PC Pro Dabbles in GNU/Linux

PC Pro has been a magazine of Wintel PCs but now it is obvious they realize a PC can be a PC without Wintel. They almost get it…

Here’s what they wrote in the Debian part of a review of several GNU/Linux distros.

“There’s a rather unusual selection of preloaded software included. For web browsing duties, there’s Epiphany or Iceweasel (an unofficial build of the Firefox browser that lacks support for plugins), while the office suite is Apache’s OpenOffice rather than the more popular LibreOffice. Debian’s focus is on completely licence-free software, hence these rather unusual choices, and this approach is reflected in the official Debian software repositories, too; these are accessed by one of two different package manager tools – the Ubuntu-style Software Centre, and the slightly less friendly, but very powerful, Synaptic. Whichever one you use, however, will involve some fiddling once again. By default, both asked us to insert optical media when we attempted to download and install new software; we had to uncheck the “cdrom” option in Software Sources before it would go online.”

see Debian review.

Clearly, Debian GNU/Linux is not licence-free. The GPL and other FLOSS licences cover all the work. PC Pro did find Debian GNU/Linux did not work well with the particular Nvidia graphics of one PC but that is clearly not GNU/Linux’ fault. Nvidia has to get its act together to fix that. When using the Stable branch of Debian GNU/Linux, one should not expect the kernel to know any recent Nvidia release. The smart shopper should avoid Nvidia until they see the light. GNU/Linux has a large enough share of PCs these days that Nvidia should care and Linus told them so…

They do understand the importance of GNU/Linux however:
“Linux has many advantages over operating systems such as Windows 8 and OS X, and the most obvious one is that it’s free. You can install it on as many systems as you like – from laptops to servers and even supercomputers – without ever having to spend a penny.

It’s terrifically secure too. Like the Unix operating system on which it’s modelled, Linux operates a strict regime of file ownership and permissions that makes it all but impossible for malware to spread as it does on Windows. As a result, no native Linux viruses have ever been observed in the wild. (Some exist as proofs of concept, but in order to spread they would require users with administrative privileges to actively install them.) Linux systems can still be compromised by weak passwords and vulnerabilities in application software, such as web browsers, but overall it’s very secure.”

Thanks to Richard Chapman for providing a link to this article.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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8 Responses to PC Pro Dabbles in GNU/Linux

  1. kozmcrae says:

    ssorbom wrote:

    “One of the first things I try to demonstrate to new users is that in GNU\Linux, the GUI is JUST a frontend, nothing more.”

    That’s just one of many realizations the happen when people switch to GNU/Linux. They happen because GNU/Linux hides nothing from the user. It’s a whole different philosophy and it takes a while to get used to it. It’s not just the physical differences that take getting used to.

  2. ssorbom says:

    I get the idea that to a lot of users who are non-geeks don’t see a difference between the OS and the GUI. To many, the GUI IS the OS. Hence, if you change the GUI you have changed the OS. For an example of this see:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ohg_oBFKliI
    Or if you cant watch the movie:
    http://mobileopportunity.blogspot.com/2012/05/fear-and-loathing-and-windows-8.html
    I think that is why some non-geeks are confused by the (GNU\Linux)\X paradigm. One of the first things I try to demonstrate to new users is that in GNU\Linux, the GUI is JUST a frontend, nothing more.

  3. kozmcrae says:

    oiaohm wrote:

    “Windows 9 features are not being mentioned yet.”

    Good point, I forgot all about that! The Windows 9 feature set will tell us what Microsoft is willing to admit they screwed up on.

    Heh, heh heh. That’s why they might be holding off. Saving face.

    In the end it doesn’t really make any difference. They are just fiddling with the GUI and calling it a new OS. I think their customers are beginning to realize that.

  4. oiaohm says:

    –oiaohm wrote, “The big risk to Microsoft is hardware companies only providing developers to make drivers for Android/Linux.”

    That’s still over the horizon.–

    On arm this is not over the horizon. This is Microsoft today problem they are not getting first chance at drivers on the arm platform. This is why Windows CE was killed and Windows NT was made the new core going forwards. Even on x86 with efi we are seeing redhat and other being able to flex some direct muscle on how the future of this should be going.

    Reducing prices will update Microsoft Share holders.

    Yes this Christmas and next could be fairly much make or break to the retail space. Lot of retailers have been holding on to the hope it would be a seller. Even that common history tells you every second windows release is a dog for sales.

    Other thing that has been interesting is normally the release of windows version you see the people start talking about what will be in the next version. Windows 9 features are not being mentioned yet.

  5. oiaohm wrote, “The big risk to Microsoft is hardware companies only providing developers to make drivers for Android/Linux.”

    That’s still over the horizon. Even though the Wintel PC market has slowed down the volume is too great to pass up. That will take at least a few years to change. Eventually, M$ may not get “first chance” at new drivers and so on but it will remain a profitable market for many years. M$ has only to reduce the prices it charges to keep OEMs interested for years to come. M$ has plenty of margin and can afford to pare it down gradually. “8” is an aberration, M$’s last shot at employing monopoly-muscle to charge what the market will bear. Reality is creeping in and all kinds of rats will flee the sinking ship one way or another. A recent poll shows most IT guys don’t have “8” on the radar one bit and consumers are not lapping it up even if that’s mostly what they find on retail shelves. Retailers tend to make their profit over Christmas in North America/Europe, so they will see a huge dent in the IT aisles. That will be the last straw for them. They will promote Android/Linux and possibly GNU/Linux as the new “new”. Expect fire-sale prices on “7” for years to come.

  6. oiaohm says:

    The issue here is Android will be simpler to compete with from a GNU/Linux point of view. So if Android is the new Windows. GNU/Linux in future will have less problems being able to run the competitors software.

    Also there is a bigger problem. Android is bringing hardware companies money. Lots of money. The big risk to Microsoft is hardware companies only providing developers to make drivers for Android/Linux.

    Microsoft really does not have a internal reverse hardware to make drivers team. Microsoft is fully dependant on its market share to bring it drivers.

  7. dougman says:

    …but computers slow down with age, this is why you must buy a new OS and hardware every three years!! Its the American way, anything else you must be a communist!!

    Android IS NOT Linux, Android has malware, Linux is NOT Android, Linux does get malware often, no one can learn how to use Linux, Linux is much to hard to use.

    Meanwhile in the real world….

    Android really is the new Windows.

    Summary: The figures don’t lie: Android not only has almost three-quarters of global mobile device sales, but it’s outselling PCs too. So the Linux-based OS is the new Windows, not only due to its ubiquity, but because it represents a key aspect of Windows that Microsoft is throwing away: openness.

    http://www.zdnet.com/android-really-is-the-new-windows-7000007450/

    Android Malware Rises, but Security Risks Remain Low in U.S.

    Summary: “These expanding markets have also been notable for the proliferation of less-secure third-party apps markets, which are popular with users for various reasons,” the company stated. “This factor may also account for the increasing number of malicious samples seen this quarter.”

    While quarterly reports on the malware landscape have noted a steep increase in the number of malicious applications discovered in software marketplaces, such as Google Play, the rate of infection remains low outside of China, Russia and other eastern European nations. About 40 percent of Android smartphone users are infected in those nations, according to security firm Lookout; in North America, less than 0.3 percent of users have had a malicious program installed on their phones, according to a recent report by network security firm Kindsight.

    http://www.eweek.com/security/android-malware-rises-but-security-risks-remain-low-in-u.s./

    Ok, so no rooting your phone and installing apps outside of the Google market and your fine, next!

    With Google Chromebooks, running Gentoo Linux becoming ubiquitous. Android taking the floor and sweeping the competition away and Valve offering Steam on Linux, again why does one need a $800+ dollar tablet??

    For the cost of single M$ Surface Return It (RT) tablet, you could purchase four chromebooks!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oLUPlTA9gsY

    “After spending years learning the hard way that people just don’t want a start bar on their cell phones, Microsoft is now making the opposite mistake and inflicting a cell phone interface on their desktop users,” said Slashdot blogger Gerhard Mack. “Windows 8 will make Vista look like a smashing success and won’t be recoverable until they roll back all of the interface changes.”

  8. kozmcrae says:

    “As a result, no native Linux viruses have ever been observed in the wild.”

    The Cult of Microsoft dilemma: They say there’s no Linux in Android. But they want to attribute all the new and upcoming malware on Android to Linux. What to do, what to do.

    Twisted, pretzel logic, that’s what to do. They can’t help themselves. Here boy, here boy. Come boy, sit. Sit boy, sit. Now recite the twisted logic you get from Microsoft. Good little boy.

    PCPro, the entrenched pro Microsoft media outlet, has gone pro Linux. Why not, everyone’s doing it. Get used to it Cult of Microsoft. The bad news for Microsoft is only going to increase.

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