Giorgio (& others) why do you use the OS you use?

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Giorgio (& others) why do you use the OS you use?

Post by nickr » Thu Mar 01, 2012 2:10 pm

I was wondering why you guys use the operating system that you use. In the NoScript forum there's a lot of talk comparing Firefox and Chrome. Many people choose Firefox because it has NoScript.

Are there some core reasons why you choose the OS you do?

**I'm not trying to start a flame war or anything. I'm not trying to advocate for a specific OS or anything. I use many happily. I'm just interested in learning what some of the core features are that attract people to the OS. I'm very interested in why someone might pick Mac over Windows for example and if there's a common thread in why people make that choice**
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Re: Giorgio (& others) why do you use the OS you use?

Post by Tom T. » Fri Mar 02, 2012 9:57 am

Most average home users use Windows, because they typically go to a retail store and buy a computer, of which 90+% are pre-loaded with Windows by the OEM. Or possibly shop on line, but with the same result.

Mac has about 6% market share IIRC, but it is more expensive. One reason (among others) is that any OEM can pay a licensing fee to MS and install Windows on their machines, but Apple will not license Mac to any other manufacturer (of desktop/laptop -- not getting into the i-whatever debate here). But many Mac users speak highly of it.

The same licensing issue cost Sony's Betamax VCR system to lose out to JVC's VHS, because JVC (formerly Japan Victor Corporation, a subsidiary of RCA) would license VHS to anyone, while Sony kept its grip on Betamax. The quality of a Betamax image was better, but VHS machines dropped in price so rapidly that they won the majority quickly.

One of the early advantages of Mac was said to be better graphics in applications such as CAD/CAM.

There's a self-perpetuating thing, too. Those whose first exposure to a computer is at work or school are more likely to encounter Windows, so when they buy a machine for their home, they buy what they're already familiar with, instead of learning a new OS.

Many, many more apps are written for Windows, though this factor has been mitigated in recent years with the advent of Win emulators for Mac and Linux-based systems.

Installing a Linux-based system is far beyond the ability of the overwhelming majority of purchasers, and beyond the free-time and energy levels of many fairly tech-savvy users. It's for the real hard-core only. Probably about 2% market share altogether. Support may not be as readily available. OEMs provide tech support and warranty for preloaded Windows systems.

Those who make their living in IT, such as Giorgio or GµårÐïåñ, must of necessity have copies of all popular OSs, possibly run in a VM. For the rest of the Support Team, who are all part-time volunteers, it may be too expensive and time-consuming to do that for what is an unpaid avocation.

Some people believe that Mac and *nix systems are inherently more secure. This has been disproven. Most exploits are found and written for Windows, because why spend your time attacking the 7% minority instead of the 93% majority? Mac recently had a huge, 250MB security update, as its popularity rose after the flop of Vista. With rising popularity, evildoers will devote more time to the Mac-attack. (ha!)

Also, many bad-guy hackers learned on Windows machines as children or teens (which some still may be), so that's what they know.

Some say that various Linux distros are not responsive to security issues, and have flaws that go unpatched for months. Of course, the same could be said about Windows. :mrgreen:

*Personally*, this is what I learned on, it's what I can afford, it enables support for the 90+% of Win users plus the users of other systems whose problems are not OS-specific, which means, about 97% of the user base. Plus friends, family, etc. And having spent much time customizing this OS to my taste, I don't desire to start all over again with a new one. Also, I once asked a knowledgeable and trusted friend how she liked Win 7. Answer: Fine. Question: Is there anything in it that I would actually want to do (as opposed to what MS wants me to do, or thinks I should do), that I cannot do with XP. Answer: No. :)

Also, not all of us can afford to buy a new computer every few years, and so may be running with CPU and RAM that are much more than adequate for older systems, but not for newer, more bloated systems. ... To MS's credit, after the legal battles over misrepresenting Vista's resource needs, Win 7 is the first OS in MS history to use fewer resources than its immediate predecessor -- and that goes all the way back to the MS-DOS days. So, maybe they learned something.

p. s.: Someone once pointed me to a very funny song parody targeting Vista, whose footnotes contained some of the things mentioned here about Vista's problems, both legal and sales.
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Re: Giorgio (& others) why do you use the OS you use?

Post by nickr » Sat Mar 03, 2012 12:32 am

Tom T. wrote:The same licensing issue cost Sony's Betamax VCR system to lose out to JVC's VHS, because JVC (formerly Japan Victor Corporation, a subsidiary of RCA) would license VHS to anyone, while Sony kept its grip on Betamax. The quality of a Betamax image was better, but VHS machines dropped in price so rapidly that they won the majority quickly.


Do you know if Sony pulled the "Betamax licensing model" with Blu-ray? It seems like Blu-ray isn't catchign on and the big reason is that it is too expensive for people to make blu-ray because of all the "kick-backs" they have to pay. Or did Sony do the "JVC licensing model" with Blu-ray?
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Re: Giorgio (& others) why do you use the OS you use?

Post by Tom T. » Sat Mar 03, 2012 3:37 am

nickr wrote:
Tom T. wrote:The same licensing issue cost Sony's Betamax VCR system to lose out to JVC's VHS, because JVC (formerly Japan Victor Corporation, a subsidiary of RCA) would license VHS to anyone, while Sony kept its grip on Betamax. The quality of a Betamax image was better, but VHS machines dropped in price so rapidly that they won the majority quickly.

Do you know if Sony pulled the "Betamax licensing model" with Blu-ray? It seems like Blu-ray isn't catchign on and the big reason is that it is too expensive for people to make blu-ray because of all the "kick-backs" they have to pay. Or did Sony do the "JVC licensing model" with Blu-ray?

I don't use Blu-ray, and therefore know nothing of it. Wikipedia or other sources would probably have some information on that.
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Re: Giorgio (& others) why do you use the OS you use?

Post by Giorgio Maone » Sat Mar 03, 2012 9:36 am

I mostly use Windows 7 just because it came preinstalled with my laptop and it's much lighter on its battery than Ubuntu (which would be my preferred choice otherwise), because of well known Linux power saving bugs.
I did not get a MacBook Pro with similar specs, even though they're beautiful machines, because I couldn't afford it right now -- hint for Mac OS X users and potential donors ;)
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Re: Giorgio (& others) why do you use the OS you use?

Post by nickr » Sat Mar 03, 2012 5:15 pm

Giorgio Maone wrote:I mostly use Windows 7 just because it came preinstalled with my laptop and it's much lighter on its battery than Ubuntu (which would be my preferred choice otherwise), because of well known Linux power saving bugs.


I spoke with Ubuntu developers about this. Lots of folks were having problems with battery life on ubuntu. Developers made huge improvements to power use in upcoming 12.04, based on research. Phoronix testing is showing 12.04 is using much less power. Plus the Intel RC6 kernel setting is now enabled by default in 12.04 and this makes a huge difference in power use.
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Re: Giorgio (& others) why do you use the OS you use?

Post by GµårÐïåñ » Wed Mar 14, 2012 2:12 am

I use Windows (NT, 2000, XP, 7, 2003-2008 servers) for personal and various development environments because it is the platform for which the majority of the industry relies on and as a developer I have to cater to and also allows me the greatest level of freedom to "BUILD". I am not a big fan of Mac (sorry Giorgio) although I will admit they are "beautiful" and have killer graphics because they are not practical for anything other than personal use and maybe video/music/graphic design specialization, the OS and even the hardware have some annoying limitations and depend too much on APPLE's involvement taking creativity and tinkering out of the hands of the people (although they have gotten better since they "borrowed" some software/hardware architecture from Windows and Linux). However, for supporting and also testing, I have a VM that has OS X on it, among others. I also have Linux (Ubuntu on one machine, XCE variation on another) as dual boot partitions and also various versions of BSD, Red Hat, Suse, etc, as VM for testing, programming and various things.

Hope that helps, I basically have access to and use just about every OS/platform out there for various needs/reasons. I use Windows primarily, Linux secondarily using partitioning, and a crap load of VMs configured in all conceivable ways for everything.
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Re: Giorgio (& others) why do you use the OS you use?

Post by Tom T. » Wed Mar 14, 2012 5:46 am

Addenda: Apple was the first commercially-successful personal computer to have a GUI vs. command-line systems. MS' first tries flopped badly. Everyone has heard of Win 3.1; have you ever seen Windows 1.0 or 2.0 mentioned anywhere? They were found to be confusing, non-intuitive.

Which gave Mac a big head start in the 1980s. It wasn't until MS hit on a more user-friendly GUI in 3.1 that they began to overtake Mac, and continued to do so as the price differential grew. Also, while Apple does *use* some third-party hardware, they alone *choose* internal systems and designs, including much of their own hardware. Compare to the wide array of video cards, sound cards, NIC, etc. available to makers of PCs. Again, more competition = lower price.

Apple users, on average, tend to be more affluent, obviously. And market share numbers may be less relevant than the huge overall growth in the personal-computer market, where even maintaining the same market share = large growth. Case in point: During the previous crisis regarding raising the US Govt debt ceiling and the skyrocketing national debt, it was pointed out that at that moment, Apple had more cash on hand than the entire United States Government. (true)

That probably says as much about the US Gov as it does about Apple :mrgreen: , but the point is: Apple has found a niche and grown rich from it. I respect them highly, even if a bit rich for my budget, and have far too little time in using one to give a well-informed opinion. I will say that the graphics, while vivid, were a little *too* snazzy for me (animating windows open/close, etc.), but the same was true when moving from Win 98 SE to XP -- I still use "Windows Classic" theme :dinosaur: ;)
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Re: Giorgio (& others) why do you use the OS you use?

Post by Thrawn » Tue May 01, 2012 3:23 am

I primarily use Ubuntu Linux, for reasons both philosophical - promoting software freedom - and educational.

I've tinkered a bit with Puppy Linux on my laptop, partly educationally, and partly because it's tiny enough (150MB) to fit on any boot device and run entirely in memory (therefore extremely fast once it boots). Considering which, it has a surprising number of built-in features.

I use Windows when I need to, but that's surprisingly little these days, since my wife has decided that she likes the look of KDE. However, I've been fortunate enough to have a Linux environment at work; the next job is likely to be different.

Very much agree that people use Windows because it comes pre-installed. I think that a lot of people don't realise that Windows a) has a separate existence from the hardware, b) costs money, and c) can be replaced.
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Re: Giorgio (& others) why do you use the OS you use?

Post by Tom T. » Tue May 01, 2012 9:39 am

Thrawn wrote:... I've tinkered a bit with Puppy Linux on my laptop, partly educationally, and partly because it's tiny enough (150MB) to fit on any boot device and run entirely in memory (therefore extremely fast once it boots).

The \WINDOWS\ folder on this machine has been cut to about 181 MB, but that's another story -- time-consuming, undocumented, etc. Just mentioning -- a lot of the bloat can be cut; depends on which MS "features" one uses, or doesn't use/need.
Thrawn wrote:Very much agree that people use Windows because it comes pre-installed. I think that a lot of people don't realise that Windows a) has a separate existence from the hardware, b) costs money, and c) can be replaced.

In all fairness, wouldn't it cost about as much or more to buy a bare-metal machine, probably from a custom shop or small builder, and install a freeware OS -- which is beyond the skill, time, and desire of 98+ % of the home user base anyway?

One can certainly add dual-boot to an OEM-preloaded PC, but they won't give you a refund on Windows. ;)

You might find this series of posts interesting. I'm a confirmed Win-basher for all the ways in which they deserve it, but it is a) affordable (as a preload), b) widely supported, c) runs tons of 3rd-party sw without emulators, and d) pretty standardized within each version, whereas GµårÐïåñ has mentioned elsewhere that 20 people who *think* they have the same Linux distro find out that they have de facto 20 different OSs.

Certainly pros and cons to each.
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Re: Giorgio (& others) why do you use the OS you use?

Post by Thrawn » Tue May 01, 2012 11:17 pm

Tom T. wrote:The \WINDOWS\ folder on this machine has been cut to about 181 MB, but that's another story -- time-consuming, undocumented, etc. Just mentioning -- a lot of the bloat can be cut; depends on which MS "features" one uses, or doesn't use/need.


Yeah, I saw another comment from you recently about how you've cut down Windows, and I'm impressed. Have you published your method anywhere (presumably with appropriate disclaimers and warnings in big red letters)?

Tom T. wrote:
Thrawn wrote:Very much agree that people use Windows because it comes pre-installed. I think that a lot of people don't realise that Windows a) has a separate existence from the hardware, b) costs money, and c) can be replaced.

In all fairness, wouldn't it cost about as much or more to buy a bare-metal machine, probably from a custom shop or small builder, and install a freeware OS -- which is beyond the skill, time, and desire of 98+ % of the home user base anyway?

One can certainly add dual-boot to an OEM-preloaded PC, but they won't give you a refund on Windows. ;)


I've never built a PC from parts, so it's hard for me to say how much it costs. I was thinking more generally that Windows costs money because its ubiquity means that every OEM installs it, and passes on the licensing fees in the process. In fact, Microsoft loves licensing schemes where the OEM gets a good rate, but must pay for a licence for every machine, whether they install Windows on it or not. So we're paying for it, even though many don't realise it. The fact that we can't avoid paying for it just makes me object to it on principle.

A free OS does at least mean no upgrade costs (except bandwidth).

Tom T. wrote:GµårÐïåñ has mentioned elsewhere that 20 people who *think* they have the same Linux distro find out that they have de facto 20 different OSs.


Can't argue with that :D. Our 'Ubuntu' at home is actually UserOS, a variation of Ubuntu produced by PC User magazine, and we've replaced the window manager with KDE (actually installed alongside, but we don't use the old one), so the desktop looks, feels, and behaves differently. However, the ability to do that is part of the attraction. There's a good article at oneandoneis2 (linux.oneandoneis2.org/LNW.htm) that talks about that; search the page for 'lego'.
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Re: Giorgio (& others) why do you use the OS you use?

Post by Tom T. » Wed May 02, 2012 7:49 am

Thrawn wrote:
Tom T. wrote:The \WINDOWS\ folder on this machine has been cut to about 181 MB, but that's another story -- time-consuming, undocumented, etc. Just mentioning -- a lot of the bloat can be cut; depends on which MS "features" one uses, or doesn't use/need.
Yeah, I saw another comment from you recently about how you've cut down Windows, and I'm impressed. Have you published your method anywhere (presumably with appropriate disclaimers and warnings in big red letters)?

Primary source was this guide posted on the Web. Caveats include that he seems to have a very bare-bones, stand-alone desktop computer, apparently with not even a printer, and plugged directly into modem. He's gotten it down to < 150 MB, and some claim a bootable Win XP @ 100 MB, but that doesn't interest me.

The figure quoted above (181 MB) includes support for a stand-alone USB printer, on a wireless laptop with WPA2 encryption to the router, support for a LAN printer/scanner/fax that can be accessed remotely from the laptop via the wireless network, third-party firewall (ZoneAlarm, also de-bloated as described here) ... and watching the Flash folder (%windir%\system32\macromed) grow from about 4 MB to 9 MB over the years.

Thrawn wrote:I was thinking more generally that Windows costs money because its ubiquity means that every OEM installs it, and passes on the licensing fees in the process. In fact, Microsoft loves licensing schemes where the OEM gets a good rate, but must pay for a licence for every machine, whether they install Windows on it or not. So we're paying for it, even though many don't realise it.

Is that documented somewhere?

I assumed that the licensing fee was per machine sold *with Windows on it* -- although AFAIK, the major retail OEMs don't sell machines without OSs, and Apple refuses to license Mac to other OEMs. So it seems that no major OEM is paying a fee for machines sold without Windows. If I'm mistaken, do please point to a good source, thanks.

I'm sure that OEMs pay a much smaller fee per machine than a Win retail DVD would. I mean, I saw a Win7 preloaded laptop for $359, which is about the price of a new (non-upgrade) Win retail disk, isn't it?
Thrawn wrote:A free OS does at least mean no upgrade costs (except bandwidth).

Only to those who throw away their Iphone4 as soon as the I-5 comes out. :D

Note that I bought this in 2005 (XP released in 2001), saw no reason to "upgrade" to Vista given the bad buzz (check the middle link in my sig), and ...
Got into a conversation at another forum with an obviously high-tech user, who had repartitioned her HD and added a Linux distro to her Win 7 system, making it dual-boot. No noob there. She said, yes, 7 was a good system, much better than Vista. I asked, "Is there anything that it can do that I can't do with XP, which *I* would want to do -- not something that MS *thinks* I should do?" Short answer: "No." ;)

I don't blame Vista users for upgrading, but then, the old slogan is never to buy the first version of *anything". :lol:
I had Win 98 SE -- look at the funny web stories about problems with the first version. (not funny at the time)

Then XP, for all the fanfare, was Swiss cheese until a couple of Service Packs later. (2004). So when the old 98SE machine died in 2005, XP had had a chance to mature. Thanks to the flop of Vista, it's the longest-supported MS OS in history, including the DOS days.

Now that Win 7 is approaching some mature stage, they'll bring out 8, with all the touch-screen stuff. I predict problems. Please feel free to post back here after it's been in general release for six months or a year. ;)

The sheer size of user base means that anything wrong in a Windows system tends to be widely publicized, another possible advantage over small Linux distros.

Anyway, I've spent nothing on OS upgrades. 8-)
Thrawn wrote:Our 'Ubuntu' at home is actually UserOS, a variation of Ubuntu produced by PC User magazine, and we've replaced the window manager with KDE (actually installed alongside, but we don't use the old one), so the desktop looks, feels, and behaves differently. However, the ability to do that is part of the attraction.

For techies perhaps, but not for average home users, who are probably 98%+ of the home user population.
Enterprises couldn't live with that, either.
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Re: Giorgio (& others) why do you use the OS you use?

Post by Tom T. » Fri May 04, 2012 6:31 am

Thrawn wrote:Yeah, I saw another comment from you recently about how you've cut down Windows, and I'm impressed. Have you published your method anywhere (presumably with appropriate disclaimers and warnings in big red letters)?

I should add another caveat, which occurred to me later: Windows has some very strange, and not at all intuitive, dependencies.
Some file that seems to be for a function you never use might also be required for a function that doesn't seem to be remotely related to it.

I searched my personal changelog for one example:

The guy who wrote the above Guide uses IE. (Hard to believe, but he wrote it between 2001-2004.)
Since I don't have IE any more, I was able to delete some, but not all, IE files -- since IE and Windows itself share some files. ("tight integration")

Among files *not* to delete, he lists urlmon.dll (system32), because it's "essential to IE".
Fine. No IE here, so I delete that file...
And find that I can no longer open standard Windows .zip files. :o :shock:

Toggled repeatedly: With urlmon.dll, zip opens. Without, no way.

Just one of many examples of non-intuitive dependencies ("spaghetti dependencies? :P ) in Windows, and why this was a lengthy, step-by-step process, with much trial-and-error. (But a huge learning experience.)

And sometimes, the machine reboots fine, and seems to work fine, after deleting xyz.dll, but a week later, something breaks.
So you go through your logs and look for changes to reverse.
Which led to making a small batch of changes, then waiting a week or two of regular usage before starting on the next batch of changes.

Still not recommended for any but advanced users who understand the risk, and know enough to make a complete full-disk-image snapshot, with bootable emergency disk, before making any such changes.

FWIW.
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Re: Giorgio (& others) why do you use the OS you use?

Post by Hungry Man » Wed May 16, 2012 9:50 am

@Georgio,

I believe Ubuntu has already fixed those issues in 12.04. The patches for battery life will be hitting the main kernel in 3.4.

Just in case you hadn't heard.

I'm personally using Ubuntu with a kernel I compile myself. It's free, easy as heck to use, I like the UI, and (hopefully this doesn't start an argument) I like the security capabilities like AppArmor and Chroot.
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Re: Giorgio (& others) why do you use the OS you use?

Post by Thrawn » Wed Jun 06, 2012 6:04 am

Tom T. wrote:
Thrawn wrote:I was thinking more generally that Windows costs money because its ubiquity means that every OEM installs it, and passes on the licensing fees in the process. In fact, Microsoft loves licensing schemes where the OEM gets a good rate, but must pay for a licence for every machine, whether they install Windows on it or not. So we're paying for it, even though many don't realise it.

Is that documented somewhere?

I assumed that the licensing fee was per machine sold *with Windows on it* -- although AFAIK, the major retail OEMs don't sell machines without OSs, and Apple refuses to license Mac to other OEMs. So it seems that no major OEM is paying a fee for machines sold without Windows. If I'm mistaken, do please point to a good source, thanks.

I'm sure that OEMs pay a much smaller fee per machine than a Win retail DVD would. I mean, I saw a Win7 preloaded laptop for $359, which is about the price of a new (non-upgrade) Win retail disk, isn't it?

I don't know whether Microsoft still uses the abovementioned licensing strategy, but according to the US Department of Justice, they have done before, and OEMs had to pay over twice as much per licence to opt out.
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