In evaluating operating systems, Williams overlooked pitfalls of Linux’s competitors

To the Editor:

I must admit to being confused by Barrett Williams’ comment in the column “Apple wins operating system battle” (11/7), that hardware compatibility and application installation cause the removal of Linux from consideration as an operating system.

When I installed Ubuntu 7.10, a common distribution of Linux, last Wednesday, I had to download exactly one driver. If I had installed Windows XP or Vista, I would have found it necessary to download many more. If I had installed Mac OS X, and violated the license to do so as Barrett seems to have done, I might have gotten it to work as well with rather a lot of effort, but quite possibly not.

For application installation ‘difficulty,’ I have approximately 22,837 pieces of software any of which I could install with about six mouse clicks and six inches or so of mouse movement. The only way I can see for it to be difficult is in making the choice as to which pieces of software to install.

The visual effects, accessed by typing “Compiz” into Google, speak for themselves — Linux is much further ahead.

Vista and OS X are infinitely more expensive than Linux. Linux is Free and Open Source Software. Just burn yourself a CD, or ask me and I’ll do it for you.

Christian Csar

Nov. 8

Csar is a sophomore in Silliman College.


  • Anonymous

    Apple can not possibly win any time of "OS Battle", unless it´s for the highest cost, or, of a competition to find the most disappointing OS.

    Recently, Apple has been pushing the limits in testing what they can do to their customers, and after the recent events with the iPhone and the newest OS update, people are starting to run out of tolerance.

    The claims that Apple is "safer" because fewer viruses are written for it, and hiding behind BSD´s skirt is not workinging any longer. Apple is unsafe. Apple is over-priced. Apple is inferior.

    Neither it´s so-called BSD "lineage", nor it´s designer appeal will keep it from it´s guaranteed downfall.

    And good riddance! I´ve got my money on GNU (+Linux, or, even better yet the Hurd)!

    It looks like Apple needs to change strategy quickly.

  • Anonymous

    Let's be honest here.

    The winner among the 3 major players (linux, Mac, Windows) for the x86-based computers is Linux.


    Linux hardly has the kind of hardware vendor support that Windows and Mac enjoy all these years, yet it is doing great with the brilliant work of reverse-engineering from people all over the world to have the majority of the hardware work out of the box. And it is getting better and better with time.

    If Linux had the same kind of hardware vendor support like Windows and Mac, it will have no problem eating both Windows and Mac for lunch.


  • Anonymous

    Imagine this. There was a tech boom in the late 90's with Windows and it made a ton of people rich. A lot of these people learned Windows and now they are done with learning and are busy with Family and other things. The last thing they are going to do is go back to school and learn what works better on the cheap.

    Go Linux!

  • Anonymous

    And most of those that got rich are 1)not going to continue learning the latest thing out of Redmond every time it comes out 2) Have even the slightest clue about the FLOSS train heading towards their darling MS stranded on the tracks 3) Care, they made their money. All thats left on the MS carcass are the parasites, flies, and a few angry old buzzards(one of them known to throw chairs and act like a monkey)

  • Anonymous

    Anyone who would defend windows against OSX is an idiot. You simply don't know what you're talking about.

  • Anonymous

    Right on the money, Christian. My average Linux install takes 25-35 min. Since I haven't had any use for Windows since November of '99, I don't know how long it takes for Vista or XP, but the last time I installed Win98 it took around 3 hrs after going through all the driver disks for all my hardware. I suspect XP and Vista have not gotten any faster.

    Anyone who still claims Linux hardware compatibility and application installation are sub-par is either blithely ignorant or a paid shill.

  • Anonymous

    To the post from 1:03 pm:

    Did you seriously just compare installing a current version of Linux to installing Windows 98, an OS that's 10 years old? I like Linux, but I also like Windows, and your comment is blithely ignorant. For reference, my install of Vista 6 months ago took 30-45 minutes from starting the reformat to being at the desktop, and I didn't have to install any drivers. Comments bashing Windows like that do a disservice to the Linux community and the computing world in general.

  • Anonymous


    Last time I installed Vista, it forced me to call Microsoft for activation (online activation didn't work), refused to acknowledge my sound card at all (which communicates with the system through an ISA interface), and I had to download 3rd-party drivers for my network card. Just because you're lucky enough to have hardware that works out of the box doesn't mean that everyone has a comparable experience.

  • Anonymous


    Fair enough - I won't claim that Vista is perfect. However, the point about the unfairness of comparing current distributions of Linux to Windows 98 still stands.

  • Anonymous


    Sure, Vista's hardware support is certainly not perfect, but its out-of-the-box compatibility is greater than any other shipping OS. (btw, why are you installing Vista on a dinosaur with an ISA bus? I'd imagine nLite-stripped XP/2k as being more appropriate…)

    Linux is great for certain applications, and with distros like Ubuntu, maybe even passable for the desktop, but getting a fully functional desktop with equal functionality to a Windows or Mac box certainly takes a lot more time and effort to set up -- the few minutes you might save in installation will be more than made up for in the time spent finding drivers, alternative software for things like media playback (e.g. no free legal DVD player for Linux), etc.

    OS X is a solid platform. Hardware compatibility is obviously not its forte either, and you can only run it on (mostly overpriced, but I guess to some, stylish) Mac hardware without violating the license (in which case you might as well just download a pre-patched OSx86 torrent…), and Apple's mode of development (e.g. OS update cycles) are not very wallet-friendly, but for most Apple users, that probably doesn't matter.

    The iPhone can't do copy-and-paste or handwritten notes or GPS navigation or use stereo Bluetooth headphones, or any number of other common or obvious smartphone features, but most of their users don't care - it's the sleek hardware and nicely integrated, if not quite feature-packed, software they care about most. A Windows power user would probably take a slightly clunkier interface in exchange for more functionality (case in point: Windows Mobile vs. iPhone OS).

  • Anonymous

    Hmmmm, I don't know about that. Win 98SE was probably one of the easiest and cleanest installs of all Win versions.

    Can't really attest to Vista since after trying the beta I decided the one-sided EULA and the activation garbage were too far outside my ethical comfort zone.

    Microsoft's current 'customer service model' should take them out of consideration as an OS right there, since the whole purpose of an OS is to run and manage *your* computer the way *you* want, which is in violation of their EULA.