This Mango Parfait column appeared in TUX Magazine issue 12.
I couldn't figure out how to classify it. It is a How-To but it is an Opinion but ... I picked Opinion to warn people that if they think Gnome is great and KDE sucks they will probably not be able to handle her humor. On the other hand, if a Gnome user wants to know how to set up working directories in applications links, set up a multi-boot system, or think front page is something from a proprietary software company rather than a adjective and noun, you will probably find this article useful.
In this article which originally appeared in TUX Magazine issue 9, I talk about my experience with a web site that seemed to not be Linux-friendly. It turned out that the vendor was Linux-friendly and wanted to address the problem rather than pretend that "if it works with IE, it is correct".
This article by John Knight first appeared in TUX Magazine Issue 4.
We all know someone who has stolen software. Ok, I guess we like to say "borrowed a copy" or "are using a copy that belongs to a friend". We commonly hear this justified by saying "Bill Gates has plenty of money" or "I don't really like the software anyway".
All that is one side of the piracy issue. In the attached article, John looks at this from a different direction.
The future of computer software is programs and applications that think for themselves--but don't write us off the screen.
by Phil Hughes
In the GOD (Good Old Days), we learned that computers do exactly what we ask them to do. Thus, Phil Hughes is not Phill Hughes, 012345 is not O12345 and so forth. For programmers, this meant they must write exactly what they want or things didn't happen right.
This situation is in contrast with natural languages, where meaning can be expressed without perfect words. For example, both "My car is blue" and "Me car is blue" will be understood by most people. I must say that living in a Spanish-speaking country has taught me the difference between saying something correctly and just being understood. If the people here applied computer-like rules to verbal communication, I would have starved long ago.
The author of a new book for Linux users explains how and why he chose to use the Linspire distribution.
by Peter van der Linden
Do you have any pets? A few years ago, I decided there was a void in my life that could be filled only by a dog. I had whole rooms full of wooden furniture that was not yet chewed and, being single, I hardly ever woke up at 5am because a furry creature stuck its cold wet nose in my ear. A dog definitely would fill both these aching voids.
But what kind of dog? Dogs come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. How do you choose among them? There's only one way for software enthusiasts to tackle a question such as these: create a weighted multi-variate spreadsheet of conditions and values!
I recently updated my Linux Counter entry and got email from Harald Tveit Alvestrand, the person who started the Linux Counter oh so many years ago. I realized most TUX subscribers have probably never heard of it.
I am member number 5645. I registered with the counter in March, 1992. Harald sent me email because he said he likes to contact the oldtimers. I didn't want to feel that old but, in Linux years, I guess I am. Today, with almost 145,000 users registered, that does look like a little number.
So, what does all this mean? Well, first, it doesn't mean there are only 145,000 Linux users in the world. In fact, Harald has a guess of the number of the users. He is guessing 29,000,000.
This third article in the Linux advantages and disadvantages series addresses differences again--but in a very different way. This isn't about software differences but what you should do to take advantage of what the Linux community has to offer.
If you are a newcomer to Linux you are unlikely to see how this all works or feel you are both invited and expected to participate. But, the truth is that input from newcomers is exactly what is needed. After using UNIX-like systems for 25 years and Linux for half of that, I am not the person to decide what software is needed to satisfy the needs of the newcomer.
A common anti-Linux argument is that Linux is different. That is, it just doesn't look or work the same as what you are used to. Well, what are you used to? Assuming the answer is some Microsoft platform, I assert that the differences between a KDE-based Linux desktop and your favorite Microsoft destop can be less than two different versions of Microsoft Windows.
Add to that the fact that you can customize the Linux desktop to act more (or less) like other systems and you have a pretty powerful argument to pick Linux, pick a Linux desktop environment (we tend to focus on KDE but Gnome is an alternative) and move forward.
This is the first article in a series on the advantages (and disadvantages) of Linux desktops over alternatives. While our magazine is all about how to accomplish things with Linux on your desktop, it is important that the why side is also addressed.
There are lots of studies of such issues as stability, security, performance, and reliability of Linux vs. Microsoft Windows. They can roughly be divided into two lists:
- Studies paid for by Microsoft
- Studies that conclude Linux wins
Now, before you get excited that I am about to trash the other guys, this is stuff I won't bother you with. Read what you want. Then, if you feel Linux will favorably address your issues, you are ready to start reading here.
1. It Doesn't Crash
Linux has been time-proven to be a reliable operating system. Although the desktop is not a new place for Linux, most Linux-based systems have been used as servers and embedded systems. High-visibility Web sites such as Google use Linux-based systems, but you also can find Linux inside the TiVo set-top box in many livingrooms.
Linux has proved to be so reliable and secure that it is commonly found in dedicated firewall and router systems used by high-profile companies to secure their networks. For more than ten years, it has not been uncommon for Linux systems to run for months or years without needing a single reboot.