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LinuxPlanet: The Perils of Irresponsible Advocacy

Oct 27, 2000, 12:37 (16 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Michael Hall)

"Stan expressed an interest in Linux not too long ago, noting that a nephew of his was 'really into it.' The nephew, irresponsibly, had offered to come over to his house and install Slackware for him. When Stan asked about his existing applications, the nephew promised him that WINE would handle it all for him just fine. He was also told that he could scrap his online banking software under Windows with impunity, he didn't have to worry about securing his connection because his nephew would maintain root privileges and had the necessary 'skillz' (I met the kid once, he pronounced it that way) to protect his machine, and that 'lots of programs like Outlook Express are already on Linux.'"

"It was disconcerting to go down the list of promises about the new install, because even though I'd never really 'advocated' Linux to Stan as anything other than what I knew and liked, I knew he was thinking, 'Why's he suddenly admitting to all these difficulties?'"

"When we got around to discussing the nephew's proposed solution for a desktop environment (which I won't name), I finally broke down."

"'The fact is, it's not 'just like Windows,' I said, 'It has rough edges, it does weird things sometimes. It's at its unpredictable, low-performing worst when you try to make it act like a Windows machine. Everything you've read about the elegance of Linux goes out the window when you bolt some of these GUI's on top of the machine. It be able to run all your Windows stuff with a magical program, and I'm not 100 percent sure, until we look at your modem, that you're going to so much as look at a web page with the thing without spending a few extra dollars.'"

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