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Linux Netbook Pioneer's Bizarre 'It's Better With Windows' Campaign - page 2

Style Without Substance

  • June 8, 2009
  • By Bruce Byfield

Similarly, mention of the "worldwide community" is presumably intended to scare people with the old claim that you can't find support for free software. However, why either claim, even if true, would be relevant to a product you bought from a particular manufacturer is unclear. Viewed from one perspective, the statement could be read as an attack on Asus' technical support.

Under the title of "Familiar," the next statement is that "Windows is easy to use and familiar so you can be up and running right away." This is probably a veiled reference to the idea that you need the command line to run GNU/Linux.

But given that desktop metaphors like the main menu and the panel are universal among operating systems, the unfamiliarity of GNU/Linux is minimal these days. Nor, since the operating system comes pre-installed, would you expect any delay in running a new Eee, regardless of whether it ran Windows or GNU/Linux.

The same is true of the last statement about "Compatibility": "You can be confident that your devices and applications will work with Windows -- more than any other platform." Aside from the fact that the claim is questionable, does anyone really believe that Asus engineers would ship an Eee with GNU/Linux without checking that all the hardware was supported? The site designers seem to have forgotten that they are not talking in the abstract, but referring to a specific product line.

If you believe these generalities, you would probably believe those captions in the video that hint that Windows includes chat, photo storage, and parental controls and GNU/Linux does not -- or even that the Windows-installed Eees have a "tough, solid state design" (while their GNU/Linux counterparts, presumably, have cases made from sandwich wrap).

Better a hoax

In theory, I am willing to admit that there might be a technical case for using Windows in preference to GNU/Linux. However, that case cannot be made by people who have apparently not booted into both operating systems and learned them thoroughly. Given the maturity of the GNU/Linux desktop, the case would have to be built from details. In practice, though, I suspect that the case would flounder on philosophical preferences with the FOSS users' insistence on controlling their own computers trumping any number of minor hardware or software specs.

But, if there is a case for preferring Windows, the It's Better with Windows site fails to deliver it -- or, for that matter, any competent argument whatsoever. The site's internal inconsistencies invalidate its message even if you lack the knowledge to pick out its misrepresentations and irrelevancies.

Perhaps Asus was too hasty in acknowledging the site. Letting the hoax rumors continue unchecked might have saved the company from an embarrassing association.

Article courtesy of Datamation

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