To the Editor:
In their letters to the editor,
both Ying Xiao ’08 and Christian Csar ’10 are more dogmatic than realistic. In their speed to defend the Linux family of operating systems, they ignore the truth in Barrett Williams’ analysis.
The hardware-incompatibility issues that Williams mentions are very real and ultimately crippling for all versions of Linux. As I am writing this letter on a new Dell Inspiron 1520, I can report that while running Ubuntu 7.10 (the version of Linux referenced by both writers in their letters), the webcam, eye-candy, wireless, and audio all are either weaker than Windows or completely unusable. Casual computer users never want to have these problems, much less try to fix them. They’ll just use the prepackaged Windows Vista that works out of the box.
As for the software available for Linux, the best open-source software gets a Windows version anyways (see: Firefox, Thunderbird, Open Office). And while Windows users can video chat on AIM and Mac OSX users have their beloved iChat for the same, Linux’s Pidgin still lacks video and audio capabilities. Do you buy music from the iTunes store? Don’t use Linux. Do you play popular games? Stick with Windows.
As someone who’s been using Linux for 8 years, I can safely say that it is not ready for the majority of casual end users who lack patience, time and technical expertise.
Too often, tech-savvy individuals make the assumption that all people share their view of a computer as an adventure rather than a tool. Excluding Linux was good journalism; in doing so, Mr. Williams made his column accessible and relevant for all individuals, regardless of their technical background.
Rajeshwar is a sophomore in Jonathan Edwards College.