This post is a response to the following comment, posted on my blog. Since the poster failed to leave any contact details, I feel I should post a comment here, since I’ve been meaning to follow up the Vista is a Linux Clone post for some time. I will be quoting from the comment in this post (so you can read the post here as I respond to it).
SUSE Linux was first officially released in 1994 (and became a unique distro in 1996), Windows XP was released October 2001. That puts SUSE on the market 7 (or 5 if you take it from 1996) years before Windows XP.
I agree strongly that most Consumer Operating Systems do tend to look similar (with the notable exception of Mac OS). This is due to some basic user interface principals, mostly pioneered at Xerox Park. The fact is that Linux is ahead of any other Operating System when it comes to adoption of functionality. Many of the new features people are seeing in Vista or adaption of functionality that has existed in the Linux world for ages.
No, Vista is not about Direct X 10. But the fact that Direct X 10 sits underneath Vista’s entire graphics system, raises some serious security concerns with me. Direct X 10 almost replaces the traditional driver layer of the Operating System. To me it’s a bit like Microsoft executing games in unprotected mode on the XBox, in order to give a small performance boost, ie: just plain stupid. These layers have been put in place for a good reason, and have been built-up over decades. Why throw them away, or subvert them now?
Hrm… Are you trying to sell me something here? Having looked at Vista in the stores, I wouldn’t pay any money for any version. There is no way on this earth that any software (other than maybe a few very large database or application server systems) could possibly be worth the amount you pay for Vista. Further more, Vista does not come “packed with software”, it comes with a few half-hearted attempts to take on the Linux distro market. If they were serious about providing a good package, Vista would include at least:
- Microsoft Office
- Microsoft ISS
- .NET Studio
- Microsoft SQL Server
- Adobe Acrobat Reader
Over and above what it already has.
In 10+ years of running Linux software, I have yet to edit a line of code in the software I run. That excludes code I’ve written myself of course. On the other hand, if you’ve ever tried getting Oracle Application Server; MySQL; Apache; or WebSphere running under a Windows machine, you too will know the meaning of true frustration. I spent 2 weeks of my life trying to get WebSphere to work, and over a month resolving file-locking issues with a web system that worked flawlessly under Linux.
If you truly believe that: you are delusional. Sorry for getting a bit ranty, but this is complete rubbish. Linux takes a Unix approach to security, a system that was created decades ago, and has only evolved and improved over time. Vista throws out everything we’ve learned about security and puts the onus (in a technical, and legal sense) on the user. Linux secures everything on the file-system and network layers. Because all your inter-application communication goes through one of those two layers, it means you only have two points to gaurd (in a code sense). Vista expects an uninformed user to make impossible security decisions, or switch the security off.
I will agree that you can’t point out flaws in an older version of Windows and claim the same holds for Vista, but it doesn’t mean you can’t compare the two. Whats more, we can absolutely compare different Linux distributions, but then it comes down to what people want, and where their preferences lie.
I’m not by any measure implying that Linux is a perfect Operating System, nor even that such a system exists. I do feel strongly that it is the right choice for me, and for many of the people I live and work with. I feel limited by the lack of choice in a Windows system, and somehow I always feel that Windows systems think they know better than me. They provide convoluted, and annoying paths through config that often lead you to a dead end. Sometimes the options you change are thrown away on the next boot because some little “auto-detection” wizard or tool decides to run.
The writer of this comment has obviously never worked for a large software company. The Open Source world may seem chaotic from the outside, but the hallmark of the really good projects (KDE, OpenOffice, Wine, etc.) is their excellent organization and structuring of the work and project itself. A software company on the other hand look organized on the outside, but is chaos on the inside.
I’ve seen deadlines and political pressure turn good ideas into steaming piles of software dung! Software that cost millions of dollars to develop. It winds up being re-written after a few years, because nobody can bare to maintain it anymore, and you know something: the process starts all over again.