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Linux vs Microsoft XP: Optimizations Make Linux the Killer Desktop
Consulting Times ^ | 23 May 2005 | Tom Adelstein

Posted on 05/26/2005 8:45:19 AM PDT by ShadowAce

Last month, when I tested Linspire 5.0 for my series on Linux desktops for government enterprises, I discovered NVU. At the time, I realized something special had happened to the Linux application inventory. As the NVU Website states:

Finally! A complete Web Authoring System for Linux Desktop users as well as Microsoft Windows and Macintosh users to rival programs like FrontPage and Dreamweaver.

A tad skeptical, I didn't totally believe it. So, I downloaded NVU and tried it on a Fedora Core 3 desktop before I turned it lose on other Linux distributions. Having had to use MS Frontpage more than once on projects, I knew the good, the bad and the ugly of that application. The "good" was tainted with Frontpage extensions on the server side that slowed websites and took massive amounts of disk space. The supposedly WYSIWYG editor didn't always translate to what I had in mind when it went up on the web site.

NVU had all the good qualities of Frontpage without the unnecessary overhead and quirks that take up so much development time. What you see in NVU turns out to be exactly what you get. It's a better application than Frontpage and it's free, open source software.

That's just a prelude to this article. It demonstrates an example of how far Linux has come in the last year as a desktop. For end users Linux provides a superior user experience.

Making Headway

In April 1999, D.H. Brown Associates, Inc. published a report called Linux: How Good Is It? Hardly any archives exist today mentioning that story with the possible exception of this C/Net News article. The study dinged Linux for lacking features needed to make it a serious consideration as an operating system. The report said that Linux was good for file and print servers, Web servers, some scientific computing, and thin client computers. But, the DH Brown report said Linux lacked support for computers with multiple processors; failover and a "journaling" file system needed to reboot a crashed machine without having to reconstruct the system files.

From that point on, the kernel developers began focusing on Linux as an alternative to top-end, trusted UNIX and Windows NT servers. In short order, Linux became much more than a hobbyist system. It became a commercial, industrial strength system capable of competing and surpassing existing business servers. Only market politics, extensive lobbying and sweetheart deals have kept Linux from taking the server business completely away from Microsoft.

Now, that Linux has become the leading server platform in the commercial world, development has shifted to the desktop. Like the post-D.H. Brown period, a flurry of activity has put the Linux desktop in a position to become dominant. People who only looked at Linux six-months ago when O'Reilly & Associates released Exploring the JDS Linux Desktop will not believe the progress made since then.

JDS looked like the leading Linux desktop at the time. Today, it's behind the competition. And while a new release of JDS is forthcoming, it may also trail other Linux desktops in features and capabilities.

Desktops for the Enterprise

Imagine a situation where you don't have to activate Microsoft Client Access Licenses (CALS), manage Windows 2003 License Servers and an Active Directory or worry about support for old world Windows distributions. Also imagine an alternative desktop that provides complementary innovation, works well in existing Microsoft infrastructures and provides a real reduction in costs. Linux provides all of that.

Linux also can logon to an Active Directory like Windows desktops. The Linux logon manager, GDM can handle expired passwords. You can run Windows applications through terminal services using rdesktop without Citrix server extensions. The Evolution workgroup client works well with Exchange. You have interoperability with Microsoft Office file formats using Openoffice.org. You also have a safer browser experience with Firefox. Tweak Linux for pure desktop performance and it's fast, safer and more fun.

A decade ago, PC's were not the dominant corporate infrastructure. Though gaining market share, PC's still had to use terminal emulators to connect to mainframes and run applications off of a variety of heavy metal. I remember programming Oracle Financials where the PC logged on to a HP-UX server 1500 miles away. I also remember having to test forms and reports on another system on the other side of the continent. I also remember supporting a triage HMO application running on a mainframe 3000 miles away on terminal emulators.

The supposed magic of Microsoft and Sun has nothing to do with their great cleverness, marketing prowess or innovation. They happened to have the products people needed to expand during the uptake in the World Wide Web adoption period. IBM mainframes using SNA instead of TCP/IP and Novell with its ill advised bet on IPX/SPX instead of TCP/IP doomed both companies. Apple didn't join the world until the release of OS X. People bought computers in droves because they wanted to be "on-line" and Microsoft offered a low-cost way to do that. Profits were high in Internet Services and among telecom companies and Sun's expensive but stable servers didn't present a problem on the bottom line.

Today, the infrastructure of the Internet is fairly build-out. Companies all have Local Area Networks and high speed Internet access. Sun and Microsoft do not have the same "value proposition". Both companies still have expensive products at a time when they aren't the only game in town. Enterprises now look for value. The shift to value has opened the market for Linux on Mainframes, in clusters and giant grids of PCs. When you look at Google, you see a company that arrived because it went with value and exploited their low cost computing power. I can't imagine Google achieving what they have with expensive Sun or Microsoft servers.

OK. So like a decade ago, enterprises have an investment in an infrastructure that costs too much to maintain. Mainframes became almost extinct because the maintenance contracts cost more than replacing everything with PCs. The same holds true today only instead of mainframes, people look at the cost of software as a percentage of the cost of hardware.

Once software represented a small percent of the cost of hardware but today the tables have turned. Software, dangerous software, costs more than the hardware on which it sits. It also requires people to upgrade their hardware because the software wants more memory, larger and faster hard drives and more powerful CPUs. What didn't make sense ten years ago, doesn't make sense today either: If maintenance costs more than an alternative solution, then the alternative solution should be vigorously pursued. The cost of maintaining my IT infrastructure today is higher than modifying it. And, I don't have to deal with another monopoly and vendor lock-in if I do modify it. Ten years ago, it was a monopolistic IBM oppressing IT departments, today it's Microsoft.

One notable exception exists today that didn't exist a decade ago: I can use my existing hardware. The same Intel based commodity hardware runs Linux. Ten years ago, when you hauled off the mainframe, you had to buy new PCs, wire the building with ethernet, set up routers and switches and buy new software. Today, you can leave the hardware infrastructure in place, continue to use your investment in old apps or provide terminal servers so that your Linux desktop users can still use their Win32 applications.

If you work in an enterprise, you owe it to yourself to test the performance of the Linux desktops. You can find articles on the Internet about performance tuning by doing a Google search or you can take a look at a book by O'Reilly & Associates called Desktop Hacks. You can also read about performance tuning in this week's Linux in Government: Optimizing Desktop Performance, Part II.

For Consumers

The Linux desktop provides an alternative many consumers have embraced. On mailing lists and in forums you can see thousands of posts where people declare themselves "Microsoft free". People do want certain freedoms and few doubt that as a sociological fact. Microsoft costs money and time. They hassle people. Their product costs are high. Consumers can find comparable open source software for free.

The same links above can serve you well if you want to try Linux and optimize it's performance. You will discover that you can use less expensive hardware and your desktop will run faster than Windows XP. The Windows XP you buy today is four years old and the next release of Windows is slated for 2006. It's still not a safe operating system because security has been added after the fact - when people began screaming about spyware, identity theft, viruses and trojan horses. The open source community designed Linux with security in mind from the ground up. Windows XP with security enhancements is annoying. If you secure your system correctly, you'll spend a lifetime answering questions every time you want to visit a new web site on the Internet.

Consumers face the problem that the Microsoft monopoly dominates the retail market space. You can't walk into a store today and find a laptop loaded with Linux on the shelves of your computer store. When you shop on-line every manufacturer states that they recommend Microsoft Windows. Of course they do, they get money from Microsoft to say that. And as a member of the Justice department once explained to me, you can't stop Microsoft from giving marketing rebates to manufacturers.

Franklin D. Roosevelt once sent a message proposing the "Standard Oil" Monopoly Investigation in 1938. He wrote:

"The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic State itself. That in it's essence, is Fascism - ownership of government by an individual, by a group or by any controlling private power."

Many of us feel stuck today in various areas of our lives. We question many of the policies than govern us and wonder why we have to put up with them. I question how our government has allowed a bully to run amok controlling the computer market to the extent that it pervades what we can study in our educational systems. With enrollment in technical courses at a low peak perhaps it's because people don't see a future where Microsoft is the only option.

With the pending action in the European Union against Microsoft, perhaps the time has come once again for our legislators and regulators to question the existence of Microsoft. Old expensive software from Microsoft dominates the retail market. Microsoft's business practices still look like they effect a restraint of trade. In fact, if you go back to the 1999 trial, the issue of bundling software still remains unresolved. Not in the European Union where that's the central theme of their anti-trust action. But in the United States, Microsoft can still kill an unsuspecting business partner and take their market away. See Paula Rooney's article BlackBerry Killer? .

Some Final Thoughts

A friend and business partner recently commented that he felt like he was watching a comedy when he looked at the SNAFUs of Microsoft over the years. As Linux professionals, we both wonder how such a dull company could get into the position it holds. If people will start making real comparisons between Linux and Microsoft, then perhaps the comedy will end. At this point, you have to decide for yourself which is the right product for the times. I already have.


TOPICS: Technical
KEYWORDS: desktop; linux; microsoft
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1 posted on 05/26/2005 8:45:20 AM PDT by ShadowAce
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To: rdb3; chance33_98; Calvinist_Dark_Lord; Bush2000; PenguinWry; GodGunsandGuts; CyberCowboy777; ...

Some thoughts for the OS "wars"...

2 posted on 05/26/2005 8:46:19 AM PDT by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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To: ShadowAce

Why optimize? Get a Mac.


3 posted on 05/26/2005 8:49:59 AM PDT by RightOnTheLeftCoast (You're it)
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To: ShadowAce

I have been pretty impressed with the latest improvements. I use SuSE Linux (Novell) as well as WinXPPro...word I hear from Billy-land is that they are really starting to sweat the latest Linux distributions...finally, this might bring MS down off of its self-proclaimed pillar of arrogance and predatory marketing....just maybe.


4 posted on 05/26/2005 8:50:26 AM PDT by EagleUSA
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To: ShadowAce

I'll have to download NVU tonite and compare it to Dreamweaver... I'll get back with you..


5 posted on 05/26/2005 8:50:50 AM PDT by mnehring (http://www.mlearningworld.com)
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To: RightOnTheLeftCoast

As I've mentioned to several others--I've invested too much in the hardware I have.


6 posted on 05/26/2005 8:51:02 AM PDT by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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To: ShadowAce

I haven't been this excited since Kraft put more cheese in their products.


7 posted on 05/26/2005 8:51:29 AM PDT by Mad Mammoth
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To: ShadowAce
Note that FDR got the definition of Fascism completely wrong.

Why is it that socialists like Linux so much anyway.

If they want linux on the desktop, they best make something as good - and compatible with - excel.

8 posted on 05/26/2005 8:52:38 AM PDT by CasearianDaoist
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To: ShadowAce

If it wasn't for games, I'd switch to Linux in a heartbeat. Unfortuately, if you enjoy PC gaming as I do, Windows is the only choice. Some companies do release linux ports of their games but it's not that common.


9 posted on 05/26/2005 8:53:10 AM PDT by Trampled by Lambs (This Tagline is on hiatus as I think of a new one.)
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To: CasearianDaoist

OpenOffice.


10 posted on 05/26/2005 8:54:05 AM PDT by bigLusr (Quidquid latine dictum sit altum viditur)
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To: RightOnTheLeftCoast
Why optimize? Get a Mac.

Why buy new hardware?

11 posted on 05/26/2005 8:54:29 AM PDT by Redcloak (Over 16,000 served.)
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To: ShadowAce

how well does Madden Football play on it? And if I have a problem with EA Sports help?

Those are absolute musts for my desktop.


12 posted on 05/26/2005 8:56:24 AM PDT by discostu (quis custodiet ipsos custodes)
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To: Redcloak
Why optimize? Get a Mac.

Why buy new hardware?


Indeed. Why buy special interest hardware?
13 posted on 05/26/2005 8:57:14 AM PDT by Mad Mammoth
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To: discostu

I've got Madden 2005, and unless I knew I could play it on Linux I wouldn't switch, and something tells me I can't.


14 posted on 05/26/2005 8:57:50 AM PDT by Asphalt (Join the NFL ping list ... All thing football ... FReepmail Asphalt to get on or off)
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To: RightOnTheLeftCoast

What? Do I look like I'm made of money??

Hell, if I could just get Mandrake 10.1 to work with my SpeedTouch USB, I'd dump Windows in a heartbeat. Besides, Linux admins make some serious cash.


15 posted on 05/26/2005 8:59:03 AM PDT by Venerable Bede
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To: CasearianDaoist
they best make something as good - and compatible with - excel.

OpenOffice.org is not only fully compatible with excel, but they go one step further and allow you to produce PDF documents from spreadsheets.

16 posted on 05/26/2005 8:59:14 AM PDT by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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To: Redcloak

So, how's that IBM XT working for you?


17 posted on 05/26/2005 9:01:17 AM PDT by frgoff
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To: discostu
I was going to ask the same about Il-2 Sturmovik: Forgotten Battles. Unless it can run that and run it well, this OS is going to be about as useful to me as an invitation to a Democratic Presidential inauguration party.

Not that I bedrudge anyone else the right to chose their own OS, of course.

18 posted on 05/26/2005 9:02:10 AM PDT by FormerLib (Kosova: "land stolen from Serbs and given to terrorist killers in a futile attempt to appease them.")
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To: bigLusr

Not even close. I think it iiis fair to say the MS spreadsheet franchise is save from this entry.


19 posted on 05/26/2005 9:03:26 AM PDT by CasearianDaoist
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To: FormerLib

Really, I can't understand everyone's grudge against MicroSoft and Bill Gates. Personally, other than preffering Mozilla over IE, I think their stuff is better than everyone else's. I have no problem with Word or anything else, but on forums like these people criticize nonstop saying how junky everything is. I have yet to have a serious problem other than occasional computer glistches, which everyone, Mac users included have sometimes.


20 posted on 05/26/2005 9:06:51 AM PDT by Asphalt (Join the NFL ping list ... All thing football ... FReepmail Asphalt to get on or off)
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To: ShadowAce

Sorry, I work with Linux daily. It has a LONG way to go before it's a desktop of choice outside of Geekland. The vast majority of everyday users are like my mother who has enough trouble handling the Mac OS. Let's not even get into the issue of drivers. If you want to talk web server or other sort of backend application, that's a very different question. But desktop? No way, no how. Not yet and probably not for a very long time. Now Tiger, that's a *nix OS for the masses, but OMG, Apple charges for it! They must be Evil Incarnate, like Bill!


21 posted on 05/26/2005 9:08:09 AM PDT by RogueIsland
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To: ShadowAce

Sorry, I work with Linux daily. It has a LONG way to go before it's a desktop of choice outside of Geekland. The vast majority of everyday users are like my mother who has enough trouble handling the Mac OS. Let's not even get into the issue of drivers. If you want to talk web server or other sort of backend application, that's a very different question. But desktop? No way, no how. Not yet and probably not for a very long time. Now Tiger, that's a *nix OS for the masses, but OMG, Apple charges for it! They must be Evil Incarnate, like Bill!


22 posted on 05/26/2005 9:08:16 AM PDT by RogueIsland
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To: Asphalt
Would it be a contradiction to use Mozzilla with outlook express. I do not like Thunderbird.
23 posted on 05/26/2005 9:09:33 AM PDT by since1868
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To: ShadowAce
OK, for all you Linux gurus out there...

I'm a long-time Windows user, an (experienced, not paper) MCSE, and have just enough UNIX/Linux experience to know that I absolutely hate vi. I'm very comfortable with a command-line interface, having cut my computer teeth in the DOS 5.0 / Windows 3.1 era.

My question is this: Which (free) Linux distro is best for desktops today? The best installation experience I ever had with Linux was the old Corel Linux. It installed from CD, autodetected everything in my Dell PC, and was actually able to connect to our Windows NT LAN with no configuration help other than a host name. I have not been able to get any other Linux (mostly Manrake) to browse our network since then.

I'd love to get more experience with Liunx, but it has been a pretty frustrating subject for me thus far. ...and I'm no spring chicken on a PC.

24 posted on 05/26/2005 9:09:51 AM PDT by TChris (Just once, we need an elected official to stand up to a clearly incorrect ruling by a court. - Ann C)
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To: Asphalt
Really, I can't understand everyone's grudge against MicroSoft and Bill Gates.

I still remember what they pulled on the guys who did Stacker so I appreciate some of the grudge.

So far as I'm concerned, I'd look into a different OS that had some benefits, but if it can't run the games that I want, I won't be using it at home.

25 posted on 05/26/2005 9:12:18 AM PDT by FormerLib (Kosova: "land stolen from Serbs and given to terrorist killers in a futile attempt to appease them.")
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To: Trampled by Lambs

I've recently resized my primary XP partition to use only half of the C:\drive so I can install Linspire 5.0. I really want to try it but am hesitant to spend 50 bucks on something I may not like or can't use because of driver issues, hardware compatibilty, etc.... Wish there was a trial download someplace.


26 posted on 05/26/2005 9:13:41 AM PDT by Bloody Sam Roberts (If you only knew the powerrrrr of the Tagline.)
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To: ShadowAce

Linux, for most people is still over-rated. On all 5 computers I have at home, I partition the disks and install Windows XP, and Linux. I have a Gentoo install, Redhat, and a couple of Mandrakes. In my opinion, its still just too much for the average user. Too much for the experienced user still. Over the last 3 years, it has gotten better, no doubt, but there still needs to be some work on it.
BTW, as for speed, on all my machines, both Linux and XP run at about the same speed, depending on the apps, so I don't buy into it that Linux is usually faster than XP.


27 posted on 05/26/2005 9:15:09 AM PDT by Paradox (Mixing metaphors like a bartender mixing concrete.)
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To: TChris
Check out Knoppix. It runs from the CD, so you don't have to install it if you don't want to, and it'll autodetect just about everything in your box.

For more "traditional" distros, I've heard good things about MEPIS, Linspire, and I use Fedora. No problems at all.

28 posted on 05/26/2005 9:15:34 AM PDT by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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To: since1868

i use it. Don't love it, but it works, i was using the free version of Eudora for a while which is far better than either of the two you mentioned, but one day it stopped working and wouldn't work again. You should try it. It is an excellent program once you have it running, much better than any other mail program I have ever seen.


29 posted on 05/26/2005 9:21:48 AM PDT by Asphalt (Join the NFL ping list ... All thing football ... FReepmail Asphalt to get on or off)
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To: CasearianDaoist
I think it iiis fair to say the MS spreadsheet franchise is save from this entry.

What problems exactly have you had with Calc? And what was the last release you tried?

30 posted on 05/26/2005 9:22:30 AM PDT by bigLusr (Quidquid latine dictum sit altum viditur)
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To: ShadowAce

So, if I have a computer and what to put Linux on it (I am just a regular joe who wants to surf the web, read email, and use Word and Excel) is there a Linux that I an download and install easily? Will the spreadsheet product read excel files?


31 posted on 05/26/2005 9:25:51 AM PDT by Rodney King (No, we can't all just get along.)
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To: Asphalt
I can't understand everyone's grudge against MicroSoft and Bill Gates. Personally, other than preffering Mozilla over IE, I think their stuff is better than everyone else's.

In the majority of the cases out their, you're absolutely right. Office is, for example, still the runaway best for productivity suites in terms of integration and customization. Yes, there are alternatives that are file compatible, but are they going to use my VisualBasic macros? Nope.

Personally, I don't have much problem with their software, other than rampant bloat and interface changes from one version to the next. Both NT and 2000 servers, for which I am responsible at my company, have been very stable. The only damage or serious delays I have ever experienced have been due to hardware or network failures, or my own "oops"es.

What I do object to is Micro$oft's business ethics. They've been convicted in court, for pete's sake. As far as I can tell, it hasn't changed their stripes one iota.

32 posted on 05/26/2005 9:26:16 AM PDT by TChris (Just once, we need an elected official to stand up to a clearly incorrect ruling by a court. - Ann C)
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To: ShadowAce
Thanks. While Linux may give one the exhilaration of being part of an active "free software" movement against Microsoft and Apple, it otherwise just doesn't make much sense on the desktop.

Limited compatibility, with both hardware and software. Sure you can run some network analysis tools if that's your thing, but most people want to do Quicken and play games, something they're doing just fine with what they already have. At work, they want advanced peripheral support, from giant multifunction devices to VTC equipment. Linux just doesn't offer equivalent access to all those tools and feature sets, and being cloneware by nature, never probably will.
33 posted on 05/26/2005 9:29:22 AM PDT by Golden Eagle
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To: ShadowAce
Thanks for posting this. I just downloaded the NVU source to build on my Slackware desktop.

As far as all this O/S heckling: I say use what you are most comfortable with and you like the most. Personally, I have both Linux and Windows PC's at home. One O/S is strong in some areas and the other is strong in other areas. For example, it's hard to beat Linux for fire-walling, web serving, mail, and other Internet applications. But Windows is strong for gamers and the myriad of available business applications. Each has its advantages and disadvantages.
34 posted on 05/26/2005 9:30:09 AM PDT by Adiemus
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To: Rodney King
So, if I have a computer and what to put Linux on it (I am just a regular joe who wants to surf the web, read email, and use Word and Excel) is there a Linux that I an download and install easily?

Yes, there is. I prefer Fedora, but only because I've used Red Hat since the earliest versions. Fedora installs without any reboot until the install is finished, and it's a no-brainer. I've heard good things about MEPIS, Xandros, and Linspire, but have not tried any of them. I've heard they all install easier than Windows.

Will the spreadsheet product read excel files?

OpenOffice.org will read virtually any Excel spreadsheet you put in front of it. Due to the proprietary nature of Excel, though, macros may give you some issues. OOo will also save into Excel format.

35 posted on 05/26/2005 9:34:26 AM PDT by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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To: RightOnTheLeftCoast
Drugs are not our friends...

I got some 8-track tapes you might be interested in...

36 posted on 05/26/2005 9:35:12 AM PDT by Publius6961 (The most abundant things in the universe are hydrogen, ignorance and stupidity.)
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To: mnehrling
I'll be interested in your thoughts on it. I'll be downloading and testing it tonight too.
37 posted on 05/26/2005 9:41:18 AM PDT by zeugma (Come to the Dark Side...... We have cookies!)
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To: Asphalt
To me stability, reliability, and control are worth enough that I bought a playstation for gaming and put a real os on my hardware ;)
38 posted on 05/26/2005 9:41:50 AM PDT by N3WBI3
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To: N3WBI3

That's one way to do it.


39 posted on 05/26/2005 9:44:58 AM PDT by Asphalt (Join the NFL ping list ... All thing football ... FReepmail Asphalt to get on or off)
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To: Trampled by Lambs
If it wasn't for games, I'd switch to Linux in a heartbeat. Unfortuately, if you enjoy PC gaming as I do, Windows is the only choice. Some companies do release linux ports of their games but it's not that common.

Ditto for me also.

40 posted on 05/26/2005 9:47:32 AM PDT by Born Conservative ("If not us, who? And if not now, when? - Ronald Reagan)
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To: mnehrling
I'll have to download NVU tonite and compare it to Dreamweaver... I'll get back with you..

Emerging it (I'm running Gentoo) now...I'll get back to you as well

41 posted on 05/26/2005 9:58:02 AM PDT by Seņor Zorro
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To: ShadowAce

Of course, as a network admin, I like to fire up Knoppix STD and run the network sniffer plus a few other fun little programs, just to see what is up on my network.

I've also installed Knoppix on a system (Dual boot Win2K and Knoppix STD) and it runs pretty well.


42 posted on 05/26/2005 9:59:30 AM PDT by stylin_geek (Liberalism: comparable to a chicken with its head cut off, but with more spastic motions)
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To: Born Conservative; Trampled by Lambs
You could just stick with console gaming. The X360/PS3 will be fantastic from all reports, and I can't wait for them to release.
Granted, if you are playing WoW/CoH style games, of course you will need the Windows box...
43 posted on 05/26/2005 10:36:13 AM PDT by akorahil (DNC Talking Point - "Bush = Hitler"...RNC Talking Point - "Let DNC Talk")
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To: akorahil

I'm playing Desert Combat, a mod for BF 1942, so a game console is not an option. As an aside, my son just put a deposit down on a new Xbox 360 (due to be released in the fall).


44 posted on 05/26/2005 10:38:25 AM PDT by Born Conservative ("If not us, who? And if not now, when? - Ronald Reagan)
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To: TChris
Well, Xandros Linux bought Corel Linux and they have probably the best "Windows replacement" version.

I have used Knoppix, RedHat, Lindows/Linspire, Fedora, and Xandros. Each distribution has it's strengths and Xandros' strength is definitely its GUI.

The arguments about "Word isn't that bad" or "Windows does what I (or Mom) needs" are pretty shallow, at best. Dismissing a Linux desktop because "Word works fine" hardly seems to address any issue (remotely) related to evaluating a desktop OS. If we are comparing applications, let's compare applications; if we are going to compare OS', then let's compare OS'.

The evaluation of a desktop OS has to be based on several different criteria, the first of which should be hardward support. The second of which should be security. The third of which should be application/software support. And, last, the GUI.

The hardware support for Linux has come along way and may have more to go, but that has more to do with the hardware makers only building Microsoft "stuff". It also has to do with the threats, errr, "partnerships" that Microsoft has made over these years.

The security is where Microsoft has the most problems. And, despite their best efforts, Linux still continues to be a safer OS to use. Because Microsoft has, literally, tied their code into the OS, nefarious code (basically, any Active X controls) runs without hesitation nor alert.

On a software level, games are about the only thing that Linux doesn't do very well. Course, that leads me to use about the only useful tool that Microsoft offers: XBox.

As far as the GUI, most of the Linux stuff out there is just as easy to use as Windows. In many cases, the flexibility of Linux provides the user with tools that aren't present in Windows.

And, there is so much more to this debate that trying to provide 1 reason for either OS being "the one to use" is rather pointless.

45 posted on 05/26/2005 10:42:27 AM PDT by mattdono ("Crush the democrats, drive them before you, and hear the lamentations of the scumbags" -Big Arnie)
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To: Trampled by Lambs

> If it wasn't for games, I'd switch to Linux in a heartbeat.

Why don't you try Knoppix? It's a Linux distro that you burn onto a "live" CD and run the system from your CD drive.

Other people take the dual-system route.


46 posted on 05/26/2005 11:12:38 AM PDT by cloud8
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To: ShadowAce
Many of us feel stuck today in various areas of our lives. We question many of the policies than govern us and wonder why we have to put up with them. I question how our government has allowed a bully to run amok controlling the computer market to the extent that it pervades what we can study in our educational systems. With enrollment in technical courses at a low peak perhaps it's because people don't see a future where Microsoft is the only option.

Just once, it would be refreshing to read a Linux post that did not have this type of "Microsoft is a bully and is the reason Linux isn't used by every Grandmother in America!" statement.

Linux vs Microsoft technical comparisons, usability, etc., --- great! Competition is the American way.

Microsoft is bad, Linux is good, the world is unfair, Americans are stoopid for not going to Linux, blah, blah, blah, --- boring!

Who knows, maybe sometime in the future, I will find a Linux article in which the author can stick to the technical facts of comparing the two, and skip the flaming rhetoric.

47 posted on 05/26/2005 11:23:47 AM PDT by Col Freeper (Never argue with an idiot - - it's a useless activity and the leftist just enjoys it.)
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To: Col Freeper
As an owner of the deluxe-super-duper paid versions of the newest versions of both Xandros and Linspire, including a paid membership to both of their subscription services (it ain't over when you the buy the program, folks), I have either installed or attempted to install both programs, as well as various other free Linux "flavors" on four different PC's of varying age and capability, including a new laptop, with varying results. As a result of my experience as a non-Geek who has been working with MS Windows since its very first release, I have just one word to say about people who tout Linux for their grandmothers, or tell us about the fabulous "usability" or "compatibility" of Linux:

DELUSIONAL

P.S. If grandma's giving you a headache with all the wormy e-mail she keeps opening, or all the spyware she invites home, and the choice is between Linux and a Mac: splurge and buy her a Mac.

48 posted on 05/26/2005 1:29:11 PM PDT by browardchad
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To: ShadowAce
"before I turned it lose on other Linux distributions"

Seriously? Did he actually get paid to write that?
49 posted on 05/26/2005 2:35:37 PM PDT by melbell (A Freudian slip is when you mean one thing, and say your mother)
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To: akorahil

"You could just stick with console gaming. The X360/PS3 will be fantastic from all reports, and I can't wait for them to release."

Yes but for first person shooters which is what I play most (Call of Duty, Counter-Strike, Unreal Tournament etc.) I just can't aim worth beans using those clunky controllers. I've tried and tried on my son's xbox. I'm too used to using a mouse & keyboard to move & aim.

Now if they add a mouse/keyboard setup for the new xbox, I might just buy one.. The xbox we have now looks fantastic on our 46" HDTV.


50 posted on 05/26/2005 2:59:25 PM PDT by Trampled by Lambs (This Tagline is on hiatus as I think of a new one.)
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