Windows Vs Linux

Please mention why you like each system in GreatWindowsFeatures? and GreatLinuxFeatures. Then use all the great features by using both Linux and Windows.

"You have setup free MicrosoftUnix. It is close to having the best of both worlds."

Why must one be placed in a position of choosing one and only one operating system?

To me, that is like limiting oneself to one and only one language. It seems that (at least for programmers) that knowledge and skill in using both is not just an option, but more probably a requirement and a necessity. It has never been wise to put all of your eggs in one basket. As in investment, the KeyWord? is Diversify, Diversify! If you can't invent the NextBigThing, at least be aware of what is happening in your discipline. It might be a GoodThing for future JobSecurity. That is why I as a student have taken courses which utilize both systems. They both furnish the transport for data, procedures and storage and should be utilized where they are the most suitable. One should not use a race car where a truck is called for, and vice versa. Use the RightTools?.

WhyLinux / WindowsJustSayNo?

You know, I try to stay out of Windows Vs Linux discussions, and I try to ignore the great evil that is Microsoft. But every time I find myself (forced? clarify) to spend extended amounts of time on Microsoft platforms, I really start to feel sick, depressed, and longing for home (home here referring to solaris, irix, or Linux).

It sounds like this should be filed under WindowsCanBeBadForYourHealth?.

You know, I think that if Linux took over the world, there would still be people hanging onto Windows. Just like there are people hanging onto Amigas, Jaguars (been discontinued for many years; still new development on it, though), Acorns, and other old machines, not to mention the people who do all their work on computers they built themselves from scratch. If the whole world switched to the Mac, I would probably still hang onto Linux. However, I'm just the obtuse one.

So, let me understand you right. You are saying that Linux is new and Windows is old stuff like Amigas? Linux is nothing more than a free version of 30 year old technology with all of its baggage and security holes (at least 10 BufferOverflow holes a week) -- sg

No, he didn't say that. He said that if Linux took over the world, then (even though then Windows would be "old stuff like Amigas", regardless of its technical merits or demerits) many people would still use Windows. I'd be interested in references for 10 BufferOverflow holes found in Linux in the first week of July 2000.

July, 11th 2000 SECURITY UPDATE: dump

Problem: There was the potential for a buffer overflow in the restore program. This new version fixes this possible vulnerability. Please upgrade to:

July, 7th 2000 SECURITY UPDATE: BitchX

Problem: A denial of service vulnerability exists in BitchX. Improper handling of incoming invitation messages can crash the client. Any

July, 7th 2000 SECURITY UPDATE: inn

Problem: A vulnerability exists when verifycancels is enabled in /etc/news/inn.conf. This vulnerability could be used to gain root access on any system with inn installed. Please upgrade to:

July, 7th 2000 SECURITY UPDATE: man

Internet Security Systems (SS) X-Force has identified a vulnerability in the makewhatis Bourne shell script that ships with many Linux distributions. It is found in versions 1.5e and higher of man, and handles temporary files insecurely. Local users may gain a variety of privileges depending on the complexity of the exploit. The mode of any file on the system can be changed to 0700. Any

July, 2nd 2000 SECURITY UPDATE: wu-ftpd

Wu-ftpd is vulnerable to a very serious remote attack in the SITE EXEC implementation. Because of user input going directly into a format string for a *printf function, it is possible to overwrite important data, such as a return address, on the stack. When this is accomplished, the function can jump into shellcode pointed to by

July, 2nd 2000 SECURITY UPDATE: dhcp

The OpenBSD team discovered a vulnerability in it that allows for remote exploitation by a corrupt dhcp server, (or an attacker pretending to be a dhcp server). If this vulnerability is exploited, root access can be gained on the host running dhcp client

June, 24 2000 SECURITY UPDATE:

kernel POSIX "Capabilities" have recently been implemented in the Linux kernel. These "Capabilities" are an additional form of privilege control to enable more specific control over what privileged processes can do. Capabilities are implemented as three (fairly large) bitfields, which each bit representing a specific action a privileged process can perform. By setting specific bits, the actions of privileged processes can be controlled - access can be granted for various functions only to the specific parts of a program that require them. It is a security measure.

People scream and write about ONE security hole in Windows 2000. Here is just one week's worth in Linux.

I wish to point out that most of these "security holes" are only potential holes; potential buffer overflows that may or may not be exploitable. These are the kinds of things that can only be found by poring over source code, so members of the Linux community consider it a blessing when these kinds of things are found and quickly corrected, rather than swept under the rug as they are in Windows. The BitchX denial of service is particularly silly (BitchX is an IRC client, for goodness sake). (While refactoring, I wasn't sure, whether this paragraph was written by the same person, as the couple above it (which was Sam if I remember correctly), but I wanted to separated it from the following by Gareth because it should be clear what he said and what not, so I set it into italic. -- MarkoSchulz)

Umm... those included _one_ *Linux* hole, and the rest are for other programs. -- SomeoneElse

One more remark about that list of exploits above. Sam said "ten a week". In support of this, he posted a list of seven ranging over a period of three weeks, including at least three (bitchx, inn, wu-ftpd) in programs that are no more part of Linux than Excel is a part of Windows. The last of them isn't a security hole, it's a new security measure. That leaves three. Two of the three are potential vulnerabilities found by the OpenBSD team in their line-by-line security audit of the source code. If anything equivalent exists for Windows, we have no way of knowing because it would be internal to Microsoft. That leaves one, over a period of seven weeks. Compared to the claim of ten a week, we're about two orders of magnitude short. I know Sam said he wasn't going to argue this any more, but misinformation wants to be corrected. -- GarethMcCaughan

It isn't misinformation. I didn't include them all. Look at the Web sites like LinuxWeeklyNews to find the tons found this week in the kernel and parts of Linux. I'm tired of arguing this. They're there. Unix has always had a troubled past in security in the 20 years I've used it. -- sg

I just went to the same Mandrake page you mentioned earlier. It has 11 advisories for this month. Sounds pretty bad. But if you take a look, you'll find that the story is the same as before. Some things that aren't actually security risks. Some that are in entirely separate bits of software (Apache, Zope, xpdf, ...). Some with no known exploits. Some instances where someone's found a problem, offered a fix and then noticed the following day that it can be improved (this shows up as two advisories; if they'd waited a day longer, it would have been only one). I reckon those 11 advisories represent two actual vulnerabilities. Neither of them actually has any known exploits; if Windows had equivalent problems, we wouldn't know about them. "At least ten buffer overrun holes a week", you said. That simply isn't true.

Incidentally, OpenBsd claims "3 years without a remote hole in the default install" and "only 1 localhost hole in 2 years in the default install". Not Linux as such, of course, but it's interesting.

-- GarethMcCaughan

No security holes? No BufferOverflows? Feast your eyes on this:

	Windows isn't only OS with flaws, Linux hole found

Time: 15:47 EST/20:47 GMT | News Source: Business Week Online | Posted By: Adrian Latinak

On the surface, it as just another turn of the endless cycle of software release, hole discovery, and patching: operating system vendor Red Hat issued an advisory Tuesday warning the world about a serious security hole in a file transfer program that comes with Linux, and urged customers to download a patch.

Comment here! - 0 Comments for this story.

Yes, now let's see when a patch for the hole was released for public consumption. With Windows, if a hole is discovered (which to be fair, is equally usually not part of the operating system kernel either, by the way), it takes a good 90 days for an update to be released to the public. Patches introduce new bugs, etc. With Linux and BSD, because the source is open, patches are typically available in hours for the most critical of bugs, and within weeks for harder to find, not usually too critical bugs. Ergo, the existence of holes is immaterial. The important factor is how fast they're found, and how easily they're distributed and corrected.

I'm not fully BuzzwordCompliant, so I can't comment on all your alleged missing features (though some of them sound like you're asking "How come Linux isn't Windows?"). I do know, though, that Linux does SMP, and that its SMP performance has improved considerably of late. For a good journaling FS, XFS (from Irix) is on the way.

JFS from IBM is supposedly usable, as is ReiserFS. ReiserFS is expected to be added to the kernel in one of the early 2.4 revisions. It wasn't quite ready soon enough to make the feature freeze, but people want it badly enough that the kernel people are hinting that it may get added before 2.6 (when all the other cut features will be added).

It's unfair to call every buffer overflow in every Linux program a buffer overflow in Linux.

The above list shows all known security problems in current versions of programs included with the Mandrake distribution. That includes programs that are not a part of the Linux operating system, but are bundled programs.

To make the same comparison for Windows, you'd have to include all of the programs written for Windows, not just Windows itself.

These two programs, listed above, are not part of the Linux OS: Although to be fair, we should consider the equivalent programs to the ones that ship on the Windows CD. After, how many kernel bugs have turned up in 2000 so far? Most of the ones we hear about are in things like IIS and MTS, and the assorted bundled client programs. So bitchx should still be discounted, but maybe we should consider inn.

'I'm not arguing this anymore. People just get mad. People see what they want to see. I'm out of this one. I haven't deleted my comments because that also seems to get people mad. Let me know if you want them deleted. I'm not going to argue a flame-bait topic like this. I have 2 machines on my desk here at work. One is running Mandrake Linux 7.0 with KDE2 alpha and one is running Windows 2000 Advanced Server. Both are great operating systems and have their pluses and minuses. Since we are shipping products on both, I work on both. There is no more sense in my getting emotional about this. It's just work. It's just a tool. I have used both since 1993. I have a lot of real work to do, so I am going back to that (on both OSes).''

-- sg

"Linux is nothing more than a free version of 30 year old technology..."

Saying that Linux is 30-year old technology is just pure FUD. (No, it's pure fact. But this isn't FUD; rather, it's something to be rather proud of. An OS architecture that has lasted that long is a testament to how well it was engineered, and how adaptable it is to new ideas. Unix, and Linux, have a ways to go yet to become 100% real-time, event-driven, yada yada. But that's an issue of motivation, not technical limitation. Be proud, not offended.) Linux implement the POSIX API, which is a standard API for Unix-like operating systems. However, (a) POSIX was not defined 30 years ago (well over half of it was; it's called the standard C library. And, let's not forget about sockets!), and (b) POSIX is an API and can be implemented in many ways (So can AmigaOS, or for that matter MS-DOS. In fact, both have been implemented in different ways. What's your point?). For example, QNX [QnxOperatingSystem] (a distributed, hard real-time, message-passing micro-kernel operating system) provides a POSIX API (subset) but can hardly be described as 30 year old technology. (Absolutely it can.) Similarly, Linux contains many modern technologies. (Yup, but that doesn't change the fact that Linux is a Unix. The reverse, of course, need not be the case; Linux is a proper subclass of Unix - complete with new methods, and old ones overridden. Think, for a moment, of what a standard is: it's a joint consensus on something. An agreement. By definition, new technology can never be in agreement. Therefore, a standard must always be old technology. There is no upper limit to how old it can be. But there is a lower limit.)

Saying that Linux is 30-year old technology is like saying that Windows2000 is a 30-year old technology, because its design can be traced back via VmsOperatingSystem to old DigitalEquipmentCorporation operating systems. (Actually, the NT kernel is so close to VMS, that you might as well say it is. But, more accurately, it really is 25 years old, since MS-DOS is largely a clone of CP/M, and Windows grew on top of MS-DOS, and to this day, can still run DOS 1.0 and a large subset of CP/M-86 applications.)

Windows NT/2000 also includes a POSIX layer (of varying degrees of proficiency). Whatever. So Windows is Unix too?! Sweet!

I can't remember seeing a GUI in VMS. I can't remember seeing a GUI in DOS either, until Windows. Oops, did I say that out loud? The only four operating systems that were designed from the outset, from the ground up, to integrate with a GUI are DomainOS, AmigaOS, Smalltalk, and MacOS. TOS doesn't strictly count, since it's just CP/M-68K layered with GEM.

Later VMS distributions had X servers and clients. They sounded pretty painful - each terminal window was a separate login session, so you had to get more licenses if you wanted more windows up. X11 even has support for DECnet display names ("hostname::0", as I recall). -- BillTrost

Thought for the day: So, how does it make sense to compare Windows and Linux when the choice of which operating system to use is rarely, if ever, decided on their merits? Maybe you should compare the marketing campaigns behind the two. Windows has no real marketing campaign any more, if you hadn't noticed (which is the point). Linux has lots of BS floating around it now. Does this mean we should irrationally hate Linux now?

What I like best about Linux is the price. ;-) -- DafyddRees

Just don't forgot to factor in all those added costs of actually getting it to work and maintaining it. Administering both NT and Linux systems, since 1993, has proven that 100% to me. -- Anonymous

But let's not forget to factor in all those added costs of maintaining a Windows NT system too. You have a job for a reason. Note how many Linux administrators, or Unix administrators in general, do things other than babysit their company's IT infrastructure too. They have more time to do other things. I, for example, also do technical support. Most others do programming, or website maintenance, or... -- Another Anonymous

That's entirely subjective. My experience has been the exact opposite. Working at an ISP, I was able to script the entire process on UNIX and get account management to zero admin intervention without actually granting the salesdroids access to heavy administrative mojo. By contrast, to create accounts on IIS for customers, work orders had to go through because I could find no way to script that. Maybe I just didn't look hard enough, but I think it's because the UnixWay is a lot more self-evident to folks like me than the MicrosoftWay. I'd wager your experience may mirror mine. -- MattBehrens

I second what Sam said, at least partly. Linux is free (LibreSoftware), but it already takes effort to download it. If others do this for you, you have to pay them rightfully for it, which is part of the business of LinuxDistributions. But of course you can exchange the CDs with friends without having a guilty conscience.

After that, you need quite some time to get accustomed to the UnixWay. It also takes some time to get used to the MicrosoftWay, but many people already know the latter and the learning curve is different, even though not necessarily better. I switched over to Linux some years ago and I had a lot of fun while getting into it (and of course I am still learning), which I didn't experience with Windows, but using it is by no means a zero cost game.

Microsoft and others argue that the TotalCostOfOwnership is lower for MicrosoftWindows than for Linux or other Unices. It probably could even be 'proven' by statistics, just as the other way around, so these offers are in vain. In my personal experiences, Linux really seems to be cheaper, but this may be biased by feelings. -- MarkoSchulz

One of the great strengths of Linux is that it's pricing allows small, and very low cost projects to be computerized. I've lost track of the number of times I've heard people say, "This has no official budget. We couldn't afford to use commercial software for this." It must mean that a lot of things wouldn't happen without it. -- DafyddRees

As Linux "costs nothing", it's easier to sneak it into your shop. If you want to spend a few hundred dollars on Microsoft software licenses, you have to fill out paperwork and get all sorts of approvals. But if you download a Linux distro and set it up, you're probably not going to be held accountable for the cost of your labor, even if it is high. -- KrisJohnson

The problem with this topic and other similar topics is that they accomplish nothing. Instead its a bad version of the Jehovah's Witnesses banging on the door trying to convert you to their religion. It's stupid. It's disgusting. With all the events in the world, do people really give a shit what someone else is using for an OS? Linux works. Windows works. If Linux works for you, party on. Use it, love it, whatever. Just don't be a Jehovah's Witness about it for cripe's sake. It's only an OS. LifesFarTooShort?

Do people really care what someone else is using for an OS?

Yes, of course. I'm a professional programmer, and I find Windows a horrible and hostile environment. That part's my problem. So I try to find work in areas where I don't have o deal with that environment. [e.g. embedded systems, advanced AI systems, whatever.] However, as MicroSoft take over the world, there's no safe place left for me to hide. So I care what someone else is using because it has a direct impact on my comfort level in my everyday job. -- AlainPicard

BTW, the way to fix pages such as this one is to put at the top - WindowsVsLinux: A silly, pointless, religions debate. Please mention why you like each system in GreatWindowsFeatures? and GreatLinuxFeatures.

Because you find Windows a horrible and hostile environment does NOT mean others do. Some others like me find Linux a horrible and hostile environment. This doesn't give you the right to force your views on others.

Wow. Where have I forced my views on others? -- AlainPicard

"So I care what someone else is using."

The last I checked, that is not forcing a view. That is a statement of opinion, and definite concern for the state of the art. Alain feels threatened by the onslaught of APIs that exist purely to abstract other APIs, having 16 different functions, all of which do X, but only in ever-so-slightly different, and mutually incompatible ways, etc. I too am a professional programmer, and I too feel Alain's pain. I started coding GUI-based software for the Amiga. In assembly language. It was trivial. I made one program in C for Windows 3.1, quite patently the easiest Windows API that ever existed. That was the last Windows program I ever made.

This isn't restricted to Windows however. I do have to admit that nearly every X11 toolkit API I've ever used was also horrifyingly bad. GTK is the easiest for me to wrap my head around; but still doesn't compare to Amiga's Intuition. GTK 2.x is even harder still, now that the GObject interface is woefully more complex. Yes, I'm sure they have their reasons, but it really does affect how coders write. If coders aren't happy coding, then they'll produce bad programs. Code bloat arises because, you guessed it, APIs exist to abstract other APIs. Etc. The cycle continues, until we have 20MB text editors (with no more than 10% of that actually contributing to editor logic) that aren't Emacs, web browsers that take 45 seconds or more to load on 800MHz boxes with 10,000RPM harddrives, and consume more memory before opening the first window than my Amiga 500 can address in its entirety, etc. It's *$#^ing ridiculous. And it all stems from needless complexity.''

Then again, there's the fact that, when yet another windows exploit surfaces, we IRIX/Solaris/Unix/Linux users suffer from the loss of bandwidth on the public Internet. So, yes, I also care what somebody else uses - because they're stealing what I've paid for (unfettered Internet access).

Frankly, I think most people arguing in favour of one OS over the other on this page should be expelled from software. But let me give some tips:


Windows + Samba + SSH + X on Windows = best of both worlds

Actually, I've used both Windows and Linux. And I overwhelmingly prefer Linux as my desktop machine. Windows crashes too easily, the (snicker) shell environment is baroque to say the least, multitasking is still abysmal after all these years, the user interface sucks so bad it can suck-start a Harley, and to top it completely off, Windows software are loaded with advertisements.

You probably don't support as many platforms as I do. Life is so much easier when you don't care what operating system or IDE people use. But then our build scripts are almost ready for First Contact with space-faring civilizations. ;) -- SunirShah

"The Queen Rocks No More"

Thanks Steve! In the latest survey, the Queen of England has switched from Linux to IIS. Two years ago, the Queen of England became an unlikely icon for the Linux revolution when her webmaster replaced Solaris as the platform for the Royal Family's site, citing the better price/performance of the Dell/Linux platform over the previous incumbent, Sun/Solaris. The open source community celebrated and speculated on when the Apache Web server might receive the "By Royal Appointment" moniker. This week the site has changed platforms again, this time to Microsoft-IIS.

Scary Solaris, AIX - both Unix - hole unearthed

Time: 10:59 EST/15:59 GMT | News Source: ZDNet | Posted By: Adrian Latinak A security hole in software from Sun Microsystems and IBM could allow malicious hackers to take control of powerful servers running in many corporations and universities, security experts said on Wednesday.

SAN DIEGO, Dec. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- WebSideStory?, Inc. (, the world's leading provider of outsourced e-business intelligence services, today reported that despite much hype and expectation in recent years, Linux has failed to gain market share from Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) and Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) operating systems. As of December 17, 2001, Linux held a global usage share of only 0.24 percent, according to WebSideStory?'s StatMarket? (, a Web development optimization service and the leading source for data on global Internet user trends. This compares with Microsoft's Windows and Apple's Macintosh operating systems, which hold a combined global usage share of more than 98 percent. For almost three years, Linux usage share has fluctuated between .2 and .3 percent, with no substantial growth. Usage share is the percentage of Internet surfers that are using a particular operating system.

StatMarket?'s Web site is vague about how they collect this information. Which Internet sites do they track for surfers? How do they identify unique users? -- SteveHowell

Yeah. I'd love to know. Either way, I'm a HardcoreLinuxUser?, but I mainly use Windows for 'net browsing. Also, a point to consider - How much would this number rise if NetZero? (now UnitedOnline?) released a client for Linux? Free OS and Free Internet?? (aaagghh, like HomerSimpson drooling, I presume) -- AluoNow?

Isn't it a bit boring to dual boot between Linux and Windows for net browser?

Those statistics are bogus. If you notice, they garnered statistics from only the Web sites they own, not a cross-section of the Internet by far. A better measure would be + -- SunirShah

The installed Linux base now is in the millions and is growing. It is at least as popular as MacOS was before MacOS X came out. The popularity of Linux and its Unix-reputation for reliability, plus the open-sourcing of Darwin (you really think Apple would have open sourced it otherwise?! Come on) probably improved sales of OS X significantly. Apple has everything to thank Linux for.

Why not both? There are certainly strengths in each which can be exploited. It doesn't need to be a choice of one or the other when it can be one for some and the other for the remainder. This extends to the possibilities of running different generations of various operating systems as well. You can still run the software you bought twenty years ago if you allow for such options.

I have noticed that, though I love using linux, microsoft is really cleaning up their act in recent years. WindowsXp rarely crashes (Yeah, whatever!!), and their next iteration of windows is supposed to have a good unix-style shell. The main thing that makes me keep coming back to linux though is the amount of documentation that comes with it. You can teach yourself anything just by reading a few man pages, or if need be looking in the source. That is what I see as the real advantage of free (or open-source) software. -- AnonymousDonor

I've noticed the other trend - I used Windows until last semester, but Linux is really cleaning up their act in recent years. The new distributions install easily, through a series of graphical screens, and detect most hardware automatically. And they come with a decent GUI that's not all that different from Windows. There's now a decent amount of consumer software for Linux, enough that none of my crucial apps (AIM/web/music/wordprocessing/editor/filebrowsing) are left out.

Maybe in another couple years the operating systems will be identical, and then we could just buy on price. -- JonathanTang

WindowsRegistry? != /etc/*rc

There is a lot said about security holes in linux being fixed faster due to the 'million of eyes checking the source' style arguments. I seem to remember reading an article from a security guy who stated that the reason the linux breaches were fixed quickly was due to the higher degree of modularity in linux i.e. it is the 'increased coupling for market leverage' reasons that cause problems in fixing MS code not the lack of programmers at Redmond (I'm sure they employ quite a lot and also do rigorous code reviews). The other criticism I've heard levied against ms from actual security folk was that apparently they only consider vulnerabilities in isolation, so some are marked as low risk even though they should be a higher risk when they can be coupled with other exploits (they also noted that multiple exploit hacks are getting quite common). Will try to fish out a reference if I can find. -- JamesKeogh

There really is no significant difference between Windows and Linux. Arguing about the two is like arguing about Ferraris vs Lamborghinis. There's a far, far more significant difference between bosc pears and bartlett pears than there is between Windows and Unix. The same goes for EmacsVsVi. They both suck for any serious writing or code browsing. -- RichardKulisz

RichardKulisz compares Windows to a Ferrari. Film at 11. :)

Didn't you mean "arguing about the two is like arguing about AMC Gremlins vs Renault Le Car's"?

Microsoft -v- Linux comparisons are more like a comparison between the Vespa and the SR-71

Lots of hyper-complicated technology that serves no purpose. When what you really want is tiramisu ice cream to go with your triple chocolate "special" brownies.

Windows and Linux are both changing thus adding a couple of moving targets to really confuse things. I have been exclusively using Linux as my desktops (4) and servers (5+) for almost 2 years. Exclusively... that is the key here. Linux has changed a lot since my adoption of it in 1998.

I can say is that in those two years alone I have put more thought than ever into moving to Windows for desktops and FreeBSD for my servers. I don't have the patience or time anymore to spend fixing all of Linux and its bugs, quirks, and inconsistencies. A computer can either be a tool enabling me (and assisting me) to work or it can be work itself. I suppose it is the same as looking at Hobbyist hotrod (automobile) building versus using a car in your job and daily affairs.

Once I said things along the lines of "Linux will get there someday" and meant that someday it will be a useful desktop. I didn't have enough experience at the time to make that claim, as now I have seen the trend Linux is taking downward. There are some noble efforts (HAL to name but one) however HAL will not instill discipline and pragmatism in the various Open Source "developers" anymore than did knowing that unbuffered C string copies were horrid and wrong prevent the crap code out there today.

Free Market drives Linux just as any "non free" software and eventually Linux will die down like the Model Rocket, Model Car, Home Robot, and all the other fad's die down... never going away but either adapting or fizzling out to such low numbers as to cause people to question it ever existed.

When I can use Linux as a tool, be that development, office productivity, graphics work, etc without the level of maintenance and fuss usually reserved for dating spoiled prom queens, then perhaps it will be of use. Until then Linux is a toy and a hobbyists dream. Hobbyists generally are not concerned with the end result. Hobbyists thrill in the process. For them, Linux is a thrill ride rivaling a rocket ship ride to the moon. Constant adventure in googling, bbs searching, troubleshooting, configuring, recompiling, rebooting, reinstalling, searching, trying, cursing and drinking await the Linux hobbyist.

Perhaps I will check out OSX as it appears that someone at Apple decided to catch a clue and we may have a serious competitor.

That Linux might wind up "fizzling out to such low numbers as to cause people to question it ever existed" probably made sense in 2000 when the above was written. Nearly 15 years later, Linux no longer requires "the level of maintenance and fuss usually reserved for dating spoiled prom queens". It is now so pervasive -- on the server-side from Web servers to supercomputers, embedded in devices like network routers and televisions, supporting Cloud infrastructure, running specialist software in manufacturing and entertainment industries, and found (as the Linux kernel, at least) in mobile phones and tablets -- that it's quite reasonable to speculate that MicrosoftWindows will eventually wind up "fizzling out to such low numbers as to cause people to question it ever existed". Corporate desktops and consumer PCs are a notable holdout: "Big Inc." inertia and conservatism are keeping the elderly and infirm Windows on life support.

And, of course, the consumer PC is in its death throes. The "consumer PC" of the future is a Linux-running TV with an AndroidTablet? SecondScreen?. The one thing that will save Apple (this time) is the Benzes and Sonys of the world who will want the cachet of having their interfaces designed by Apple.

See, (apparently being wikified at ), HolyWar, BadLinuxAdvocacy, FearUncertaintyDoubt, HowToDecideIfLinuxIsForYou, LinuxQuestions, WhyLinux, WindowsXpVsLinux (More info on Linux vs Windows

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