Monday, June 16, 2008

Windows or Linux, which is easier?

I am a participant in an on-going debate with a colleague of mine. He's a Windows loyalist who happens to believe that Windows is a far superior O/S than Linux or Mac. He knows I'm a Linux user, so he takes a few digs every time he sees me. Usually, I just smile and joke back with him. Until a few days ago. That's when he crossed the line.

J: Dude, Linux is so much more complicated than Windows. How can you stand it?

Me: ??? More complicated? Noooo. Did you just seriously say that? You only THINK Windows is easier because the whole world's been using it for 20 years.

J: No, man. It's way harder to use.

Me: You're on crack. I'll tell you what's hard. Windows wireless networking. How in the HELL do you tolerate it?

J: Networking? What are you talking about? Windows is soooo easy to get networked wirelessly.

Me: Let me paint you a picture. I turn on my wife's Vista laptop, and I am greeted by the network card's sh*t wireless applet competing with Vista's sh*t networking program to be the first to tell me, after five minutes, that I have wireless networks available. No sh*t, Sherlock. Then when I try to connect, they wrestle with each other for another five minutes until one crashes and the other connects with "very low" signal strength. Very low??? I have a Mimo router that is broadcasting a signal that knocks my neighbor's cordless phone offline from a HALF BLOCK AWAY! My Linux laptop connects instantly at boot-time with a "strong" signal from the back-frickin-yard. And I have no IDEA why her's doesn't work!

J: Um, well. I'm not talking about Vista. It was way easier in XP...


As to which O/S is *better*, I will not engage in such a debate. But easier? Bring it on. If Linux had become the dominant platform, the masses of fanbois would be gushing about how much easier *it* was than ANY of it's competitors. That's just market forces at work. And Linux is faaaar from perfect. I decided to use WPA security on that new Mimo router, and after 20 minutes of cajoling and cursing at my Gnome NetworkManager, I was ready to pull my hair out! Instead, I pulled the NetworkManager out. All of it. And I installed Wicd, a slick, lightweight alternative. And I was conected and surfing in just under 60 seconds.

But I can't really do that in Windows, can I. I have to use the crap they serve up to me. And the soup de jour is Windows Vista. Check please?
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