April 22, 2019

.comment: The Plateau - page 3

Nothing Entirely New Under the Sun

  • October 17, 2001
  • By Dennis E. Powell

I mention all of this because it's easy to not notice just how good a desktop operating system Linux has become, by any standard you or anyone else would care to apply. Those of us who have used Linux for years have grown accustomed to having to work around things that weren't there -- perhaps even failing to try things that used to not work but that now do. It's difficult to step back, clear the mind, and appraise Linux free of political and philosophical considerations, as if seeing it for the first time.

It's there. Yes, there are things we'd all like to see, but this is less a shortcoming of Linux than it is a distinguishing feature of Linux users. We're accustomed to wanting more, and to knowing what it is that we want. The users of the commercial operating system have been brought up to want whatever is placed before them. (And thus we have yet another definition of "freedom," don't we?)

This would not have hit me, either, but for a post yesterday on a site on which I'm a participant. It said, "Can I replace my current operating system. Windows 98, with OS/2, OS/400, or OS/2Warp?" It was made by someone who lives in Virginia and who posts as "jla," who is not someone for whom computers are the motivational factor in his existence, but who is not happy with what he has.

As with Brian Proffitt's column, I was in the position of saying something or remaining silent, of discussing OS/2, of recommending Linux. Can Linux actually be recommended? I asked myself, I mean really, for a computer user who just wants reliability, security, and the ability to run the applications he needs?

I was startled by the answer.

It's "yes."

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