be rooted as well.

Ever since XP SP2, Windows has been comparable in security to Linux in the right hands. Of course, one of the reasons it's a prime vector of malware is that the wrong hands almost all use Windows, and it's a waste of time to target the more technically savvy Linux users both due to their small numbers and greater technical proficiency.

Quote:
Then we have the ever increasing demand of the microsoft OS family on the hardware and even given the very fast increase in our computers power it seem a complete waste to used such a large percent on the OS.


I don't know many computer users who run into this but yes, this is a legitimate difference, and one of the reasons I prefer Linux for servers.

For a desktop, as long as you have enough RAM (and you can get it for under $50) the resource use is just not an issue in the overwhelming majority of use cases.

And all of the major operating systems have ever increasing resource demands. Do you think Linux's footprint isn't getting any bigger?

Quote:
Having been around when a cpu ran at 8 meg cps and memory was measure in units of k instead of g, I was always under the impression that any OS should be as light as possible on system resources and that is clearly not the case with any of the micrsoft family since dos 3.1.


Nor has it ever been the case with Linux or any other popular operating system. No major OS has ever come close to being as light as possible, and quite frankly if it were you'd have little use for it.

Think I'm wrong? Then why aren't you still running dos 3.1 trying to browse the web in a text browser and forgoing the GUI?

Quote:
When you do get a little bit comfoatable with a microsoft OS such as XP Mr. Gate is doing his very best to force you into newer versions that are full of problems of all kinds.


Mr. Gates has retired so you should switch the thoughtless slogans to
Ballmer. ;-)

Yes, Microsoft likes vendor lock in, but the notion that their newer operating systems are full of problems ignores that the one you are picking over (Linux) it has more problems and that the one you are sticking to now (XP) also does. People who have very little understanding of computers like to trash Vista, but it's a far more solid operating system than XP was at launch, and is a more solid operating system than XP is now, even after it's 3 service packs. And if buggy drivers and hardware compatibility issues are your gripes you are going to be in for a rude awakening in Linux, where the drivers often don't exist or are half-assed and buggy.

The bad rap for Vista is largely not a software issue, and a hardware issue from vendors who were allowed to sell "Vista Capable" computers that were simply not very capable. I blame Microsoft for allowing them to do so, but it does not reflect on the operating system that manufacturers build computers that do not have the resources to run the new graphics. Apple makes sure to sell computers with hardware to match the software requirements, and Microsoft should do a better job at making its partners do the same, but that doesn't make the OS bad.

Quote:
I am hoping that by the time that no new hardware is shipped with XP drivers and microsoft is no longer patching security holes in XP I will have move completely over to linux for all the above reasons and more.


I hope you do too, but not for your parroting of anti-Microsoft talking points.

/rant
Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Feb, 2009 04:16 am
I looove listening to you geeks talking about this stuff. (Honest to G, I'm not being sarcastic.) It's totally Swahili to me but I pick up so much good jargon to drop at random into a dinner conversation! I wouldn't know a Linux from a parking ticket but that's irrelevant as long as it sounds like I know what I'm talking about. Thanx, guys.
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Feb, 2009 05:46 am
@Merry Andrew,
Don't worry, Andrew -- Linux is just a penguin who lives on the internets.
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Feb, 2009 06:04 am
@Robert Gentel,
Robert Gentel wrote:
If he's trying to escape proprietary software that would be a big step backwards.

But if he just wants to escape MicroSoft and move to a highly reliable, elegant and functional system, it would be a big step forward Smile

0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Feb, 2009 06:06 am
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:
PS: WINE must have come a long way over the last 10 years. When I tried it out back in college, it was just functional enough to load the program and crash. I quickly got frustrated and have never bothered with it since. Glad to hear it now works -- I'll check it out!

I haven't seen WINE in years. I did development with WINE and VMWare back when I worked for Oracle. That was 5 years ago and things were still pretty kludgy back then.
0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Feb, 2009 06:16 am
@Robert Gentel,
Robert Gentel wrote:
The thoughtless cliché to "Get a Mac" is what I am responding to. Nothing against Macs but they seem to embody the things you are trying to escape from, like proprietary software and vendor lock in. I am platform agnostic and want the best tool for the situation, not what is cool to believe and self-identify with, so thoughtless ideology bothers me, whether it's for or against Macs, Windows or Linux.

I never respond (to anything) with thoughtless ideology Robert. I happen to think that OS X is the best choice for most people. But I freely admit that I didn't ask what this person's motivation for switching was.

I've worked with multiple system OS's all my life, at one point managing a department which supported every flavor of UNIX that existed at the time. Back when it was my job to manage all those systems I loved all the OS's. But now that I find myself running a business which has nothing to do with spending time fixing/exploring the computer, I find that my automatic preference is to use machines which I trust to be there when I need them (reliability and stability). And that turned out to be OS X, hands down.

I was a MicroSoft weenie for years; passed my CNE and loved it all because the instability of MicroSoft systems was paying my salary. But now I live on the business side of things and see computers very differently.

Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Feb, 2009 12:25 pm
@rosborne979,
rosborne979 wrote:
But now that I find myself running a business which has nothing to do with spending time fixing/exploring the computer, I find that my automatic preference is to use machines which I trust to be there when I need them (reliability and stability). And that turned out to be OS X, hands down.


I don't spend a single second more time fixing/exploring my Windows computers than my Macs and you apparently buy into their "It just works" marketing. This is the mindless ideology that I criticize. You can't provide any empirical evidence that your favored OS is any more reliable or stable than the ones you criticize, but you don't let that lack of evidence weaken the strength of your conviction.

Quote:
I was a MicroSoft weenie for years; passed my CNE and loved it all because the instability of MicroSoft systems was paying my salary.


If you were an MS fanboy at some point it makes sense that you'd become someone else's fanboy. I don't like the fanboy proclamations that aren't supported by evidence regardless of what they are currently touting.

Quote:
But now I live on the business side of things and see computers very differently.


Ok, where's the empirical evidence for your claims? Or is seeing believing? Did you measure the difference or is this just anecdotal evidence you are presenting as fact?

If this is not thoughtless ideology posing as fact, then please show me the evidence for your claims.
Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Feb, 2009 12:27 pm
@Thomas,
Quote:
Don't worry, Andrew -- Linux is just a penguin who lives on the internets.


I thought it was that kid with the security blanket.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Feb, 2009 01:43 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Robert Gentel wrote:
If this is not thoughtless ideology posing as fact, then please show me the evidence for your claims.


And to take my own advice, I retract my claim that Windows is as stable as OS X.

I don't have any empirical evidence for a statement of fact like that. So here's my amended claim:

I have seen no empirical evidence that OS X is more stable than Windows and in my personal experience they have been equally stable.
BillRM
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Feb, 2009 03:52 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Bob thank for taking the time for your long responses I would like to bring up some issue about security here.

First as this very last Tuseday update contained 7 patches for security problems with IE7! Now this does seem to show that Microsoft have not gotten it security on firm grounds if their current version of a web brower that been out for some time have a need to be patch so many times.

Second any closed OS allow it producter to place anything they wish hidden away such as back doors to bypass any possible security. An open source OS would set that worry aside.

Second Microsoft assume you are going to run in admin mode unlike Linux where it is assume you are not going to run as root.

I am using the Dropmyrights little command program to take away admin rights when running IE7/outlook and others are even going further and running IE7 either in the program call sand boxie or a VPN.

No OS is secure if it users have such a need to isolate it web brower from doing harm to the system it is running in!

Most programs available for windows is not open source and I had hear that the major anti virus/anti spyware software firms will not stop or warn you about commerce key loggering/reporting programs that are being market as a mean of parent control but could be used for any other reason and had been.

Then we have the so call policeware spying software that there is a question if the major american base anti-spyware companies programs at least are set up not to interfere with.



Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Feb, 2009 04:54 pm
@BillRM,
BillRM wrote:
First as this very last Tuseday update contained 7 patches for security problems with IE7! Now this does seem to show that Microsoft have not gotten it security on firm grounds if their current version of a web brower that been out for some time have a need to be patch so many times.


All the major browsers are regularly patched, every single browser has had serious security issues recently. It is very likely that each browser still has security holes right now, that have yet to be discovered.

That IE 7 is no different from them in this regard is not a very strong indictment of Microsoft security. Microsoft security was a joke prior to the "Trustworthy Computing Initiative" they launched, and since then it has gotten a lot better. Here's an old article comparing Firefox and IE exploits, but it should disabuse you of the notion that only IE needs such patches: http://blogs.zdnet.com/Ou/index.php?p=103

Heck, I'd be willing to make a $1,000 bet with you that I can publish the IP address of one of my Windows machines, invite all the world's hackers to try to gain root access to it for a $1,000 prize and they'd not be able to do so. MS products just aren't the swiss cheese that people like to portray them as.

Quote:
Second any closed OS allow it producter to place anything they wish hidden away such as back doors to bypass any possible security. An open source OS would set that worry aside.


No, it doesn't. There are critical exploits found all the time in open source code as well. The only legitimate difference might be time to patch, some open source projects (but certainly not all, just the few very popular ones) have been quicker to patch than Microsoft but they often have as many or even much more in way of exploits found in their code.

And even if you are restricting it to intentional backdoors only, it is still possible to decompile Microsoft's code and read it, and plus it's easier to discover back doors through other means (like packet sniffing).

But hey, this is all fantasy land. Do you know of any such back door in Windows? I've never heard of such a thing (other than conspiracy nuts making false claims) and I follow hacking news fairly regularly.

Quote:
Second Microsoft assume you are going to run in admin mode unlike Linux where it is assume you are not going to run as root.


No, it doesn't. And that's one of the big security advances in Vista, which you like to trash without seemingly being familiar with it even superficially (e.g. this feature of their was one of the most widely discussed features Vista introduced).

Quote:
I am using the Dropmyrights little command program to take away admin rights when running IE7/outlook and others are even going further and running IE7 either in the program call sand boxie or a VPN.


That's silly, just create a non-admin account and use it. Only login with the admin account if you need to install something. Alternately, Vista can prompt you for the admin credentials allowing you to grant the privileges on the fly (though their implementation of this is annoying).

Quote:
No OS is secure if it users have such a need to isolate it web brower from doing harm to the system it is running in!


You don't have the need to do so, you have the misguided notion that you do. I have never once been compromised through IE and I've never once run it under such restrictions.

Quote:
Most programs available for windows is not open source and I had hear that the major anti virus/anti spyware software firms will not stop or warn you about commerce key loggering/reporting programs that are being market as a mean of parent control but could be used for any other reason and had been.


Actually, most AV programs do just fine at identifying malware like keystroke loggers. But hey, for comparison why don't you point out what Linux software you think does a good job at this? If you are going to install crap on your computer it will be a bad thing, no matter what OS you are working on. Linux isn't going to protect you from your own stupidity either.

Quote:
Then we have the so call policeware spying software that there is a question if the major american base anti-spyware companies programs at least are set up not to interfere with.


What on earth are you talking about?

You do realize that most of your qualms with "Windows" here have nothing to do with Windows or even Microsoft but rather third party programs?

Look, I prefer every modern browser out there over IE. Each and every one is superior to IE and I'm no fan of IE, but the notion that computer security is a matter of moving away from Microsoft is bogus. All complex software will have bugs and exploits, and open source software is no exception. Heck, some of the most insecure software on earth (think phpBB) is open source.

I love open source software for it's freedom, but the development model doesn't have inherent security superiority.
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Feb, 2009 05:13 pm
@BillRM,
I bought an Apple system last year because, for things like math relationships and "from scratch" graphics it is loaded with intuitiveness and the graphics capabilities are superior. I dont like to have to learn an intermediate means to generate equations or graphs that present data like I wish. EG, in Microsoft base graph systems, you are constantly driven to fake out the machinery in order to be able to generate graphs and charts (especially log log plots) that one can compare as paper plots . Many times, for real quick analyses, we will project a graph on top of another and see trends. ALso,**** likeExcel is very unfriendly for equations that are too complex (Fast Fourier transfrms , or second order decay plots). Apples are so easy to wok that I was up and doing plots and ahit the very first hour afater I booted up,

Most university science departments have a large fan base for Apples as compared to any of the PC based stuff.
Also, am I batty or is the color pallette in a PC inferior to Macs?
 

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