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Old June 20 2009, 09:49 AM   #1
USS KG5
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Instead of Windows Piracy - Use Linux!

Hi All,

I was reading another, rightly clanged, thread in this forum where one user was attempting to pirate Windows software for use against the license terms.

This got me thinking - why would anyone do that? While the moral debate over piracy (which I think is wrong personally) is not for this ofrum, we certainly are free to point out that good open source alternatives exist for almost all software now.

I know a lot of people here will reply with "but I need to rip off software for my work" well newsflash, if you are getting paid, so should the makers of the software be, and "I'm a poor student" does not really wash either, student editions of software cost very little.

BUT - crucially - ripping off Windows? Linux has grown and grown to the point that you can now, totally free of payment, install an OS which lets you do everything a Windows PC can (with the exception of playing certain games) for free, and some here will doubtless argue it does it better.

While the business case for "free" in the long run is extremely shaky, while it is here we should all take advantage, some excellent perfectly free programs on my PC include (dual boot with a licensed XP): -

Ubuntu Linux
OpenOffice.org
VLC Media Player
Paint.net
GIMP
AVG Free
Lavasoft Ad-Aware
Mozilla Firefox

ALL LEGAL AND FREE! So I ask you all for your opinion, surely it is better to be legal and support this excellent community, than to spend time and effort stealing software from the big corporations.

Fundamentally, if for some reason you feel an OS should be free, then Linux was built for you!
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Old June 20 2009, 10:18 AM   #2
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Re: Windows Piracy - Use Linux!

Most Windows software runs happily under Wine as well!
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Old June 20 2009, 11:00 AM   #3
J. Allen
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Re: Windows Piracy - Use Linux!

Agreed! It's silly to pirate Windows when Linux (particularly Ubuntu) is so easy to get for free, has an incredible support base, and has tons of free programs that install themselves! It's a no brainer!

Now, I use Mac OS X and dual boot Win 7 (when not Win 7 I dual boot Win XP). But if I were in a situation where I no longer had either option, I can just use my Ubuntu CD and be ready to go in about 30 minutes. Easy.

J.
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Old June 20 2009, 11:53 AM   #4
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Re: Windows Piracy - Use Linux!

I've only ever had to 'aquire' a copy of Windows once. My computer died and I had to re-format. In their infinite wisdom, the computer manufacturers had only supplied me with restore disks and not the windows ones. Brilliant.
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Old June 20 2009, 11:58 AM   #5
USS KG5
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Re: Windows Piracy - Use Linux!

Shazam! wrote: View Post
I've only ever had to 'aquire' a copy of Windows once. My computer died and I had to re-format. In their infinite wisdom, the computer manufacturers had only supplied me with restore disks and not the windows ones. Brilliant.
But then presumably you had an OEM license and key stuck on your PC, acquiring the installer is not an issue, it is the license that counts!
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Old June 20 2009, 12:01 PM   #6
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Re: Windows Piracy - Use Linux!

I have tried various kinds of Linux but I just don't enjoy the feel of the OS, for countless petty reasons that add up to one big reason. While it's a noble cause it's just not for me.

There is a free open source windows compatible OS in the making, that can run windows applications natively, and is being designed to be very lightweight, lightning fast, yet supporting all the latest technologies. The sacrifice (for good or bad) is that there's no fancy GUI features, so it will look more like windows 98 and have similar system requirements (32MB ), even though it will support windows 7 compatible software, including a modern security model.

It is called ReactOS, currently in alpha. I'm following it's development with interest. It's my idea of how an operating system should be designed.

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Old June 20 2009, 01:22 PM   #7
USS KG5
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Re: Windows Piracy - Use Linux!

That could be exciting Jadzia if it will run on old hardware but supports the latst windows apps and is secure. I have a pile of old Win98 PCs in my office, I dont want them on my network and they are too slow for a lot of what we run.

That said with the way things are going with resources world wide re-utilising old hardware will become very important, a simple OS that is Windows compatible could be useful.

Of course, if "the cloud" takes off then those PCs eith a lightweight OS would make perfectly acceptable access points.
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Old June 20 2009, 03:30 PM   #8
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Re: Instead of Windows Piracy - Use Linux!

USS KG5 wrote: View Post
Fundamentally, if for some reason you feel an OS should be free, then Linux was built for you!
It wasn't built for my desktop. I dual-boot Ubuntu with Vista on my laptop because I like trying Ubuntu out from time to time, but when I tried installing it on my desktop I couldn't get the sound to work. Turns out there was no drivers made for my sound card, but the linux community had made alsa drivers and if I followed some slightly complex instructions I'd get sound to work. And I did... 50% of the time. Half the time when I booted into Ubuntu the sound would work, the other half it would not. I formatted and reinstalled it a few months later when the latest distro came out and I had exactly the same problem. Linux works great on my laptop but it just doesn't work properly on some machines.

I agree that software piracy is wrong and it is good to have an open source alternative to Windows, but for the majority of people Windows is too complex to understand, those people haven't a hope trying to understand Linux.
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Old June 20 2009, 03:58 PM   #9
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Re: Instead of Windows Piracy - Use Linux!

GodBen wrote: View Post
for the majority of people Windows is too complex to understand, those people haven't a hope trying to understand Linux.
A good point. Most people who buy an OS aren't usually interested in the OS, but are very much interested in the software which they can run upon it.

If the OS is too complex or unreliable, it will be an obstruction to that person pursuing their interest.

Do you want to be drawn into troubleshooting and maintenance tasks when all you want to do is watch a video (with sound) on youtube?
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Old June 20 2009, 04:30 PM   #10
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Re: Instead of Windows Piracy - Use Linux!

I know one of the reasons I never got more into Linux was that at the time (and currently) I have a RAID setup, and figuring out how to get Linux to cooperate with that was...I consider myself fairly computer-literate, and I'm willing to spend a couple of hours trying to figure out a problem. I'm not willing to try to spend a couple of _days_ trying to figure it out if it's not an emergency though, especially if an easier alternative presents itself.
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Old June 20 2009, 06:22 PM   #11
Jadzia
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Re: Instead of Windows Piracy - Use Linux!

One of my gripes with mainstream operating systems is the exponential increase in their hardware demands. I know we flash figures like 2GB memory around nowadays like it's nothing, but that is a hell of a lot of memory.

To me it seems operating systems are running progressively slower as we advance. eg, imagine Vista running on a 486 if that were even possible. You know it would run many times slower than windows 95 does.

The manufacturers rely on improving hardware to compensate for the slower execution of the newer operating system: Win95 on a 486 is sluggish. Vista on a Pentium 4 is sluggish. Overall I'm guessing that state-of-the-art operating systems will always be sluggish on not-quite-state-of-the-art hardware.

Now admittedly, the new operating systems come with some new features, which is what we purchase them for, although we're forced to make hardware upgrades to run the new systems.

The question we should ask ourselves is "are the increasing hardware demands representative of the gains in the OS's features?"

I don't think they do in general.

What ReactOS proves I think is that new operating systems don't need to make all those hardware demands. Consider that ReactOS runs much like windows 98 does on a pentium 1, but it runs like lightning on a modern i7.

Isn't that the kind of future we want for operating systems? The alternative is in 20 years time the state of the art OS will be demanding a minimum of 1TB of main memory, 10TB hard disk space minimum, and it still runs sluggish on a 3GHz x1000 core 128-bit processor.
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Old June 20 2009, 06:43 PM   #12
judge alba
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Re: Windows Piracy - Use Linux!

Jadzia wrote: View Post
I have tried various kinds of Linux but I just don't enjoy the feel of the OS, for countless petty reasons that add up to one big reason. While it's a noble cause it's just not for me.

There is a free open source windows compatible OS in the making, that can run windows applications natively, and is being designed to be very lightweight, lightning fast, yet supporting all the latest technologies. The sacrifice (for good or bad) is that there's no fancy GUI features, so it will look more like windows 98 and have similar system requirements (32MB ), even though it will support windows 7 compatible software, including a modern security model.

It is called ReactOS, currently in alpha. I'm following it's development with interest. It's my idea of how an operating system should be designed.

i've been thinking about trying a new os go to admit this one looks very intreasting.
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Old June 20 2009, 07:59 PM   #13
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Re: Instead of Windows Piracy - Use Linux!

With Linux, you can do the same things you can do with Windows.

However, you can't do them well.

While open source is wonderful, personal experience has taught me that there are some serious flaws and problems associated with it. While not nearly every open source package has these problems (obviously, or there wouldn't be popular software like Firefox), most of them do have at least one of these. And, while there are a multitude of commercial closed-source examples of these bad practices, those programs are in the minority; for obious profit reasons (if the software isn't easy to use, people won't buy it).

The most important things are these:

1) Open source software is often not developed under clear boundaries. It tries to do multiple things in an 'alright' sort of way, instead of doing one thing well. This doesn't make it well-rounded, it simply makes it unfocused and crappy to use. This is usually because of the too big influence a large group of developers and end-users have on the product. One wants it to do one thing, another wants it to do something else. One wants to have this choice, another wants to have that choice. What you end up with, is a piece of software that's been developed according to so many differing opinions that it's unfocused and a pain to work with. It's got so many half-implemented functionality and huge settings dialogs that you can't see the forest due to the amount of trees. Software should be easy; intuitive even. Software that has this problem, is not.

2) Open source software is often designed by developers. There's a big difference between developers and designers; some people even like to say their brains are wired differently and they wouldn't be entirely incorrect. Designers follow their feelings, their intuition; unquantifiable items, except through usability testing. Programmers follow logic, steps that follow each other rigidly. Both ways are good, however, the end users aren't usually that logical. What you end up with, are dialogs with hundreds of check boxes, a lot of buttons, untuitive text, modal dialogs with "Greek" error numbers and a hundred, confusing and non-memorable ways to do the exact same things. All perfectly logical for a programmer; it looks like a relative database laid out. Not so for the end user; it confuses or scares the hell out of them.

3) Open source software is often not designed according to strict guidelines. Sure, Windows has interface and usability guidelines, OS-X has these guidelines as well and Gnome and such have finally seen the light. That doesn't mean that most open source software will actually adhere to the rules; at the least, they do a crappy job trying to. And why should they? It's all unnecessary in the minds of most developers (or has a low priority, at the least); if people don't understand the software, why not read the manual? What you end up with are applications with unintelligible icons that look out of place, technical text on dialogs and 'funny jokes' like treating the window chrome as a canvas for the developer's personal creative impulses. Which usually, are as far from aesthetically pleasing as possible.

4) My last point is related to 3), in that most open-source software isn't designed according to these interface and usability guidelines, on whatever platform it may be. The result is a mish-mash of programs that all look, sound, feel, act and talk differently from each other. It's hard enough to learn one program if you're a novice, try to imagine learning hundreds.

And 4) is the main problem with Linux. Of course, there is open source software available for every platform. However, because of it's nature, Linux distributions show the most of these flaws; it simply has the biggest amount of open-source software pre-installed, and not every package they have is as good as some are. Most are actually quite bad, but included simply "because the user should be able to do this and that too". This makes it unusable for most people who have to do anything more then memorize and execute a few simple, repeating actions. And it's confusing too; a few applications are easy to remember. Hundreds are not. Of course you've got the option to uninstall the software (or not install in the first place), but do you really think novices will do that?

No, Linux, as it stands now, isn't ready for general use. When most software adhere to strict interface guidelines and a more then good effort is made to make the software as easy, intuitively and usable as possible, perhaps. But that time is still far away, and probably will be for some time to come.

There are some lights in the darkness though; there are a few projects like Lindows that seem promising, but they're either being abandoned after a while, or still a far cry from being as usable as Windows.
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Old June 20 2009, 08:33 PM   #14
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Re: Instead of Windows Piracy - Use Linux!

Two stories I have in relation to Ubuntu:

Back when I worked for Dell tech support I got a call from a customer who bought a laptop online and somehow they selected it with Ubuntu pre-installed rather than Windows because they didn't know what they were doing when they placed the order. It scared them because they didn't know what it was or how it worked and they quickly decided they wanted Windows, not because Windows is better but because it is what they are used to.

The second story is based on my own stupidity; I accidentally entered a command into the console which turned the GUI off and I was left with a black screen with white writing. I could only restore the interface after searching for the command on the internet with my other computer. It's just too easy to break Linux if you don't know what it is you're doing.
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Old June 20 2009, 08:39 PM   #15
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Re: Instead of Windows Piracy - Use Linux!

GodBen wrote: View Post
Two stories I have in relation to Ubuntu:

Back when I worked for Dell tech support I got a call from a customer who bought a laptop online and somehow they selected it with Ubuntu pre-installed rather than Windows because they didn't know what they were doing when they placed the order. It scared them because they didn't know what it was or how it worked and they quickly decided they wanted Windows, not because Windows is better but because it is what they are used to.

The second story is based on my own stupidity; I accidentally entered a command into the console which turned the GUI off and I was left with a black screen with white writing. I could only restore the interface after searching for the command on the internet with my other computer. It's just too easy to break Linux if you don't know what it is you're doing.
I think there's a big reasons for that, and it is that the community like it being their little OS, and they don't want to make it easier on the noobs. Like "if you want to use it, learn it" is their attitude.
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