On ANY OS your going to have driver and other frustrations to work through. Having worked through issues on MS (including Vista (sheesh! what a misnomer)), Apple (including the latest “animal”), and Linux distros, I have concluded that for me the deciding factor is whether the system, and hence, Support, are PROPRIETARY.
With each passing day, acceptance of change, and surges of ingenuity just about any Linux distribution will handle the same hardware that MS or Apple will “allow” you to handle, and then some, even if the hardware manufacturer doesn’t support Linux. Conversely, if your hardware manufacturers (or MS or Apple) don’t support Vista or Apple OS”X”, you will never, ever, EVER! get the equipment working due to proprietary lockout. Software & hardware choices and improvements for Linux expand HOURLY, exponentially, in every category.
MS is a locked (in the adaptable, exploration, and legal senses) Proprietary system. The same goes for Apple, AND Apple machines themselves are dictated, Proprietary, and hence, unnecessarily expensive (Apple IS MS with added hardware restrictions). MS business modeling is to make hardware dependent on MS, NOT on the User. MS and Apple are Closed Sources — closed for adaptability, closed for help and support (unless you have enough money, maybe), closed for rapid and backward compatible change, deployment, and growth. In the future they may even be Closed for Business, but Linux will still be going, defining the future yet providing backward compatibility for those of us unable to spend continuously on “disposable” and “Built for” hardware.
I bought an Agfa SnapScan e50 scanner some years ago (a few months before Agfa left the consumer market). I’ve used it and kept good care of it and it still works great. Agfa drivers never got past Windows 2000. The driver worked, for the most part, in XP, if it didn’t crash first. Linux and the OpenSource SANE scanner platform available for any Linux distro can pick up this scanner with no problem and offer scanning features (X-Sane) that the Proprietary programming never would or could. Why, because Linux Users wanted more, and they didn’t sit whining while kissing Proprietary arse and receiving nothing. They simply made it work and how they wanted. This same scenario is true for many hardware products for which vendors lip-locked with MS and Apple refuse to provide Linux and OpenSource Support (Kodak, Epson, ATI, Creative, etc…).
This is possible because Linux has been around for many, MANY years providing continuity for Users, and because of the nature of the OpenSource Support COMMUNITY, the Build COMMUNITY, and the User COMMUNITY. Desktop Environments (ie: KDE or Gnome) or Window Manager environments (ie: FluxBox) are faster, more flexible, and hence, more powerful than locked proprietary WindoZe or OSApple (the same company that thought all iPod owners should pay annually to have their batteries changed). Any intelligent person sampling recent Linux distros will discover immediately that there is no “Ease Of Use” gap. Different does not equate with difficult.
Total Networking for the Desktop — REAL, NON-proprietary, Open Standards based, talk-securely-to-any-machine-you-want-to-networking — is ONLY available in Linux. Linux was born of networking and is THEE networking OS. The majority of servers in the world run Linux.
Linux is now THEE choice for the fastest supercomputers in the world. The most advanced CG movie studios now use Linux and freely available OpenSource programs for all types of multimedia manipulation.
Linux distros are OPEN source, transparent, and allow you to customize the entire OS to YOUR needs. Help and Support for Linux is available 24 hours per day, EVERY day, in ANY language. Further, that support is provided free of charge by actual programmers, builders, and “[Users] Like You”. PEOPLE ready and Willing to help. People are providing answers based on pride in being correct. Linux developers are daily lambasted for mistakes, accept responsibility, and start work on solutions with Community review and input. Does MS or Apple listen to you?
Proprietary means subservience, conformity, and Dependence (on Steve Ballmer (look out for that chair!) and Steve Jobs (Is everyone wearing their black mock turtleneck?)). This is dependence on greed and megalomania at best. Linux and OpenSource means Independence, for YOU, YOUR systems, and the tasks YOU choose to perform with YOUR systems and YOUR hardware.
Everyone faces OS corruption at some point, although errors and crashes occur much more frequently with MS OS’s than Apple or Linux (respectively). If this happens in a Linux distro, you would find that repair and recover tools are much more flexible and useful. You would have seen how easy it is to place your /home directory/partition on any drive you want. You would have discovered that, save for drive failure, your data would still be there, safe and in tact, and readily available and accessible. You would have seen that if you did have to reinstall the OS your data is NOT part of the OS (it is YOURS after all) and that formatting and installing the OS need have no bearing on the accessibility or safety of YOUR data. You would have seen how easy it is to place your /usr, /opt, /etc… directory(ies) on any drive/partition you want, and you would have discovered that all your programs and settings were safe, secure, and available for any new or repair installation. You would already be up and running from where you left off.
Just as people finally realized they could do more without CompuServe or AOL, they are discovering they can do more without MS or Apple.
Don’t let your unfounded fears and others’ fear-mongering overrule your Intelligence.
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