That age old debate

I’ve been reading boB’s blog recently, and the thing that struck me the most was the number of entries describing the endless struggle he’s been having with just getting things to run under Linux.  I really don’t want to attract a huge amount of flaming comments on this but the more I hear the more I think what really is the point of Linux?
Sure it’s open source, sure it’s ‘free’, sure you can configure it just how you want it and sure it has less security holes.  Put you *do* pay a huge price for it, and that price is productivity.  I used to be skeptical of Microsoft’s claims that Windows Server 2003 and SQL Server would give a higher ROI than the equivalent open source solution, but now I am not so sure.  It is admittedly a VERY expensive outlay for a basic system (infrastructure alone for 5 users will set you back £5000) but for that £5k you are not just getting an operating system and database server, but also the peace of mind that you can be up and running in less than 24 hours, that if there are issues you have numerous, huge, centralised, regularly updated resources avaliable to you.  MSDN, Technet and the Microsoft Developer Forums are one of the greatest resources avaliable on the internet for developers and systems administrators.  You also have the piece of mind that you can’t configure it *just* how you want, you have the knowledge that if you move your application from your development environment to your production environment you know it’s gonna run!  You know that there are a BILLION Windows machines out there, meaning if you are having a problem there’s is a huge probability that someone else has had that problem and has fixed it.  Microsoft’s monopoly is a good thing!
There are so many angles at which you can go with this, but I am going to sum it up with this quote from Through the looking glass
You take the blue pill and the story ends.
You wake in your bed and you believe
whatever you want to believe.

You take the red pill and you stay
in Wonderland, and I show you how
deep the rabbit-hole goes

Posted in IT. 3 Comments »

3 Responses to “That age old debate”

  1. boB Says:

    Whilst I will admit that I\’ve had a lot of problems with Linux, I also hasten to add that I\’ve only been using Linux for a fraction of the time I\’ve been using Windows, and I am trying to do something extremely specialist.
    Ironically, I think that for a standard user, the install of say Mandriva is actually on a par, if not easier, than a Windows install, and just using it to write documents, (in Open Office) etc etc is just as easy.
    Knoppix can detect hardware in seconds, without needing to connect to the internet.  It senses my USB mouse, and all of my peripherals with no problems (on Alice\’s laptop XP cannot auto detect the graphics card WITH net access, Knoppix does it using just a CD.)  But in some ways that is more annoying – why do so many of the full Linux installs not use this amazing auto detection?
    My opinion, (could well be wrong) is that most Linux users go through a stage where they "jump the wall".  "The wall" is the barrier that you must get over to be able to use Linux to do what ever you want with no problems, (all operating systems have a "wall".)  The Linux wall requires you to understand all of the random bash commands that make the initial learning curve for configuring Linux so big.  Sadly once over the wall, you lose all interest in producing usable GUI tools for beginners, and all those in front of the wall don\’t have the expertise.

  2. Unknown Says:

    Okay, I\’ll race you.
    I reckon that, in less than an hour (never mind 24), I could get a Linux box installed and running an SQL server.  At a push, I might even be able to do it in about 30 mins.  What\’s more, it would be running at a fraction of the CPU load, a fraction of the RAM load of a Windows Server 2003 box and I\’ll be in the pub spending my spare £5000 before you\’ve even finished typing in your OEM Product Key.
    Linux is a pain in the butt when you\’re trying to extract the same amount of user-friendliess out of its somewhat clunky (and over-configurable) user interface.  But if you\’re prepared to just install the bare minimum and leave it running on a box in a cupboard with nothing more than a power cable and a piece of Cat-5 connecting it to your router, then it\’s a truly wonderful thing.
    The technical support is just a matter of knowing where to look.  Linux errors often seem a little daunting because they tell you far too much information about what\’s going wrong.  Cut copy and paste a Linux error code into Google and you can probably find a solution (even if it\’s not a very good one).  Unfortunately, typing "it\’s a bit fucked" into Google to try and trace a solution for a Windows problem can prove to be somewhat unhelpful.

  3. Unknown Says:

    Horses for courses 🙂
    thats all i can say
    i use windows and linux in almost beautiful harmony, and to be fair they both annoy the c**p out of me sometimes, but overall the job gets done, and using whichever solution is better.

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