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I Hate Linux

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

An overdue update

Last time, on 'I Hate Linux'... Brendan, hated Linux. Now... on 'I Hate Linux'... Brendan still hates Linux.

More on that later. It's been a while since I've posted to this blog, my loathing has increased, but along the way I figured I'd respond to a few comments.
But first, a week ago, a not too bright neighbor broke into my house by removing my window mounted air-conditioned. In short, she was caught by a motion activated camera in my living room, since the break-in I have expanded my paranoia in case this should ever happen again. Visit the break in page for full details.

Lately I’ve been fighting with Red Hat 6.2 to get a wxWidgets based application to work in it. One friend said that doing so to such an old version is not unlike trying to get my application to work under Windows 3.1. I do think this is a rather unfair comparison as Windows 3.1 was released back in 1992 and Windows 3.11 was released in 1993. For a more fair comparison... lets compare it to a Windows version that shipped closer to Red Hat 6.2... say Windows 2000.
Depending on who you talk to, release dates for Windows 2000 vary, some say March 31, 2000, others say Febuary 17th, 2000 (the actual date). In either case, both dates are slightly older than Red Hat 6.2.

Most modern Windows based applications work as well under Windows 2000 as they do under the latest shipping version, Windows XP (except for those that are XP specific). I would argue that comparing getting an application to work under RH 6.2 is quite different then getting it to work on Windows 3.1, given the dates above, porting it to Windows 2000 would be a far more fair comparison... but lets go back a ways. We’ve gotten the app running under both Windows 95 and 98, OSes which are still far older then RH6.2, but are still widely supported by software makers.

I always liken Linux to cars. One finds vast number of makes and models, all with slight variations, and with most claiming to be able to support the parts of others. Of course in practical application, it’s not always easy to mount the engine from a land tank like a Hummer into the engine compartment of a VW Beatle, even if it is possible.

“But that’s why you can build from source!” some would say, while others insist “You should use systems that manage dependencies for you”. Both are valid arguments, but ultimately fail in light of the fact that assumes that everything will run without a hitch. On my Red Hat 6.2 machine, wxWidgets and the Xerces-C libraries were built from source and installed with little trouble, and yet custom code which works on multiple other platforms and Linux versions fails here, returning obscure error messages which currently defy explanation. So far six other people from within my department have spent time with me looking at these errors and have all walked away more puzzled then before they started.

An obvious answer to this problem is to upgrade my compiler, I did so, to no effect, I even tried updating glib and binutils, all to no avail.

At least under the Microsoft system of support, you have a very small number of possible OS’s to target. Oh yes! There are many different variations between OS’s, Service Pack versions as well as Internet Explorer versions, all of these can combine into obscure and at times difficult to support differences, but they are nothing compared to what one finds under Linux.

As this blog entry is quite long... I will hold off on responding to some of the comments I’ve received in past until the next update. So until then... remember, I hate the Penguin. 


  • In the entire time I've been dealing with Windows (about 10 years) and the entire time I've been dealing with Linux in some form (about 5), the most cryptic, obscure and infuriating problems of Windows have always turned out to have relatively easy or straightforward solutions -- and I'm not talking about reformatting and reinstalling Windows, either. In comparison, the problems I've had with Linux have left hardened Linux gurus absolutely stumped -- and in the end, THEY'VE been the ones to simply shrug and say, "Well, maybe your installation is screwed up."

    Maybe it's a matter of time and experience -- I've had much more time with Windows than with anything else, and it's gotten to the point where I can diagnose a lot of common problems blindfolded (and provide a solution). But I think it also has to do with the fact that Windows is a very tightly-controlled product, which makes it that much easier to support, administer, and, yes, use.

    Linux is like a Playboy centerfold: a great idea, but when you start to see the reality of it, not quite as enchanting. Windows is like your mom: maybe not pretty, but you can almost always predict how she's going to behave. And since I don't want to marry my computer, I'll take my mom over a Playboy centerfold any day.

    By Blogger The Gline, at 4:47 PM  

  • Ok. So the application didn't work right. Some windows apps don't either. I am not sure what is Linux's fault here.

    I do agree that getting a new app to work on Red Hat 6.2 can be difficult and that the comparison to Windows 3.1 is not appropriate. It is probably more like getting an application designed for "Windows 98 or later" to work on Windows 95. There are old libraries which may not work right. So be it. Generally compiling and installing from source can help to get around these issues, but not always, and well designed apps (gasp) should actually give you error messages which makes the problem clear. Of course not every app is well designed on any OS, so...

    By Blogger Einhverfr, at 4:01 PM  

  • Generally, it'll be harder to make stuff run on an old Linux system than on a windows system just as old... "Why?", you say... Because Linux is being developed actively!

    When thinking in terms of time the win3.1/rh6.2 comparison isn't fair, but in some sense, I think it's pretty fair, seing how much they've been developed --- then I'd say it's a somewhat OK comparison.

    It's no problem writing an app for an OS that gets an update twice a year (max!), but try being backwards compatible with an OS that is updated every day... "But you could at least make it backwards compatible" will the Win-sapiens probably whine... "Yeah, we could, but sometimes compatibility must be sacrificed in order for better development", would my reply be.

    In general I find this blog to be one huge troll. I find it childish and ignorant. Instead of whining here, you should try joining an IRC-channel on freenode.net and ask for help.

    And, in response to one of your later posts about your friend losing his /bin directory because of an upgrade and you bitching about the power of root...

    In short: If you are not 100% sure what you're doing, don't do it as root.

    And the longer version... If you're not 100% sure what you're doing, don't do it as root. Should you chose to do so anyways, then I doubt you'll find anyone who cares about your whining.

    The ``root''-power comes with responsibility, just because windows removes some of that responsibility from you, doesn't make it a better OS, it just takes some of the control away from you... *nix is the ultimate control of your computer, windows is like DRIVING in an F-16 without the ability to lift off.
    But if you can't handle ``the ultimate control'', then it's probably better if you just stick to something less powerful. I mean, would you rather have an idiot ruling the known universe or just playing with sand in a backyard?

    --- Madsen, madsen@-duck-lillesvin.net // Shoot the -duck-.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:56 PM  

  • in fact, in xp, your administrator by default. thats a bit scary when ya think about how anything you or users open can be run with full access rights. FULL, mind you, and most people, including people in businesses running XP networks, forget to change the account to non-admin

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:59 AM  

  • Why didn't you just compile stuff statically?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:38 AM  

  • "flying an F-16 without the ability to take off" it seems more to me like flying an F-16 with autopilot stuck on

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:11 AM  

  • I actually said: "DRIVING in an F-16 without the ability to lift off"...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:23 PM  

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