Abandon All Fear

What nobody else seems to be saying…

Posts Tagged ‘microsoft’

[Linux] How Xandros Shot Linux In The Foot

Posted by Lex Fear on April 6, 2009

It was an open goal. M$ decommissioning  XP, Linux being the only capable OS of running on this tight new ultra-portable sub-notebook. Dare we say it… “The year…” had finally arrived?!

So how could it go wrong?

El Reg has just published a new article on the competition between Windows and Linux on the Netbook, and by outward appearances, it looks like Micro$haft is has caught up and overtaken Linux in popularity… but I haven’t seen anyone yet analyse WHY:

Microsoft cries netbook victory against Linux

Rubbing in the salt, LeBlanc added: “Not only are people overwhelmingly buying Windows, but those that try Linux are often returning it,” he said.

Why, you might ask? LeBlanc: “Because users simply expect the Windows experience. When they realize their Linux-based netbook PC doesn’t deliver that same quality of experience, they get frustrated and take it back.”

Aah, the Windows experience, but what is this elusive ‘Windows Experience’ that Linux lacks? Is it the need to purchase an external DVD drive in order to install software? Is it the slow-down and need to defrag every couple of months in order to return to a usable speed? Is it the comfort of knowing you will get no vendor support from M$ and have to rely on techy friends to spend 30 hours ridding your system of that pesky “mywebsearch” trojan that you got from accepting some preloaded-with-malware stupid free game download that you installed last week which is now bringing your system to a halt?

No, let me attempt to define the “Windows Experience”… It’s the comfort of having a logical bottom of screen taskbar, showing the time/date, running programs, background programs and a start/logo to click on which gives you instant access to all your programs.

Sure Windows XP is old, it’s vulnerable to every security risk going, it randomly does things in the background and must be constantly purged of bloat. But the thing about Windows XP is that it feels professional. It feels like a grown up operating system.

Don’t tell me about familiarity, plenty of boomers have managed to get their heads around Firefox, Google, Skype, Blogger, MySpace, Facebook and the rest of Web 2.0 not to mention the myriad of operating systems installed with their mobile phones. Last time I checked Web 2.0 was not bundled with Windows XP. No, it’s not familiarity that’s an issue here, it’s the GUI.

Just contrast this child-friendly looking interface:

To this more grown up one:

If something looks like it’s made for children, adults won’t use it for themselves. I mean, couldn’t Asus/Xandros just package the Easy Mode GUI as an option rather than the default GUI?

It doesn’t matter that the Easy Mode is more intuitive and ‘easy’ for a smaller screen. Mainstream people don’t mind the small text, the small buttons, the little graphical issues that a full blown OS like XP presents when it tries to open a 1100×600 window on a 1024 x 600 screen. They accept that as part of the package, just like they accept they’ve got to run several different internet security solutions in tandem just to be able to surf and write email.

And I know what you’re going to say – “But Xandros can be configured to look just like XP, they even changed the name of the applications…” Well that just turns it into a cheaper imitation of XP, something that will turn mainstream users off faster than a childish GUI.

Average net-heads see installing Windows XP on their netbooks as a kind of technological feat, as though it somehow demonstrates their technical prowess and smarts despite the fact it’s more a demonstration of their fear or stepping outside their comfort zone.

What netbook manufacturers and Linux advocates need to do if they want to keep flogging a free OS on their netbooks- Is to offer a professional, decent looking OS which has the same functionality as Windows, the same comforting feel, yet is not, and is not trying to be, Windows. They need to embrace the alternative OS. Don’t try to make it easy and don’t try to make it like XP. Just make it good.

I got a Samsung NC10 for Christmas from my wonderful wife. It came Windows XP Home ULPC.. do you know how shitty that version is? And yet, for a larger hdd and Intel Atom processor this is the OS of choice over something like Ubuntu or Fedora!

Needless to say I set about formatting the Windows Virus off my nc10 and installing Ubuntu from a pendrive (yeah – did you know some Linux distros have options to create pendrives now?), later moving to Ubuntu Ultimate.. which wipes the floor with both XP and Vista.

Check this out:

My Atom processor handles Ultimate Edition quite well, starts to balk if I enable desktop Sphere, but handles Cylinder no problem.

Sure, there are always going to be people who are stuck in their comfort zone, and die-hard Windows fanboys, but distro makers have to stop trying to emulate the ‘Windows Experience’, and cheating newbies out of the ‘Linux Experience’ like Xandros has with the Eee PC.

It was an open goal for Linux which somehow become an own goal, but the match is not over. They seriously need to rethink and regroup if they want to prevent what is becoming the year of  Windows 7 on the Netbook.

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Posted in Buyer Beware, Duh!, Open Source, Technology | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

[Detux] 2 Years of Ubuntu

Posted by Lex Fear on January 30, 2009

It’s almost 2 years since I freed myself of Microsoft’s propriety OS and I’ve even converted my wife (though she occasionally falls back onto MS Office when OpenOffice just doesn’t quite do it the way she wants).

I’m still using Ubuntu, despite playing with other distros, I’ve found myself coming back just because of the great support forums and hardware support. I use Red Hat Linux at work and on a VM, but with my home PCs I just want it to work out of the box as much as possible, I don’t want to spend time installing wireless drivers or tweaking xorg.conf – I think this is the success of Ubuntu.

My desktop PC is now running Ubuntu Ultimate Edition, after running Linux Mint for a few months. My Ubuntu installation was crashing every time I plugged in an external drive, Mint performed better but even after upgrading my PSU I had the ocassional crash. Ultimate Edition seems to have cured it and had no problems when I added a 500gb internal drive.
Ultimate Edition also has some wicked themes and pretty much all the software you’ll need pre-installed. So the lesson is, if you distro isn’t quite working, try out a derivative or another one entirely. Some are more stable due to later upgrades.

Anytime I have to log into a Windows machine I am reminded of why I switched and no matter how bad problems can get with Linux, all I need is to boot into my Windows partition to remember how bad things really could be!

The lastest Ubuntu distro now comes with a handy USB Live Disc creator which came in handy when I wanted to replace the old, outdated default Windows XP Home Edition on my new Samsung NC10. For anyone that has an NC10 and wants to put freedom on it, this blog was a lifesaver – read before you start, there are a few customisations needed after install.

The NC10 has an 89% full size keyboard which I’m using right now, so it’s not difficult to type on. It has 1gb ram, Atom processor and 160gb hard drive, the spec is so good I’m using it instead of my work laptop – even running VMware player.

It’s light weight and 6 hours battery life means I can use it on the tube or long car journeys. I occasionally download and read graphic novels with Comix or Okular, it’s just the right size to rotate the book 90º and hold the netbook lengthways like the way books are supposed to be read. I even found a neat little script to rotate pages of pdf files automatically using pdftk.

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Posted in Free as in Speech, Open Source, Opinion, Technology | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

[Vista Flop] Watching The World Pass By…

Posted by Lex Fear on May 4, 2007

… and not blogging about it is easier than I thought. I’ve plateaued and I can’t seem to muster the motivation to start a topic.

But it’s not like I haven’t been busy. I’ve been writing a lot of letters recently- which I will post later. I’ve also been experimenting with GIMP (which is the open source alternative to Photoshop). I’m aiming to spice up the graphics and interactivity on the website a little if I can.

I should mention how the Vista upgrade went. It was part of the offer from PC World when I bought my Packard-Bell (or as Mrs Fear would correct me- our Packard-Bell). Windows Vista Home Premium took about 3 or 4 hours to uprgrade and I have to say it was disappointing at first.

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Posted in Anecdotes, Technology | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

[Free At Last] Going Open Source

Posted by Lex Fear on April 28, 2007

So I finally found the nerve to uninstall MS Office 2000, which I have faithfully relied upon for 5 years for my letters, spreadsheets and database needs. I’ve never really had the money to keep current with MS Office versions, and never really had the need either, but Office has now moved on a bit, it was crunch time.

Lately I’ve been on a sharp Unix learning curve, for work, which inspired me to install Linux on my ‘puter duel booted with Windows XP. Later I decided to revamp an old laptop with Linux and it’s worked quite well. It was during this I discovered the beauty that is Open Source (free). I also came across OpenOffice.org.

I have now decided to become an Open Source Evangelist and broadcast the deep joy in my heart that it has brought. For almost every copy of proprietary software out there, there is an open source alternative, so I’ve decided to list a few that I have been using for a couple of months now. I can say, with the exception of being on a Vista operating system, I am probably using 60% Open Source software. I encourage you to join the revolution:

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Posted in Anecdotes, How I Did It, Open Source, Technology | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

[Freedom] Xubuntu…

Posted by Lex Fear on April 26, 2007

Is what I went with in the end. I am now posting this from my 266mhz, 64mb ram Laptop with Xubuntu installed… it’s a Xubuntop!

I actually had it up and running with the wireless last week but I found the OS just a tad slow to respond, as well as surfing. I then de-installed it and tried Vector Linux (also based on XFCE) which was reasonable speed at performing tasks on the desktop, but once I got the wireless going and onto Firefox the thing fell over. Xubuntu runs Firefox, but as I type the letters take half a second to appear onscreen. I still may go back and test Damn Small Linux, I also downloaded some over ISO distributions I will try soon.

I currently have no sound, the software updates take hours to download, indeed the Xubuntop itself took over 10 hours to install. But in the end the wireless is actually easy to install since Xubuntu has the drivers for my card (Netgear MA521). Video and even YouTube is a no go. I could do it but I’m not going to attempt to add pictures to this post. But it will be useful for the odd game (I intend to download Pingus) and for some lightweight blogging.

No links in this post, sorry but once again it would take me a while to load web pages! Just highlight any of the words and right-click, select google “…” to search for it (don’t know if that works in IE).

Xubuntu is a version of Linux and open source (‘freeware’ for you who are still hooked up to Microsoft), I’ll be doing a follow up post on my move to open source software soon, and how I almost ditched Vista for a Linux OS on my main PC! Unfortunately I shall be remaining with Vista for now (it was a free upgrade) but again, I can’t recommend this enough, if you have any one these below, step out of the boat and go for Linux:

  • A slightly older machine that could not support Vista
  • Can’t afford or refuse to pay the high cost for Vista
  • Desire to cut dependency on Microsoft
  • Want to get your hands on tons of free, secure and up to date software
  • A system that doesn’t crash or hit you with the Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) every now and then.

And If you want to try an alternative to MS (and wanting to avoiding Mac), but are still unsure of Linux and how it all works. Don’t be afraid, there are

  • Thousands of helpful people out there on the forums,
  • hundreds of different brands of Linux for different levels of knowledge and experience

I recommend Ubuntu as it comes with lots of drivers and software pre-installed, lots of Microsoft Asylum seekers are switching to it and raving about it. It has great support forums.

Posted in Anecdotes, Free as in Speech, Open Source, Technology | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

[Marketing] Hello, I’m a Pot… and I’m a Kettle

Posted by Lex Fear on March 6, 2007

“Apple has released several updates for QuickTime, the company’s media-player software, to address eight security vulnerabilities. Classified as “serious,” the flaws expose Macs and Windows computers to attack…” – NewsFactor

Posted in Ha-has, Pharisees, Video | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »