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So I’ve decided to switch to Linux. Episode 4: THE END


NOTE  - A lot of you guys reach this, final, episode without reading the first ones. Please start HERE –>  Episode 1: Introduction.



Yes, the end.

I'm going back to Windows XP. No more Linux on the desktop for me.

Why?

For starters - Linux IS cool. It's really fun to play with. Using Linux on my desktop showed me just how cool Linux is, even more than I thought before this whole experience!

Not only that, Linux is closer to being a real alternative to Windows than it has ever been.

I'm hoping in a few short years it will get there.

So why am I going back to Windows?
Pretty simple - As much as I've enjoyed these past few weeks (and I have), in order to really get to the same level of knowledge and comfort I have with Windows will simply take more energy and time than I have.

I have struggled with many new questions and problems, and fought my way through every small thing I needed to do.
Granted, I have usually found the proper solution eventually, with the help of the great community of Linux users -
However, I simply cannot afford at this point in my life, the cost that moving to Linux requires.

Example:

First off, read through episodes 1-3 of the "So I've decided to switch to Linux" saga - There are quite a few problems I've encountered there that I've had to wrestle with.
Starting with the simplest (or is it..?) task of converting my years-old Outlook PST archive file to Linux.

Then - I wanted to backup a DVD - With Windows it's as easy as 1,2,3 - I simply use the great DVD Shrink.
But with Linux - I've spent the time and effort to try and find the solution to this this quickly and easily.
And guess what the best solution people have offered?
Use WINE to run DVD Shrink…!
Come on! I can use the original on XP, is that why I've moved to Linux?

The day when I can do EVERY thing on Linux as easily as I can on Windows, without using WINE, will be the day when I go back to Linux.
How come no one has written a DVD Shrink clone for Linux?
I'll tell you why - because "There are perfectly reasonable command line utilities that when working together can accomplish the same task"..  right…
Some even claim that "There's even a GUI front end!!!"

Come on guys - There's not a single decent DVD shrinking utility for Linux that can match DVD Shrink.


Another example:

With Windows, keeping tabs of my hardware specs, temperatures etc was quite easy.
There are tons of  good, easy, system monitoring tools, that simply tell you how hot your CPU gets.
One of my favorites on Windows was Samurize, which is both a cool desktop eye candy, and lets you monitor your computers temperatures.

On Linux?
Yes, you have gDesklets for GNOME, SuperKaramba for KDE - But guess what?
In order to enable temperatures monitoring, you have to toy around with a God-awful lmsensors program - Which in order to properly use it, you need to run about 10 commands, config files and whatnot..
It even worked for me, until I've rebooted the PC that is…

Don't get me wrong, I know that there are plenty of people that have the knowledge, and patience, to get this thing working.
I DON'T. I simply don't have the time for that!
I want to install a program that simply works! That I don't have to work hours to fine tune!
Again - I love playing with scripts, interesting stuff and all that - But not squinting at my monitor for hours to get a simple temperature read!

And another:
I am simply used to working with certain programs. I have collected tons of data over the years, that I need to continue to use.
Two simple short examples of such apps:

1. Software from Collectorz.com - I've bought and used a couple of their great cataloging software for Windows.
I've cataloged all my books and movies with their software, and created a big ol' collection of my books and movies.
How do I get this to work with Linux?!
I searched, and found, a few cataloging apps for Linux - But what do I do with the huge collection I've already worked on?
Begin everything from scratch?
And say that I do rebuild everything - I still couldn't find a Linux app that does everything Collectorz does.

2. Where is it?
- This cool little app has served me for long years now, and I have this HUGE catalog of all my CDs for the past 10 years or so.
There is no Linux app that knows how to convert all this data to its own format.

One more please:

Even though many of the readers aren't aware of this problem, if they don't need Hebrew, but this one is a HUGE problem for me.
There's nothing anyone can tell me to convince me otherwise - Yes, there has been a great improvement towards getting Hebrew support for Windows.
However, it is simply NOT working as good as as Windows is.
Hebrew is still a problem on Linux.
Period.

To sum it up:

There are simply too many small issues that you don't even think of until you try to work with Linux as your desktop system.
Burning a DVD, getting all the buttons to work on your Microsoft IntelliMouse mouse, using the "Windows" key on your keyboard to work, properly backing up your files, working with Office documents, editing video (I want my XP Movie Maker back!!!) ,  GAMING…!!!

Now I know there will be people reading this and saying - "WTF?! I know how to do each and every single thing on this list! Linux can do all of them!"
Yes, I know Linux can probably do all that.
BUT, it is too complicated, too uncomfortable, too difficult to get them working.
They do NOT work out of the box.
I simply do not have the time to waste on getting there. I need certain things to simply work. And Windows XP does all that!

So this little Web site will continue running and a little Linux server. And I'll continue playing with Apache, PHP and MySQL on Linux. And I'll continue doing cool cool stuff with Linux scripting (curl –user username:password -o myDelicious.xml -O "http://del.icio.us/api/posts/all").
And Linux will still be used by me for certain things.

BUT, as a desktop OS - Windows XP will still rule on my desktop.
Please don't get upset Linux lovers. I AM a Linux lover myself.
But there's still work to be done. There are still things to be improved until Linux is ready for prime time.
And experences like this  - Trying out Linux every year or two - will get us there.

<– Episode 3: Building my desktop


28 Responses to “So I’ve decided to switch to Linux. Episode 4: THE END”

  1. anon Says:

    Big surprise.

  2. Fly Says:

    Great article! I had a similar experience with Linux, but on a laptop. I just couldnt get the audio to work. Loaded up Win 2K and it worked like a champ.

    I’m now on an iMac G5 and I’m pretty happy. With the ability to Remote Desktop Client into my old PC, I can still do what I need to do on the PC but 90% of the things are done on the Mac.

    Again, great article!

    -Fly

  3. Wes Says:

    I completely agree with you on this issue. You run into a lot of small issues taht aren’t too terribly apparent upon first inspection. For me it was the lack of Standby-to-RAM on my laptop and of course the various issues you mentioned. Biggest amongst them is game support..or the lack thereof, therefore I wait for these issues to be fixed.

  4. PhoneJack Says:

    You’ll be back! *evil laugh*

  5. dan Says:

    great story. very insightful.

  6. M Wales Says:

    I too tried the switch from Windows to Linux, but, I stuck with it! So this article really hit close to me. Here are a couple of thoughts for you:

    Your .pst file you needed to import. This is not a deficiency in Linux. A PST file is proprietary closed format from MS. Outlook should be able to export a file that can be used with an open stardard file format, if it can’t, your stuck with Outlook for rest of your life if you need to keep that data. This is a reason you should consider getting rid of Outlook, not the other way around.

    Backing up DVDs is interesting on Linux too. Here is what I’ve observed. DVD Shrink for windows works awesome. Real easy. To back up a DVD to DivX in Windows though, it’s a little harder, most of the apps I used were buggy at best.

    In Linux, as you said, you can still use DVD Shrink in Wine. The other tool I use is Mencoder (MPlayer). It does DVD->DivX with ease, but it is command line oriented, and you can’t quite just jump in there in a few seconds.

    Now, I’ve kinda reached this state where there are things I wish I had in Windows that I have in Linux!
    - K3B (I like it better than Nero)
    - The KDE file copy dialog. Sounds silly, but the Windows one time left was always all over the place, getting bigger, doing wierd stuff.
    - SSH remote login (I use SSH tunneling through my Linux machine to get to my Windows machine securely when I’m away)
    - No spyware, adware, annoyances (atleast, not yet)
    - The robust command line. I had to install cygwin in windows now.
    - Slideshow background from KDE

    Things that I love in both:
    - NVidia graphics drivers. Install in Linux was cake. 1 driver, it just works, and it’s just as fast in linux. I’ve heard that ATI is nowhere even close.
    - SW that works on both platforms, and works well: OpenOffice, Firefox, Quake (id games), UT 2004, Thunderbird, MPlayer, and VNC.

  7. Anon2 Says:

    Big suprise is right. Gawd.

  8. anon Says:

    Actual quote from the article:
    “I’m a total newb who can’t learn anything or do anything correctly. Since I have this major learning disability I go back to XP where I am coddled and held by the hand despite the skills that I said I had, which I probably don’t have anyway. The major reason I’m switching back is that I love my old apps, and can’t get used to new ones. I also hate anything that lets me use my old apps, like wine. What a stupid program! Who would want to use apps that I’m used to?! My logic is infallible!”

  9. Richard M. Stallman Says:

    If Linux doesn’t live up to the hype, try HURD. It’s free as in beer.

  10. Magdy el-Nashar Says:

    You have insulted my Linux you swine!!!

  11. lkd Says:

    I had a similar experience, liked Linux a lot but kept running into time-consuming hurdles. Meanwhile my work wasn’t getting done so I have to reboot into Windows.

    One of the main hurdles is that each distro I use seems to miss one bit of hardware, unfortunatley not always the same bit.

    And of course as you mention, there is the difficulty of software that you’ve grown used to and that doesn’t work in Linux. For me it’s Dreamweaver and Photoshop.

    Ofc ourse, there will always be some compromise and I’m hoping that Linux will come 90% of the way towards being a useful OS for me. Then I’m happy to go the other 10%. Meanwhile it’s back to boring old Windows.

  12. Cue Says:

    Manishma?
    Now that was a twist!

    Nevertheless, I mostly agree with what you’re saying and I feel for you.
    I’ve tried a couple of times to make the switch but I would end up stuck somewhere.
    I’ve come to the following conclusions.
    @Home, Windows XP.
    @Work, Linux (administered by the sysadm ;) )
    Work@Home, MacOS. All the great features that linux can provide, but with all the hasle taken away.

  13. Prathamesh Suryavanshi Says:

    Linux is like a sword with sharp edges on both side. If you cannot handle it do use it ” or else it will hurt yourself “.
    Linux is for programmers who can put there logic in it to work out things.

  14. Mike Says:

    100% agree! No matter how many Linux enthusiasts say - Linux Rules - it doesnt. When I can get a Linux package that will do EVERYTHING right out of the box, or have an EASY way to get it - then I will switch also, but I do not have the time to figure out all the stupid little annoyances that Linux has to offer.

    I grew up in the TRS-80/VIC-20/C64 days, and LOVE command line items, so that isnt the problem with linux. Linux just is not as easy as Windows to update software, find software, install software, run software, etc. Until it is - there will be a select few that run it 100%, and complain to everyone how Linux is god and we are all stupid morons for not running it.

    Simple solution - all the people who think Linux us so great - make it SIMPLE for people - put your programming skills where your mouth seems to go. I want easy one button updates, I want software to do everything i can on windows in Linux - WITHOUT USING WINE - how stupid, if I wanted to run windows, I would - not an emulator type program…how do minds come up with crap like that.

    SO - solve the problem instead of bitching about linux ruling - it doesnt, fix it!

    Mike

  15. toby Says:

    yes, try a mac with tiger. it’s the best of both worlds. plenty of mainstream high quality apps, with the full power of the command line underneath it all.

  16. toni Says:

    WTF?!

    Well that’s fine. Maybe this’s not the correct time you switch into Linux. Maybe you can try it another time. You may try some live CD distros next time: Knoppix, SimplyMepis, Suse Live CD or anything else.

    I really hope you’ll find Linux to be friendly for you, someday, somehow :).

    Cya soon, and I hope that time you’re already on Linux

  17. bebopredux Says:

    This story reminded me of myself. I have done this whole process myself and come to the same conclusion: it’s fun but, not quite ready. I have too many apps I like using and with Linux I just miss them.
    Having said that, why did you go back to Windows? Try this same experiment using OSX and you’ll have a different outcome. With Mac the Ripper (free) I have complete rips of my DVD’s on my hard drive. I still use Debian and use Windows about 60% of the time but, I am enjoying my Mac G5 more and more. Give OSX a try, it’d make a great article.
    Regards,
    bebop

  18. Jon Says:

    I was interested in samurize that you mentioned so I was checking it out, and told one of my friends who exclusively uses linux. He told me about an app that does the same thing in linux called gkrellm. If you ever decide to try to switch again give it a try.

  19. Jonathan Says:

    i tried the same thing, i’m no where near as advanced as you (i can only write HTML, CSS and RSS) and setup my first apache webserver yesterday :) I installed Suse 9.1 on a partion hoping to move over completely, but my sound didn’t work i can’t cope without background music. I enjoy solving things. Linux does all the stuff i need bar “web authoring(dreamweaver like stuff)” and gaming so i’m happy to move, but if i can’t listen to my music while i try to solve my problems, screw it. But i plan to try either Linspire 5.0 and Ubuntu 5 when i get my new HDD. I’ve tested the live distro’s alreadly Linspire impressed me alot, i think its got the clearest shot at taking on windows, Microsoft seems to think so too, as they have been “targeting” them recently! You can access windows shared folders, and msn straight off the live CD! Plus they have something called CNR which i believe works like exe’s so no more shell scripts! I might do something similar to your article when i make the change. Thanks for the article anyway

  20. Just some dude Says:

    damn dude, why go back to XP, at least dual boot your box while you tweak your linux system.

    The thing about Linux that I like is the fact that I take pride in my system. I’ve got it tweaked just where I need it. With XP everything is done for you and your computer is just a computer, not “your box” or “your rig”…it’s a damn appliance.

    I do agree with a lot of what you are saying though. Linux has a a little ways to go before people such as yourself are capible of having a good eXPerience with it.

    In the mean time people like me will continue to work with Linux and OSX and contribute to that community, while those of you who are tied down to your damn PST files continue to pump money into M$.

  21. Shivan Jaikaran Says:

    I have had similar experiences. However I have no made the switch back to windows as yet. I am using red hat 9 and i like it alot.

    I introduced my mother to red hat 9. Mind you she has never really used a computer before. I then bought a computer for her and asked her what operation system she wanted. Well then she was like “whats an operating system? Just give me what i had before, I liked it”.

    My point is: whatever OS you used first will always be the “easiest, most user friendly” to you. OR it will be the one you like the most. Its just like learning programming. Whatever language you used first, will always be the closest to your heart.

    The problem with windows: They trap you! Everything they released is very tightly intergrated for windows ONLY…for e.g you PST file problem.
    So seeing that you used windows first, it will be closest to your heart and on top of that, your life’s work would have be done on a windows machine and be only compatible to windows. However if you had started off in the beginning with Linux (like my mom), it should be different.

  22. rayray Says:

    in the beggining you said yourself you liked to tweak. granted you did and stuck to linux, until you came up with a copy of your windows box. i saw that you used apt-get as well. but at the end you pulled a 180 on yourself stating semi-hateful things to an OS you put together.
    a major problem i see is that you were looking for the clones of windows software. but to a linux or unix user these clones do not exist. *nix is created for the most user functionallity, not to compete with microsoft. microsoft even copied unix from the start with DOS.
    one of the comments above was a good idea. perhaps duel boot your beloved windows rather than scrape a project. you complained about the constant learning presented with the new OS, ultimately the herbrew language, but as far as i can tell you know english, not shotty either. why didnt you cop out half way into episode 2 and just finish in hebrew because it was easier???
    yeah just come back in a few years when linux alone can convert your .pst or whatevers. or maybe you could use your programming skills to convert it and add knowlege/help anyone else that hits that rut as well. i was inspired up until the end of episode 3 and then disgusted on 4 because you just quit.

  23. anony Says:

    Well, next time try a better distro for n00bs like Suse 9.3 Pro, it’s beautiful and everything works right out of the box!! Go Novell!

  24. XTechie Says:

    I understand why you switched back to windows, but then you didn’t switch back to windows because you had to do a decision between windows and linux, but you switched back because you had been used to certain application for very lon g years and mind you if you were using Linux initially and then switched to windows, I am very sure you would have faced the same problem.

    Peace.

  25. AviDardik.com » ShrinkTo5 a^?? New free (GPL) DVD backup software! Says:

    [...] Actually, DVDShrink was one of the biggest things that I was missing in Linux as a Windows desktop replacement. I even wrote about that HERE. [...]

  26. mrben Says:

    You know why there’s nothing to convert the data from ? Because it’s proprietary. Outlook, Collectorz.com, whatever. By returning to these programs you are simply making yourself part of the problem, not part of the solution.

    Equally, the problems you have found with some of the Linux programs are valid - but have you filed any bug reports or feature requests? Linux is constantly evolving, and constantly improving, and it does so because it has an active userbase.

  27. jarrod Says:

    You guys are all right. Linux doesnt always work out of the box, but it does rule. It is free and the little hassle you get here and there just isnt good enough. I dual boot cause i like to play games and havent been able to get madden work in wine or cedega, but linux does everything I need. If it opened publisher files - I would be ecstatic. Well anyway I am happy to say I use both, if linux charged for the sortware it would be caught up. If linux had a real price, there could be real r&d work. Until then we are the r&d, I just need to be able to burn dvds, i hear there is a nero for linux

  28. Christian Says:

    Hey… try to use Ubuntu 6.10 Edgy Eft. It is really easy and can do it all …And update and install/uninstall is very easy. And especially with Automatix2

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