Usability of GNU/Linux

Der Spiegel Online has an interesting article on usability of GNU/Linux for ordinary mortals. Unfortunately, it’s only in German, but Google Translate gives us the gist.

The authour, Frank Patalong, was innocently using his PC running that other OS yesterday when it locked and demanded payment to continue… He had a router, firewall and anti-virus software. He had often used GNU/Linux as a rescue CD to fix other people’s PCs but yesterday he decided to install GNU/Linux. He did and found it usable. He had helped others install GNU/Linux and instead of requests for help that he expected, he finds users feel GNU/Linux is fast and clean.

That has been my experience for many years. Others are discovering GNU/Linux. It’s all good. I recommend Debian GNU/Linux. It works for you instead of the bad guys.

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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27 Responses to Usability of GNU/Linux

  1. dooey, I claim literary licence to tell my story any way I want.

  2. dooey says:

    Robber Pogson…When will you stop using anecdotal evidence?

  3. Thanks for the great comment, John Cockroft. I used PDP11s and VAXs in the old days, mostly for collecting and analysing data with software from DEC.

    One can always build from parts and use thin clients to avoid that other OS but it does take some effort. Forming a cooperative and ordering in quantity from mainstream OEMs is also an option to avoid that other OS. Ordering direct from China is also an option.

  4. John Cockroft says:

    Forgive me Robert for feeding the trolls but I think that I should refute some of the comments made here so that anybody who actually has a balanced viewpoint (but perhaps does NOT know all the facts) can view everything and make their own minds up.

    Windows NT/XP/Vista/7 and Server 2000/2003/2008/2010 are based on the DEC VMS operating system – in fact some of the original Windows NT 3.1 team WERE the core developers of VMS! I knew one of them along with some of the core guys who developed Windows 2000 (my wife went to school with one of them!)

    http://www.windowsitpro.com/article/windows-2000/windows-nt-and-vms-the-rest-of-the-story
    http://saf.bio.caltech.edu/vms_beginners_faq.html

    VMS used based symbolic devices (such as DISK1:) rather than mounting devices as part of a directory tree (as Unix/Linux/OS-X does). The PC/MS/DRDOS based operating systems were based on a mixture of Posix filesystems but with VMS style symbolic devices (aka C:, CON:, LPT1:, COM1: etc). This doesn’t make it better or worse – just DIFFERENT! Having started my computer career on SunOS and VAX 11/780s running BSD Unix and also VAXs running VMS – neither is better or worse than the other.

    Like VMS, NT and successors use access control lists (ACLs) whereas Unix like systems use user, group, world permissions.

    On Windows 7 you could create an ACL group called “developer” and add users into it. On Linux you could create a group called “developer” and add users into it. Overall result – exactly the same!

    ACLs do give you somewhat finer grained security but you can use control groups (CGroups) or SELinux/AppArmor (depending on whether the system is Red Hat/RPM derived or Debian/APT derived) to do that. In real world scenarios I have NEVER needed to do this in over 20 years of using both Unix/Linux and Windows in parallel.

    I spent over a decade writing Windows install packages in InstallShield, NSIS and WIX + Linux packages in both RPM and DEB(ian) formats. The transaction based Linux installer – when coupled with a high level package manager (such as Yum or APT) is VASTLY better than Windows MSIs or other similar systems. In many ways you are right – Linux installers ARE like ZIP files (actually CPIO trees) but as Linux systems put things into STANDARD PLACES (aka the FSD – something that Microsoft is also starting to do) then that is perfectly acceptable. They are, however, much more sophisticated than that – more analogous to a hierarchical database of all installed files on the systems which prevents one package overwriting another package and keeps all versions of libraries and applications in sync so that they just all work.

    There are plenty of excellent GUIs for package managers (such as Synaptic, Yumex or the more recent Ubuntu Software Center) but you can also install software very simply from the command line.

    By typing (say)

    $ sudo apt-get install openshot [RETURN]

    the system will install OpenShot (an excellent non-linear video editor) and all necessary libraries and files to make it work. If a library already exists (but is out of date) then it will be upgraded and if other applications (which might use a common library) need upgrading to make sure that everything will work with the new libraries then they will be upgraded too.

    For an example of a GUI look here
    http://www.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/features/ubuntu-software-centre

    Before you go off on a rant – this type of GUI system preceded Apple’s App Store by years so yes there is plenty of prior art here!

    In terms of personal usage (anacdotal) – this is very common amongst Linux users – and then many users put together all this information into common web sites that everything can use. It does NOT make this sort of information any less useful – many eyes make light bugs – anyone can verify the truthfullness. It’s called a community!

    I find the hatred from (some) Windows users utterly baffling.

    I am not asking you to give up Windows – if you like it that’s fine by me – but it does not mean that my operating system is inherently far worse than yours (it isn’t and in many ways it is much better – but that’s my experience)! What is wrong is trying to force your own views on other people. My own experience has been that (for me, generally) using Linux has been a much more positive and productive experience than using Windows and also the licensing is more friendly 😉 but hey if you LIKE Windows well stick with it 🙂

    The current system of pre-loading Windows (without offering any alternatives) is utterly wrong. If I could buy a bare PC (i.e. without an operating system) then that would be much better) – having well configured Linux PCs in stores (and there are plenty of people who would buy them) would allow people choice. If you believe in Windows then this should be no threat at all – after all if it is that much better than Linux then people would ALWAYS want to buy PCs with Windows – right? I suspect that you would find that many more people would consider running Linux rather than Windows if they could just go into a shop and buy a PC running it.

    Having Apple Macs as alternatives is no real alternative at all. They are after a different market (i.e. the designer/expensive computer) and are even more ‘locked down’ than Windows computers. I know this as I have a Mac myself (for OS/X and iOS development) as well as Linux and Windows (although only as Virtual Machines – might as well use my licensed copy of Windows that I didn’t originally want for *something*!)

    Saying that Microsoft does not have a monopoly is simply ignoring the facts.

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/2833228/posts
    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/10/17/scitech/main20121484.shtml
    http://www.groklaw.net/staticpages/index.php?page=2005010107100653

    If you don’t believe the Groklaw articles then look up the cases on PACER. They are there in black and white and court cases.

    In the UK it is almost IMPOSSIBLE to buy a PC (unless it is a Mac) without Windows being preloaded. PC != Windows and PC hardware is not tied (in any way) to Microsoft.

  5. twitter says:

    I’m amazed at the verbage spilled here by the Microsoft trolls. Everyone knows that Windows is the weak link in anyone’s IT chain, that it’s half life on a network is measured in minutes and that it is a true horror story to recover and it’s going to get even worse.

    Some shops now have image based Windows restores, but that takes a lot of begging from Microsoft and a very strictly limited application set. Every little non free software program on that other OS makes difficult to manage registry edits that can’t just be backed up and restored.

    The move to “Secure Boot” will screw restorations even more but won’t do anything to protect users from hijack. The bad guys have already learned how to make full blown applications out of running Windows processes. I suppose that users might be able to restore their “factory fresh” Windows, without any customizations if the malware does not bury itself into the new BIOS.

    Free software, of course, can be imaged and reproduced in a minute or two.

  6. oiaohm says:

    Flying Toaster your MS Troll play book was bogus to pro administrators 2 to 3 years ago.

    The issue now is it becoming bogus to distributions fresh out box like fedora and oracle unbreakable Linux.

    In under 12 months most of your claims will be bogus for most distrobutions.

  7. oiaohm says:

    Flying Toaster cgroups also can alter the filesystem user can see.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cgroups

    This is a highly powerful control framework. This is not a LSM module. This is a core Linux part. Systemd system place cgroup around each user session with cgroup permissions for that user.

    That can include a fake PID table and a fake UID table a fake filesystem, fake hostname, fake network interface.

    Result user might thing they have swap to root but in fact they have only swapped to user 2000+ something with no system wide privileges.

    This kind of power is kinda default provide in any system running systemd off the default line.

  8. oiaohm says:

    “Which Linux exactly does not provide. What Linux has is essentially a two-tier system that gives you either root (everything) or user (your home directory and all ports above 1024)”

    Flying Toaster you missed capabilities and cgroups. Linux can give more levels of security http://www.kernel.org/doc/man-pages/online/pages/man7/capabilities.7.html

    Capabilities and cgroups are standard provide independent to LSM modules. Of course lot of distributions need to be kicked up ass for not implementing.
    Your statement is false in another way.

    Also iptables nicely can block users from getting network ports. Firewall can forbid access to anything above 1024 as well.

    Of course this means Linux kernel provides more levels than 2.

    Distrobution running cgroups by default now ie systemd can provide many more levels of secuirty.

    Flying Toaster
    “Linux users EXPECT to run with the smallest workable subset of privileges but temporarily become ROOT whilst installing applications or making system changes.”
    There are solutions to this. Installing applications can be done by packagekit avoiding user process up as root. There are ways of doing configuration changes without going up to root as well.

    Flying Toaster
    “That’s exactly the problem. You only grant access rights to different parts of the system when you have to. It’s just like you don’t give a janitor the master keys for an entire building just because you want him to clean only a section of it. In Windows, that problem is solved with Group Poilcy. In Linux, the answer to the problem is stuff all.”
    This is also false. selinux does role based secuirty. Now you need a deploy method. freeipa is the future framework for deploying this current is using puppet or cfengine.

    Flying Toaster I could keep on going with your bogus after bogus after bogus with more and more linkes.

    Phenom himself makes unchecked error after error.

  9. Flying Toaster says:

    I have used GNU/Linux on random hardware (having bought anything for the purpose only a few times) so I know GNU/Linux works on a wide variety of hardware.

    anecdotal (testimonial) evidence:

    “Anecdotes are unreliable for various reasons. Stories are prone to contamination by beliefs, later experiences, feedback, selective attention to details, and so on. Most stories get distorted in the telling and the retelling. Events get exaggerated. Time sequences get confused. Details get muddled. Memories are imperfect and selective; they are often filled in after the fact. People misinterpret their experiences. Experiences are conditioned by biases, memories, and beliefs, so people’s perceptions might not be accurate.”

    A fitting description of your blog, isn’t it?

  10. reactosguy says:

    I have used GNU/Linux on random hardware (having bought anything for the purpose only a few times) so I know GNU/Linux works on a wide variety of hardware.

    You still have yet to convince me, “Is GNU / Linux right for me?”

    Your words are not really persuading. You just repeated, in a longer form, that GNU / Linux works for everyone. It’s like saying that certain drugs have the same effect on everybody. They don’t.

    there are many regions where a consumer can find nothing but that other OS on retail shelves

    First, this isn’t true. Wherever you find Windows, you also find Macintosh, which is a competent competitor in itself, but a bit too costly. Does that mean that Windows is a monopoly if the Mac isn’t affordable? Not at all! You could just save up for the Mac instead! You are not obligated to buy Windows because Mac is too expensive.

    Second, you forget to mention the online market, which pretty much blows away any “Windows is a monopolistic product” argument out of any water. There is no way in hell that Windows is your only option when buying operating systems online.

    Lest anyone doubt that M$ had a monopoly they should read the documents in US DOJ v M$ where they will find that M$ delayed release of details of the API to developers who were releasing competing products, or delayed issuing licences at all for that other OS so that OEMs would not be able to sell their PCs or demanded exclusivity by OEMs. They could not do that if they did not have monopoly.

    Those are “monopolistic activities”, which do not make a market cornering entity a monopoly. Lamentably, you still think that an entity is a monopoly if they do “monopolistic activities”?

    ————-

    Also, I totally agree with Phenom.

  11. ReactOS guy wrote a bunch of stuff.

    I have used GNU/Linux on random hardware (having bought anything for the purpose only a few times) so I know GNU/Linux works on a wide variety of hardware. That’s mostly about Linux which has tons of built-in drivers. I have used GNU/Linux with users from 8 to 80 in schools and very few had any problem using it and they did find it met their needs. My experience is personal but also institutional. I have exposed thousands to GNU/Linux on x86 PCs.

    M$ was as close as you can get to a monopoly on desktop PCs from about 1998 to 2005 or so. They were riding at about 95% of PCs being shipped by OEMs with that other OS. The monopoly is declining/losing strength but there are many regions where a consumer can find nothing but that other OS on retail shelves. If you include ARMed devices as PCs, the monopoly is probably dead already but some in the comments here do not accept that anything is a PC unless it is x86/amd64 with that other OS still installed. There is still a monopoly of mindshare between their ears. At the rate things are going the monopoly will certainly be dead within two or three years. Some measures of the installed base are as low as 74% but there is no accurate measure. The days of 95% are long gone.

    Lest anyone doubt that M$ had a monopoly they should read the documents in US DOJ v M$ where they will find that M$ delayed release of details of the API to developers who were releasing competing products, or delayed issuing licences at all for that other OS so that OEMs would not be able to sell their PCs or demanded exclusivity by OEMs. They could not do that if they did not have monopoly.

  12. Phenom says:

    This brings us to my question, “How come someone as educated as Pogson would take the words from oiaohm at face value without first checking all the facts?”

    I would say that Pogson is simply desparate. He needs to find a reason, a rational force to backup his crusade. Witnessing reality trashing all your theories, predictions and ideals is harsh. To keep the fight, you need not only a strong idea, but also some practical proof that your idea might eventually have a tiny chance to work out. Even in a marginal case. Even later.

    Therefore, Pogson, eagerly accepts all linkless, sourceless and referenceless gibberish, posted here by his fellows. Unfortunately, most of them sound blant and desperate themselves, even more than Pogson, and Pogson can’t help but feel superior to them. And he is right to, in my view.

    Now, there comes Ohio. Incomprehensible, bizzare, emanating mental issues, he at least sounds intriguing. Well, even we read him from every now and then in search of some sane arguement, despite that we all know he is as technically ignorant as it can get. But he sounds as if he has an idea what he is talking about… As if he knows more than Pogson.

    Which is not true, btw. At least Pogson has some solid knowledge in administrating a Linux box. Something I am not sure Ohio has after all the times he has been pawned here or anywhere else on the Net.

  13. reactosguy says:

    To Robert Pogson,

    I don’t really support Microsoft, but your responses here are ridiculous.

    In all the years of use and administering hundreds of GNU/Linux desktops I have never seen an infection while I have seen every week infections of that other OS.

    Perhaps you forgot to apply common sense and security software on “that other OS”.

    I can still remember the day I first installed Caldera GNU/Linux. It worked and kept working the balance of the school year when that other OS failed daily in my classroom and that was without malware killing it.

    *cough*personal experience*cough*

    If it works for you, that doesn’t mean it works for everyone.

    The only reason that Linux is not more popular is the enforced monopoly that pre-installs Windows on all (common high street) PCs.

    Microsoft, as should be obvious, is not a monopoly. Microsoft is a monopoly when it is the only provider in its market (i.e. only Windows, no Mac, no Linux, no nothing else). The closest you could say about Microsoft’s market share, past or present, is that Microsoft cornered the market. Simple. Just because Microsoft has practiced “monopolistic activities”, does not correlate to it being a monopoly.

    FLOSS is not perfect but it is orders of magnitude closer to perfection than that other OS.

    Really? I demand proof!

  14. Flying Toaster says:

    Modern Linux distributions (such as Ubuntu, Fedora, PCLinuxOS, openSUSE) are EASILY as usable and easy to configure (for normal users)

    They are usable so as long as you have all your hardware respecting the wacky Linux driver “model” and don’t mind having your set of available software restricted to what the repository maintainers think you need. Otherwise, they are simply nightmares through and through.

    Binary backwards compatibility. Every copy of Windows can run every (or nearly every) DOS or Windows program stretching back nearly 30 years. Why?

    Because people need them. Being (supposedly) a software developer, you ought to know pretty well that people are often stuck with software systems from various eras for one reason or another. It would be considerably much cheaper to develop the OS without having to maintain subsystems like Windows-on-Windows, but people demand them, and developing commercial software is all about meeting demands – not pursuing purist agendas.

    Why? It is very inefficient – Apple tackled this n a much more sensible way by providing an EMULATOR for OS/9 and having a clean break into a better BSD Unix based system

    That clean break also means that you will not have applications communicating as directly (if at all) to the operating system or to each other. In other words, you’ll have to expect some software to not work no matter what you try. Again, think about those who have to rely on “legacy” software for their day-to-day work.

    Linux doesn’t need this because it is OPEN SOURCE (and so are MOST of the applications).

    Which basically just means “configure-make-make_install” in this context, and with all the problems from crufty, poorly-maintained autotool and #ifdef workarounds.

    You can break binary compatibility after every (major) kernel or OS release (if you NEED to) and everything still works (with perhaps SOME tweaks).

    Perhaps. Even with all the stars aligned, the breakage is still going to be hell for those on the receiving end and in monetary terms.

    Windows doesn’t have that option because the applications are proprietory

    And rightfully so. Demanding that everyone must release their software along with the source (freely redistributable or otherwise) is just insolent and foolish. And expecting that users are interested in compiling or maintaining their software is even more so.

    That means that Linux distributors can fix security properly (if necessary by breaking binary compatibility completely) – also porting to a new processor architecture is MUCH easier!

    If you completely ignore architecture-specific syscalls and behaviors, that is.

    This is not something than CAN be fixed on Windows unless you sacrifice backwards compatibility

    And give everyone an up-yours, every three years or less. Sounds like fun to me.

    You CAN lock down Windows NEARLY as tightly as Linux

    Locking down Windows as tightly as Linux is easy, but not the other way around. Seriously, I can even control what the Administrators group can or cannot do to the system – can you do the same with Linux?

    (Note to oiaohm: if you want to pester me on MAC, forget it – please go back to lkml and start a fight or something with Casey Schaufler instead)

    Linux users EXPECT to run with the smallest workable subset of privileges

    Which Linux exactly does not provide. What Linux has is essentially a two-tier system that gives you either root (everything) or user (your home directory and all ports above 1024) with “security” modules (SELinux, AppArmor, etc.) bolted on here and there. Maybe the guy who told oiaohm to “STFU” (see above) could shed more light on the subject. /s

    temporarily become ROOT whilst installing applications or making system changes.

    That’s exactly the problem. You only grant access rights to different parts of the system when you have to. It’s just like you don’t give a janitor the master keys for an entire building just because you want him to clean only a section of it. In Windows, that problem is solved with Group Poilcy. In Linux, the answer to the problem is stuff all.

    although there are now an estimate 120 million Linux users worldwide

    Which amount to a sniff and a cough when you compare that to the number of Windows users.

    And I heard that the Linux botnet market was blooming.

    This is not (in any way) as good as package management systems such as APT or YUM on (say) Ubuntu or Fedora which are fully transactional

    Or, in other words, they are simply glorified zip archives. Nice idea if all you have are a handful of packages working independently of each other, but not quite so if you have dependencies daisy-chaining hundreds of packages with no clear boundaries as to which package is for what – a common symptom among Linux distributions.

    if part of the install fails then the entire install is automatically rolled back to a known working state.

    That’s basically what System Restore does, and it does so by remembering the state of the system from various points in time in the form of restore points. Package management systems, on the other hand, don’t care about states, have no concept of state machines, and will gladly leave hundreds of dependencies behind if you so happen to want to uninstall an application that you regret installing.

    It’s pretty easy to see which one is the winner here.

    Recovering a Linux system is generally MUCH easier than recovering a Windows system. You boot from a Live CD or Live USB stick

    It’s easier as long as you haven’t used Windows since 2005. Just stick the Windows 7 installation disc in and be done with the drama.

    You can also run chkdsk and suchlike there, in case you are wondering.

    On Windows you can TRY using a recovery CD, fail, use BartPE (http://www.nu2.nu/pebuilder/ ) or similar and then PRAY that the registry has not been corrupted!

    My mistake. 2001.

    Office Applications, Internet Browsers, Email and even SOME multimedia capability

    Or, more precisely, a barely usable beast of a thing called “LibreOffice”, a browser that may or may not be up-to-date with no Flash, Evolution and PulseAudio.

    including virus scanners, office applications, ZIP, Adobe Reader etc

    virus scanner – didn’t you say they were useless or something?

    ZIP – my mistake again. 1995.

    Adobe Reader – like you can find the real deal on those “Live CDs”, eh?

    The only reason that Linux is not more popular is the enforced monopoly that pre-installs Windows on all (common high street) PCs.

    *yawn*

  15. John Cockroft wrote, “It is also complete madness! Fix the architectural/problem properly don’t try and detect one out of 100,000+ exploits!”

    Amen! An excellent comment. FLOSS is not perfect but it is orders of magnitude closer to perfection than that other OS. I can still remember the day I first installed Caldera GNU/Linux. It worked and kept working the balance of the school year when that other OS failed daily in my classroom and that was without malware killing it. In all the years of use and administering hundreds of GNU/Linux desktops I have never seen an infection while I have seen every week infections of that other OS.

  16. John Cockroft says:

    I do Cross-Platform development (i.e. applications and systems that use multiple operating systems) – typically (in my case) Windows, OS/X and Linux – usually Red Hat/CentOS and Ubuntu/Debian). I have been using Linux on a daily basis since the late 1990’s and as my primary desktop operating system (these days usually Ubuntu) for over five years.

    Modern Linux distributions (such as Ubuntu, Fedora, PCLinuxOS, openSUSE) are EASILY as usable and easy to configure (for normal users) as modern Windows Systems (like Windows 7/8) or modern Macs (Snow Leopard/Lion and yes I use a Mac as well).

    I have also done significant amounts of penetration testing on both Windows and Linux. Virus scanners give you the ILLUSION of security (as Bruce Schneider said ‘Security is a process not a product’). As soon as a new virus (or exploit) appears then the scanner is effectively useless (at least until the virus update is fully active). It is also complete madness! Fix the architectural/problem properly don’t try and detect one out of 100,000+ exploits! There are two simple reasons for Windows being more susceptible to viruses/worms than either Linux or OS/X:

    1) Binary backwards compatibility. Every copy of Windows can run every (or nearly every) DOS or Windows program stretching back nearly 30 years. Why? It is very inefficient – Apple tackled this n a much more sensible way by providing an EMULATOR for OS/9 and having a clean break into a better BSD Unix based system. Linux doesn’t need this because it is OPEN SOURCE (and so are MOST of the applications). You can break binary compatibility after every (major) kernel or OS release (if you NEED to) and everything still works (with perhaps SOME tweaks). That means if you find an ARCHITECTURAL flaw (perhaps causing security problems) then you can fix it properly. Windows doesn’t have that option because the applications are proprietory and hence there is no source code available where it is needed. That means that Linux distributors can fix security properly (if necessary by breaking binary compatibility completely) – also porting to a new processor architecture is MUCH easier! This is not something than CAN be fixed on Windows unless you sacrifice backwards compatibility (perhaps this might happen with Windows 8 on ARM?).

    2) (Lack of) proper security. This is mostly due to how people EXPECT to run Windows rather than a flaw in design. You CAN lock down Windows NEARLY as tightly as Linux (and I have done – but MANY applications no longer work and most people would not want a Windows system like this)! Linux users EXPECT to run with the smallest workable subset of privileges but temporarily become ROOT whilst installing applications or making system changes.

    It is NOT purely down to the fact that Windows is the most ‘popular’ (although there are now an estimate 120 million Linux users worldwide – more if you include Android phones).

    Restore points back up the registry and some critical files (such as drivers which are being replaced). This is not (in any way) as good as package management systems such as APT or YUM on (say) Ubuntu or Fedora which are fully transactional – i.e. if part of the install fails then the entire install is automatically rolled back to a known working state. I have had to rescue Windows systems MANY TIME on which (say) a critical new .NET component failed to register properly or a critical system DLL has been replaced by an EARLIER version (because a user overrode a warning) stopping the system from booting.

    Linux systems are not invunerable from viruses/worms or so stable that they NEVER crash (having written kernel drivers I have seen PLENTY of kernel panics – equivilent to Windows BSOD) – but on a working system these are EXTREMELY rare.

    Recovering a Linux system is generally MUCH easier than recovering a Windows system. You boot from a Live CD or Live USB stick, chroot into the sick system and copy files over or modify configuration files (which are all easy-to-change text files – not proprietory format binary registry files etc), then it works (again). On Windows you can TRY using a recovery CD, fail, use BartPE (http://www.nu2.nu/pebuilder/ ) or similar and then PRAY that the registry has not been corrupted!

    Installing a working Linux system from a Live CD is TRIVIAL and you end up with Office Applications, Internet Browsers, Email and even SOME multimedia capability – all from a single install. How many separate installs do you need to get a fully functional Windows system (including virus scanners, office applications, ZIP, Adobe Reader etc)?

    The only reason that Linux is not more popular is the enforced monopoly that pre-installs Windows on all (common high street) PCs. If you could walk into (say) PCWorld and have equivilent good specification PCs preinstalled with Ubuntu/Fedora (with nicely configured graphics/games etc) alongside Windows boxes and Macs – I think it would be a different story.

  17. Flying Toaster says:

    Correction:

    believe that his -> believe his

  18. Flying Toaster says:

    a good ability to use a search engine

    Ummm.. I am sorry but did I miss something here. Or you just so happen to believe that his link-less, source-less, mostly fictitious walls of text to be examples of “a good ability to use a search engine”? Really, you are sadder than I have ever thought.

    He could have his own blog…

    Speaking of good abilities to use a search engine!

  19. FT wrote, “How come someone as educated as Pogson would take the words from oiaohm at face value without first checking all the facts?”

    Unlike several other commentards here, oiaohm has proven his expertise or at least a good ability to use a search engine. He contributes a lot, perhaps too much. He could have his own blog…

  20. Flying Toaster says:

    Please, Pog, you were much better some months ago. Don’t confuse Ohio’s walls of gibberish with paragons of technical excellence.

    It’s interesting that you bring this up because when someone talks to you enthusiastically and incoherently about something that you are not terribly familiar with, will your first instinct be, “Sheeze… This guy has some really good points there”?

    No, you’ll probably think that the guy is either on drugs or just a mental case – definitely not someone that you would trust your toasted sandwich with, let alone on technical information that requires a sound mind to comprehend.

    This brings us to my question, “How come someone as educated as Pogson would take the words from oiaohm at face value without first checking all the facts?”

  21. Phenom says:

    Pog, Restore point is not a backup. The other OS, as you like to call it, has a completely different mechanism for backups.

    Restore points are there to save you from a faulty driver, or problematic system update, or application update, where binaries need to be restored.

    You should have gathered this yourself from your own source.

    In particular the file-system is not restored

    Pog, how exactly do you envision restoration of a file system? A restoration of a file system means to undo all changes in the files, done after the timestamp of the backup. Something, quite impossible unless all the data is backed up along.

    Please, Pog, you were much better some months ago. Don’t confuse Ohio’s walls of gibberish with paragons of technical excellence. He is dragging you down, but you are the one who is ashamed in the end.

  22. Flying Toaster says:

    Note the use of the word “some” by M$. That means lots of stuff is not set right by M$’s “restoration”. User apps, for instance. “Can” does not mean “will”. In particular the file-system is not restored. M$’s “restore point” is not a proper backup.

    And you are trying to use this as a comparison of what? That “most Linux distro kernel upgrades where lilo and grub keep the old kernels handy to roll right back to in the event of a hosed upgrade”?

    I applaud your steadfastness to hurl yourself off the cliff of utter irrelevancy with such blitzkrieg efficiency. This is not to mention the source you have cited is for Windows XP. Are you just afraid to tell anyone the fact that even your favorite reference Wikipedia thinks that your information is at least 7 years out of date?

    And for those who are curious, there are:

    1) volume shadow copy service, and
    2) FAQ on “previous versions” of files.

  23. FT wrote, “Ever heard of this thing called a “restore point”. “

    Restore Points in that other OS more or less keep backups of the registry. That’s like the /etc directory in GNU/Linux. Useful, but insufficient to actually put a system back the way it was.

    M$:” System Restore takes “snapshots” of critical system files and some program files and registry settings and stores this information as restore points. If your computer is not functioning correctly, you can use these restore points to return Windows XP to a previous state when your computer was functioning correctly. It can also change scripts, batch files, and other kinds of executable files on your computer.”
    -emphasis mine RP

    Note the use of the word “some” by M$. That means lots of stuff is not set right by M$’s “restoration”. User apps, for instance. “Can” does not mean “will”. In particular the file-system is not restored. M$’s “restore point” is not a proper backup.

  24. Flying Toaster says:

    Unlike most Linux distro kernel upgrades where lilo and grub keep the old kernels handy to roll right back to in the event of a hosed upgrade (rare) with MS OS you pretty are committed once you dive of the cliff

    Ever heard of this thing called a “restore point”. Let me guess – you probably haven’t used Windows since 1999. Otherwise, I can’t honestly think of an explanation for a comment this out of the left field.

    Oh, and when Linux finally manages to perform some form of copy-on-write, by all means let me know. But I bet that’ll probably be at the same time btrfs finally gets out of its diapers – or one heck of a long wait in other words.

  25. gewg_ says:

    It’s a real shame that an exploit will survive a reboot on a Windoze box.

  26. oe says:

    Unlike most Linux distro kernel upgrades where lilo and grub keep the old kernels handy to roll right back to in the event of a hosed upgrade (rare) with MS OS you pretty are committed once you dive of the cliff, and not-so-rare is the upgrade (patch ?) on MS Win that leaves your system hosed…so I can understand reticence on updating it. Also it is cumbersome with all the various OS AND apps nags for upgrading so you the user just ignores all them. Not at all like integrated package management which is no mess, no fuss.

  27. Flying Toaster says:

    The authour, Frank Patalong, was innocently using his PC running that other OS

    And perhaps visiting scam websites that utilitize a vulnerability in Java for deploying ransomware. I shall not make too much speculations on what else he might have done.

    The same source from Kaspersky also points out that “[a] lot of people still don’t update their computers, especially the 3rd party applications. The most recent vulnerability exploited in the kit is from June 2010, and the oldest is from 2004.” (Italics mine)

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