Letters to Redmond
Windows alternatives, Vista beta testing, and more.
We received quite a bit of feedback concerning Doug Barney’s March 2006 editorial, "Linux (and the Mac) Aren’t Even Trying." Here’s what you had to say about Windows alternatives and Linux’s paltry presence in the PR arena.
Freedom of Choice
I am a developer first, a research and network hack second and just a plain old surfer and open source explorer third.
If I want security and network analysis tools: Linux. If I want multimedia and general access to online services: Mac OS X. Look at the Dashboard -- it’s an awesome idea. For development: Windows.
Freedom of choice must exist, and thank God there are three great OSes, each existing not for the other but for their own sake. As long as each OS exists for itself and minds its own best business, the others will also exist for their own best business.
Grass Lake, Mich.
The funniest thing I have seen lately -- next to a bumper sticker that said "I would rather be shooting with Dick Cheney than riding with Ted Kennedy" -- was right up the alley of Doug Barney’s editorial about Linux and Mac not even trying.
It was the large, one-page ad for Red Hat Linux with the frontline saying "We’ve made Linux easy." Was this an ad rep’s cruel joke on Red Hat or just a heck of a coincidence?
Better Computer, Fewer Apps
Barney mentions "unified Linux." Hasn’t happened yet, and likely never will (for the same inherent reasons there’s no unified Unix). Easy installation is almost there, but "application support"? The real crux in my opinion is not the support, but the application itself.
True, Red Hat could make it happen, but once it went public it definitely had to start worrying about "bleeding out" in a fight against the 800-pound gorilla for the desktop. Be careful with slapping the schoolyard bully in the chops, unless you can back it up.
"But Windows is just there -- my experience is there, my apps
are all based on it, however unhappy with the situation I might be at times."
Then there's Macintosh.
Oh my God, Apple. What an epic saga of bewildering mismanagement. I first learned to program on an Apple IIe, but never could afford one. When I almost could afford an Apple computer, within 90 days I saw the amount of applications and games in the Windows section double, while the Apple section stagnated.
Why would I, or anyone, pay more for a better computer with fewer applications? I’m not elitist, or stupid. Then along comes the Mac mini. Sweet approach, and I’ve almost taken the plunge several times. But Windows is just there -- my experience is there, my apps are all based on it, however unhappy with the situation I might be at times.
The Future Is Mobile
The desktop is dead. Already people are relying more and more on mobile technology. To most people, their cell phone is more important than their PC and very soon it will contain more information that they treasure. It makes no sense spending money and effort trying to take a percent or two away from Microsoft
on the desktop when the future lies in mobile devices. Here, too, both Apple and Linux enjoy a huge advantage.
Taraunga, New Zealand
About the Author
This page is compiled by the editors of Redmond magazine from your letters. Write to us at [email protected] and if your letter is printed in the magazine, you'll be entered into a drawing for a free Redmond T-shirt.