Linux

How Fanboys See Operating Systems

by Joey deVilla on December 16, 2009

how fanboys see operating systems

This article also appears in The Adventures of Accordion Guy in the 21st Century.

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Bryan Lunduke’s “Linux Sucks” Presentation

by Joey deVilla on April 29, 2009

Here’s a presentation that’s worth watching, regardless of what operating system you use: it’s Bryan Lunduke’s presentation from Linux Fest Northwest – a Linux conference for “Rebel Scum” deep in the heart of The Empire — and it’s titled Linux Sucks, in which he talks about what needs to be fixed in desktop Linux. His Linux laptop helped prove the point at the beginning of the presentation by stubbornly refusing to display anything on the projector and requiring some guy to noodle with the X configs:

(By the bye, hooking up multiple monitors to a Windows 7 machine is dirt easy. The Windows-P key combo toggles between main monitor-only, other monitor-only, mirrored and “extend desktop” modes. The “Linux laptops and projectors” problem is a common one; I remember gently poking presenters at CUSEC trying to get their Linux laptops to display on the projector with “If you were running Win 7, you’d be done by now.”)

I think that this is an important presentation for developers to watch, whether they develop for Windows or the Esteemed Competition, because all operating systems suck, and it’s our job as developers to make them suck less. Linux on the desktop has all sorts of problems because it’s a free-for-all run but a rag-tag fleet of development shops, but Windows has its own problems stemming from all sorts of things, such as having to maintain some kind of backward compatibility for the sake of enterprise installations at Fortune 500 companies.

The lesson to take from this video should be that we should forget the rah-rah boosterism, take a good hard look at the platforms for which we build, and do what we can to make them better. The best platform advocacy is to make the platform suck less.

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When I moved to my current position as Nerd Wrangler at b5media, I arrived to discover that the computer waiting for me was a Toshiba P200, a 17″ beast of a laptop that I’ve named “The Coffee Table”. This is the first time in about 5 years that I’ve worked with Windows as my primary operating system, and after a month in Vista, my feelings about operating systems are pretty much summarized by the picture below:

\"I\'m a Mac. I\'m UNIX. I\'m Vista.\"

More on my experiences in a later post.

[Image courtesy of Miss Fipi Lele.]

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Panel from “Everybody Loves Eric Raymond”.About this time last year, Mark Pilgrim announced that he was ditching Mac OS X for Ubuntu. The move was made for various technical and philosophical reasons. A number of people saw this move, which was echoed by Cory Doctorow shortly afterwards, as a possible “tipping point”, a harbinger of a massive exodus of desktop users from Apple to Ubuntu.

A year has passed and Mark has posted a “One Year Later” article providing an overview of his move.

Does he regret ditching Mac OS X for Linux? No. He’s quite happy with his system and pleased at both the level of control he has over it and the ease of maintenance — he’s only had to do the configure make make-install dance once.

However, there’s one part of his essay that completely undoes the argument that Linux is ready for the average user who just wants to get work done and can’t be bothered with all the yak shaving that we nerds like to do:

I still have a Mac in the house — my old laptop, which I gave to my wife

I’ve got more thoughts on the subject, which I’ll post later.

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