Don't you just wish Rev would do this?
randyw at uwm.edu
Wed Jun 6 08:59:42 CDT 2007
The issue with this is that "easier to use" is a very subjective area. Generally, in the tech sector, "easier to use" actually means "easier to use for someone who has been entrenched in the MS Windows world for the last 10 years." This is how MS gets all of their Cost of Ownership studies to work out for them. "To upgrade Windows 98 to Windows XP on 100 client machines costs $x. To install Linux on the same 100 machines, bring in a big-gun consultant to train your staff, send your in house IT staff to outsourced training exercises, and pay for commercial support for your FOSS solution will cost $x^2." Of course it will. But your IT staff's MCSE sure wasn't free either. If you want to look at the logical path for any business, of course it is cheaper to simply upgrade what you already have than to go in a completely new direction.
In my opinion, the Linux desktop in general is easier to use than the Windows desktop. Nowthen, as I said before, I've been using the Linux desktop for ~15 years. If I have to use a Windows machine for any length of time, the first thing I do is get the X-Mouse and Virtual Desktop Power Toys. These two very simple concepts more than double my productivity on a workstation. The downside of the Power Toys is that they're a hack. X-Mouse works quite well, but VD has some pretty obvious issues of which speed is the most paramount. Going further, there are shell alternatives such as Litestep and various flavors of Black Box. Again, as I mentioned before, these are not solutions either. Litestep makes me feel more at home on my XP machine, but still does not provide the power and flexibility of the Linux desktops that I have become reliant on.
Just for the record, I have a long history of Linux GUI environments including KDE, GNOME, Xfce, Sawfish, Sawmill, FVWM, and WindowMaker. The only one that I would call less functional than any MS shell is FVWM. Disclaimer: my only experience with Vista was a beta run that hard locked my computer every 3 minutes or so, so other than "ooh, look, the eye candy than OSX had three years ago" I don't have the experience to comment on it.
What all this comes down to is that "ease of use" is in the eye of the beholder. Yes, for the general public market that already knows Windows, Windows is going to be the more effective route. (I could pose arguments in opposition as both my wife and technophobe parents [yes, both of them] run Linux on their laptops and home-office machines, but that's for another time.) However, for the programmers and daily hacks, FOSS provides some very nice solutions.
As for your commentary on assembler: I wrote a little game in assembler once on a TI-85. Flexibility, I'll give you. Not so much feature rich. =)
Since you brought up the Mozilla foundation and "paid open source development"; Personally, I like this model. Of course it leads to licensing issues leading to stupid forks like Iceweasel and Icedove, but to me, it's a nice muddying of the waters between commercial development and FOSS.
Some commentary on FOSS projects vs commercial counterparts:
OOWriter does not work well with MS Office Templates
OOCalc will not give you the equation for a best-fit line
OOo is general is bloated
MSWord does not work with damn near anything that it didn't personally produce
MSExcel is a reasonable tool for data sets with less than 65,xxx datapoints.
MSOffice defines bloated
To sit down and write a letter, they're about the same. OOo feels less "mushy" to me, but again, I use it daily and have gotten used to it. If I were used to MSO, OOo would probably feel "jagged" or something. OOo has native export to PDF. That's a very nice thing in the accessibility sector. No, "print to PDF" is not the same as native export to PDF.
The Mozilla products have already been covered...
Other FOSS projects worth looking at:
Audacity, GIMP, Gaim, K3B, Amarok, the Ubuntu / GNOME Update thingy, wxWidgets
There are many others, but those are a few that I use on a daily basis.
Ok, that was a lot longer than I expected it to be...
Back to work--
>>> bvg at mac.com 6/5/2007 5:47 PM >>>
I thought about an hour, and couldn't think of any open source software
that was easier to use then its (almost always existing) commercial
counterpart. Meanwhile OS products have often many more features.
I however use Runtime Revolution because of it's ease of use, if I'd
want features I'd probably use assembler.
PS: Firefox/Thunderbird/Camino: the Mozilla foundation has paid
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