Windows 7, A Linux User's Perspective
It’s no secret that I’m a Linux fan. I love it. I use it. I tell of its goodness far and wide. It’s also true, however, that I administer and use a variety of operating systems throughout any given day. I like to think that makes me more objective than some, and I like to think more people will pay attention to me if I don’t bash every other operating system out there.
This week, I tried out Windows 7 Beta.
I know it’s Beta, and it can’t be expected to perform perfectly. I get that. There are some glaring issues that I think Microsoft missed with their attempts to fix what they broke with Vista.
I was never a big fan of Vista’s usability. It had some real flashy visuals (if your computer was fast enough to support them), but compared to earlier versions of Windows it seemed cumbersome to me. Windows 7 looks a lot like Vista, but is trimmed down on the flash. It oddly seems to resemble the KDE desktop, at least to me. I don’t have a problem with borrowing design ideas if they work (I like the Start menu idea myself), but it makes me chuckle that Microsoft would decide to emulate KDE. It’s possible that I see KDE because I’m a Linux nut -- but the task bar, clock area, and default settings just look a lot like K-Panel to me.
I realize that looks don’t equal functionality. This is true regardless of the operating system. Compiz, for instance, has some nice features. The ability to switch virtual desktops with a 3D cube effect certainly doesn’t make it more functional though. (Of course, Compiz can manage those 3D effects with a simple onboard Intel card, and Vista requires a Dodge Viper class video card -- but this article isn’t supposed to be about Vista...) Functionality is really the key to productivity, so that’s where we’ll go next.
Simplicity, Not Stupidity
Apple gets lots of credit, much of it deserved, for having a simple interface. Linux has a variety of choices that vary from absurdly simple (netbookish interfaces), to customized chaos. That’s one of Linux’s advantages, it can be anything for anyone. It can also seem to be a downfall, because “This is Linux” tends to be confusing when it can look so drastically different.
The problem I have with Windows 7, is that Microsoft still seems to confuse simplicity with dumbing down. Windows 7 is supposed to be much simpler, much more trim, and much easier to use. Trying to manage any system settings is an exercise in futility. Just connecting to a local area network was a 12 step program towards insanity. I know Microsoft is trying to answer all the ridicule they get about security, but asking a user to decide security question after security question does not make security “simple.” Microsoft, please read this: Don’t ask a user if they want to open their computer up for sharing to home, work, or public -- block off all sharing unless a user asks to turn it on. Look at how your competition manages to handle security issues. You don’t need to try making it more simple, just as simple. And speaking of security:
Secure, or Insane?
I realize Windows 7 is still in Beta. I really do. I read that it’s supposed to have backwards compatibility with Vista though. I have a corporate version of Symantec Antivirus, designed for Vista, and I can not get it to install. You tell me I must be administrator. If I try to run as administrator (BTW, why can’t you just prompt me for an admin password?), I get crazy messages about insecure installation mode, unsupported somethingorother, and you ask if I’d like to install with the correct permissions. Sadly, clicking on “YES” brings me back to the start.
It scares me to run Windows without anti-virus software, so the inability to install Symantec worries me. And that brings me to the interesting observation I made while testing Windows 7. Linux has better support for software. Give the average user a Beta install of a popular Linux distribution, and a Beta install of Windows 7 -- and guess which one will be easier to use out of the box? Linux! Which is easier to install software on? Linux! Which requires you to enter an absurdly long alphanumeric key in order to install? Not Linux!
Microsoft: I was expecting great things with Windows 7, and the most I can muster is, “Meh.” I think I’ll go format that hard drive now, because a Windows machine without virus protection makes me nervous.
Practical Task Scheduling Deployment
July 20, 2016 12:00 pm CDT
One of the best things about the UNIX environment (aside from being stable and efficient) is the vast array of software tools available to help you do your job. Traditionally, a UNIX tool does only one thing, but does that one thing very well. For example, grep is very easy to use and can search vast amounts of data quickly. The find tool can find a particular file or files based on all kinds of criteria. It's pretty easy to string these tools together to build even more powerful tools, such as a tool that finds all of the .log files in the /home directory and searches each one for a particular entry. This erector-set mentality allows UNIX system administrators to seem to always have the right tool for the job.
Cron traditionally has been considered another such a tool for job scheduling, but is it enough? This webinar considers that very question. The first part builds on a previous Geek Guide, Beyond Cron, and briefly describes how to know when it might be time to consider upgrading your job scheduling infrastructure. The second part presents an actual planning and implementation framework.
Join Linux Journal's Mike Diehl and Pat Cameron of Help Systems.
Free to Linux Journal readers.Register Now!
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With all the industry talk about the benefits of Linux on Power and all the performance advantages offered by its open architecture, you may be considering a move in that direction. If you are thinking about analytics, big data and cloud computing, you would be right to evaluate Power. The idea of using commodity x86 hardware and replacing it every three years is an outdated cost model. It doesn’t consider the total cost of ownership, and it doesn’t consider the advantage of real processing power, high-availability and multithreading like a demon.
This ebook takes a look at some of the practical applications of the Linux on Power platform and ways you might bring all the performance power of this open architecture to bear for your organization. There are no smoke and mirrors here—just hard, cold, empirical evidence provided by independent sources. I also consider some innovative ways Linux on Power will be used in the future.Get the Guide