Cosmin Nicolaescu on 13 May 2005 15:49:39 -0000

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Re: [PLUG] Drexel MCS Society Debate

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>  1   Open Source vs. Proprietary
>          [Not just Linux but Open Source development, software
>          like Apache, The Gimp, etc.]

One you can that can be contested with open source is that you make less
money that with proprietary software. So Alex (who, although seems to be
well-intended, is still a M$ guy so I wouldn't trust everything he said)
can take a standpoint from a software developer's standpoint and say that
the programmer would have more advantages, especially financially.
Licensing can also be another thing he might touch on - the GPL hasn't
been used in the courts yet. But i still think you can come up with a lot
more strengths than proprietary software. (you can give the example of
when M$ code leaked on the Internet and security consultants at a large
conference around the same time - I forget the name - couldn't mention
anything about it because M$ specifically threatened them with lawsuits if
they look at the code (and now that's just ridiculous)

>  2   Security [ohmygod - takes deep breath... explodes in laughter.]

Problems exist in both *nix and windows. However, the time and manner in
which they are solved are very different - how long does it take M$ to fix
a problem, and how long - not to mention how large - is a patch in linux
Other than that, it's pointless - just go on securityfocus and count the
number of vulns in the last month for each OS. Also, a problem with ssh
isn't a problem with linux. People often compare a strictly M$ vuln to ANY
linux problem. The fact that Apache would have a vuln is like Adobe having
a vuln - it's not OS related, it's a product that had an issue. The only
thing you can compare is how many M$ vulns were out there in the last
month (Windows, IE, Office etc) and how many kernel issues were there (and
even so, there's so many patches out there - like hardened-sources - but
we can not mention those and still be BY FAR on top)

>  3   Tying OS to hardware
>         What they meant by this was how Linux can run on
>         several different architectures, while Windows
>         can primarily only run on x86, with the
>         exception of CE and some versions of NT.
>         I get to speak for 3+1 minutes on this :-P

Linux runs on the XBOX :-P

>  4   64 bit computing
>         64-bit platform benefits and our/their approach.
>        [I have NOT followed the growing 64 bit market so I'm
>         nearly clueless on this.]

M$ just came out with a 64-bit Windows 2-3 weeks ago, and it's only 64-bit
compatible. All the apps (Office, IE, Media Player, DirectX etc) that come
with it are 32-bit. With my gentoo box, when I specify x86_64 as arch I
get everything in 64-bit.

>  5   Emulation
>         Interoperability and migration between platforms.
>         [Wine?  Open document and file formats?  DRM? - the
>         last 2 are hardly "emulation". I believe software
>         patents are going to impact this area most heavily.]

If people would make things work on both OS's you wouldn't need emulation.
wine,cedega and especially crossover have made huge progress. With the
latter I've been very pleased to use when people request a M$ app on our
machines. Not to mention that dosemu is better than the DOS emulator that
M$ has right now on 2k/XP :)

>  6   Perception of end-user / User Interface
>         [I take this to mean how a user who is familiar with one
         could adapt to using the other.]
I use Enlightenment as my window manager and I love it. It's very
different that your Windows-like WM, but one you learn it it's great. I
use ION on my laptop, and it's exactly what I need. I've played a bit with
KDE 3.4 and it looks pretty sweet, not to mention it has SO many more apps
that Windows comes with. You can customize your UI to do almost anything
you want, find a WM that does WHAT you want. These are things that are not
available in Windows. My roommate has XP on his laptop. He downloaded one
of those theme programs that totally change your desktop, and now he can't
even do updates because the windows update site says he doesn't have a
windows kernel :))

>  7   Driver Availability and Compatible Software
>         This would include the issue of games.
>         [I don't use many computer games (well, okay, I own a
>         copy of Unreal Tournament for Windows but that's all, I
>         swear!) so I'm especially in need of help here.]

Here is the topic with possible issues. There's still a lot of hardware
that isn't supported in linux (I've been having LOTS of problems in
finding a USB wireless card for my laptop - i had one that worked, it
broke. I bought one that said it has Linux support, to find out it's a
proprietary driver with 2.4 support only - I've read that some people
managed to get it working in 2.6, but I couldn't get it working, so I'm
looking to buy another one - it's also true I'm cheap and so were the
cards :). One of my suit mates got a Linksys for ~$60 and ndiswrapper sees
it, does everything, except receive packages - i think he managed to get
it to receive them, but they're corrupt). Compatible software - if you
really want you can ask him how much is M$ paying companies like Blizzard
to _not_ release their games for linux - my suit mates play WoW a lot, and
one of them had the game crash, and the error he got was an assert
failure, and the path of the file was bla/bla/bla/linux/bla/bla/bla.c :).
As for drivers, does Windows even have support for infiniband ?

>  8   Installation / Uninstallation
>         This is in regards to both OS (including updates
>         and patches) and software, the difficulty level of
>         installation / uninstallation, and the user's experience.
>        [I've had some real screwed up windows installs and some
>         REAL SMOOTH Linux installs]

Like Dan said, I'll take a gentoo install over a windows any day.

I've installed 28 machines with Mandrake and the whole process took me
around 5 hours in total. The average is about 20-25mins/install and that
- - booting off a 9M image
- - installing everything over ftp
- - clicking next a couple of times
- - mounting 2 directories over nfs and run some scripts
- - reboot and have a working machine

I want to see Windows be able to do that. The install process is a lot
easier now for Linux, and at least Linux asks me where to install
LILO/Grub, not like Windows, where it obliterates it without even
_informing_ me of it.
I can install Linux on a 386. I can install a fully working Linux on a P2,
and it's not much slower than an XP on an Dual Opteron

I can uninstall ANY program I want, I can install which kernel I want. I
configured a Win2003 Server, and among the updates was DirectX - WHY do I
need that installed for a server? Try uninstalling it after that ...
Install a program. Then delete it manually. Then try going to the
Add/Remove Programs, and try uninstall - ~80% of the time you'll get
something along the lines: cannot uninstall - uninstall.exe not found, and
you'll never remove it from that list.

>  9   Portability
>         The versions of your OS available for handheld PCs.
>        [Again, I hear "Treo" and I think: "Father, Son, and Holy
>         Ghost".]
Don't have one, so I can't help you much there, sorry.

> The format of the debate will be as follows:
>     lead 3 minutes
>     follow 3 minutes
>     lead 1 minute rebuttal
>     follow 1 minute rebuttal
> We'll take turns leading and following.
> What I ask is if you have any insight, links, or other suggestions about
> one or more of the topics please post it here. As a debater I need to
> know, in particular, the strengths and weaknesses in our position and
> the strengths and weaknesses in the Microsoft/closed source position.
> I'll post my research as it develops over the next few days...
> Thanks for your help.
> Hope you can make it on the 19th.
> Remember, NO HECKLING! It's in the contract! :-)
> Eric
> --
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> #  Eric A Lucas                        |             __|__
> #   "Oh, I have slipped the surly bond |          *---oOo---*
> #    of earth and danced the skies on  |    __|__             __|__
> #    laughter-silvered wings...        | *---oOo---*       *---oOo---*
> #        -- John Gillespie Magee Jr.   |
> ___________________________________________________________________________
> Philadelphia Linux Users Group         --
> Announcements -
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I'll see you next Thu.
By the way, it's in University Crossings (32nd & JFK), room 153. If anyone
wants to come over earlier they can hang out in my office :)

- -Cos

- --
Cosmin Nicolaescu
Systems Administrator
Drexel University
Computer Science Department
University Crossings Rm. 135

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