Friday, May 26, 2006

Another Delay for Windows Vista Means An Opportunity for Consumers to Look Elsewhere

Microsoft will be phasing in the introduction of Windows Vista, first to corporate customers, then to consumers. The former group will be able to see a production version by the end of 2006, but the latter was scheduled to get a hold of WV in January, 2007. Now that date is in jeopardy, as discussed in this link.

With nearly seven months to go before Christmas, shoppers may want to consider what will they put under their Christmas tree if a computer is on their minds. Now may be the opportunity to kick the tires with Linux--perhaps by installing it on an old machine--and see how it drives. It would not be a surprise if some crusading consumers jump ship and declare alliance to Tux the penguin...

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Just Give Me What I Want, Not What You Think I Might Need

When purchasing a PC with Windows pre-loaded from the factory, chances are you are getting software that
  • you will never use,
  • eschews hard disk space that can be used for something else, and
  • clutters your desktop with icons you do not necessarily care for.
Granted, there may be some software that you might need, such as hardware drivers for your particular installation, or software to perform a specific task. But you will also get trial software for office productivity, virus control, an ISP connection, among other useless things.

What to do?

If you would want to stay with Windows--my sincere condolences, by the way--you could purchase a brand new copy of Windows XP Home or Professional, depending on your current installation and/or needs, and blow away the current installation of the OS on the hard disk. That might also infer the need to surf the 'net on your own for hardware drivers to support your particular installation, but in the end, you will have a clutter-free desktop, although at a cost of two(!!) Windows licenses: one for the copy you purchase on your own, plus one for the version that shipped with your PC.

There are also those who may contend the same results may be achieved by taking the PC with the factory-installed OS and uninstalling programs not anticipated to be used via the "Add/Remove Programs" icon in Control Panel. Well, maybe. Unfortunately for the user community, the way those programs are set up at the factory, some are more obnoxious than others; in other words, some remove themselves cleanly, while others leave behind, among other things that you might not clearly see, icons for removal from the "Add/Remove Programs" list--even after selecting the program to remove it from the system! They will remain nameless, but there is a certain ISP who is known to do this time and time again.
How about attempting to wipe the PC clean with the System Restore CD that shipped with it? Don't press your luck. That will only re-create the image of the hard disk as the PC was shipped from the factory.

Current Linux distros let you decide what you want installed on your PC, through what is known as package management. Depending on the distro you choose, the mechanism varies, but all let you pick and choose what you want installed on your PC either when you're starting fresh, or later as your needs grow. It's your machine, so you decide what goes in.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Why Linux?

There are several flavors of Linux, called distros, that are published by various companies and organizations. While some pay versions of Linux exist, most of them are freely available and downloadable. Distrowatch contains a list of distros available worldwide.

Like Windows, however, a PC offers little functionality if only the operating system is installed. Normally, in the case of Windows, applications such as word processing, spreadsheet analysis, and database management must be purchased separately. Unlike Windows, most flavors of Linux come with a slew of applications that can be installed at the same time the OS is installed, or at a later date.

Note that I said most flavors of Linux in the previous paragraph. That's because there are certain flavors of Linux more suited for so-called network appliances such as routers, telephone switches, and firewalls--yes, folks, Linux can do that!--and are less geared toward general office usage.

Nonetheless, the thought of an operating system shipping with fully-fledged applications right out of the box--er, CD if you downloaded your particular distro from the 'net and burned it onto CDs (or even DVDs!)--and having to pay zero to acquire it (other than media costs, of course) amounts to a bean counter's nirvana. Freeing up some cash for other needs in the organization is something to look forward to.
Welcome to No2WinYes2Lin!

Welcome to the no2winyes2lin blog. This site is dedicated to the forward-thinking computing user community who is not intimidated like horses with blinders and acknowledges the existence of alternatives to Microsoft Windows, such as Linux.
Enjoy your visit, and thank you for stopping by!

Windows Vista Hardware Requirements

Microsoft recently published the minimum hardware requirements for Windows Vista. The specifications can be found here.

While it may be true the amount of processing power a dollar buys today may be greater than, say, a year ago, not everyone--consumers and corporate accounts alike--has the disposable income needed to get the latest and greatest hardware just to run an operating system. It hurts even more when the hardware considered obsolete by Vista's standards is otherwise perfectly fine and operational.

After reading the requirements for Vista, many frustrated users will want to check out their alternatives before plunking down a huge chunk of change for a [currently] state-of-the-art PC whose operating system's developer will consider it as useful as a doorstop within a couple of years or so.

Among other things, Linux is known for its ability to run on not-so-state-of-the-art PCs. To paraphrase the old adage, "one OS's trash is another OS's treasure." For reference, here are links to hardware requirements of four Linux distros so you can compare them yourself to those of Vista. Of course, there are many more distros out there, but these specs will give you an idea of what can you do with certain hardware:
NOTE: We tried obtaining hardware requirements for the new SUSE 10 Linux, but were unavailable at "press time."