Closed/Microsoft vs GNU/Linux Assessment

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Closed/Microsoft vs GNU/Linux Assessment

Postby Orang_Gila on Wed May 16, 2012 10:24 pm

Just wanted to put some thoughts out there; this forum category is the closest fit for my topic but I don't have the time to "Chat" about it.

The following link is my personal critique of GNU/Linux. It is very critical of GNU and various open source organizations. I think it may be of some interest to members in this forum or anyone considering migrating from the Closed/Microsoft world to GNU/Linux.

http://members.shaw.ca/problem3/

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Re: Closed/Microsoft vs GNU/Linux Assessment

Postby melbo on Wed May 16, 2012 11:12 pm

I've read your article. I have to say that my journey has been nothing like yours and I use Windows XP, 7, Mac OS X and LMDE, among other test Linux distros. I have never spent even .5 hours on trying to get Flash to work on LMDE (or on any other Linux distro that i can think of...) Nor have I come close to the 10 hours a day for 9+ months trying to set up my systems. I think my current run of LMDE took me about 2 hours to tweak and get right.

I'm not a guru or a wizard but none of this has been difficult for me in the least. I have stable production systems that can do most anything I need although I still go to Win 7 (in virtualbox on LMDE) to run Adobe Premiere Pro when video editing.

I'll never claim that Linux is easier than Windows but I do not think its hard and have set others up and never had a call or email in the middle of the night asking for help.

You seem to be on a Crusade though, so I'm sure we/I can't change your course.
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Re: Closed/Microsoft vs GNU/Linux Assessment

Postby OldManHook on Thu May 17, 2012 3:40 am

Get a Life :idea:
If you used Linux as much as stated I'm sure you would have found something to work on your HW :shock:
Anyone who spend as much time as you said is just plain crazy :( :(
By your own accounting you could have got many copies of Windows 7,a few I5's 7's etc; Installed and made your life Better :(
Just wondering Do U work for MS...If you Don't they should hire you ..Pure FUD... :( :( :(
:lol: :lol: :lol: Learn How To Better Use Your TIME...Life is Short :idea:
"Be the change you want to see in the world"
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Re: Closed/Microsoft vs GNU/Linux Assessment

Postby dalcde on Tue Jun 05, 2012 7:37 am

I didn't read through everything, but I believe those times are over-estimates. For example, my LMDE was immediately up and running after I have installed it. It was just that I like to do many "fun" stuff like conky and git, which costs me less than half and hour. And don't forget that you also have to tweak your Windows system as well. Antivirus? Firefox? Microsoft Office? Registering over the Internet? More security (especially in, for example, school servers)? All that takes time too.
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Re: Closed/Microsoft vs GNU/Linux Assessment

Postby /dev/urandom on Tue Jun 05, 2012 10:10 am

Freedom for Programmers NOT for Users

Precisely. I really wonder why users praise the freedom of the GNU ecosystem as they don't have any advantage of it.
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Re: Closed/Microsoft vs GNU/Linux Assessment

Postby dalcde on Tue Jun 05, 2012 5:28 pm

Finished reading. Conclusion: rant.

As many have said, the "time" you've calculated doesn't make sense. It is way to much, especially for Ubuntu/Mint. It seems as though you are using something that is designed for advanced user. If you are not, use a simple one, like Mint. We have Flash installed and drivers can be installed with a click. Moreover, once it has worked, it would work on other computers with no much effort. In server environments, if you use, for example, LTSP, you only have to do the tweaking on the server and it is immediately available on every computer. And you've forgot the time you need to spend on Windows. Most importantly, the fact is that you need a technician on call for the whole day regardless of whether you have problems or not.

The "values" you have calculated for the programs are much biased as well.

Graphics: On what basis do you say that GIMP is inferior? I find it a lot better than the default MS Paint and rather similar to Adobe Photoshop.

Animation: I won't comment on Animation since I'm not really in that field.

Utilities: GNU/Linux's utilities are certainly much better than Windows' one. I've used a whole lot of Linux tools, and they provide all the functionality needed. For example, the disk usage analyzer is very useful when I am out of disk space. I've encountered situations in Windows' which forbid me to delete a backup file even if I am admin.

Office: Again, why is libreoffice/openoffice inferior to Microsoft Office? I've got a friend who has both MS Office and Libreoffice, but he chooses to use Libreoffice. It's just different (not much), not wrong, and it supports much more formats than MS Word.

Operating System: I almost burst into laughter. Linux is not stable and reliable? They are used in most server rooms and are used to power the fastest computers in the world. How could you say that Linux is less stable? I've used Linux for more than a year and have never experienced a crash. Windows always crashes. Regarding the WM/Desktop issue, it's the desktop and it has got nothing to do with the OS itself since you can use different desktops for the same OS. As you've mentioned, there are choices. You've chose MATE and it's working. What's the issue here?

Finance Amateur: No comments. I don't use them.

Internet: Windows might be slightly better in that they have better flash support (i.e. supporting hardware acceleration), but other than that, I don't see any reason why Windows is better.


Next section: Bug tracking. I am happy to tell you that your solution won't work, since you don't know when you would keep the reply. Maybe the developer confirmed the bug and after a few weeks someone stumbled across your bug report and already had a solution. If you don't provide a valid email, how are they supposed to help you? If you use a temporary email, when is it due to expire? No one knows. And before it expires, you'll keep getting those junk mail. The whole Linux world is a community, in that it is for users to help each other.

The responses of the developers weren't that bad. It's better for them to tell you that they don't know than pretend that they know. We are all volunteers, and we probably don't know what happened beforehand. And developers usually aren't interested in changing stable unless it is a critical/security bug because it is meant to be stable. You also need adequate instructions for reproducing the bug or else we won't know what's the problem. They are not mean or arrogant. They are being blunt to get the problems solved.

Forums: First things first: You shouldn't criticize an OS by its users. If I tell you that bin Laden used Windows, will that make you stop using it? He's evil! It just makes no sense to comment on an OS by its users. And most of the user's responses are valid. The formatting issue is certainly valid. If you read the rules of the Debian Forums, it says
use the formatting features of the forum wisely in order to make your post attractive.
Randomly using colours and enlarging text doesn't make your post loot attractive. it makes it look messy and it doesn't sound serious. It might even cause problems for users with accessibility problems if you randomly use colours. Comments like "works for me" ARE useful, in the sense that they are telling developers that it narrows down the problem (it is not a generic problem). Users often have their computer specifications in their signatures, which makes the work even easier.

Giving back the code: of course they are not going to let a random guy upload a "updated" driver since they don't know what might be inside. Could you find an email and talk to them? Obviously you won't want people to mess with your code.

Reading disabilities: I have read through it a couple times, and couldn't follow the logic. If there is poor documentation, then it is difficult for anyone to get through. Microsoft documentations are also weird at some times: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/Windows7/Use-the-computer-without-the-mouse-or-keyboard-alternative-input-devices. Step one: Click the start button, with a... what? A mouse? But you don't have one. Documentations are time-consuming and not much developers want to do them. They want to develop! Many documentation are by users in wikis. And Microsoft, having a whole bunch of people working for them, don't have good documentation as well.

Distros: While some of them are rather redundant, many aren't. They appeal to different user bases. That's choice. There is no one single distribution that suites everyone. Everyone have their own preferences and needs. What's wrong with choice, anyway.

Software/Packages: What's wrong with GIMP/Inkscape? They might be a bit different from paid software, but they are as easy to use, and I say that for functionality, they are superior.

Flash: Adobe is not ending flash support. They are just not releasing new versions. Flash will be supported for 5 more years. After that, it will be a whole new world and no one knows if anyone will still be using flash.

List of rooms for improvement:

1 No testing: we always have a lot of testing. For example, Debian testing is by definition a testing (it is not really meant to be used as a production site although many use it as so). Mint also goes through a lot of testing before it is released.

2 Debian Stable is outdated: it is outdated by design. Stable not only means that it doesn't break, but it doesn't introduce much changes. Unless those are necessary like security upgrades, they will not be provided. Remeber - Debian Stable is for servers, and anything that changes is a possible source of breakage.

3 Basic stuff like video/drivers: they are well implemented in Mint and I have no problem installing with one click. Again, there are different distros for different people. Gurus might think that they can do it themselves and install Debian. Newcomers might want Mint.

4 Too many compilers: Really? All I (we?) use is gcc. That's one. On the contrary, Windows has got tons of compilers they use.

5 Replication of outdated things: If you search the web, you'd obviously going to find things in the past (I'd be shocked if I find things from the future!). Of course they are going to be outdated. Well, that's Google's problem! It's the same with Windows problems. And if you have different people at different places having the same problem, then obviously you are going to find similar solutions. It's, again, Google's job to filter those. You are blaming the wrong person.

6 Many distributions: I believe this is a strength, not a weakness. See above

7 Poor documentation: That's over-generalisation. For example, Arch has a decent wiki for users, and large distros like Debian also have their own distros. They are really updated and I find them useful, even on non-debian machines. And since most programs are cross-platform, if it has no documentation for Linux, it has no documentation for Windows as well.

8 Constant breaks in automatic updates: Updates aren't automatic. And kernel upgrades couldn't break your system since if something is wrong, you can choose to use the old one when you boot. Again, different distros have different stabilities. Debian Stable doesn't have updates, while Ubuntu has regular updates yet doesn't break.

9 Disabling legacy hardware with no easy way to reverse: Obviously they are not disabled for no reason. Often the developers have no time to maintain such supports and are dropped. Are you sure you can run Windows 7 on a piece of hardware, like, 5 years old? That's possible on Linux.

10 Limited driver support: that's not ours to decide. The people who create the hardware are usually responsible for writing drivers since we have no idea how their hardware work. I'm not trying to blame them, but it's catch-22. If we don't have enough support, no one will use it. If it is not used no one will write drivers!

10(again) Lack of respect: Put it this way - they are giving out something for free and you are criticizing them. They have no responsibility to respect users. I'm not saying that they shouldn't. They should. And due to the open source nature of Linux, if something is done wrong (e.g. GNOME 3 according to some), someone will fork it and fix it (Cinnamon).

11 User intuition: I don't find anything counterintuitive. The idea of running a KDE program under GNOME itself is probably the source of the problem you mentioned. Personally, I find Windows even more counterintuitive. Neglecting to common joke that you need to press the start button to shut down the computer, the User Guide often has problems. It always tells me that the user guide is not compatible with the OS. How can that be so? It's a user guide. What has it got to do with the version of Windows?

12 FLOSS software owned by corporations: Well, they have to belong to someone, right? They are still in the hands of the users, since they are registered under the GPL license, which says that anyone can take it and do whatever changes to it they want. Openoffice was forked into Libreoffice by the same process. There is still freedom. You might want to read the definition of "free software".

Conclusion: You have overlooked many aspects of Linux. It is indeed suitable for small business corporations, because they are small! It costs a lot to buy a Windows license for each computer. And since it is your business environment, you can buy compatible hardware. Again, you can choose a suitable distro for the purpose of your corporation. For example, if you don't need bleeding-edge technology, you can install Debian Stable and won't need to mess with it for 2 years. You won't need support. And packages don't break. And there is great documentation.

NOTE: I don't usually compare Linux with Windows, but since you ARE making the comparison in the article, I'll make this an exception.
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Re: Closed/Microsoft vs GNU/Linux Assessment

Postby /dev/urandom on Tue Jun 05, 2012 5:41 pm

dalcde wrote:On what basis do you say that GIMP is inferior?

16-bit support.

dalcde wrote:GNU/Linux's utilities are certainly much better than Windows' one.

On what basis?

dalcde wrote:Office: Again, why is libreoffice/openoffice inferior to Microsoft Office?

This is not related to the chosen OS.

dalcde wrote:Windows always crashes.

No system crash for me in several years on 3 machines, hardware failures not counted. You fail.

dalcde wrote:1 No testing: we always have a lot of testing.

Why does every Ubuntu upgrade break something major then?

dalcde wrote:3 Basic stuff like video/drivers: they are well implemented in Mint and I have no problem installing with one click.

Given that proprietary video drivers make Mint non-free, that is.

dalcde wrote:All I (we?) use is gcc.

Good luck.

dalcde wrote:8kernel upgrades couldn't break your system since if something is wrong, you can choose to use the old one when you boot.

Not necessarily.

dalcde wrote:Again, different distros have different stabilities. Debian Stable doesn't have updates

It has.

dalcde wrote:You might want to read the definition of "free software".

So might you. The GPL is not free.
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Re: Closed/Microsoft vs GNU/Linux Assessment

Postby dalcde on Tue Jun 05, 2012 11:21 pm

/dev/urandom wrote:16-bit support.

GIMP 2.8 has 16-bit support.

/dev/urandom wrote:On what basis?

Sorry if I haven't made it clear. Linux system utilities, run as root, give you true power to do anything on the computer. Windows' ones don't.

/dev/urandom wrote:This is not related to the chosen OS.

His point was that Linux's offices are inferior to Windows' ones. My point is that Linux has some that are better than the Windows' one.

/dev/urandom wrote:No system crash for me in several years on 3 machines, hardware failures not counted. You fail.

Tons of bsods for me. Maybe Windows like your hardware (I'm also aware that Linux crashes for some hardware, so I guess it's a draw?)

/dev/urandom wrote:Why does every Ubuntu upgrade break something major then?

You're not supposed to do so, as Clem has explained it in his tutorial. Do a fresh uprgade. You may as well ask "why doesn't my computer boot after I've deleted the /boot partition". You're not supposed to do so.

/dev/urandom wrote:3 Basic stuff like video/drivers: they are well implemented in Mint and I have no problem installing with one click.

Given that proprietary video drivers make Mint non-free, that is.

/dev/urandom wrote:Good luck.

I'm referring to C/C++ compilers or related (point is that we have one generally accepted compiler for each language)

/dev/urandom wrote:8kernel upgrades couldn't break your system since if something is wrong, you can choose to use the old one when you boot.

Not necessarily.

/dev/urandom wrote:Again, different distros have different stabilities. Debian Stable doesn't have updates

It has.

/dev/urandom wrote:So might you. The GPL is not free.

How about according to DFSG? It is free under that. (Guideline 10: The GPL, BSD, and Artistic licenses are examples of licenses considered free.) It depends on the definition.
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Re: Closed/Microsoft vs GNU/Linux Assessment

Postby /dev/urandom on Tue Jun 05, 2012 11:39 pm

dalcde wrote:GIMP 2.8 has 16-bit support.

Oops. My fault.
CMYK? Reasonable .psd (industry standard) support, including layers? Broken when I checked it last time...

dalcde wrote:Linux system utilities, run as root, give you true power to do anything on the computer. Windows' ones don't.

Not true since the Powershell anymore.

dalcde wrote:Linux's offices are inferior to Windows' ones. My point is that Linux has some that are better than the Windows' one.

There is no "Linux's office".

dalcde wrote:Tons of bsods for me.

Driver faults probably. Linux crashes its kernel, Windows shows a BSOD. How is a kernel panic better?

dalcde wrote:Maybe Windows like your hardware (I'm also aware that Linux crashes for some hardware, so I guess it's a draw?)

Yep.

dalcde wrote:You're not supposed to do so, as Clem has explained it in his tutorial. Do a fresh uprgade.

Oh, right, so "upgrading" means "breaking". How could I mix that up?
BTW, last Windows upgrade (from Vista to 7) went flawlessly without any breakage, so did my recent Fedora 16 -> 17 upgrade. No "fresh" update required.

Must be Ubuntu.

dalcde wrote:point is that we have one generally accepted compiler for each language

Which we have not. You might have missed recent LLVM/Clang development.

dalcde wrote:How about according to DFSG? It is free under that.

So your point is invalid, there is no "the definition of 'free software'". IMO, the GPL is not free. IYO, it is. So what?
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Re: Closed/Microsoft vs GNU/Linux Assessment

Postby xenopeek on Wed Jun 06, 2012 4:40 pm

Opinions clearly differ :D Can we leave it at that and move on? OP is gone already :wink: Let's go help some newbies or something 8)
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Re: Closed/Microsoft vs GNU/Linux Assessment

Postby /dev/urandom on Wed Jun 06, 2012 4:55 pm

One day newbies will read this thread, and it is better if they don't find any wrong information here then. :mrgreen:
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Re: Closed/Microsoft vs GNU/Linux Assessment

Postby dalcde on Wed Jun 06, 2012 6:14 pm

Vincent Vermeulen wrote:Opinions clearly differ :D Can we leave it at that and move on? OP is gone already :wink: Let's go help some newbies or something 8)

You're probably right. I've spent more than an hour typing these. Users should just try it out and see if it is suitable. I also apologize for some of my mistakes (I'm probably too outdated)
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Re: Closed/Microsoft vs GNU/Linux Assessment

Postby RJim on Fri Jun 08, 2012 7:36 pm

As a new user to Linux myself, coming from Windows, and requiring graphics and video/sound editing for my job, I can say that I understand where the OP is coming from -- and honestly, any Windows to Linux convert who claims to not understand those feelings is lying! :)

The frustration comes from a lack of understanding of the different ideas surrounding the two OS cultures. Windows is designed to be easy and "just work", Linux is designed to be customizable and "whatever you can mold it into" (notice the you part there)... I knew this coming in, so I wasn't bothered by it.
The threads I have started here asking for help have largely gone unnoticed and unanswered, and that's fine... I just keep working on it when I can and chalk it up to a learning experience.

HOWEVER Remember that I knew about the different culture here coming in!

A Windows user is quite used to receiving priority support that comes from a paid software and warranty plans and maybe even subscription-based tech support!
A Windows user who is hooked by the Linux hype that "It is better than Windows at everything" may be inclined to jump right in without thinking twice, and then be shocked by the culture shift; and honestly we can not blame them for that. In-fact it is largely the fault of our fragmented community.

Half of our community are die-hard Linux nerds who can't stand newbies asking questions and get upset if they have to walk a new user through the process of compiling an app from source.

The other half of the community is preaching the superiority of Linux to everyone they can find, including the average Windows user who has never seen source code in their life or even used a command-line.

See the problem here?

I do not blame the OP, and his concerns are valid and need to be honestly looked at for Linux to be improved in the area of user support.

Just my opinion on this from a fellow newbie Linux user.

--Jim
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Re: Closed/Microsoft vs GNU/Linux Assessment

Postby /dev/urandom on Fri Jun 08, 2012 11:24 pm

RJim wrote:Half of our community are die-hard Linux nerds who can't stand newbies asking questions and get upset if they have to walk a new user through the process of compiling an app from source.

The other half of the community is preaching the superiority of Linux to everyone they can find, including the average Windows user who has never seen source code in their life or even used a command-line.

The funny thing is that "the other half" largely consists of Linux users who have never seen source code in their life or even used a command-line. A bunch of Linux users who want to use Linux like others use Windows: A lot of clicking and a preinstalled and preconfigured GUI, done. They should stick to Windows IMNSHO.

I actually love to walk a new user through the process of compiling an app from source, because (to me) that involves reading. For some yet unknown reason the majority of Linux users is beginning to consider "RTFM!" a rude and not really helpful answer. Which is wrong. There is nothing more helpful than reading manuals/manpages or READMEs in order to understand what the hell is going on with $application. Users don't have an additional benefit from getting the manpage rephrased, they could as well read it themselves.

That might be a rather conservative approach but it kills the root of all evil (the users' lazyness), not its symptoms (the users' disinformation). Highly recommended.
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Re: Closed/Microsoft vs GNU/Linux Assessment

Postby RJim on Sat Jun 09, 2012 9:40 am

/dev/urandom wrote:The funny thing is that "the other half" largely consists of Linux users who have never seen source code in their life or even used a command-line. A bunch of Linux users who want to use Linux like others use Windows: A lot of clicking and a preinstalled and preconfigured GUI, done. They should stick to Windows IMNSHO.

I actually love to walk a new user through the process of compiling an app from source, because (to me) that involves reading. For some yet unknown reason the majority of Linux users is beginning to consider "RTFM!" a rude and not really helpful answer. Which is wrong. There is nothing more helpful than reading manuals/manpages or READMEs in order to understand what the hell is going on with $application. Users don't have an additional benefit from getting the manpage rephrased, they could as well read it themselves.

That might be a rather conservative approach but it kills the root of all evil (the users' lazyness), not its symptoms (the users' disinformation). Highly recommended.


Well honestly I really don't see why end-users should not be able to run Linux in the same manner as Windows or any other OS.
Notice that I said in the same manner and not "exactly like."

The specific of that statement being that end-users should not generally need to muck around with lines of code just to keep their hardware from overheating after a base install, to use an example scenario that I and others have encountered.

I do agree with you that a user's general aversion to reading and searching causes them more trouble than they would have if they would try to help themselves a bit more.
Most of my problems encountered I have ended up solving myself... except for those that require large source-code fixes. I am not a programmer and have no desire to become one; but I did report the problem to the developers responsible and am still searching for fixes on my own.

My belief always has been that a user should help themselves as much as possible when a problem arises... but at the same time, a user should not be required to be able to write their own drivers or re-write source code to have their system working properly. That's just a flaw of the system itself. That's like expecting every person who drives a car to be able to build it from scratch.

The beauty of Linux is that all the source code is there for those who want it, but no one should ever need it if they don't want it.
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Re: Closed/Microsoft vs GNU/Linux Assessment

Postby /dev/urandom on Sat Jun 09, 2012 11:30 am

RJim wrote:The beauty of Linux is that all the source code is there for those who want it

Not since they introduced binary parts.
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Re: Closed/Microsoft vs GNU/Linux Assessment

Postby Orang_Gila on Sat Jun 09, 2012 4:14 pm

My partner's current issues on her 64bit system:

    * pdf download in Iceweasel 10 froze computer
    * inserting DVD froze computer while running Iceweasel 10
    * externel usb mouse is randomly not responding
    * k3b crashing
    * kmail: no message bodies if IMAP emails have attachments
    * minitube no longer functional with Debian Wheezy and phonon-backends
    * Iceweasel and Adobe-plugin: flash image bleed thru tab layers, documents and file manager windows
    * Iceweasel and Adobe-plugin: missing colour (red?) from RGB range

Example of a very basic feature missing from GIMP that Adobe Photoshop 10 has:
When trimming a larger resolution image in Photoshop 10, the user can simply predefine the size (height x width; similar to GIMP) but at the same time they can also choose from the predefined bar the resolution (i.e. 96 dpi) to be used once the area chosen has been committed with a mouse click. That means once the area selected manually by the user has been committed, the newly created trimmed image will already be at the desired resolution (eg. 300 dpi to 96 dpi). This might seem like a minor thing to some, but to anyone who uses graphical applications like this for a lot of manual edits (eg. web authoring) this is quite handy and saves about 4 manual mouse clicks per image edit. In GNU the only other option would be a "convert" bulk images through a terminal console.

Example of a basic function that is missing in both Open Office and Libre Office:
When the user selects a cell in a Microsoft Excel document and then chooses a new font colour using the font colour icon, the font colour icon then shows the user's last manual colour selection. The next time they select cells on the same document, all they have to do is simply click on the font colour icon without moving their mouse to bring down the colour selections (note: this works in a Libre Office Write document). A single click in Excel automatically changes the colour to the last chosen colour. I've never been able to get this to work the same in Open Office or Libre Office. This can be a pain when working in a spreadsheet where using multiple colour shades to denote different areas is important. I have to refer back to a previously altered cell so I can reproduce the same colour for similar cells in the document.

RJim is right about being "A Windows user who is hooked by the Linux hype". That's exactly what happened to me 18 months ago when I came across Ubuntu and the Free Software Foundation's high ideals (which I still think are very worthwhile).
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Re: Closed/Microsoft vs GNU/Linux Assessment

Postby RJim on Sat Jun 09, 2012 7:16 pm

@Orang_Gila
I wish I could offer some advice, but I also do not have that much experience. And I have not encountered any of the issues you are describing.

In regards to LibreOffice... I actually like the way it handles colors better than the way MSOffice does... Many times I have wanted to see what color the selected object was, but instead it was showing my last picked color instead, which was unintuitive for me.

The only issue I am having with LibreOffice is it lagging badly after a suspend/resume cycle on my laptop. Other than that it has been great, and actually impressed my colleagues at my job. :)

--JIm
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Re: Closed/Microsoft vs GNU/Linux Assessment

Postby Goro Daimon on Sun Jun 10, 2012 1:52 pm

LOL! Orang_Gila you're right!
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Re: Closed/Microsoft vs GNU/Linux Assessment

Postby zeke on Thu Jun 14, 2012 7:58 pm

I admit I didn't have the patience to read the whole op, but I'm really mystified the experiences and analyses described there. I installed Mint on two home computers about two years ago when I faced the fact that I would have to pay $200+ for two windows 7 licenses, and I've been extremely pleased w/ the results. I can't say that I've found linux software in every category that equals or surpasses that available for windows, but I've been able to find software (most, but not all, free or open source) that meets the needs of our household. I've also been extremely pleased as far as the ease of use and maintenance of the system itself. Installation was surprisingly almost effortless. I really like the update system, which handles most applications I use as well as the system software. Updates are generally quick to install, and virtually never require a reboot. I also like the way that Mint handles the elevation of user privileges for performing system updates. As far as I can tell there is certainly less support for hardware peripherals under linux, for obvious reasons that vendors have to concentrate on the bigger markets. I had difficulty getting a Wacom graphics tablet working w/ Mint 9, as well as a Canon network printer (I resorted to buying the Turboprint printer driver, which is excellent), and my computers would not wake from sleep w/ the keyboard without manually editing a configuration file. However, there are almost always available solutions that can be found on the web, usually with quite easy-to-follow instructions, but one often has to filter out the obsolete or just plain wrong information, and I can't say that it doesn't help to have some technical ability. On the other hand, linux also seems to be improving all the time. I recently installed Mint 13 and all of my problems w/ hardware peripherals went away with that release, except for the Canon network printer, and for that problem I found a very easy solution on Ubuntu forums that was linked to by someone on the Mint forums (Of course there is also the Turboprint solution). Obviously different people have different needs and expectations, but I wouldn't be scared away from linux, and particular Mint, by the imposing looking but really not generally applicable material in the op of this thread.
zeke
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