Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Operating System Bigotry

I'm often confronted with the heinous experience of Linux fans and their common (though certainly not universal!!) bigotry against anything Microsoft. I work with and support Microsoft products every day; I freely admit that Microsoft products are certainly not perfect, but I also don't go around preaching that Windows is great and Linux sucks.

Today I found a posting on slashdot that I thought really said what I feel, and did so very eloquently, I've copied it here for you enjoyment, many thanks to the original poster!

Re:Catch-22 (Score:5, Insightful) by obeythefist (719316) on Tuesday December 07, @11:50PM (#11028954) (Last Journal: Tuesday March 30, @01:55AM)
I don't believe I mentioned BSD or Linux or Jaguar or any other OS or company apart from Microsoft.
I'm not sure what you mean however with regards to "fixing and breaking things more often". Microsoft patches are quite strenuously tested, so they are very slow to arrive (not more often, less often) Very few if any MS patches break third party software. Compare this to the complexity of handling Linux dependencies. I am sure if you upgrade some components of Linux and replace dependencies, you might find a lot of things suddenly stop working. Microsoft isn't really responsible for making third party software work on their OS... are you holding MS accountable for the work of Adobe? Or for the work of nameless shareware developers? Is it not their responsibility to fix the software if they write applications that work outside of Microsoft's preferred APIs?

My experience with Linux dependencies on a couple of different distros have been nothing like your example. Many different applications just don't work on Linux without downloading and installing very specific packages to handle dependencies... so much so that people need to write software purely to handle dependencies. For some reason.. when I install software on a windows box, I double-click an exe file and it works. I don't even need to see the word "dependency". I'm not trying to say one method is better than the other. But what I am saying is that Microsoft have decided to take this path and as a result they have to be very precise with the fixes and patches they apply to their OS.

The unified patching for debian and redhat really makes it easy on the user when you can run a single command to update EVERYTHING in your system.

Shame that isn't available on every Linux distro. With every current version of Windows, I can go to a website called "" and click a single button to update EVERYTHING in my system. And you know what? I don't have to go looking anywhere but for fixes for Windows.

Windows XP SP2 hasn't broken any drivers that I know of, unless they are drivers that for some reason need a hole in the firewall and I suddenly forget how to configure a firewall. Of course I can simply uninstall the service pack if that does ever happen (it doesn't, RTFA please).

So basicly the windows way is bad and painful to use. and the linux was is nice and easy for once

You haven't demonstrated this. Please explain with consise examples of what you mean. Providing a questionable statement without decent supporting arguments is hardly compelling, although on Slashdot people will believe you because "Linux good, Windows baaaaaad".
Microsoft have made the best business decision possible in terms of advancing the security of their platform at the minor cost of a few applications that (again, RTFA because you don't seem to have noticed this) don't work when a firewall blocks them. This is applicable to Linux. Firefox on Linux is *broken* when you install a firewall and block port 80. By your arguments, Linux is therefore "fucked if they do and fucked if they don't" because if you install a firewall the "API is so hacked together to keep everything working" and this somehow has something to do with applying a default-on firewall to the OS. Linux users are purportedly more open minded and understanding of basic OS principles. Why am I constantly meeting Linux advocates who are so more closed minded than the average AOL toting Windows user?

People are bitching at microsoft for no real reason in this case. An unconfigured firewall breaks a few applications that need ports opened, and for some reason, as my parent post said, Linux advocates believe this is a flaw in Windows XP and put the blame squarely on Microsoft.

Explain yourself clearly, concisely, or put your PC back in the box and send it to your OEM. Computer license revoked by the Darwin Internet Preservation Act.

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