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.
Bruce Pierce
Owensboro, Ky.

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 language.

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 application performance.

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.
Brisbane, Australia

Friendly Mobility
Congratulations to the author on what appears to be a very well researched article ["Windows 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.
Brian Browne

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