An official slightly off topic anouncement

John Heim jheim at
Fri Feb 23 10:06:47 EST 2007

From: "Gregory Nowak" <greg at>
> on this list, are
> anti-microsoft. After all, having been a user of windblows, and
> gnu/linux for a few years now, I can't honestly say that I think
> people are switching from windblows to gnu/linux, because gnu/linux is
> easier to use than windows is.

I made this same point on the blinux list a while ago and sparked quite a 
controversy. I believe anyone getting into linux should prepare themselves 
for a steep learning curve. But it pays off in the end. In fact, I've  been 
advising my blind computer nerd friends to get into linux as a form of job 

> For anybody else who has used both
> operating systems for a good while, and is tempted to disagree with
> that, think back on your first time compiling a customized linux
> kernel, or on the steps one has to go through to build a piece of
> software from source , or better yet, on how involved building a
> gentoo, or a linux-from-scratch system is.

Yeah, but you can't compile a custom kernel at all for Windows. Mostly, you 
can't compile software either. You get what you get.

So this is really the #1 difference between linux and Windows.  In linux, 
you can do just about anything you can do with a computer but you're 
expected to learn how. With Windows, the ideal situation is for you to never 
have to read the documentation. Windows users want to just install and go. 
With linux, we give up intuitiveness for being able to make the thing do 
exactly what we want.

Actually, I think the combination of both works really well. I use Windows 
as my desktop environment. But i do all my actual work on linux. For 
example, I have this elaborate system for recording the sound track of TV 
shows. I have a script that checks the schedule of my local PBS affiliate 
searching for my favorite shows, Nova, American Experience, etc. If it finds 
them, it writes the show and time it will be on to a file. Then there is a 
cron job that runs sox to record each show . I then listen to them on my 
Windows machine by double clicking on them on my network drive.

Here at the Math Department of the U of Wisconsin, we have dhcp, dns, 
ldaphttp mysql,  , and imap servers all running on linux.  I manage all 
these things via my Windows desktop.

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