Linux Myth (?)

11 11 2007

FAQ

Even though Linux journalists like SJVN try to push Linux a lot by doing anti-microsoft campaigns like these, there is always this Linux Myth with every user who wants to try Linux or uses Linux,

1) Linux is more Stable, Reliable

2) Linux is FREE, no penny being spent!

3) Linux is Virus Free!

One of my friend sent me an email recently on what he felt about using Linux –

I’ve been using Linux exclusively this year. But…. it is so boring! The only application I use is my browser. (Which incidentally crashes several times a day.) Seriously I don’t have a single useful program. I do all my coding in a vi terminal.

sidenote: The myth that linux software is more reliable is fading very fast for me. A wise friend of mine said to me many many years ago that the only reason Linux doesn’t get viruses is because IT DOESN’T DO ANYTHING. I’m beginning to see his wisedom.

I need not explain more here 😀

Thats why people still say Linux is no Vista Killer 😉

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8 responses

11 11 2007
Richard Chapman

I use PCLinuxOS and Firefox freezes up about every other day, FIREFOX, not Linux. Do you understand the difference. But no matter what application crashes, PCLinuxOS keeps plugging along. I have not had one crash with PCLinuxOS 2007 since I’ve been using it (May 21, 2007) and I can’t recall a crash with the previous version. Look, no matter what YOU say, the people who use Linux day to day as their primary OS say Linux is stable and I agree with them.

But you did get one thing right, Linux is no Vista killer, it doesn’t have to be. Vista is doing a fine job of killing itself.

11 11 2007
Chaks

Richard,

I am yet finding a big difference between how people relate things. Now I do agree that its the problem of Firefox and not Linux. Now for people its more that “I downloaded this distro, things didn’t work”.

And if you see SJVN’s articles, its pure anti-microsoft which this post was referring to and an answer to that post by Joe Wilcox. There are many silly and annoying posts of Linux compared with Windows online which are taking people in the wrong direction. I personally don’t like that.

And for Vista – its the same explanation. The security is tightened a lot and most of the applications which didn’t take care of security failed miserably in Vista. And who was blamed ? Vista, and not the applications. If you see my earlier post, I have been running Vista from June 2007 and using it as my main machine as well development machine.

I sometimes think its really a time now for us to think whether people should start anti-campaigns on everything. Say, anti-linux/anti-microsoft/anti-mac/anti-vista/anti-ubuntu/anti-fedora…..yes, Linux distributions fight themselves a lot, which makes me worry more 😦

12 11 2007
dosnlinux

I think the stability ‘myth’ came mainly from people using Linux on servers.

I’m just glad Linux doesn’t make me restart just because I want to change my hostname!

12 11 2007
Chaks

dosnlinux, at most cases, some applications will not pick up the modified Linux hostname until a reboot :).

We may edit some files, but sometimes, some apps will not pickup and will depend on the environment variable which is why a restart would be good to make sure those changes reflect 🙂

Best example is, if I set something in /etc/profile, only a restart would make is sure that things work properly.

13 11 2007
Andrew Betts

In response to Richard.

I think you are missing the point.

When you buy a product (or acquire a product for free) you evaluate the whole as supplied.
Believe me that applies to computers as much as it applies to washing machines.

Try telling someone that when their washing machine doesn’t dry properly it isn’t the fault of … say Zanussi… it is the fault of M&G Condensers Ltd who produce the drying component.

In the case of Linux and Firefox…. how many Linux distributors don’t supply Firefox as the default browser?
I’m going to guess between 1% and none.

It makes no difference. What they got didn’t work.

14 11 2007
Jimmy

I think your being a little harsh to the very good linux distros out there like PC Linux OS 2007, and the like.

In my experience Linux and Windows are both very reliable for the average PC user.

Of course if your doing stuff that the average user is not likely to do then perhaps Windows may work out better for you. Perhaps your using your browser to visit sites with coverly complex code… the average user does not do that and a Linux browser is not that likely to crash. Although if it does your session can usually be easily restored.

Of course what I do mostly on Windows is Surf the web, use a wordprocessor, spreadsheet and maybe a graphics application. I can do that on Linux fine to. Linuxs weakness is that as you said it doesnt do much more than what a Windows PC can do, so why bother to switch. The same reason why most people feel no immediate need to upgrade to Vista from XP, there are no overwhelmingly clear benefits for the average user.

I agree with your myths

1) Linux is more Stable, Reliable
….Most people who use Linux alot will format and reinstall the OS when a new distro comes out at least once a year, my XP install has been going strong for 3 years… Ild say XP is very reliable. Vista needs more time in the market to prove its reliability.

2) Linux is FREE, no penny being spent!
…….Linux can be free although I have noticed drivers from Nvidia and ATI creeping into distros, sure its free but not as it used to be.

3) Linux is Virus Free!
I hope most Linux distros are virus free, however theyre still vunerable.

14 11 2007
Chaks

Jimmy,

Excellent points 🙂

And to clarify – No, I am not putting down Linux or Linux distributions. It was just one of my friend’s reaction after using Linux for a long time. And also, Windows or Linux, both have pros and cons, but its always that Windows which is spoken ill and shown as unstable or defective, whereas Linux too is the same at certain cases, which people refuse to discuss.

14 11 2007
Richard Chapman

In response to Andrew

Andrew, let me make this clear. The issue at hand is Linux stability. That means crashes, freeze ups, and spontaneous reboots. Listen up now. When Firefox freezes, I kill it and restart Firefox. The whole process takes about 5 seconds. Linux? You would never know there was a problem. I get ALL my memory back too.

PCLinuxOS, Ubuntu, Mepis or any other distro have no control over the quality of Firefox with the exception of filing bug reports. The problem I have with Firefox is not something that causes me frustration, it’s minor indeed. If it wasn’t I would switch to Konqueror or Opera until it was fixed which would be a matter of weeks not years as in the case of IE. Linux is stable, more so than XP. I know this because like most Linux users, I was a long time Windows user. I think the confusion current die-hard Windows users have over the stability issue is that XP is fairly stable. More so since SP2. But it still doesn’t come close to Linux and it never will simply because of the design differences. XP applications are allowed to hook directly into the kernel (that’s why you have to reboot after installing an application), not so with Linux. The kernel and the applications might as well live in different countries. Linux does have issues, but stability isn’t one of them, at least when compared to XP or Vista.

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