Weblog entry #207 for ajt

Anti-Linux Bias
Posted by ajt on Sun 26 May 2013 at 11:18
Tags: none.

<rant>

I read mainstream media as well as IT specific media. In the IT media there are plenty of Mac, Windows and Linux users and while there are always a few fruit-cakes on the extreme most people seem to be able to comment in a civilised way.

Recently I've read a few articles in the mainstream press regarding IT issues that I care about. While I expected there to be some Mac/Windows banter I was surprised by the level of ignorance and vitriol directed at Linux and open source software by the Windows Pros on these sites.

It seems that every Windows user once installed Linux, hated the configuration files, couldn't get some piece of hardware installed and is now a fully qualified expert who can categorically declare that Windows is far superior and Linux will never be good for anything because it's too complicated. The fact it may be more than a decade since they tried Linux and they are clearly not comparing like with like they viciously attack any Linux user who suggests that a desktop friendly distro like Mint may be a better solution for Grandma than Windows...

That's even before they start to trot out the old FUD about only Windows has viruses because it's popular or new FUD that only Windows XP has viruses as it's all fixed in 7/8...

I said it a long time ago and I'll say it again, you can't fairly compare something you know a lot about and something you know almost nothing about. Pointing this out to people doesn't go down very well either. I also maintain that anyone can use a computer, but surprisingly few can actually set them up properly...

</rant>

 

Comments on this Entry

Posted by Anonymous (80.47.xx.xx) on Mon 27 May 2013 at 14:10
I don't understand why so many Windows users are like Linus's Blanket about their choice of operating systems. I too have frequently had similar debates about Linux with faithful Windows users, but also know several people who work as sysadmins on Windows systems as their day jobs who exclusively use Linux at home, who have formed an almost pathological hatred of Windows through daily use. Personally I have grown to like Linux a lot in the five years I have been using it daily, I struggled at first, as things didn't quite 'just work' (all my hardware had beebn chosen with Windows in mind) and I did have a real struggle with a few things. Five years on and almost everything is virtually plug 'n' play with the hardware. I still have Windows on one partition of one of my computers, but that is mainly to help Windows using friends with their issues with OpenSim server software. I guess that is the biggest difference at the moment between the average Linux user and the average Windows user - the average Linux user is probably more technically able due to having to do a little (but less and less) more work to get things running on occasions. I doubt that this will be the case much longer as Linux becomes more 'user friendly' (or dumbed down, if you prefer). But that's one of the great things about Linux, if you don't like the way one distro is heading you can change to another, and, if technically able enough, you can even create your own distro. With Windows, whatever your likes/dislikes you are stuck with Windows.

But, the kind of anti-Linux rant you get from Windows users is very similar to the anti-Gimp rants you get from PhotoShop users who probably feel quite aggrieved that they've forked out a huge sum for a graphical maniupulation package that is good, but not hugely much better than a free alternative, (that's assuming that they paid the huge sum in the first place instead of using a pirated copy, which goes some way to explaining the extortionate cost). Most of what can be done in PS can also be done in Gimp, and as far as I can see the biggest complaint that PS users can throw at Gimp is that it isn't PS, and the UI isn't the PS UI, (partly solved by using GimpShop) and that Gimp doesn't have full CMYK support, (though it is possible with a plugin).

Perhaps it's just part of the prevailing culture we live in at present, where anything that is free of cost, (let alone free as in liberty) is seen as something suspicious, and that it can't possibly be any good if you haven't had to pay for it.

I also personally think that Linux should be the operating system used by all public bodies due to not just the cost issues, but also due to the lack of 'lock-in' and the usual restrictive practices common with proprietory software - licensing costs for Windows alone amounts to an enormous sum which of course is ultimately paid by the taxpayer.

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Posted by ajt (88.107.xx.xx) on Mon 27 May 2013 at 14:40
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You are right, the response is very similar to the Photoshop attitude. Experts claim that their paid for tool is the best and are not willing to consider that a free alternative may be perfectly suitable for an awful lot of non-expert users.

--
"It's Not Magic, It's Work"
Adam

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Posted by jplews (109.158.xx.xx) on Thu 30 May 2013 at 11:14
I tend to think this is an attitude instilled in them by the perception intruders in the marketing department of these big corps. I'm allways dismayed by the cruel contempt marketers often have for their targets (including those I've worked with)

In a recent meeting with a prominent UK support company on behalf of a customer I saw this first hand, terms like 'Strategic Partner' came up, and the distainfull "We don't support Linux" delivered with a slimy smile enraged me.

My answer was that they should because its more efficient etc and ranted at them for a bit, then told them about the 'Legacy compatability' features I had to enable/deal-with to get their software to run. And their marketing material said XP SP3 was the target OS, and they did not support Windows 8, lol!, strategic partner indeed.

So the point is that these guys didn't have a clue, and I would not expect a salesman to have a clue, but their arrogance was clear for all to see, and this would probably rub off on people, seeing their confidence and being reassured by it.

Times are changing however, I see changing attitudes in technical people that actually look for good things to use, but managers and marketers are slow to catch up as they will even carry this arrogance into their own companies (also something I have direct experience of)

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