I’m tired of this myth

I had a discussion today with someone who maintained with confidence that “If Linux were as popular as Windows, we’d be seeing just as many viruses and just as much malware for it as we see now for Windows”.

While that argument might hold true for desktop users, to an extent, the focus of the discussion was essentially (from his point of view) that “Linux is no more secure than Windows”, fundamentally.

Which is false. When I pointed this out, it was dismissed as simply my opinion, but I believe that he’s stuck in a logical fallacy in this assertion.

Continue reading

OpenOffice.org is dead to me

With Oracle demonstrating yet again that they just don’t get it, and with The Document Foundation now truly forking OpenOffice.org into the new “LibreOffice“, we’re beginning to see where the lay of the land lies for the future of open source where documents, presentations and spreadsheets are concerned.

I think it’s a good idea for those of us in the open source community to make sure our voices are heard on this pivotal point in this project.

Continue reading

6 things Microsoft needs to do before I’ll take Windows seriously

I’m an IT guy in what is still largely a Windows world. I’ve been managing Windows workstations and servers for a living since 1996 or so, and I’ve always been left shaking my head, wondering how, exactly, Windows is considered “enterprise ready”, especially when better alternatives — as development platforms, as workstations, and especially as servers — are widely available.

While the Information Technology industry hasn’t caught up just yet, I like to consider myself a bit more forward looking than that. The way I see it, Windows isn’t ready for the enterprise yet. Sure, it might be good for playing games, but for doing serious work? For securing customer data and transactions? For safeguarding your company’s future and productivity?

Not even close, not from what I’ve seen. Here are six things Microsoft will need to do before I’ll start recommending Windows as the “best tool for the job”.

Continue reading

Peppermint: Ask and they deliver

Wow, got a lot of traffic on the review I posted Monday about the new Peppermint OS!

I wanted to post a quick update to that review, because things move fast in the new Linux distro world, and the Peppermint OS team is already moving on some of the relatively minor things I brought up.

Continue reading

An Eye-Opening Experience

Most of us who are familiar with Linux are familiar with the advantages of running Linux as a desktop OS. We frequently bemoan the fact that others don’t know what we do about the reality of Linux on the desktop, and we seem to be hampered by difficulties in spreading the word outside our own circles. Recently, I was able to get outside the circle of Linux users and perform a live demonstration of Linux (and LXDE) to a group of professionals in a conference setting. Here’s my story.
Continue reading

The other side of the evangelism coin

The other day I wrote an article about the right and wrong ways to bring a user to the Linux world. I stand by my position there, namely that as an IT professional, even if someone’s not ready to embrace Linux as their desktop OS of choice, I still will recommend it down the road… but not until someone is truly ready to take that plunge.

It takes a lot of thought, a lot of work, and the right kind of attitude to embrace a new way of doing things, and for any long term Windows user, Linux is definitely a new way of doing things.

Over at Dedoimedo.com today there is an article aimed at the users, not the Linux evangelists to whom I was addressing the other day.

Dedoimedo’s article makes a really great companion to what I was talking about. It’s one thing to push someone toward Linux for the right reasons, but if you’re a user thinking about moving over to Linux, you need to be thinking about the right reasons as well, and asking yourself some questions about “why?” in particular.

Myself, I had several reasons to be fed up with Windows, most of which having to do with stability, but some of it was also design philosophy. I, as a tinkerer and a very “under the hood” and technically-minded individual, simply desired a lot more control over my own systems than any version of Windows will ever offer me, and I knew that at the time (2001-ish), Linux was able to deliver that, if I were willing to take the plunge.

I also saw Linux as something that wasn’t going away any time soon, and I determined that it was likely something that would benefit me professionally in which to gain expertise.

So to echo Dedoimedo, examine your own situation before taking that plunge. If you’re doing it for the wrong reasons, it’s almost sure to be a frustrating failure — it can be pretty frustrating even if you’re doing it for the right reasons — because at the end of the day, you have to want it. Like my Aunt Jean, you have to be willing to embrace a very big change in how you do many things, and change is hard.

But regardless of your reasons, remember this. There are plenty of folks out there like Dedoimedo and myself who will be more than happy to help you out, and part of that includes helping you assess if Linux is the right choice for you. So ask yourself some of those questions before taking the plunge, but don’t be afraid of asking the experts as well. You won’t be sorry!

On the subject of Linux evangelism

The other day I made a post about bringing my Aunt Jean into the fold after her spending years and years being exclusively a Windows user. I gave my reasons as multipronged, namely that I have found over the years that supporting friends and relatives who insist on using Windows is a frustrating, tedious, redundant pain that I’d prefer to avoid, and that I’m actually doing Jean a favor by transitioning her to a platform that, while very different from what she’s used to, will ultimately be a better one for her to use.

I thought I’d touch on the subject again briefly today, because I think it bears some clarification. Before you go out knocking on doors and handing out Ubuntu disks and asking people if they’ve discovered the glorious world of Free/Open Source Software, read on and adjust your plans accordingly.

Continue reading