Our Linux Made Easy magazine has been on sale for a little while now, but it seems group of Windows advocates takes exception to something we said in there.
Specifically, the box at the top of p11 states, "Installing a piece of Windows software takes ages and usually involves half-a-dozen reboots".
Let me state up front that I think the writer of that statement is incorrect: Windows software installations are usually pretty straightforward, and rarely require any rebooting at all. However, there are a few mitigating factors:
1) This was a list of things to say to your significant other to make them switch to Linux. It was supposed to be a bit lighthearted, "of course Linux just works!", and so naturally falls biased towards our favourite OS.
2) Some Windows software is incredibly painful to install. Last year I had the misfortune of trying to install Visual Studio 2008 on a laptop borrowed from PC Plus, with the major problem being that it was running Windows Vista. I had to install two service packs, a special Vista/VS2008 patch, then run the entire thing as Administrator to make it work. Other people (eg here and here) have even worse problems.
3) Some users are running older versions of Windows - specifically Windows 2000 and earlier - where reboots were much more frequent. One of the touted features of Windows Vista was to reduce reboots by 50% (source: Austin Wilson, MSFT), but that is the culmination of years of effort.
So: we're sorry for the exaggeration, but hope you're able to take it in its original, lighthearted way.
Now, onto the second issue here: when I was reading the original post by the Windows advocate, I was just amazed at how polarised the discussion was. I realise people can feel passionate about fairly irrelevant things sometimes, but I must admit to be being amazed by operating system fanboys (and girls). I just don't get it: the operating system you use is, for the most part, completely irrelevant. This is why we were all confused when Jim Zemlin told the world that Solaris wasn't the future. Honestly, I could set up a Solaris computer using KDE or Gnome plus OpenOffice.org and other popular FOSS projects, and Jim Zemlin couldn't tell it wasn't Linux unless he went out of his way.
This same situation is what makes netbooks so cool: they are, essentially, mobile internet devices. It doesn't matter whether they run Linux, Windows or Haiku, because for most people they are little more than a portal to the internet - if you have to care that it runs Linux, clearly something is wrong.
Back to our Windows advocate. In his forum post, he said "Stinking Linux liars can't open their mouths without foul lies spewing forth." Youch! I'll have you know we shower at least once a month here at LXF Towers! Some more quotes:
"The wasted time never ends when you subject yourself to amateur kiddieware."
"Evidently the Linux loons are too cheap to purchase it so they read it while sitting in the cafe lounge and then put it back on the shelf."
These people are clearly a little bit beyond the realm of reason, but I just don't understand what led them there. Why feel any loyalty to a convicted monopolist super-corporation from Washington state? Why feel the need to get angry to defend it, as if Microsoft would somehow collapse without you putting in a bit of frothing rage? Microsoft makes some awesome software. Admittedly, I don't count Vista in that list, but that's only one side of the company. Similarly, Apple makes some great applications, and I do count Mac OS X in there.
A common motto of Linux users is "enjoy the choice" - and that doesn't mean "any choice as long as it's Linux." If people want to use Linux, Windows, Mac OS X, FreeBSD or any other operating system, that's fine by me; I just wish they'd keep their minds open to the fact that every OS, even down to something small like Syllable, has a place, and only through peaceful co-existence and sharing ideas can we reach the goal of making computers painless to use.