[Xposted to advocacy NGs just for fun ...]
Why am I switching to Mandrake for the Desktop?
Note - this is not a rant (well not much) or a troll. It is just my take
on where things are heading. Could be way off base. Anything that isnt
directly related to my experience is just conjecture on my part based on
my casual reading of things in the IT news space over the last few years.
Started on VMS with VT100s (the pretty amber 320s :) about 15 years ago
I've used Windows on the Desktop from 3.1 onwards. Even used GEM briefly
Server development on DEC Alphas,SGI,Solaris,HP & IRIX Resisted having a
home PC for many years!!! </background>
I like XP. or rather *liked* XP. (Except for WPA but I digress) However I
dont think we can afford to let Microsoft have a complete monopoly of the
(we means Windows users & Linux users)
The roadmap (if MS and a lot of big players get thier way) is for compters
to become closed devices. This is what I understand of the trustworthy
The authorities ultimately want more control over the internet and to stop
P2P applications etc.
I think this will be done by steath and a stepwise "refinement" over a
number of ?years. WPA and some new features of XP SP1 is the beginning.
I like XP, but MS going too far. We really cant afford help them
completely monopolise the desktop.
Look at how they recently screwed UK businesses with changes in licensing.
Big business woke up and said "oh shit". We are dependant on a *near*
Monopoly. We can either
1. Stay dependant (as many have done) 2. Invest in moving Linux on as a
desktop OS (as few have but its increasing)
Look at how it is illeagal for Linux to play DVDs. (not Microsofts fault
per say) but it shows how "Big Business" want control of what you do on
your PC. Ironically it was because of some Linux hackers simply wanting
to play DVDs that I can now rip DVDs on XP.
So, with Mandrake 9.0 I took a second plunge. I did have 8.2 installed but
had difficulty getting my Alcatel Modem working straight away. This is
because, hardware manufacturers must produce drivers to work on Windows as
a top priority.
Many haven't even considered producing Linux drivers for many different
reasons. (Ignorance, demonstrating ROI, scared of hackers etc).
[As an aside as anyone/company demonstrated positive ROI by producing
Linux drivers - eg Epson etc]
I had decided about a year ago to buy well supported devices in
anticipation of having Linux on the desktop. Ironically I did have to get
rid of a scanner that wouldn't work under XP. This was not a fault of XP.
Just that the XP drivers weren't ready. Remember when XP came out there
was a lot of stuff that didn't work properly. However, manufacturer's had
to invest & prioritise getting drivers ready for the soon to be *
desktop otherwise thier products wouldn't shift. When people * about
thier devices not working with Linux it is not usually Linux's fault. Its
the manufacturer's fault.
I preferentially support peripherals that either have Linux drivers on
thier web ?site or that work under Linux.
So anyway, Windows users will be glad to read, my mandrake 9.0 install did
my XP install.?Linux users I suspect may smile :):) (and vice versa when
re-installing XP it trashed Mandrake). This is not at all common, but yes,
it happened to me.
The bonus was that
?I could go back to W2K now :). After a bit of jiggery-pokery with
Partition Magic & HardDrake both systems installed happily.
Mandrake automatically picked up the following devices: ? DVD + SCSI Plex
CD & CDRW
? Canon S600 printer
? Epson 1650 USB Scanner
? Pinnacle PCTV Rave
? Creative Live! Soundcard
KDE 3.0 looks very nice. Maybe even better than Windows to me. At least
it's a change!
The one bug bear is the lots of different widget sets/interface styles
used by different applications. But this is slowly homogeonizing thanks to
KDE/Gnome and probably a lot more to Windows as programmers borrow
Human-Computer-Interaction (HCI) concepts from their experience with
I'll miss Xnews & Feurio. <sniff>. IMO Pan pales in comparison (but I've
only used it a couple of days), and I haven't tried the ?CDR stuff on
I also hate having to run around finding & compiling dependancy packages.
If Mandrake put GTK,glib,flex & bison in the distribution it would save a
lot of grief. "nul points"... At this rate Linux will NOT hit the desktop
on the same level of windows as *average* users cant install packages like
But ironically this could work in favour of the corporate desktop which
would be similar to a Net-PC. Very limited functions available to Joe
Bloggs and an administrator who knows users would find it fairly difficult
to trash the system...
[ As I speak the UK Inland Revenue is considering replacing MS Windows
with a Sun supported restricted version of Linux. This will provide basic
utilities only (browser, Open Office) ]
Even if you like XP (as I did) I think the future bodes i'll if Microsoft
have complete monopoly of the desktop
and as computers become more restrictive on what you can do with them
without paying for all kinds of licenses.
If you're moderately computer savvy & toyed with Linux a year or two ago
and thought - bleahhh! - give it another whirl. Grab some Mandrake 9.0x
ISOs and have another go...
Oh yeah - back up your Windows partition first :)
Another downside is the you have to mess about to get DVD's playing. As I
mentioned before, this is not Linux's fault. But a sign of the times.
Corporations want to precisely control what you can do on your PC.
Microsoft is completely in on this with Trustworthy Computing. If you're a
PC Hobbyist & hack around on your PC (or even ?write shareware etc) then
time is running out if you continue to play into MS hand. Between the
RIAA, Hollywood & Microsoft your general purpose PC will soon become a
thing of the past ...
If you just use your PC to do "ordinary" stuff - then you will soon be
renting MS Word on a per use basis as they will probably push ASP as it
provides a constant revenue Stream.
And thats without even delving into Linux as a server, and all of the
quality Open Source projects you can run on your little PC compared to
ones people pay through the nose for. mySQL/Apache/JBoss/Enhydra. How much
would the MS equivalent cost on Windows...
Bear in mind
how MS happily charged people wads for NT Server (which was little
different from Workstation)... [That whole story sums up MS in my book -
this is their modus operandi]
Or how they continually enbrace & extend almost any standard , open
protocol and then endeavour to break/own it. Shame Apache stood the test
Or looking at the many ways they deliberately tried to subvert the uptake
of Java to the point of no longer shipping the JVM for IE
(platform-independance is not a good thing.)
Or how MS have until recently had little regard for security over
functionality - creating features that crackers can drive a truck through
& endeavouring to cover up serious security flaws in thier products when
[Yes Linux has had its security problems too - but the philosophy with the
Linux community is "lets fix that because we will have a better quailty
product" wherase with MS it seems to be "lets fix that because someone
noticed and they are making noises and that may cost us"]
I *like* MS products but I dont like MS corporate philosophy or having one
of my hobbies subject to it. Yes They are a business and want to maintain
revenue. Fair enough. But they have repeatedly demonstrated an increasing
willingness to "charge what the market will bear" and then some...
In the UK MS were pushing the prices up and business realise they dont
want to be dependant on a monopoly.... (Hopefully) MS may have pushed too
I dont want to be dependant on a company like that. Similary I DONT buy
Sony (in the UK) because they artificially inflate thier prices to give
the appearance of added quality. Sony stuff *IS* good, but so is Technics
etc. But vendors are rarely allowed to discount Sony products on the UK.
In both cases I vote with my feet & my wallet... (OK My old TV was Sony
but the next one wont be :)
Yes these Mandrake fonts aren't as nice as Windows ... Off to do some