Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Every time I read something like this I grumble. The problem is that there is no problem, at least not with Linux. The problem, again, is the people using the system, but they are not to blame either, because they have been 'raised' this way after years and years of windows usage (probably this will be valid for Apple as well).

When people slide over from the windows platform, to give Linux a try, the list of questions you'll get is mostly something like this: don't I need an anti-virus? don't I need to defrag my disk? don't I have to use anti-spyware and ofcourse; how do install this program/driver. The answer to all these questions is, you don't need any of this stuff. You don't need to install drivers, you don't need to install software. Most of the stuff everyday people might need is basically installed by default, and the things that might be missing are probably available as an installable package from your distro.

I show people how they can find software, using synaptic (which is included on ubuntu, debian and a lot of others). Still this knowledge is lost as soon as they do need some extra package and what is the first thing they do? The windows reflex, roaming the net looking for the program which might perform the needed tasks. After reminding them to use the included tool for looking for programs they use it, but the next time they are roaming the net again. Seems like a hard habit to break.

Still, after a while it settles in, and in case of ubuntu with all repositories enabled, it really amazes them. People don't realize what advantages this system brings. The software is integrated perfectly into that distro version you are using, it is secure, a very fast way to get extra software and keep it up to date automatically. The same is true for drivers, need to install a driver? No! Your distro should support it out of the box, if not you should not have bought that piece of hardware at all (though, it could get supported in the future, but who can predict the future).

This is all good for OSS, but what about commercial software? Well, there is no problem either. There are a bunch of games available on Linux like nwn, the UT series, Doom 3 and more. Let me tell you how the install of these games works; they come with an installer that pops up a graphical window that allows me to choose a destination directory, and after transferring all files from CD, to add menu entries. At the end of this procedure, I select the game from my menu and it works (what else did you expect). Nothing difficult or different from the windows platform (this procedure is also valid for other commercial programs which I tried, although they use different installers).

Does this mean you cannot toy around with source tar files anymore? Hell no! But if you are doing that, I suppose you know what you are doing anyway, and you will not be making foolish comments about the fact that installing software is difficult. Computer savvy people will always want to tinker with their machines, and they can do so, to the full. These people also exist on windows and they do things no normal would do on that OS either. To end my story, I just want to say that installing is only part of the game, try removing stuff and see who is the clear winner each time!

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