Letters to Redmond
Linux: Pluses...and Minuses
Readers weigh in on Linux and Windows Mobile.
Linux has come a long way as far as installation ["Linux:
Ready for Prime Time?
" August 2007]. I remember having to make a boot
disk and using a Linux version of fdisk to make the partitions before even beginning
to install. Now it's as easy to install as the current version of Windows and
costs a whole lot less. If you're using SuSE, YAST is a wonderful configuration
tool that can even be used to set up Apache. As for regular users setting up
a PC or laptop, I'd like to know where they work. I'd venture to say most IT
shops are still installing and configuring the desktop before the user even
sees it. I'd say this is the best time to "slide" a Linux machine
to the users. With the differences between XP and Vista, the average user would
not notice much, as opposed to the accounting department.
Being from the Graphical Workstation camp, I've always found Windows on Intel
to be hard to use, not friendly and extremely counterproductive.
It demanded too much repetitive user input, had no "cron" daemon
for automating tasks, was incredibly slow, the standard database was difficult
to set up and one couldn't add any user extras without learning a formal programming
Yet the application programs were all clones of those found on high-end workstations
of the '80s.
The GUI interface was not zoomable, no virtual viewport and only one desktop.
Application windows were designed for the small-screen Apple Mac with drop-down
menus, a long way to move the mouse with today's 19-inch-plus screens.
Add to all that the long-term lack of multi-tasking and multi-user ability,
and you've got a system only a system seller and a time-wasting user would love.
Luckily Linux came along to save the day on Intel, PPC and M68K: A virtual
clone of a professional workstation on cheap hardware, yet fully customizable
to the CPU.
These days one can get the latency down to under 3ms, perfect for real-time
music and video mixing, and one can choose a low-memory window manager for maximizing
Compared with Linux, Vista sounds like a real donkey. I'm glad that my work
demands I be very productive so I'll never have to use it.
Congratulations to the author on what appears to be a very well researched article
Mobile Dogged by Reliability Issues," July 2007]. I agree wholeheartedly
with the comments contained in that story. Windows Mobile 5.0 (which I currently
use on my Treo 750) is user-friendly and there are tons of commercial and free
apps for devices running this OS. The Office Mobile and integration with Exchange
are also real productivity boosters.
On the downside, however, check any forum for users of this phone and you would
find a ton of complaints about the reliability, battery life, etc. The phone
basically has to be re-booted every other day.
Although I'm not joining the BlackBerry crowd, I'm really hoping that Microsoft
addresses most -- or at least some -- of the issues referred to in this article,
because they are truly representative of the problems WM5 users have to deal
with. I'm awaiting the announcement of an update to WM6 from either Vodaphone
(I bought an unlocked Vodaphone Treo 750) or Palm.
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