lunes, 14 de junio de 2010

A couple of fallacies regarding Windows

Maybe these are the most common fallacies about Windows:

1.Windows is the best OS because it is the most popular.
This is an AD POPULUM Fallacy. First, being popular and being the best are not directly related. Besides, Windows is more widespread because it actively silences other systems by making deals with manufacturers so that they don't include other Operating Systems in the new computers.

2.Windows is the oldest OS, so it is the best.
This is a disguised POST HOC fallacy. Becoming old does not cause being better. Windows is old, but Windows versions differ among themselves and sometimes they barely resemble each other. Actually, each Windows version reaches approximately a 5-year life. Some people may claim now that Windows developers are highly experienced, but the experience or critical eye of an individual and of a company's team cannot be compared to that of many developers around the world. Linux, by being Open Source, lets any individual use his/her computer talent to detect and correct problems while Microsoft's products are the result of a reduced group of individuals in comparison.

3.Windows is better because it has the best compatibility.
Again, the problem here is that even though Windows has the best compatibility, such feature is the effect mostly of the restrictive policies that Microsoft has always applied in compliance with hardware manufacturers. The high compatibility level Windows always boasts of becomes the result of a POISONING THE WELL fallacy in the sense that other systems were not given the chance by manufacturers to prove their worth and were dismissed a priori. If hardware manufacturers indeed created drivers for all systems, Windows would not be any more compatible than other systems. Linux here actually does a good job because it tries to recognize as many devices as possible and runs devices even if their correspondent drivers are not installed

Why am I saying this? Simply because I took a poll about MEPIS Linux and realized that most of the respondents who use now MEPIS were, like I was, dissatisfied Windows users (39.32%). The total number of respondents to that poll is so far 1493, which is too little to draw global conclusions about Windows. However, Windows users should take into account that of 1493 people who are now using MEPIS Linux (a Linux distro not very famous,) 587 were not satisfied with Windows. That should call for a view of Windows with a more critical eye, even if you are one of the users who are totally satisfied with it. Let your satisfaction be the result of the system's performance and not of fallacious reasoning. Also, a bit of critical thinking is healthy and does not hurt.

On the other hand, dissatisfied Mac users were the fewest in the poll with a 0.27%. Another figure that called my attention was a 30.68% of users who are satisfied with their current distros, but out of curiosity tried MEPIS while a 26.26% did it because they were not satisfied with their distro. I will refer to that later.

28 comentarios:

  1. I was satisifed with Windows before touching Mandriva. How would the world be if all OSs had access to drivers?

    If Windows users knew that I could use a DVD writer for over a month in Linux and, when I tried to burn with it in Windows, the system told me it was dead. But, back in Linux, the burner would work normally... and all that without having to install ANY driver!

  2. Right. The same happened to me. My DVD burner had died in Windows and I didn't realize because Mepis Linux kept using it until the very end!

  3. Logan, R.
    I agree with the points you stated because I am one of those users who lives in the deserted island called Windows, the place where nothing else exists. My knowledge about the world of computers in general is reduced to the practical day-to-day usage of the office tools and Internet surfing, which has definitely influenced to my isolation from experiences different from the Windows environment. In fact, before reading this entry I would have chosen all of those fallacies to explain why I do not use Linux as my operating system. Although I am not fond of computers, my father happens to be a computer technician who had my sisters and I use Linux a couple of years ago; unfortunately, the experience turned out to be traumatizing for all the ones involved not for the switch of operating systems per se, but for the slow process of giving up to what we have always thought of as the almighty and only one system that Windows appears to be. While I found out that using Linux might be the solution to many of the headaches produced by using Windows, such as viruses attacking my computer and the corresponding expensive antivirus, I also have to admit that changing to Linux requires a process of re-education of the Windows average user.

  4. Totally true, Ronald Alonso. Linux has been a traumatizing experience for some. However, Linux has also evolved and has become much friendlier than the console-only OS it used to be. I chose Mepis precisely for that reason...I wanted to try Linux but was afraid of too much hassle. Mepis lived up to my expectations and has rescued the systems of a growing list of friends.

  5. Valerín, A.
    According to this publication, I totally agree with the fact that neither because Windows is “popular” nor the “oldest” is the best and definitely does not have the greatest compatibility. I have to acknowledge the fact that I have not been interested of getting to know other software because I was so comfortable with Windows, in other words, I had fallen into the darkness of this controlled universe. Furthermore, no more than two weeks ago my computer started to fail, office began to scroll messages like: “this program cannot open the file because of its extension”, in other words, piece by piece my laptop began to die. I’m not quite familiar with Operating systems, yet I know that unfortunately Microsoft owns my computer and if you do not register every single program you have online you are going to have problems. I asked a friend of mine to explain me a little bit further about Linux and its advantages for being free software, he told me that Linux represents more stable, open source software, so anyone who knows how to modify its code can easily arrange it to its own personal taste. In my opinion, it sounds tricky and people need to be train on how to manipulate it. As any other human being part of the masses I was a afraid of trying out this software which happens to be virus free not like Windows who is virus-FULL and I still am; nonetheless, I don’t dismiss the possibility of experiencing this new possibility and entering a whole different world: a virus-free world with no blue screens or messages telling you basically that someone else is controlling your computer. Finally, my computer is now running Windows 7 but my anti-virus program supposedly was working fine; however, my professor put my USB in his computer (that runs Linux) and surprise!!! There were viruses everywhere, besides my battery life dies surprisingly fast. In conclusion, Linux has opened my mind again; I need to see beyond the four color symbol and take a look at that funny penguin.

  6. Hi, Avalerin. I've read something about the issue of Win7 and the batteries before. It seems you are not the only user experiencing that problem.

    About stepping into the Linux world, as Logan and you said, re-education is the key. The good part is that the human brain is adaptable, but we have to fight off our fears and unfounded concerns first. One of the biggest problems/advantages of Linux is the great freedom it gives you. Alhough some people feel uncomfortable with a system that can be tweaked any way the user wants, I, for one, just love that. As you can see it in my previous posts, I've experimented quite a bit already and my system continues to be as stable as ever.

    When I see ads on TV of laptops with Win7 and the slogan "Now, the computer is really personal," I can't but laugh at them since those "really personal computers" don't even let you change the wallpaper! How personal is that?

  7. Ureña,M.
    I have to be honest and say that I use Windows Operating System. However, since I have been doing research on the topic looking for the advantages and disadvantages of both Windows OS and Linux, I agree with the fact that not because Windows is popular, the oldest, or has compatibility with different kinds of hardware is better than Linux. I am tired of the common “blue screens” of Windows and the huge quantity of viruses in my computer and USB driver (viruses that I did not even notice until my Professor checked my USB in his computer which operates Linux). Hence, as you pointed out, people have to be satisfied with their OS and do not make use of it merely because it is the most popular. In my case, I am willing to get trained in order to change my OS!!!

  8. Yes, it's very frustrating to know that not you, but somebody else has the control of your computer and you can't do anything about it. At least if I blow up my Linux system, I will know it was me who did it, haha!

  9. I can see the real issue with Microsoft they want Money not users; on the contrary, it seems to me that Linux prefers happy educated users than blind followers. Since I start doing research on this topic, something caught my attention: why does Windows keep on scaring its users with flawed systems? Well, the only answer I see is net business. In addition, Microsoft users no don’t try much to go out of the box of ignorance they are in, maybe because some of them (us) don’t really know about the other options. I think that if Microsoft could at least change its kernel, that could make it a fair competitor to Linux and a helpful, efficient, and easy system to its users. However, I see that option very far away from our reality. All those releases that Microsoft has done contain obstacles that diminish its popularity and effectiveness; for example, Windows Vista. They not only made it heavier for average computers but also annoying with all those questions; are you sure you want to erase this file? Do you really want to close this window? They treat their users as ignorant or confuse them with strange questions that lead to frustration. All I have learned is that we as computer users need to get informed and try to make the most of our computers. That is the only way to get out of the ignorance.

  10. Very well said, Elizondo K!

    I heard this from a technician; he said that thanks to Windows, he has a job and makes lots of money fixing computers. More Linux users will mean less broken systems, virus infections, and happier users, but happiness and economic interests are not compatible sometimes.

  11. Well, let me say that sometimes the fixes by technicians are plains STEALS! If only users had taken the time to get to know their system. I've heard that one techie formatted the HD of a colleague and charged a lot of money on account of a virus that messed up the was that the user had changed the resolution!

  12. Brenes, C.

    I profoundly agree with your point of view in the fact that Windows definitely silences other OS’s. The penguins are pushed to the corner by Windows’ bullies to quiet down and not boast about the very clear advantages that they present. Customers like me are bound to purchase a computer that includes Windows 7 Starter because of Windows totalitarianism. However, the fact that Microsoft has been creating operating systems for longer gives them a great lead over Linux. Buyers of operating systems are more likely to believe Microsoft and their million-dollar campaign than paying attention the geeky guy that backs up Linux’s OS. It is important to highlight the fact that you mentioned that Linux and Linux users are striving to come up with compatible systems which will allow the Linux communities to grow bigger. Moreover, the numbers you present are rather weak. As you stated 1493 people is indeed too little to draw global conclusions. Even in the country I live in, which is a little bit over 4 million inhabitants, 1493 is barely a relevant figure.

  13. Segura,H.
    I have to agree that Linux has more advantages for users than Windows. I recognize that I only “know” how to use Windows and I am not well informed about the operating systems. However, I can say that Windows never stops, it is always changing and there are no clear instructions to follow in order to protect the computer from viruses. In addition, Windows requires an expensive anti-virus to have the computer safe although it is difficult for people to buy a new anti-virus each certain period of time. So, it is false to conclude that Windows is the best only because of the amount of years that has been used and its popularity. Hence, I prefer to have a stable and trusty system rather than have a popular one.

  14. Even though Windows may be the most popular OS, it is not necessarily because of its quality. Viruses, spams, and hackers (just to name a few) prove that it is not as good as some people would think. I agree with the 39.32% of dissatisfied Windows users. I do not think Windows has the best compatibility because Linux, as you said, needs no additional software to make your hardware run (scanners, webcams, printer machines). A couple of years ago, it took me a whole week to download a program. When I finally opened it, I could say it was one of the worst days in my life. I was excited because my new program was completely downloaded, but, when I clicked “open” a trojan attacked my computer and shut down all the system. The story does not have a happy ending: I paid almost $50 for an antivirus. If I happened to know that Linux existed, I probably would have considered it as my OS. Two years later, I am still a Windows user. Nevertheless, as some users, I want to know how to use Linux.

  15. Hi Brenes C,

    Please take into account that the numbers I mentioned refer ONLY to the users of MEPIS Linux, my distro, which is far from being one of the most visible or recognized Linux flavors out there. If 39% migrated to an obscure Linux distro like Mepis, what could the phenomenon be for more popular ones like Ubuntu, Fedora, Linux Mint, OpenSuse, and Mandriva (the top five)? That's why I do consider those numbers relevant, even if not conclusive.

  16. To Brenes, C,

    Mandriva has more than 3 million users. That is practically ALL the the working people in Costa Rica, and this distro is ranked # 5 this month. What would happen if we added the figures for Ubuntu (#1), Fedora (#2), Mint (#3), and OpenSuse (#4)? And if we continued adding up all the distros to Mepis (#19)? Those numbers are certainly least for Microsoft, hahaha.

  17. Jiménez, M.
    I am tired of viruses and all the other flaws that Windows has, but I am still using it. I know many people who have the same problem... They hate their OS but they keep using it! Probably the answer lies in the fact that Windows represents for many users the first and only experience they have with OS, and they feel comfortable. I have been trying to convince my family that there are other options and that Linux is safer, but they still refuse to try it because they say Linux is unknown for them. People cetainly have to be re-educated. It is true that in some cases Linux does not seem very "friendly", but I think the learning experience is worthwhile.

  18. Learning makes us grow as human beings. Even if you don't think you will ever use the new knowledge, you may end up using it someday. So, if you feel curious about Linux, feel free to ask and to investigate. It does not matter if you plan to stick with Windows for the rest of your life; just learning about the penguin is worthwhile and who knows? It may save your data in an emergency!

  19. Hernández, S.

    Many of you comment on the negative effects that Windows have caused to our lives, especially to our computers, and I will not be the exception. Three months ago, I bought a computer Acer Aspire One. I did not know how to install anything, so I brought it to a friend of mine who is a computer engineer; he helped me out, and I was so happy with my new tool. As soon as he finished installing the programs, I asked him to change the wallpaper because I really like to make personal my own objects. Believe it or not, the operating system did not have the option to change the wallpaper because of the Windows it has installed, the famous “Windows Starter”. I had never heard of this new Windows until I purchased the computer. In my personal opinion, it is the worst Windows ever created! Even though many people do not care about using wallpaper in their desktop, I consider it represents part of my personality. Additionally, I had to install a program called Starter Wallpaper so that I can “personalize” the computer, but that was not what I expected to do when I bought my Acer Aspire One; it should have to be there ready to use! I was convinced to use Mandriva Linux, which allows me to work on different screams and obviously I can have different wallpapers of each scream! Moreover, I will get rid of viruses and boring blue screams.

  20. The idea of using a new operating system is really attractive for me. However, people should investigate more or at least being informed of the pros and cons of both systems, and decide which one really satisfies their own necessities. For instance, Linux does not have a company that supports its users, as Windows does. In addition, Linux is not easy to understand. I really have tried to understand it, but I think that I need to take more time in order to use it correctly. Would you buy a computer with a totally new OS? Do you have the time to start from zero with a new system? Would you make another investment in order to install a different operating system? These questions are hard to answer, but we are not satisfied with Windows. For that reason, we should take them into account.
    Moreover, it is true that each Windows version reaches approximately a 5-year life, and this is reproachable for sure. Nevertheless, Linux is an open code system, and this means that there are many versions of Linux. Some of them are: Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Fedora, OpenSuse, Mandriva. All these versions for a “newbie” like me, will give me a hard time trying to decide which version is the best. Also, it is true that Linux does a good job trying to recognize as many devices as possible, but this is not enough. For instance, “gamers” may find Linux as a really limited range. ( This is not my case).
    Consequently, we should be open minded, and look for other options. Windows has to improve a lot, as well as Linux, but it is important to be critical. Not to believe everything we are told to believe.

  21. Vargas, P.

    Honestly, I still am stuck to Windows; however, I do not think that this OS is the best option. How come I have not changed my OS even when it does not satisfy my expectations? Probably, the reason is that I am afraid of changing my current OS because Windows has been the only one I know since I was little. Some of you may remember the “famous program” that we had to use at school, the one with the turtle. From that moment onwards, Windows has carefully made its movements in order to familiarize everybody with its products so that everybody could embrace the idea that no OS is match for Windows. Nevertheless, we cannot leave out the problem with viruses and the expensive anti-virus that this company offers and that not everybody can afford. It may sound unbelievable, but this year happens to be the first time I have heard about Linux Operating System. I constantly hear some people saying that Linux is safer and that it does not have those irritating licenses. As a result, I am thinking that it is not late to learn about a different OS and then change the one I have right now; I prefer penguins rather than windows after all.

  22. Many people have felt cheated by Windows 7 Starter and its restrictions...and Microsoft even lifted some of their planned restrictions due to the outcry of their customers. Did you know that Win7 Starter originally was designed to allow only 3 tasks at a time? That meant that if you were typing on Word while listening to music on Media Player, you were allowed to use only 1 more program...let's say, Internet Exporer. If you wanted to open Messenger, you would not be permitted by the system. When people heard about that, they were so upset that made Microsoft lift that restriction!

  23. Maria Jose, you are right about games. Both Mac and Linux suck at games, but heavy gamers use gaming consoles nowadays. In my case, I prefer retro DOS games and most of them run fine on Linux.
    About your question about time for learning, let me tell you my own experience: it took much less time to start learning Mepis Linux than all the time I wasted formatting my hard drive and installing my favorite apps every 6 months or every year, when my XP started acting suspiciously.
    Installing XP: 1 hour
    Personalizing it: 1 hour
    Installing drivers and peripherals: 1 hour
    Testing drivers and peripherals: 1 hour
    Installing Antivirus and firewall: 30 mins
    Running Antivirus and anti-spyware: 1 hour
    Installing and configuring Office: 30 mins
    Installing my favorite software: 15 mins per program x 20 programs
    Configuring the network: 20 mins
    Downloading updates for programs: 30 mins
    Solving whatever unexpected problem Windows happened to give me: 30 mins (if lucky)
    Installing games: 10 mins per game x 10 games
    And I'm pretty sure I'm missing something!

    As you can see, those hours make up for a mini-course in whatever you want! :P If an old man like me could learn a new OS from zero, it would be shameful that young minds couldn't!

  24. Maria José: It is not entirely true that Linux is not backed up comercially (by a company): Ubuntu has Canonical, Mandriva has Mandriva, Mepis has Mepis LLC, among others. You are totally right about the many different Linux distros. I felt the same way when I decided to change the distro on my first Linux computer.

    María Fernanda: Sometimes it is difficult to break out from the paradigm. Take me, for instance. When I bought my Xandros Linux computer, I installed WinXP to it; however, it did not run smoothly because of the minimal metrics of the netbook. That was the reason why I decided to teach myself Linux...switching to Mandriva in a trial/error process. My brother got Mepis the same way.

    Silvia: You can have multiple desktops in most distros, I think. Feel free to try others and select your favorite one. However, if you choose Mepis or Mandriva, you have sure FREE help here!

    The beauty of Linux is that you can TRY without INSTALLING! You can learn a lot that way.

  25. I really want to change the Operating System, but I am conscious I have to learn... That is why I want to take advantage of the coming vacations: ). I agree with you in the fact that we can learn to use Linux; I have used Ubunto a couple of times, and it is pretty similar to windows. The only problem that I have had is when I save the documents because it has to be compatible with windows (in the case of group work). However, I am sure I will learn because I am traumatized with this horrible OS.

  26. Congratulations, Silvia...that's the spirit!
    You know, even if people use Windows, they should also learn how to use compatibility mode to prevent others from bumping their heads on the walls for not being able to open .docx files or so. In that sense, it is worse: users must learn about saving formats because Windows is not compatible with ITSELF. How does that sound?

    When Microsoft made the format change from .doc to .docx, they were expecting everyone to go running to buy Office 2007, but it didn't happen. Now with Office 2010 they are still trying to push their new format as a saving standard. I, for one, will offer as much resistance as I can.

  27. Este comentario ha sido eliminado por el autor.

  28. Count me in! This "You don't pay, you don't open the file" policy is frankly an expression of bullying. I simply refuse to discriminate on people who cannot buy the stupid new office suite...or don't want to. After all, if they paid for one product that does what you want, why paying more money for another to do the same thing?