software development (was "what if microsoft disobeyed the breakup?")

From: William Kitchen (
Date: Thu Jun 08 2000 - 16:43:17 MDT

[Non-member submission]

> Man - have you really spent a lot of time in X-Windows? Suitability?
> for the common Joe? Come on. I'd be suprised if you could install Linux
> on a new box and have XFree86 running in less than 5 attempts.

Have you installed any recent releases of the major
distributions? Mandrake typically installs complete with fully
functional XF86 and a large collection of apps in about half the
time of a typical win9x installation, and with only a single
reboot at the end of the process. Granted, there can be time
consuming snags if you have extremely new or very odd hardware,
but the list of supported hardware is currently very large, and
growing all the time. All of the recent (as in last 12 months or
so) Mandrake installs I've done have been sucessful on the first
try, and this is without having to call on any knowlege that any
first-time Linux user wouldn't know. I'm much closer to the Linux
newbie end of the newbie-expert spectrum myself.

This, in itself, doesn't make Linux superior. But it does shoot
holes in the ease-of-installation claims of Windows superiority.
Such claims never meant much anyway, even back when it was true.
Casual users almost never install their own OS, and technical
users aren't much bothered by a little extra installation
complexity as long as there are other compelling reasons to use
an OS.

If you started with a bare-bones GUI-less Linux installation,
then tried to install XF86 on top of it, then your "5 tries"
assessment might be realistic for non-expert users. But
practically no one does it that way. Especially the "common Joe".

As for the open-source vs. closed source hoopla, use and support
whatever fills your needs and wants. Even if you make your choice
on purely philosophical grounds, more power to ya. That's what
individual freedom is all about. I don't even give a damn about
"letting the best development model win". There's room for more
than one way to develop software, just like there's room for more
than one way to think.

                                         William Kitchen

The future is ours to create.

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