jamesh
Raspberry Pi Engineer & Forum Moderator
Raspberry Pi Engineer & Forum Moderator
Posts: 23065
Joined: Sat Jul 30, 2011 7:41 pm

Re: Why so primitive?

Thu Aug 08, 2013 6:35 pm

Joe Schmoe wrote:Wow. I'm impressed. I feel like I've just met someone from Mars. Someone with life experiences completely different from my own.

Given what you've told me, you might as well be telling me that the sky is green in your world.
In his world, people are polite.
Principal Software Engineer at Raspberry Pi (Trading) Ltd.
Contrary to popular belief, humorous signatures are allowed. Here's an example...
"My grief counseller just died, luckily, he was so good, I didn't care."

Heater
Posts: 12959
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2012 3:02 pm

Re: Why so primitive?

Thu Aug 08, 2013 6:36 pm

Joe Schmoe,
Wow. I'm impressed. I feel like I've just met someone from Mars. Someone with life experiences completely different from my own.
Don't be impressed. It's not such a big deal.

It might be shocking but there are life forms outside whatever sterile oxygen tent you are living in. I am such a specimen, living Windows free since 1996 and only having tried Windows 3.1 briefly before that. Never ever used a Mac.

You might say that I have missed a lot of good stuff, Word, PowerPoint, Excel. Meh, never had a need for them. Games, no thanks.
On the other hand on the rare occasions I have tried to catch up with Windows it has proved hopeless. It helps a bit to install cygwin and make the command line reasonable. Luckily one can write apps using Qt that work just fine on Windows, Mac and Linux so you rarely have to suffer the inconvenience.

Meanwhile, back in the modern world, pretty much most computer users don't need Windows anymore. They can get on with a browser on Linux (or whatever) just as well.

surfatwork
Posts: 62
Joined: Mon May 06, 2013 8:26 am

Re: Why so primitive?

Thu Aug 08, 2013 6:46 pm

Heater wrote:Meanwhile, back in the modern world, pretty much most computer users don't need Windows anymore
I dont like Windows much and have been a Linux user since the late 90s. except for one thing - Office, specifically Word, Excel and Powerpoint. The native equivalents on Linux (libre office, open office) just dont stack up. Luckily, Wine is there to help and it all runs fine under Linux.

Joe Schmoe
Posts: 4277
Joined: Sun Jan 15, 2012 1:11 pm

Re: Why so primitive?

Thu Aug 08, 2013 6:51 pm

No meanness or sarcasm or impoliteness intended. I am, quite seriously, impressed by your reported successes with Linux on the desktop (as a Windows replacement). I have not been nearly so lucky. And, the day that I can walk into a Walmart and buy a cheap ("blue light special") printer and have it be "linux-ready" will be a happy day indeed.

I was just trying to relate, in a colorful way, how surprised I was by what you wrote. Did not mean to offend.
And some folks need to stop being fanboys and see the forest behind the trees.

(One of the best lines I've seen on this board lately)

Heater
Posts: 12959
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2012 3:02 pm

Re: Why so primitive?

Thu Aug 08, 2013 7:03 pm

Joe Schmoe,
...seriously, impressed...successes with Linux on the desktop (as a Windows replacement)...
Now I see the misunderstanding. I have never seen Linux as a Windows replacement. It's just a different operating system that does what I want. Why would I want a Windows replacement when there is already Windows? That's silly.

mikerr
Posts: 2770
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2012 12:46 pm
Location: UK
Contact: Website

Re: Why so primitive?

Thu Aug 08, 2013 7:56 pm

Joe Schmoe wrote:Heh heh - maybe British fathers (and men of that age in general) are smarter than American ones. I can tell you that the chances of any of my neighbors (people probably in the same age range as your father) being able to use Linux is as close to zero as one could imagine.
Actually I find the completely non-technical have no problem with linux (desktop) - point them at a browser and a word processor and they're fine.

The problem is the "semi-techies" who know how to open control panel and can't accept a different way of working - "but this is how I've done it for 10 years".

Dutch_Master
Posts: 360
Joined: Sat Jul 27, 2013 11:36 am

Re: Why so primitive?

Thu Aug 08, 2013 10:59 pm

Joe Schmoe wrote:It simply doesn't work as well as Windows or Mac - you can argue this point all you want, but you know I'm right.

But we are allowed to disagree.
You'd be surprised then that I've been using Linux exclusively since 2005 on my desktops (I've build quite a few, for myself and others, including servers) and my networked Brother MFC works just fine after the drivers are installed. Just like installing Win-OS drivers, really.

From your comments I gather it's been a while since you last used Linux (if at all) and most certainly not any recent distro's. I'd gladly invite you to give it an honest try. Doesn't cost you anything (well, except some bandwidth and time perhaps) and if you use a separate hard-drive your current OS is safe too :)

And yes, you are indeed allowed to disagree with me. But that doesn't mean you're right :roll: :P

gritz
Posts: 449
Joined: Sat Jan 28, 2012 2:33 am

Re: Why so primitive?

Thu Aug 08, 2013 11:05 pm

mikerr wrote:
Joe Schmoe wrote:Heh heh - maybe British fathers (and men of that age in general) are smarter than American ones. I can tell you that the chances of any of my neighbors (people probably in the same age range as your father) being able to use Linux is as close to zero as one could imagine.
Actually I find the completely non-technical have no problem with linux (desktop) - point them at a browser and a word processor and they're fine.

The problem is the "semi-techies" who know how to open control panel and can't accept a different way of working - "but this is how I've done it for 10 years".
Well, there you go - thanks to hard work by the likes of Mozilla and Libreoffice Linux is now newb-friendly...

...until you actually have to adjust something within the operating system itself, or get a hardware peripheral working. Then it's 1992 all over again.

Linux veterans will of course claim that it's as easy as riding a bike, but tell that to someone who's never actually ridden a bike. Do you remember what that feels like? Obviously not.

I'd suggest that a $20 tax on qwerty keyboards might prompt a user interface that doesn't rely quite so heavily on arcane and often poorly documented terminal commands (which might better be called "requests" for all the good that they may do).

No, I'm not a disgruntled newb - I was first introduced to Linux more than ten years ago. It's not the fault of the OS, but rather the mend-and-make-do / keep it elite attitudes of some of the users. Shame, really.

User avatar
mahjongg
Forum Moderator
Forum Moderator
Posts: 12009
Joined: Sun Mar 11, 2012 12:19 am
Location: South Holland, The Netherlands

Re: Why so primitive?

Thu Aug 08, 2013 11:40 pm

Linux is written as a "work station" OS, while Windows and Mac OS X are consumer OS's.

Works stations ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Workstation ) are far more powerful and complex than these "toy" personal computers, based on operating systems like windows and OS X.

Ducking to get out of the way of the incoming the flack...... :lol:

W. H. Heydt
Posts: 10569
Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2012 7:36 pm
Location: Vallejo, CA (US)

Re: Why so primitive?

Fri Aug 09, 2013 1:49 am

mahjongg wrote:Linux is written as a "work station" OS, while Windows and Mac OS X are consumer OS's.

Works stations ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Workstation ) are far more powerful and complex than these "toy" personal computers, based on operating systems like windows and OS X.

Ducking to get out of the way of the incoming the flack...... :lol:
Twenty years ago that was true, but PC games drove the development of faster PCs and better graphics systems pretty hard. And that's to the point that your typical business desktop PC, instead of needing top grade processors to handle big spreadsheets, can get by with pretty indifferent gear. The 2D performance of even cheap, obsolete graphics cards--or even on board graphics--is more than adequate in any business environment. Tell a gamer you're using a two year old graphics card (let alone on board graphics) and watch him laugh at you.

If one could magically extract the VCIV from a Pi and make PC graphics system out of it, it would do everything a business PC needs and more. While the same cannot be said for the ARMv6 core, it's probably within (distant) shouting distance of powerful enough for a business PC.

blc
Posts: 465
Joined: Mon Sep 05, 2011 9:28 am

Re: Why so primitive?

Fri Aug 09, 2013 7:21 am

W. H. Heydt wrote:Tell a gamer you're using a two year old graphics card (let alone on board graphics) and watch him laugh at you.
That's not strictly true any more. PC gaming, much as we PC gaming enthusiasts do not like to admit, is driven by console gaming these days. Maybe not so for the indie game scene, but certainly for the vast majority of "big budget triple-A" games that tend to push the release of new graphics cards and faster hardware. However console hardware is fixed and unchanging and the console lifecycle is now very long that most developers aren't writing truly stunning graphics engines that push modern graphics cards; they're written to push the hardware in consoles, and most modern "gaming" PCs easily beat even the unreleased "next gen" consoles in terms of sheer performance. What PC gaming is missing is PC gaming; it's seen as such a small market these days that little effort is made to optimise the graphics for PC games. I'd also argue that the hardware is so powerful these days that you don't need to rush out and buy the latest graphics cards every six months just to keep up; undoubtedly there are people that will of course, but for most games you could easily get by on a 2-year old graphics card - I certainly do.

The focus from graphics hardware manufacturers these days seems to be on integration: getting the graphics hardware on to the same silicon, or at least the same substrate, as the main CPU. AMD are pushing their "APU" line, Intel are making big advances with their "HD" graphics cores in the Haswell line, and Nvidia are really pushing their ARM and OpenCL/CUDA/whatever capabilities.

Of course there is the argument that games make good games, not their graphics engines, but that's even more off-topic than my little tangents so far.

Windows is kept around on my PC because of Steam. Valve are putting a lot of effort in to Linux but many games - especially the major titles - still do not work on Linux because of DirectX; their "Steam box" platform is going to have to be a very big success in order to convince publishers/developers to move to OpenGL and make Linux a viable platform for gamers. (Of course all they have to do to make that happen is release Half-Life 3 as a Steam/Steambox exclusive, but no! Of course not! They've got their heads too far up their own collective ****es to actually work on a game!)

Heater
Posts: 12959
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2012 3:02 pm

Re: Why so primitive?

Fri Aug 09, 2013 7:24 am

Yes indeed, why is Windows, out of the box, so primitive?

As far as I can tell a Windows computer is not only primitive but completely non-functional out of the box.

You cannot program it, there are no programming languages available except perhaps JavaScript in IE but that does not give you access to your machine really.

Not even a text editor suitable for programming.

No ssh client or server.

No web server.

No websockets, webgl or many other HTML5 goodies in IE.

No way to display my apps on the screens of other machines over the network.

No package manager with which to quickly and easily install all the stuff I need to make it work.

I could go on but the list is endless. A vast array of functionality that has been a standard part of modern operating systems for well over a decade is just not there in Windows.

I do apologize if some of the features I list are in newer Windows versions. Even basic stuff like zipping and unzipping files was added to Windows recently so I may have missed some others as I am not a Windows user.

blc
Posts: 465
Joined: Mon Sep 05, 2011 9:28 am

Re: Why so primitive?

Fri Aug 09, 2013 7:46 am

Heater wrote:Yes indeed, why is Windows, out of the box, so primitive?

As far as I can tell a Windows computer is not only primitive but completely non-functional out of the box.
Horses for courses, my friend.
You cannot program it, there are no programming languages available except perhaps JavaScript in IE but that does not give you access to your machine really.

Not even a text editor suitable for programming.
If you're not interested in programming, why do you need this?

And for what it's worth on this point, I've never seen another text editor that has as much out-of-the box functionality as Notepad++, which doesn't have a Linux version. Sure you can add the same features to Linux text editors, but that's a lot of effort compared to: download, unzip, run.
No ssh client or server.
Why do I need remote access to my home PC? I'm not on a domain or anything. If I need access to a remote server from my machine then I've got PuTTY.
No web server.
Why does a home user need a web server? What purpose could it possibly serve unless you're a web developer? If you have Pro versions of Windows 7 and I think maybe XP then there is actually a version of IIS available (with heavily cut down features compared to Windows Server); you do have to install it manually, but it is part of Windows and last time I installed Fedora I had to manually install Apache if I wanted it.

Of course there's always Windows versions of Apache, should you need more functionality than IIS.
No websockets, webgl or many other HTML5 goodies in IE.
Not going to defend the inadequacy of IE, and I think you'll struggle to find many who will.
No way to display my apps on the screens of other machines over the network.
I have one main computer at home and one media centre. The media centre is hooked up to my TV and has a dedicated interface; my main PC is for games and everything else. Why do I need to share the display of the applications over the network?
No package manager with which to quickly and easily install all the stuff I need to make it work.
No, there's no centralised package manager for installing applications, but there certainly is one central place to go to remove them.

I'd argue the benefit of centralised package distribution for Windows anyway; can you imagine maintaining such a package manager for Windows? I can't even get my head around the scale of the job; there must be millions, if not billions, of applications available for Windows.
I could go on but the list is endless. A vast array of functionality that has been a standard part of modern operating systems for well over a decade is just not there in Windows.

I do apologize if some of the features I list are in newer Windows versions. Even basic stuff like zipping and unzipping files was added to Windows recently so I may have missed some others as I am not a Windows user.
Standard features such as what? What makes them standard - because they're in Linux? Why does that mean that they're standard? You seem to not realise that just because Windows isn't for you, or that you don't like it, doesn't meant that there isn't a market for it out there or that it is worthless.

Please do go on, I'd like to see the "endless" list of stuff that you think is missing. It might be missing for you, but why should it bother you if you're never going to use it?

FWIW, built-in ZIP file support was introduced in Windows XP, which is about 11 years old now :)

Heater
Posts: 12959
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2012 3:02 pm

Re: Why so primitive?

Fri Aug 09, 2013 8:29 am

blc,

I don't think I really disagree with anything you say there. as you correctly summarize "horses for courses". However my statement that an out of the box Windows install is primitive and lacking still stands. Especially if you actually want a computer rather than a media consumption appliance.

What you seem to be arguing is that primitive is all the users want and they are happy, they don't want computers they want media consumption appliances. There is indeed strong evidence for this: The wide spread use of gaming consoles, the huge take up of tablets, and so on.

Most of you points are answers to mine along the lines of "Why should Windows include functionality X when people don't use X?

My response is that perhaps if X was there more people would be using it.

Let's take just one example:

Q) "Why does a home user need a web server? "

A) Well check out the huge number of projects with the Pi that involve interfacing with some real world stuff via GPIO, and providing an interface to the world via a webserver and a programming language like PHP.

Why on earth would a home user not want to be able to put web pages up on his own machine at home such that he can access them from anywhere in the world? I know ISP's make that hard but really it's the internet, that's how it should be. Those young kids with the web servers on Pi's are going to to start wondering how stupid it is that they cannot access their creations from outside home.

There are similar answers to all your other points. Features that are not there, no one knows they are possible, no one misses them and nobody can make progress. That is perhaps partly why Eben wanted to make the Pi in the first place.

As for that "standard". Never mind Linux, most of these things have been in Unix for decades. There have been many flavors of Unix over the years, and widely used, of which Linux is only one. How "standard" do you want a standard to be?
Please do go on, I'd like to see the "endless" list of stuff that you think is missing.
Well I won't do that, in 2008 there were 30,000 packages in Debian. http://www.debian.org/distrib/packages Other Linux flavors have similar.
It might be missing for you, but why should it bother you if you're never going to use it?
This is circular. Of course if you don't have such facilities and you never knew they existed then you are never going to use them and you are perhaps quite happy about that.

It's a bit like the argument people present for why they know little of mathematics. "I'm never going to use it in my life so I don't need to study it". Well of course if they did study it, they might find uses for it or find they think about things in a different way and their lives might be completely different.

jamesh
Raspberry Pi Engineer & Forum Moderator
Raspberry Pi Engineer & Forum Moderator
Posts: 23065
Joined: Sat Jul 30, 2011 7:41 pm

Re: Why so primitive?

Fri Aug 09, 2013 8:46 am

gritz wrote: Well, there you go - thanks to hard work by the likes of Mozilla and Libreoffice Linux is now newb-friendly...

...until you actually have to adjust something within the operating system itself, or get a hardware peripheral working. Then it's 1992 all over again.
Actually, the same applies to Windows. You need to do something 'out of the box', and you end up having to dig down to some obscure dialog somewhere, with a non-friendly text box badly explaining what the option does.

In both cases, if you want to do something complicated you need to KNOW how to do it. Mostly with Linux, you need to type the command, with Windows, you need to find it. The underlying concepts are the same, the process differs. The problem with Linux applications (and we are really talking about apps here, as they are what control the OS) is that the process is often badly thought out and difficult to remember, due to the evolutionary nature of much of the Linux toolset. Windows just keeps adding new and more complicated dialog boxes. They can afford to completely change a UI - the user is forced to relearn it. If that happened in Linux, there would be an awful lot of wobbling neckbeards.

I wish someone would take GIT and redo the interface to something Humans could understand.
Principal Software Engineer at Raspberry Pi (Trading) Ltd.
Contrary to popular belief, humorous signatures are allowed. Here's an example...
"My grief counseller just died, luckily, he was so good, I didn't care."

Heater
Posts: 12959
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2012 3:02 pm

Re: Why so primitive?

Fri Aug 09, 2013 9:16 am

I firmly believe the supposedly simple usability of Windows is a myth.

1) Most of those who use Windows in work use a few apps that do whatever they need to get their work done. They don't use Windows as such. Their OS is installed and maintained by the IT guys. They never have to add devices or get printers working or get on the net or whatever.

2) Most home users never us Windows. Again they have their few apps they use on Windows but here the OS is pre-installed when they buy the machine. If they have any issues there is always the local computer shop to sort them out or a computer savvy friend or relative can be found to do it.

More and more, those "few apps" people use are becoming web apps, running in a browser, it matters not what OS is underneath. Hence the rise of Chromebooks and the like. This all migrates to tablets as well.

Those who do actually support all of this, the IT guys and your neighbors geeky sons, are probably quite smart enough to do the same for any current OS. As James says, it's the same problems but wrapped up differently.

User avatar
rurwin
Forum Moderator
Forum Moderator
Posts: 4258
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2012 3:16 pm
Contact: Website

Re: Why so primitive?

Fri Aug 09, 2013 9:38 am

I came across an interesting and apposite problem recently, albeit in development rather than in general use, but the principle still applies.

I was porting changes from one version of our software to another. It was very easy, since the source code of this bit is identical between versions. Except of course, for the Visual Studio project files. They were binary, they are now XML, but they might as well be binary for all the sense they make. I looked at the changes and all that had changed were about a hundred GUIDS (long random numbers.) There was no way I could possibly apply my changes when I didn't know what any of them meant. If a merge was needed then there was no way to do it; it simply would not work. The only way to compare the differences would have been to bring up two copies of Visual Studio and compare the project properties dialog by dialog.

In Linux there may be no dialogs, but the project files would be designed to be human-readable. I might have to have the gcc manual page handy when I tried to change anything, but comparing two versions would be simple and quick. Merging two versions with different changes would be just as quick and it would work. Added to which, the gcc manual page goes into far more detail than you'll ever get from the Help button.

Generally the popular Linux distributions have GUI applications for all the configuration that you are likely to want to do. If you want to set up a web server or serve a DNS domain, then you may have to use text files, but not for anything that most people use a Windows PC for. But even for those things that Linux has a GUI for, the configuration files it uses are human-readable text. Not XML with random numbers, real human-readable text, often with detailed comments explaining each option. That means not only can you work from the console with vi, if your beard is very hairy, but you can also use semi-automated tools to compare the configuration of machines. You can back-up the configuration of one PC, and then meaningfully use that configuration later, on a different PC.

Here's a scenario: you have a customer, or a friend, who has a problem. You need to find a configuration error, and it's either in your application, a third party application, or the OS network configuration. You don't have access to a copy of the third-party application. You need to have him send you all three configurations. Which do you prefer: text files with comments in, binary or machine-readable XML, or a few dozen screen captures of dialog boxes?

User avatar
LemmeFatale
Posts: 253
Joined: Fri Feb 01, 2013 8:47 pm
Location: UK

Re: Why so primitive?

Fri Aug 09, 2013 10:34 am

Joe Schmoe wrote:
Microsoft Windows has never been compatible with how I work, though. I've never been able to class it as lazy, to be honest, because I always found it to be extremely difficult-to-use and irritatingly obfuscated (just one example of this is in its unhelpful error messages that seem to be designed to intimidate some users), from the very first time I used it.
This is, of course, a funny paragraph. I'm actually quite curious. Could you explain how/why it isn't "compatible" with how you work and what you don't like about the error messages? Thanks!
I'm glad that you gleaned some amusement from this, to the point of implying that it is a fact that my personal experience is to be laughed at. ;)

Assuming that you're actually serious about being curious (which from your wording, I'm unsure about), I'll give explaining the my aforementioned personal experience a go. :P

First, I should note that I went straight from a Commodore 64 to Microsoft Windows 95 in 1996, though of course I experienced a wide variety of platforms via school and friends as a youngster. I then used various flavours of Microsoft Windows until 2003, and none of the problems and bugbears that I found with it ever went away. After that, I switched to Mac OS X for a few years, as that worked and had its guts arranged in a fashion that seemed a bit more logical to me, and when that went off in a direction that felt bogged down with things that got in my way, I moved to Linux in 2008, which I find does all that I ask of it quickly, simply, and in a way that is compatible with the way my mind works (and its innards are also organised in such a fashion, too - where things are and where they go makes perfect sense to me, and I get on well with that).

Microsoft Windows was never compatible with the way I work because it simply doesn't seem logical to me, and seems largely resistant to the typical expectation of computers - that they are there to do what the user asks of them, via simple commands or gestures.

To actually use it, you had to sit and wait for several minutes for it to boot up. For someone who grew up experiencing computers that carried the "All in ROM, and instant on/off" approach from the 8-bit CLI-based microcomputers through to GUI-based systems (for example, the Commodore Amiga, Atari ST, and Acorn Archimedes), this was bizarre, to say the least! I eventually got used to this, as it seems to be a common thing among modern machines, although it's generally quicker nowadays on my CPU architecture of choice (which is ARM - I just have a couple of x86 boxes left that won't be replaced when they die; My requirements are all OS and architecture agnostic now).

I always found the interface of Microsoft Windows to be clunky, confusing, and poorly-worded (which made it frustrating for me to use), with bizarre and confusing metaphors (for example, who puts wallpaper over their desk, and who presses a button labelled "Start" in order to power a machine off? I recall there being lots of little niggles like this, but these are the two that remain most clearly in my mind), and the same goes for the built-in programs (of which there were surprisingly few* ), which never gained many useful keyboard shortcuts during my time using them - I don't particularly like breaking from what I'm doing to have to put my hand on the mouse, and navigate it through several menus and options.

*The OS was hyped as letting you do all you needed out-of-the-box, but didn't actually come with much of anything to do with it out-of-the-box. I noticed that vendors tended to bundle in packages of discounted and somewhat old software to make up for the shortfall between hype and reality. This never seemed sensible to me, and is one of the reasons that I got on better with other OSes that I moved to later, since they did/do the exact opposite.

My experience of the help files was not very good; Far too often, they assumed years of previous experience with the platform - but x86-based computers and Microsoft Windows didn't even become relevant in the UK market until circa 1996/1997, which often rendered them fairly useless. (For all the complaining I see people do about Linux's man-pages, I got on well with those from day one, because they actually tell me what a command does, even if it's sometimes tersely. And I had to use a couple on day one, because the first thing I did was decide to compile something to try to learn from the experience. It was the exact opposite of my experience with Microsoft Windows' help files.)

If something went wrong, Microsoft Windows' error messages tended to be along the lines of "A fatal error has occurred", followed by a very large and unhelpful (not to mention difficult-to-read due to length) string of numbers. There's nothing better for intimidating inexperienced users than hiding what's actually gone wrong and letting them figure out how to fix it - it always struck me as deliberate obfuscation to keep the user from gaining knowledge they want. In all the years that I used Microsoft Windows, I can't remember ever seeing a helpful error message that helped me to solve something. I've never encountered this on another OS, with the lone exception of one time on Fedora (which I also find to be a bit error-message deficient, but which some older relations of mine - probably about James' father's age, give or take a bit - chose and prefer for some reason) a mere one week ago (it turned out that a Linux laser printer driver supplied by Samsung didn't know what to make of Fedora's bizarrely overly-paranoid SELinux setup, and couldn't provide a useful message).

The fact that Microsoft Windows seems to require constant babysitting and attention for all manner of oddball design reasons (from virus-susceptibility to the Registry and DLL hell), couldn't handle all the RAM in a machine for many years and would start paging and chugging way before necessary, and occasionally needed to be completely wiped and reinstalled (the need to wipe and reinstall is also a gripe I have with Mac OS X, too, though), never sat well with me.

As time went on, having to trawl all over the place to obtain software, and having to then manually keep tabs on keeping it updated, became enormously painful. The same goes for having to install drivers separately (which in my experience seems to be rare on Linux; I've only had to do this once, for other people - it was the Samsung laser printer on Fedora as mentioned above). This sadly persisted throughout my time using Mac OS X, as well, so as with the above wipe-and-reinstall issue this is not purely a gripe with Microsoft Windows. I figured that there had to be a better way for me to get on with this aspect of computing, and I eventually found that. :P

Those are just the things that spring immediately to mind, and I may have missed out a bunch more, but I think that this should be sufficient.

I hope that this satisfies your curiousity, though I suspect that it may also mean that I am from a green-sky-bearing Mars, as seems to also be the case for others with different experiences. ;)

Anyway, I apologise for the long post - I suspect that the more succinct "I expect my OS to get out of my way and just let me use my computer." would not have been as informative an explanation, haha.
jamesh wrote:Actually, the same applies to Windows. You need to do something 'out of the box', and you end up having to dig down to some obscure dialog somewhere, with a non-friendly text box badly explaining what the option does.
This has been my experience also, sadly.
SirLagz wrote:My experience has been the opposite actually...granted I've built my PCs but still.
I bought a dell printer, came with linux drivers
Bought a lexmark printer, came with linux drivers
Bought a laptop, chucked ubuntu on, no issues with drivers.
bought an old old laptop, chucked ubuntu on, no issues with drivers

However, using the preloaded windows on that laptop that I bought had plenty of issues lol...like the fact that it had a whopping 2 gigs of ram and was trying to run vista.

I've seriously had less issues running Linux than I have running Windows.
Even with cheap screwy hardware, Linux handled it better than windows did.

For example, my cheap screwy webcam was plug and play in Linux while I had to hunt around for drivers in windows
Also my experience.
Heater wrote:Those who do actually support all of this, the IT guys and your neighbors geeky sons, are probably quite smart enough to do the same for any current OS. As James says, it's the same problems but wrapped up differently.
ALSO also my experience! Though, don't forget the geeky daughters as well - we have to do this stuff for various OSes too. ;)
Classic - Raspberry Pi Model B (512MB) with Motorola Atrix Lapdock
Lemcon-One - Raspberry Pi Model B (256MB) PiMAME TV-Box

blc
Posts: 465
Joined: Mon Sep 05, 2011 9:28 am

Re: Why so primitive?

Fri Aug 09, 2013 10:37 am

@Heater,

To be honest, I don't disagree with your overall point either. But I think there is room for both "types" of computer user to exist: those who wish to learn more and explore further, and the "tablet generation" who just want the damn thing to work. Someone whose primary computer is a tablet which they use to browse the web, read email and post inane updates on Facebook or Twitter don't necessarily need to "get their hands dirty". But if they do want to learn more about computers, then even on a relatively resitrictive platform like Android or iOS there's still an awful lot they can do or learn, beyond how to install an app and where their Facebook "button" is. Even with a *very* restricted platform such as the Chromebook - disclaimer, I do own a Samsung ARM Chromebook - it's still just Linux underneath the bonnet. There's a lot that can be done with it if you strip out ChromeOS and install a full Linux distro, and the instructions for doing this aren't hugely complicated. (FWIW, I've left ChromeOS on my Chromebook, it fulfils the need I had perfectly: a small lightweight machine for web browsing with excellent battery life. If I need to "get my hands dirty" with anything more complex, I'm rarely far away from a full desktop PC. That and my other half keeps pressing buttons I told her not to press and wiping my Linux install!! :x ).

The problem is one of earlier education, exactly that which the foundation is aiming to address: generations of people being taught to use computers as appliances and not seeing them as anything more. Hence why I don't disagree with your overall point, but there will always be people who will want stuff that "just works" and are not interested in anything more than that. I'm getting that way myself these days; I know enough to understand what's going on behind the scenes and to get right down to the code level, but if I'm trying to get some work done I don't want to have to fight with my tools to do so. Personally I'll never be able to truly get away from Windows, at least not as long as I want to continue being employed as a SQL Server & .NET/VB6 developer!

@rurwin,

You're probably supposed to buy some sort of Visual Studio plugin or tool which can read and compare the files ;).

jamesh
Raspberry Pi Engineer & Forum Moderator
Raspberry Pi Engineer & Forum Moderator
Posts: 23065
Joined: Sat Jul 30, 2011 7:41 pm

Re: Why so primitive?

Fri Aug 09, 2013 10:41 am

Adding to my point above, the principles underlying a GUI or command line are the same, that's the bit that need education - you may press a few buttons to set up a wireless network, but WHAT do those buttons do? In Linux world you do get a bit closer (although not close enough to really KNOW). In most case I want to KNOW why doing something makes it work.
Principal Software Engineer at Raspberry Pi (Trading) Ltd.
Contrary to popular belief, humorous signatures are allowed. Here's an example...
"My grief counseller just died, luckily, he was so good, I didn't care."

surfatwork
Posts: 62
Joined: Mon May 06, 2013 8:26 am

Re: Why so primitive?

Fri Aug 09, 2013 10:48 am

I think the fundamental difference between Windows and Linux comes down to the objectives. Windows is fundamentally designed to make profits for Microsoft. In many cases, it means opaqueness, proprietary code, obfuscation - there is and never was an intent to make the workings transparent, or to ensure interoperability, or to adher to standards. It doesnt mean that Microsoft is evil - its just that they are a for-profit company with shareholders and their job is to make money.
The Linux/Unix approach is pretty much the opposite of the above, as we know. except perhaps for Canonical, who seem to be trying to create a walled garden.
In a sense it is like Apple with itunes - the idea with Apple was always to create an ecosystem which ensured that users remained trapped in the garden and continued to generate revenues for Apple and partners (publishing houses, music industry, movie industry etc). So, for example, instead of storing music files in normal folders, they created an elaborate mechanism to hide the files with obscure filenames in random folders all over the place.
The success of both Microsoft and Apple has simply been that they have fostered and then satisfied a tribe of users who dont want to know how things work and dont want to do "interesting" things - they want an appliance they can switch on. and send for repair when it doesnt work. or replace. They are happy when Apple releases IOS7 with new icons - leaving many Android users pretty bemused - new icons? To these users, using a computer (like the Rpi) to interface to a CCTV system would be like using the microwave to clean clothes - sure, it may be possible and great fun for some of us, but how many care?
But they remain the vast majority of computer users, and perhaps "smartphone" owners today.

blc
Posts: 465
Joined: Mon Sep 05, 2011 9:28 am

Re: Why so primitive?

Fri Aug 09, 2013 11:34 am

surfatwork wrote:The success of both Microsoft and Apple has simply been that they have fostered and then satisfied a tribe of users who dont want to know how things work and dont want to do "interesting" things - they want an appliance they can switch on. and send for repair when it doesnt work. or replace.
To be honest, I'd argue that's something that Apple have done extremely well and not Microsoft. Just look at the reaction to Windows 8: Microsoft are trying to move closer to Apple's "walled garden appliance" approach with the new touchscreen-centered UI and Windows Market (or whatever they're calling it that stops them from being sued by Apple), but users utterly hated it. Those who wanted to buy into that sort of "ecosystem" (and I hate that term when used in a computing context) will probably have already bought an iPad, and the remaining users - those who don't want iPad-like devices or those who like the desktop - feel like they've just been shafted.

I'd argue that Microsoft's success in the past, as it is now, has been built on its domination in businesses. People use Windows all day at work, so they're going to want something familiar when they get home. They now have the same applications and operating system at work as they do at home, so now they can work at home (or work from home). They're used to Windows now, so everything else seems alien. It took something so "radically different" as the iPad and/or iPhone to make them realise that, hang on a minute, I don't need a massive computer to do the stuff that I do with it (I put "radically different" in quote marks because Apple were not the first to make a touchscreen "smartphone", and they certainly weren't the first to release a "tablet" computer; Microsoft were way ahead of them in that department, but the technology wasn't good enough for it to be a pleasant experience....and the interfaces sucked!). Now Microsoft are trying to play catch up with Windows 8, Windows Phone and Surface but nobody wants it: people who do want that form factor already have an iPad, and people who want a "traditional" desktop or laptop don't want big Fisher Price style blocks of colour that they have to fondle in order to get any work done.

In my view, if you want to be angry at a particular company for turning computers into appliances then aim that ire at Apple. Microsoft have done a lot of harm in the past - my IT GCSE is basically a Microsoft Office GCSE - but they are doing a fine job of tripping over their own feet and running head first into walls at the moment. They don't need any outside help to hasten their demise: consumers don't want what they're selling any more and no amount of "vapour deposited magnesium" cases or "live tiles" are going to change that. Forget Microsoft, leave them to their Xbox - one of the things they actually seem to be pretty good at, despite the Orwellian turns the One has taken. They're not worth the effort any more. If you want to help stop the decline in computing skills then you should be mindful of what Apple are doing IMO.

Joe Schmoe
Posts: 4277
Joined: Sun Jan 15, 2012 1:11 pm

Re: Why so primitive?

Fri Aug 09, 2013 12:19 pm

FWIW, built-in ZIP file support was introduced in Windows XP, which is about 11 years old now
Funny. I never noticed that. It seems the first thing I always do after installing Windows on a machine is to copy over UNZIP.EXE from the network.

Then, and only then, can I unzip files.
And some folks need to stop being fanboys and see the forest behind the trees.

(One of the best lines I've seen on this board lately)

Joe Schmoe
Posts: 4277
Joined: Sun Jan 15, 2012 1:11 pm

Re: Why so primitive?

Fri Aug 09, 2013 12:21 pm

@ LemmeFatale:

Very interesting post. Lots of information there - most of which I am in complete agreement with. Thanks for taking the time to post. I will probably respond to various bits of it at some future time.
And some folks need to stop being fanboys and see the forest behind the trees.

(One of the best lines I've seen on this board lately)

blc
Posts: 465
Joined: Mon Sep 05, 2011 9:28 am

Re: Why so primitive?

Fri Aug 09, 2013 12:25 pm

Joe Schmoe wrote:
FWIW, built-in ZIP file support was introduced in Windows XP, which is about 11 years old now
Funny. I never noticed that. It seems the first thing I always do after installing Windows on a machine is to copy over UNZIP.EXE from the network.

Then, and only then, can I unzip files.
Almost the same here; except I use 7zip (command line and GUI) to also handle RAR, TAR, TAR/GZ, etc.

Return to “General discussion”