Friday, October 13, 2006

The only vista on my horizon is Ubuntu (Linux)

On /., someone replied to my comment to the effect that if MS Windows was a motor vehicle, it would have to be recalled, given all of its defects and safety issues. I pushed the analogy a bit further, saying that Windows would fall under many state's "lemon laws" for sure, if it were a car. That someone got picky and replied:

"So which OS are you thinking of that _wouldn't_ be classified as a 'lemon' ?"

So I responded, more or less off the top of my head:

Almost any OS that is free... After all, it is hard to argue that Ubuntu (for example), should be flawless when it costs nothing and is in fact shipped out at someone else's expense if one asks for a few sets of the install discs. I run Ubuntu and although I've used Red Hat back when it (as opposed to Fedora) was free, I never really got into Linux. Ubuntu I am working to learn well enough that I never have to infect any of my own systems with the buggy bloatware known as Windows again, at least not at my expense.

The good thing about the news surrounding the impending spread of Vista is that it isn't likely to happen as fast as Microsoft wants or would have the general public believe. Why waste money on a bigger, slower, pile of crapware from Microsoft when it offers nothing substantial in the way of practical improvements over the mess that is XP? What I'm reading these days is that the Vista release is being given the yawn treatment by many IT professionals.

As far as I can tell, since I don't care about cutesy but useless special effects (read: the Aero interface), there is nothing I want to do with an MS OS that XP doesn't do about as well as Vista is likely to, with much less risk of new bugs and security holes. The risk to my wallet is virtually nil with Ubuntu. There are other free Linuxes available and there is much better and affordable support for them than there is from Microsoft for Windows.

Also, XP has been given the acid test for a few years now and a lot of serious problems with it have been corrected to a large degree with the numerous patches and service packs MS has deigned to release for it. In fact, I'm worried that security will be much worse on Vista than it is on XP since 3rd party security vendors are being prevented by Microsoft from hooking in at the level their code needs to run at to be most effective. I don't trust Microsoft to handle security issues. It has a pathetic track record. The programmers at MS clearly don't understand their own code.

My copies of Ubuntu were delivered to me upon request, cost me nothing, installed and are updated easily, and work quite well. I run OpenOffice and use a lot of GNU programs as well as other FOSS.

The only vista I see on my OS horizon is Ubuntu.

--- [the end of my reply on /. ] ---

I guess I don't think of something as being a lemon of a product if it costs me nothing but whatever time and effort I put into trying to get some sort of benefit from it. I am not in the habit of looking a gift horse in the mouth. And the better flavors of Linux are quite suitable for mission critical use...arguably more so than Windoze, given the number of major sites on the 'Net that run Linux servers.

My original post on /. (not the above follow up) pointed out that Vista has little to recommend it in the way of new or better features, unless one considers the Aero interface to be other than a cute but wasteful system resources hog. There is an extremely good chance that Vista will be buggier and less secure than XP, since it is new and has not been as well tested (and all too frequently patched) and also because Microsoft is trying hard to keep other vendors of Windows security software from hooking their products into Vista at a low enough level to work properly. It isn't as if Microsoft can be trusted to deliver safe, secure, reliable software...and now it is actively trying to block others from selling effective low-level security enhancements for Vista, which it will undoubtedly, desperately need if the history of other Windows releases is a reasonable indicator.


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