Linux vs Windows vs Mac

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EvanED
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Re: Linux vs Windows vs Mac

Postby EvanED » Fri Jul 13, 2012 6:17 pm UTC

Max™ wrote:Libre Office, and yeah, Windows is just for people who want to play the newest games on a PC.

Oh come off it. Windows does a bunch of things better than Linux does; in fact, I'd go so far as to say that if I was in some hypothetical world where I could combine any kernel with any userland utilities and such and have a consistent system, I'd go with NT's kernel almost without a doubt. Surprisingly enough, IMO at that level MS is doing more interesting and innovative things than the Linux community is. (My typical -- and admittedly, best -- example of this is transactional NTFS.) It's some of the userland UI problems where Windows really starts to break down.

(POSIX/Unix does a rather better job with command line utilities and shells than cmd and related utilities, but that's saying very little: IMO the POSIX command line is merely "awful" while the Windows one is "really awful". Even there, Powershell is more exciting than anything in the semi-mainstream of Linux even though it still has problems. In the GUI world, I view things as pretty similar between the two systems except for two critical things: first, Linux WMs have better virtual desktop support (you can add desktops with third party programs like Dexpot that work pretty well, but not completely wondefully); second, Linux has several tiling WMs, which I've come to really really like. For Joe User I think the differences are much less, but for me there's a clear win on the Linux side.)

Max™ wrote:Your software is not necessarily the original, despite apples claims to have invented everything patentable under the sun, in fact they did not do that. I've used many of the programs linked in there, but my point was just that in fact there are alternatives which will do the same thing any "OS X only" program does.

Perhaps only in the sense that Impress does the same thing as PowerPoint. It's kinda true, but it doesn't mean it does a good -- or even acceptable -- job at it. For example, I think the relationship may be similar between Keynote and PPT. (I really need to give Keynote a real try one of these days.)

Max™ wrote:Well, remember, I'm allergic to MS and Apple, so CodeKit isn't an alternative to me, though I'm sure I could get it going if I really tried, it's not worth it when I could just use Scout or Compass or whatnot.

If you don't want to use things that's great in your choice, but you can't pretend that there's a good Linux choice for everything out there. (E.g. my own story is I spent some time evaluating a bunch of photo management software for both Linux and Windows. I wound up buying Lightroom (admittedly -- student pricing) because it was that much better than anything I tried. Digikam I think had a couple neat features that Lightroom lacked, but it didn't make up for Lightroom's significantly better UI and other features.)

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Re: Linux vs Windows vs Mac

Postby Arariel » Fri Jul 13, 2012 8:24 pm UTC

EvanED wrote:And yum whatever doesn't?


yum repolist is certainly easier and more intuitive than knowing where my config files are.

Because if I want to install 10 packages, I don't want to enter one command, wait 30 seconds, enter another command, wait 30 seconds, etc. and would rather select all 10 packages at once, hit install, and walk away for 5 minutes?

But it's good that there's a way to do it.


The other method is to use bash to queue the installations.

How good of that to be discoverable. Oh, wait, it isn't. And it's still not as good for quick scanning as a progress bar, especially as I bet whatever mplayer front end I had will do all those things anyway.


What do you mean by discoverable? It's in the man pages, isn't it? The terminal lists time progress (with per cent if you move forwards or back), and the video will have a progress bar when you move.

Huh?

Most file managers allow you to change the default program to open a file by opening a new terminal with the program. So you can change mp3s to open mplayer, or plaintexts to open vim.

Depending on what you mean by integrated, it hasn't been integrated in ages. (And also depending on what you mean by "IE".) Vista made some strides in this, but even in XP I wouldn't call it integrated.


As in, Microsoft couldn't/wouldn't allow it to be removed. Apparently removing IE could break stuff.

If Android is, Windows Embedded sure the hell can be. If you get the right version, you can run any Windows program (well, any that doesn't explicitly check what version of Windows it's running on and deliberately quit for no good reason) on it. Check all the boxes, while I'm not 100% positive, I think that you wind up basically with Win7. (Some things like Aero may not be available for Embedded.


Android can run on x86 PCs, and in the mean time, I'm pretty sure you can't put an embedded system on a personal computer.

Granted, I'm picking nits here -- it's not like Windows Embedded is really available to consumers, and removing the print spooler from consumer Windows is probably hard or impossible. But, I still agree with KnightExemplar: if you're talking average user, system-level software like CUPS isn't all that much better. The fact that I can replace CUPS doesn't matter if I'm running it when there's a zero-day. It's not like it wasn't patched.


I'm making a point about terminology: GNU is a bunch of tools and utilities, and Linux is a kernel. Nothing more than that. You can say the vast majority GNU/Linux distros are affected by a CUPS vulnerability, but you can't say CUPS itself is a GNU/Linux vulnerability.

And beyond that; even I don't know what the alternatives are, though I'm sure I could find out if I really wanted.


Well, basically whatever they used before CUPS became popular:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berkeley_printing_system
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lprng
And a more recent one http://pdq.sourceforge.net/


It's like xorg. Sure, if there's a vulnerability in xorg it's not technically Linux's fault... but it'll still affect virtually everyone running Linux. CUPS is just a somewhat less drastic version of it.

Soon to be not be true any more. :D

Why not just set up a search from your browser's address bar? You could just type yt whatever into your address bar and it would come up?


Because I'm more proficient with bash than I am with Firefox (what can I say? The man page is really short)

You also get a much faster drive. Granted, it's a tradeoff, but don't act like the Macbook Pro's drive is unquestionably better.


MacBook Pro gets the same drive as the Dell. MacBook Air OTOH has flash storage, but only 64 GB for the cheapest at $1000.

In my experience Dell's build quality is not very good. Of course it's cheaper.

I've had fairly good experience with them. But this Lenovo at $540 is even better (subtract $100-200 for Windows refund):
Up to 3rd Gen Intel® Core™ i7-3612QM processor
Intel® HD graphics
Up to 8GB DDR3 memory
Up to 750GB hard drive
14.0" HD LED widescreen display

the Transformer Prime is only 10% cheaper than the iPad

It's a KDE tablet. :D About half the cost of the most recent iPad.

EDIT: Not to mention the recently released Nexus 7, and the Kindle Fire.

and no one has released a real alternative to any iPod that comes with the same feature set

Is there really a point when smart phones can do everything an iPod can do anyway?

Steax wrote:No, about your link on Apple support. I've heard for better support from more people, and directly, too.

He won a small-claims lawsuit against Apple because of crappy support (or more like no support whatsoever) on a well-documented problem. If it weren't true, Apple could sue under libel laws.

Anyway, that's just one case. I've also heard of people denied service because dem Apple clerks don't take too kindly to those folks who speak terrist Iranian, y'know.

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Re: Linux vs Windows vs Mac

Postby Copper Bezel » Fri Jul 13, 2012 9:37 pm UTC

The Vivaldi is a $200 tablet because it's a $200 tablet. It's not an equivalent to the iPad in any sense, and I doubt it'll be a functional equivalent to the Kindle Fire or the Google / Asus Nexus 7. Asus being the folks also selling the Transformer at the iPad's price bracket, because more glass costs more.

As for the iPod, no, there really isn't a point. Certainly not when it's also a $200 WiFi tablet. They're meant for kids and other folks who can't afford a phone contract. Just a thing that Apple sells that no one is undercutting their prices on.

Max™, I assumed that your picture was current and was baffled when I found that all the current Vaios are hideous brick-things. The one you posted was from 2004? Seriously? How is that even possible? In any case, it has nothing to do with "ultrabooks" or Apple in that case. (Is it supposed to resemble the Air? (Edit: Or rather, do you mean that the Air resembles it?) I don't see it. Actually, it kinda kills the Air with a bent spoon and a damp dishrag, there.)

Edit:

And I don't mean to smack down the Vivaldi, either. I really considered getting one when they were announced. I ended up waiting and then deciding on the Nexus 7 instead, but Vivaldi looks like a very fun toy. It's just not related to the iPad / Transformer / Surface device class.

I also don't mean to say that Apple comes up with all of their own ideas and invented the idea of tablet computers or very thin laptops. I mean that when Apple does things, other companies take them as things worth doing, and the ultrabook class exists to compete with the Air; it wouldn't exist and be defined the way it is if not for the Air. But all of that was tangentially related to the point that the Air is not overpriced for the perfectly typical ultrabook that it is, which was a thing earlier and the only reason I brought any of it up.

Also, I'll make a correction on my previous statement that I'd prefer a Zenbook or Series 9 to the Air. I apparently also prefer the Dell XPS 13 to any of them, design-wise, after having a chance to mess with one today, and have developed some misgivings toward the Zenbook, for what it's worth. But again, putting the marketing aside and looking at the devices, the Air is just one of the pack.
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Re: Linux vs Windows vs Mac

Postby Arariel » Fri Jul 13, 2012 10:05 pm UTC

Copper Bezel wrote:The Vivaldi is a $200 tablet because it's a $200 tablet. It's not an equivalent to the iPad in any sense, and I doubt it'll be a functional equivalent to the Kindle Fire or the Google / Asus Nexus 7. Asus being the folks also selling the Transformer at the iPad's price bracket, because more glass costs more.


200 Euro, actually. :P Anyway, maybe (why is it not a functional equivalent to the Kindle Fire or Nexus 7?). Also, where are you getting the Transformer is in the iPad's price bracket? The Infinity, maybe, but the one released in May is much cheaper: https://www.google.com/search?q=asus+tr ... 00&bih=714

According to Amazon, the 32 GB model is just $350, which is $250 cheaper than the iPad.

As for the iPod, no, there really isn't a point. Certainly not when it's also a $200 WiFi tablet. They're meant for kids and other folks who can't afford a phone contract. Just a thing that Apple sells that no one is undercutting their prices on.


You know you can pay cash for Android phones, right? And you don't need a data plan to use it. There aren't that many people these days who don't have a cell phone at all because they can't afford one (or one for their children for the same reason) but can mysteriously afford to get an iPod for their kid.

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Re: Linux vs Windows vs Mac

Postby Max™ » Fri Jul 13, 2012 10:57 pm UTC

EvanED wrote:(My typical -- and admittedly, best -- example of this is transactional NTFS.) It's some of the userland UI problems where Windows really starts to break down.

Well that's getting into file systems, not kernels, and I suppose I could sing the praises of Btrfs in contrast, but I think that is too nerdy even for this forum. :P


Also: yeah CB, I was surprised to see the Vaio devolve, I'd have expected a razorblade with a keyboard and a screen by now.
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Re: Linux vs Windows vs Mac

Postby Copper Bezel » Fri Jul 13, 2012 11:57 pm UTC

The one difference from Windows that struck me from my first try at Ubuntu, and that still I can't get over, is that bit where the Windows UI stops responding because a particular application is busy. I mean, in Ubuntu, I can get stutter, I can get sluggish and delayed responses, but I don't get full-on can't-be-arsed mode where moving and switching windows doesn't happen until a particular app is done doing whatever it's doing. And then there's the update handling, which is bizarrely what caused me to switch in the first place. So yeah, when I think of things I don't want to put up with in Windows, they're comfortably in the "userland problems" category, and what filesystem or whatnot is involved underneath doesn't really come to mind.

I guess the Vaio isn't that ugly, now, but it's really weird that they wouldn't call back to the X505 now that "thin is in" and they're using the ultrabook term. They're also presently selling tablets in flippantly impractical shapes that make the X505 look tame. Really weird.

Arariel - yeah, I meant the Transformer Prime, rather than the original Transformer. That's the recently released one, though, and it really is $499 at Amazon, though it can be had for $450. Here. There's a $400 listing on Google's list, but it's fake.

As for Vivaldi - the Vivaldi's hardware base with Android is cheaper than the Vivaldi itself, presumably because you're paying for the development that's going into getting it running Plasma Active. It's not equivalent, specwise, with the Nexus 7 - lower display res, slower processor, etc. Plasma Active is also a work in progress and doesn't have the application base, at least for now. Also, both the Nexus 7 and the Kindle Fire are selling on their content stores, and the Vivaldi doesn't have anything like that. So I don't see it as quite a functional equivalent.

A fair point regarding iPods and deactivated phones, though.
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Re: Linux vs Windows vs Mac

Postby EvanED » Sat Jul 14, 2012 12:34 am UTC

Arariel wrote:yum repolist is certainly easier and more intuitive than knowing where my config files are.

Eh, I'm not so sure. /etc/apt is an easy guess, and from there you just need tab completion. At least without quite fancy tab completion (which I don't have enabled on all of my systems and I think I actually don't even really like when it is), you can't even use tab completion to help with yours.

What do you mean by discoverable? It's in the man pages, isn't it?

I mean "you can discover by looking at and playing with the program." I'm sure I found the left/right control, but maybe not up/down or pgup/pgdown. I did discover that the scroll wheel seems to seek through the song IIRC.

Most file managers allow you to change the default program to open a file by opening a new terminal with the program. So you can change mp3s to open mplayer, or plaintexts to open vim.

That's different from having a playlist that you can populate via an open dialog.

There's probably a way to say "mplayer, if there's no mplayer process already running then start one and play this file, otherwise enque this file in the playlist of the existing process", but the man page is 154 pages and I'm not about to go read it. It's possible than --enqueue does that, but the description in the manpage certainly doesn't say so and I'm in Windows now so can't test. I'll just take a media player that I can, you know, hit ctrl-o and then pick the files I want.

As in, Microsoft couldn't/wouldn't allow it to be removed. Apparently removing IE could break stuff.

While I've never tried it, my impression is you can remove IE proper; this may be true in XP as well. You probably can't remove the Trident engine though, because that is (entirely reasonably) used in other parts of the system.

Android can run on x86 PCs, and in the mean time, I'm pretty sure you can't put an embedded system on a personal computer.

I've fucking done it. Get over the "Embedded" name. Here's what Wikipedia says about Windows Embedded Standard: "Windows Embedded Standard (2009) is the updated version of Windows XP Embedded, the fully componentized version of Windows XP Professional and the successor to Windows NT 4.0 Embedded. It provides the full Win32 API and is available for x86 processors."

I'm making a point about terminology: GNU is a bunch of tools and utilities, and Linux is a kernel. Nothing more than that. You can say the vast majority GNU/Linux distros are affected by a CUPS vulnerability, but you can't say CUPS itself is a GNU/Linux vulnerability.

Yes, but that's just arguing naming. To most users, the fact that CUPS isn't part of GNU/Linux in the strictest sense is irrelevant. It's basically system-level software that is as much or more a part of the system than, say, Bash. And if you want to go down that road, you could argue that "Windows is way more featureful than GNU/Linux so it's unsurprising that it has more vulnerabilities because it has a bigger attack surface" and be basically completely grounded. I mean, I'd argue that if you want to go down that road, GNU/Linux doesn't even have a GUI! So how's that supposed to be usable by your typical user?

You also get a much faster drive. Granted, it's a tradeoff, but don't act like the Macbook Pro's drive is unquestionably better.


MacBook Pro gets the same drive as the Dell. MacBook Air OTOH has flash storage, but only 64 GB for the cheapest at $1000.

Sorry, I meant to say the Air's, as in the Air's drive is by no means unquestionably inferion.

In my experience Dell's build quality is not very good. Of course it's cheaper.

I've had fairly good experience with them. But this Lenovo at $540 is even better (subtract $100-200 for Windows refund):
Up to 3rd Gen Intel® Core™ i7-3612QM processor
Intel® HD graphics
Up to 8GB DDR3 memory
Up to 750GB hard drive
14.0" HD LED widescreen display[/quote]
Care to link to the one you quoted? Because I did a Lenovo comparison and came out with a margin that was rather smaller. But I went with a 12.5" Lenovo vs the 13" Macbook Pro. (That's about what I have now and I'm basically certain I like it more than I would a larger version.)

Copper Bezel wrote:I mean that when Apple does things, other companies take them as things worth doing, and the ultrabook class exists to compete with the Air; it wouldn't exist and be defined the way it is if not for the Air.

I'm not convinced that's the case. For instance, I see the Air as being heavily influenced* by netbooks, and the Asus Eeee's availability predated the Air's announcement by months. I'm not going to say the PC manufacturers didn't respond to the Air, but it's entirely possible that they would have gotten there anyway.

* Actually I think the time gap is probably too small to have been Apple pulling the me-too trick; more like both developments happened at similar times. But my point remains: ultrabooks have a ton in common with netbooks, and that lineage isn't from Apple's influence.

Max™ wrote:
EvanED wrote:(My typical -- and admittedly, best -- example of this is transactional NTFS.) It's some of the userland UI problems where Windows really starts to break down.

Well that's getting into file systems, not kernels, and I suppose I could sing the praises of Btrfs in contrast, but I think that is too nerdy even for this forum. :P

I don't want to dis Btrfs too much (though I will happily trash their xattr support if you'd like :-p) because I'm really happy to see some of its features gaining use, but I don't view it as being very innovative. ZFS is what you'd really want to point at to argue my assertion, and from a systems-agnostic point of view I still view it as a better file system than Btrfs.

Copper Bezel wrote:The one difference from Windows that struck me from my first try at Ubuntu, and that still I can't get over, is that bit where the Windows UI stops responding because a particular application is busy.

The whose-a-whats now? I'll be honest: that never happens to me, with the exception of when the system starts thrashing (when it does start behaving far worse than Linux; I have revived a heavily-paging Linux system a few times, but on Windows I usually just give up. Fortunately, this almost never happens anyway).

So yeah, when I think of things I don't want to put up with in Windows, they're comfortably in the "userland problems" category, and what filesystem or whatnot is involved underneath doesn't really come to mind.

I'll agree that it doesn't have much of a user-visible effect. It's more a comment on the internals. For instance, it really hurts when I see someone say that MS should pull an Apple and replace the NT kernel with BSD. It's the NT kernel that's in some ways the best part of Windows (though not without many faults) and in many ways technically superior to Unices. furthermore, everyone always complains (very legitimately, I'll add) about the Windows monoculture when it comes to viruses and such -- but I think equally as dangerous is what I might call the "Unix monoculture" in terms of ideas of how OSs and system software should work and be built. Since such a huge percentage of CS people become fans of Unices, it can be hard to break the orthodoxy (especially in cases where breaking the orthodoxy requires, say, contravening POSIX -- e.g. in the case of a wicked awesome Reiser4 feature being a contributor to why Reiser4 wasn't accepted to the Linux kernel). Between things like transactional NTFS and PowerShell, I actually view MS as being the biggest innovator at the moment in commercial system software outside the world of the GUI shell.

(Rob Pike has a good talk where he discusses the Unix orthodoxy somewhat (unfortunately I've only been able to find notes, but they do somewhat stand on their own). His notes didn't convince me or tell me there's a problem, but they did help a lot with my ability to articulate it.)

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Re: Linux vs Windows vs Mac

Postby Steax » Sat Jul 14, 2012 1:50 am UTC

I think the ultrabook was the natural extension of the netbook. The netbook failed to get full-on widespread support because it was a rather geeky thing, plasticky and unattractive, and people often referred to it as "less powerful" (which is fair) than full-on laptops. So Apple came along with their usual reductionist design, threw in high-range components, and marketed it as even better than their MacBook Pro line. That bought public interest and it seems that the Air is still winning.

I do, however, think it's fair to say that Ultrabooks have a clear connection with the Air. Ultrabooks are, after all, a standard made by Intel, and if you look at the requirements, it's clear that all of almost all hardware requirements have ties with what the Air changed in the first place:


  • a maximum thickness
  • fast connectivity (Ultrabooks came out in 2011, when Thunderbolt got into the Air)
  • fast booting (practically implying a SSD)
  • minimum storage transfer rate (again, a SSD)
  • a tiny minimum storage space, practically defining it as a SSD
  • high battery life

I can't figure out what the first laptop ever to use a SSD was, but I recall the Air being one of the earliest. It's just quite clear to me that the Ultrabook requirements are in direct competition to the Air.
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Re: Linux vs Windows vs Mac

Postby Copper Bezel » Sat Jul 14, 2012 4:41 am UTC

I'd agree, but I actually do think that we would have got there eventually, like EvanED says, without the Air. The netbook reflects a trend toward portability over horsepower, and I think that's because we reached a point where even low-end machines had enough power and storage for average users. If the pricey machines couldn't sell to non-geeks on numbers alone, something else had to become the new selling point. The netbook reflects that same situation in which cycles are cheap and distinguishing a product takes something else, but it's a different strategy.

The "something else" to distinguish an expensive notebook did end up being more or less dictated point-for-point by the Air, and Intel's bullet points are Jobs' bullet points from 2008. But if we're removing the Air from history, does that mean we're removing the iPad, too? I mean, flash memory, thin form factors, long battery life, that's all the stuff that mobile devices are made of, the stuff computers learned from being phones, stuff that's less universal in netbooks. And the iPhone was released before the Air.

Then there's the fact that the ultrabook thing is Intel's pitch, and Intel's 2012, not 2008, pitch. What's changed and what threatens Intel is ARM tablets, not the Air, which is using Intel chips in the first place. So I think that without the Air, we'd still presumably have full-size notebooks trying to shuck off the pounds and prioritize design, both because those things are what they have left to distinguish themselves from each other and to compete with ARM-based tablets.

So where are netbooks in all of that? The 2008 Air didn't come in the 11.6" size, just the 13", so it compressed thickness instead of overall dimensions. Netbooks weren't noted for being thinner. Both form factors are lighter than traditional laptops, but only one of them looks like two tablets having sex. So I agree that the trend toward portability over power was there and that netbooks reflect it in the same way that both ultrabooks and tablets do, but I don't think netbooks were really any kind of catalyst for either thing, just another result of the same factors.

The whose-a-whats now? I'll be honest: that never happens to me, with the exception of when the system starts thrashing

I don't know, I might be oversimplifying. I know that if I use Internet Explorer and open a document file from the browser, I can't interact with the window until Word launches. And yeah, there are the serious crashes, too, but I'm talking about hiccups in ordinary use that don't result from an error. I assumed it had something to do with the abstraction between the window manager and application being different in Windows.

(Reading the thing from Rob Pike now.)
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Re: Linux vs Windows vs Mac

Postby Steax » Sat Jul 14, 2012 4:51 am UTC

I do agree. I did say they're the natural extension of the Notebook, and I said that the Ultrabook is competing/has ties with the Air, not that they're some sort of me-too move by Intel and the others.
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Re: Linux vs Windows vs Mac

Postby EvanED » Sat Jul 14, 2012 8:23 am UTC

Copper Bezel wrote:The "something else" to distinguish an expensive notebook did end up being more or less dictated point-for-point by the Air, and Intel's bullet points are Jobs' bullet points from 2008

I don't want to dispute that the ultrabook classification and some of its points are, uh, heavily inspired by the Air. What I'm arguing is that I think PC manufactures would still be selling things now which would be ultrabook-like even had the Air not been released.

But if we're removing the Air from history, does that mean we're removing the iPad, too? I mean, flash memory, thin form factors, long battery life, that's all the stuff that mobile devices are made of, the stuff computers learned from being phones, stuff that's less universal in netbooks. And the iPhone was released before the Air.

The iPhone was, but the iPad wasn't, not by a longshot. I don't think that's very relevant to this discussion at all. As for the iPhone, thin form factors, SSDs, and long battery life were also on the radar for laptop manufacturers reasons that I think you don't have to trace through the smartphone, and you definitely don't have to trace through the iPhone. The Vaio image Max linked illustrates the first point and the Samsung Q30-SSD proves the second. Both were shipped before the iPhone was announced. As for battery life, that's obviously something that has always been a concern for laptops.

Face it: Apple's primary strengths are in putting together very well-built systems from a design perspective (both the physical and virtual UI) and, sometimes, pushing existing ideas to extremes (e.g. in the retina display and pushing the Air's (somewhat absurd, IMO) thinness further than others did). But really, aside from arguably the iPad, really very little they've done is truly revolutionary from a "we were here first" perspective.

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Re: Linux vs Windows vs Mac

Postby Steax » Sat Jul 14, 2012 10:06 am UTC

I don't disagree, they're very rarely the first in anything. They just design it differently and market it towards the right people. I'd say the iPhone was their second most important invention after the iPad, though. And it wasn't about the phone itself, but the app store. The moment small developers realized they could now market single-tap-buy applications to a large audience, all hell broke loose. Apple took out the most difficult parts of selling software - sealing the deal and ensuring (for the most part) that users don't get hurt by the app - and made it profitable to sell software at low prices. The idea took off, and people are now happy to make microtransactions for all sorts of things across the internet. It's still likely Apple's biggest leverage: people using their hardware pretty much do it for the apps, anyway (lock-in debates aside). Stability, battery life, thickness, all that is secondary to the apps.

Which is why it's hard to convince someone to move away from their iPhone/iPad when they have an application that means a lot to them. Same goes for Mac, actually.

I'm pretty sure the iPhone was also one of the first successful fully-touchscreen devices. Was there a no-stylus palm pilot or something?
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Re: Linux vs Windows vs Mac

Postby Max™ » Sat Jul 14, 2012 10:13 am UTC

I think the ipod touch has that claim, and the app store is indeed the big revolutionary bit, though I am loathe to give respect to such extreme consumerism, it was still a very big win for them.
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Re: Linux vs Windows vs Mac

Postby Copper Bezel » Sat Jul 14, 2012 2:52 pm UTC

iPod Touch was always the iPhone without a phone. They were both announced in the same event.

EvanED wrote:The iPhone was, but the iPad wasn't, not by a longshot. I don't think that's very relevant to this discussion at all. As for the iPhone, thin form factors, SSDs, and long battery life were also on the radar for laptop manufacturers reasons that I think you don't have to trace through the smartphone, and you definitely don't have to trace through the iPhone. The Vaio image Max linked illustrates the first point and the Samsung Q30-SSD proves the second. Both were shipped before the iPhone was announced. As for battery life, that's obviously something that has always been a concern for laptops.

Face it: Apple's primary strengths are in putting together very well-built systems from a design perspective (both the physical and virtual UI) and, sometimes, pushing existing ideas to extremes (e.g. in the retina display and pushing the Air's (somewhat absurd, IMO) thinness further than others did). But really, aside from arguably the iPad, really very little they've done is truly revolutionary from a "we were here first" perspective.

I agree with the second paragraph more than the first. I didn't mean to imply that Apple invented thin computers. What they did was to fetishize them enough to make that the agenda for high-end models.

I agree that the iPhone is mostly irrelevant to the discussion of the Air; I do think that tablets are a huge part of the reason for the current ultrabook kick, and you don't get to iPad without iPhone, so it bore mention. If anything was the inevitable course of a product's evolution, it's tablets from smart phones (whether or not Apple had to be involved, although the iPhone really was fairly unique. And yeah, I admit that since the original iPhone brings the pure touch screen interface to smart phones, but not the general-purpose OS, which wasn't a thing in 2007, the phone itself is beside the point.)

But to your other point - yeah, no, I wasn't claiming that Apple has any unique and original conceptual contribution here. I really wasn't. I guess I could have been clearer in that post - when Apple markets an idea, other manufacturers pick it up, so they're really good at creating markets for these ideas, which is why the ultrabook looks like the Air. I was also arguing that the ultrabook, despite being the Air, is really at least as much in response to tablets as it is to the Air, and that any contribution from netbooks is negligible.

And the app store thing is another topic entirely. I don't think it has any bearing on any of this. It's something I would like to give Apple some credit for, because repos are better than bits-in-boxes and Apple found a way to make them sexy.
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Re: Linux vs Windows vs Mac

Postby Arariel » Sun Jul 15, 2012 5:56 am UTC

Copper Bezel wrote:Arariel - yeah, I meant the Transformer Prime, rather than the original Transformer. That's the recently released one, though, and it really is $499 at Amazon, though it can be had for $450. Here. There's a $400 listing on Google's list, but it's fake.

As for Vivaldi - the Vivaldi's hardware base with Android is cheaper than the Vivaldi itself, presumably because you're paying for the development that's going into getting it running Plasma Active. It's not equivalent, specwise, with the Nexus 7 - lower display res, slower processor, etc. Plasma Active is also a work in progress and doesn't have the application base, at least for now. Also, both the Nexus 7 and the Kindle Fire are selling on their content stores, and the Vivaldi doesn't have anything like that. So I don't see it as quite a functional equivalent.

A fair point regarding iPods and deactivated phones, though.


That's the Transformer Prime Infinity. The Transformer Prime from May is much cheaper.

EvanED wrote:Eh, I'm not so sure. /etc/apt is an easy guess, and from there you just need tab completion. At least without quite fancy tab completion (which I don't have enabled on all of my systems and I think I actually don't even really like when it is), you can't even use tab completion to help with yours.


Tab completion works for yum commands, and also for installations and removals.

I mean "you can discover by looking at and playing with the program." I'm sure I found the left/right control, but maybe not up/down or pgup/pgdown. I did discover that the scroll wheel seems to seek through the song IIRC.


RTFM? :P

That's different from having a playlist that you can populate via an open dialog.

There's probably a way to say "mplayer, if there's no mplayer process already running then start one and play this file, otherwise enque this file in the playlist of the existing process", but the man page is 154 pages and I'm not about to go read it. It's possible than --enqueue does that, but the description in the manpage certainly doesn't say so and I'm in Windows now so can't test. I'll just take a media player that I can, you know, hit ctrl-o and then pick the files I want.


I'm pretty sure, but I'll test that later.

While I've never tried it, my impression is you can remove IE proper; this may be true in XP as well. You probably can't remove the Trident engine though, because that is (entirely reasonably) used in other parts of the system.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Removal_of ... t_Explorer
Only since 'build 7048 of Windows 7'.

I've fucking done it. Get over the "Embedded" name. Here's what Wikipedia says about Windows Embedded Standard: "Windows Embedded Standard (2009) is the updated version of Windows XP Embedded, the fully componentized version of Windows XP Professional and the successor to Windows NT 4.0 Embedded. It provides the full Win32 API and is available for x86 processors."


Huh. What exactly is the difference between Windows Embedded and Windows proper, then, and why can't parts of Windows proper simply be removed in that case?

Yes, but that's just arguing naming. To most users, the fact that CUPS isn't part of GNU/Linux in the strictest sense is irrelevant. It's basically system-level software that is as much or more a part of the system than, say, Bash. And if you want to go down that road, you could argue that "Windows is way more featureful than GNU/Linux so it's unsurprising that it has more vulnerabilities because it has a bigger attack surface" and be basically completely grounded. I mean, I'd argue that if you want to go down that road, GNU/Linux doesn't even have a GUI! So how's that supposed to be usable by your typical user?


Because again, it's really not the only printing system. True, it may be the most popular by a long shot, but definitely not the only one.

Care to link to the one you quoted? Because I did a Lenovo comparison and came out with a margin that was rather smaller. But I went with a 12.5" Lenovo vs the 13" Macbook Pro. (That's about what I have now and I'm basically certain I like it more than I would a larger version.)


Apologies, misread the 'up to'. But specs approximately equal to the Pro at $550: http://shop.lenovo.com/SEUILibrary/cont ... ction=init (Add $10 for 500 GB at 5400rpm, the same as the Pro)

Steax wrote:I'm pretty sure the iPhone was also one of the first successful fully-touchscreen devices. Was there a no-stylus palm pilot or something?


The first successful one, possibly. But then there's this from 2002:
Image
which was the first of HTC's Xda line.

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Re: Linux vs Windows vs Mac

Postby EvanED » Sun Jul 15, 2012 7:36 am UTC

Arariel wrote:Tab completion works for yum commands, and also for installations and removals.

If you install bash-completion or the equivalent. Personally, as nice as it is sometimes, I find that it's a mixed bag: when using my Ubuntu system (which apparently has bash-completion installed by default), I sometimes feel that it gets things wrong and fails to tab complete files often enough that it's not worth it.

Next time that happens to me I'll try to make a note of it and post.

RTFM? :P

Which is better: spending time to RTFM (which I'll point out for mplayer is 154 pages, though admittedly the key bindings are right up top) or not having to RTFM because things already work as you expect?

Huh. What exactly is the difference between Windows Embedded and Windows proper, then, and why can't parts of Windows proper simply be removed in that case?

Basically Windows embedded isn't intended for average consumers. You have to use a tool to select which features you want (and in particular, figure out what features you need or things fail to work and blue screen and such without much explanation as to why or what's missing or how to fix it), use that to build an image, then install it.

Because again, it's really not the only printing system. True, it may be the most popular by a long shot, but definitely not the only one.

I know, but what I'm saying is that doesn't matter! Many to most people have to choose one or the other. Maybe this vulnerability is in CUPS and I've avoided it by picking lprng or whatever, but if the next vulnerability is in lprng, big whoop, I've still lost.

How am I supposed to pick one? Is CUPS widely viewed as being insecure? (And if so, why's it default in, say, Ubuntu?) Are there more secure ones? Will I keep all the features and printer support through CUPS with the alternatives? These are questions that even I don't have the answer to.

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Re: Linux vs Windows vs Mac

Postby Steax » Sun Jul 15, 2012 7:43 am UTC

Every time I see "RTFM" I read it as "we've invested poorly in our program's usability, but we'll blame you anyway."
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Re: Linux vs Windows vs Mac

Postby EvanED » Sun Jul 15, 2012 8:18 am UTC

Steax wrote:Every time I see "RTFM" I read it as "we've invested poorly in our program's usability, but we'll blame you anyway."

Well, to be fair: it's primarily geared toward the command line without an explicit GUI. Once you make that decision, it's somewhere between "very difficult" and "impossible" to make it usable without RingTFM. As is evident before, I disagree with that choice for something like mplayer, but it's at least not a totally wacky, unsupportable decision.

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Re: Linux vs Windows vs Mac

Postby Steax » Sun Jul 15, 2012 8:21 am UTC

Which is, basically, why I use GUIs. =p

... But that's for another discussion.

Also, yes, the App Store is another topic. But I do think that was the key turning point, because it got Apple developers, and that was the start of their own market.
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Re: Linux vs Windows vs Mac

Postby Iranon » Sun Jul 15, 2012 12:08 pm UTC

Steax wrote:Every time I see "RTFM" I read it as "we've invested poorly in our program's usability, but we'll blame you anyway."


Depends entirely on the user. My idea of usability is "make the low-level stuff accessible".
Quality documentation, extensively commented configuration files, GUIs with strong CLI integration in case I want to do something the makers didn't consider important, emphasis on clarity over friendliness.
If something is featureful and open-ended enough, one won't get full use out of it without the manual anyway.

It ought to be possible to keep something nerd-friendly and casual-user-friendly at the same time, but nobody ever tries.

*

My biggest usability annoyances come from attempts to make things more user-friendly. "Just works... except when it doesn't in which case you have to wriggle through a mess the end user was never expected to see".
Organising things for the 'average user' when this obfuscates things (most users just want to turn things pink, so let's require people to click on something 'change my colour scheme' on the way to unrelated tweaks that actually affect productivity).
Trying to make my life easier with automagical behaviour that introduces jarring inconsistencies until I figured out what the heck is going on... and that's liable to fail silently when I rely on it.
Some sophisticated features are cool to have available, but I'd rather have clear documentations of how to turn them ON rather than some marketing bovine excrement about how they'll make your life more complete with no easy way to turn them off. There are always use cases where they just get in the way.

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Windows tends to annoy me (some things seem designed by idiots, others for idiots, others by idiots for idiots) but I can manage and it seems to improve somewhat.
Macs are a source of unexpected delights but more often intense frustration/confusion/indignation. The irritating part is that Apple could easily make it pleasant for me but doesn't.
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Re: Linux vs Windows vs Mac

Postby KnightExemplar » Sun Jul 15, 2012 5:01 pm UTC

EvanED wrote:
Because again, it's really not the only printing system. True, it may be the most popular by a long shot, but definitely not the only one.

I know, but what I'm saying is that doesn't matter! Many to most people have to choose one or the other. Maybe this vulnerability is in CUPS and I've avoided it by picking lprng or whatever, but if the next vulnerability is in lprng, big whoop, I've still lost.

How am I supposed to pick one? Is CUPS widely viewed as being insecure? (And if so, why's it default in, say, Ubuntu?) Are there more secure ones? Will I keep all the features and printer support through CUPS with the alternatives? These are questions that even I don't have the answer to.


Well, I don't mean to imply that CUPS is the only printer spooling system. My point by bringing up CUPS is that "Linux" can't get a printer spooler bug, while Windows can. To be able to actually compare apples to apples between Windows and Linux, we'd have to focus on the specific components of Windows, and compare them with valid Linux alternatives.

IE: Internet Explorer vs Firefox. Windows's Printer Spooler vs CUPS. NT Kernel vs Linux Kernel.

A statement like "Linux is more secure than Windows" is just too broad to have any real meaning.
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Re: Linux vs Windows vs Mac

Postby Copper Bezel » Sun Jul 15, 2012 7:42 pm UTC

Yes, absolutely. And the question of whether an OS can do something or does do that something is important, too. The majority of desktop Linux installs are Ubuntu and Fedora installs. An individual can remove CUPS, but it comes with the system by default, so it really is going to be present on the majority of "Linux" machines.

Arariel wrote:That's the Transformer Prime Infinity. The Transformer Prime from May is much cheaper.

The one released in May (TF300T) is a downscaled (well, actually thicker) model with a plastic back. The Transformer Prime (TF201, the one I linked) was released in December and is still $500. The May model has the same processor and display as the Prime. The Prime Infinity (TF700T, released this month) goes back up to the $500 price point. The original (TF101,) despite its slower processor and lower screen res, is still around $400. That is, the price difference depends entirely on a couple mm of thickness and the aluminum back.

Which is really the problem in comparing the Thinkpad to the Macbook Pro, or anything else. Not all features are numbers!

Because again, it's really not the only printing system. True, it may be the most popular by a long shot, but definitely not the only one.

Look, if there's a vulnerability in a package that ships with the OS, and there's a zero-day attack on it, the fact that you could have removed it is small consolation.

Iranon wrote:Depends entirely on the user. My idea of usability is "make the low-level stuff accessible".
Quality documentation, extensively commented configuration files, GUIs with strong CLI integration in case I want to do something the makers didn't consider important, emphasis on clarity over friendliness.
If something is featureful and open-ended enough, one won't get full use out of it without the manual anyway.

It ought to be possible to keep something nerd-friendly and casual-user-friendly at the same time, but nobody ever tries.

Some Linuxes try. I mean, I agree that having both the possibility of low-level access through the terminal and the option of conveniently working with things at a high level of abstraction through a friendly GUI should be the goal. Something like "discoverability" is exclusively a GUI consideration, but it's legitimately important in GUIs. At the same time, even for the OS itself (and I really mean the DE here,) terminal applications should take over for all the features it wouldn't make sense to include in a GUI. That lets the GUI be simple without being restrictive.
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Re: Linux vs Windows vs Mac

Postby Steax » Mon Jul 16, 2012 1:09 am UTC

Copper Bezel wrote:Which is really the problem in comparing the Thinkpad to the Macbook Pro, or anything else. Not all features are numbers!


On that matter, I think I haven't brought up a major point for Macs: that trackpad. I've yet to find another good multi-touch trackpad as accurate as the Mac's, and I'm still not sure why. Most are clunky with gestures and slow. Same goes for the multi-touch magic mouse; some programmers hate it, but the expandable gestures make for all sorts of useful shortcuts. Anyone found an equally good one in another laptop?

I also just realized how much I owe to that magsafe power cord. I'd nearly tossed my laptop on the floor several times now, if it weren't it.

Copper Bezel wrote:Some Linuxes try. I mean, I agree that having both the possibility of low-level access through the terminal and the option of conveniently working with things at a high level of abstraction through a friendly GUI should be the goal. Something like "discoverability" is exclusively a GUI consideration, but it's legitimately important in GUIs. At the same time, even for the OS itself (and I really mean the DE here,) terminal applications should take over for all the features it wouldn't make sense to include in a GUI. That lets the GUI be simple without being restrictive.


I think this is my important bit of comfort with OS X, and it does show up in my workflow. GUIs contain the basic day-to-day routine needs, so I can freely work with them without worry - and they're designed to be easy and enjoyable to use. Then when I need to do something low-level, advanced or accurate, I hit one button and get the well-loved bash shell. Best of both worlds.
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Re: Linux vs Windows vs Mac

Postby Copper Bezel » Mon Jul 16, 2012 2:17 am UTC

Yeah, definitely (although I don't have a hotkey for the terminal; it's just another icon in the dock, but I keep it there for a reason.)

The Apple touchpad really is in a category of its own. I think the going theory is that it's the top-down unification that makes that possible; the hardware, drivers, and DE all built around one set of rules. I have a really nice, reasonably-sized Elantech trackpad that's well-supported under Linux for the most part, and I'm always amazed at how awkward any random touchpad in the store might feel (under Windows, but I'd have to assume that any one could only be equal or worse under Linux, too.) And then there are the nice features that make touchpads pleasant to use, like tap-to-click or two-finger right-click, that are disabled by default in Windows. I sort of get the sense that it's just not something that a lot of manufacturers prioritize, which is really surprising to me.

I have to revise my prior statement about a GUI calculator, though. I never realized what nonsense the whole concept is until this thread, but it started to bother me that the interface is mostly buttons users don't actually use, and then I realized that the space should be displaying prior results instead. The functions I might actually use buttons for are also the ones that don't have buttons, so I'm typing them anyway. Then I realized that that's what CLI calculators already do, and switched to Octave (Tab completion is not as nice as autocomplete, but it'll do for "discoverabilty.") Then I tried the Cantor GUI on top, and realized that was actually just adding more steps (for me - I'm sure it's more useful for people with more specialized requirements.) So thanks for that one, Arariel.
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Re: Linux vs Windows vs Mac

Postby Max™ » Mon Jul 16, 2012 2:31 am UTC

I like this one, reminds me of my scientific calculator, though not as many functions on this:
Image
I type in numbers with my left hand and use my trackball for the other functions, I usually grab a terminal if I'm installing something or doing a twerk I found on some site.
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Re: Linux vs Windows vs Mac

Postby Copper Bezel » Mon Jul 16, 2012 5:16 am UTC

Sorry, I was posting before thinking, there. Qalculate! can do both kinds of interfaces, and it still has the autocomplete I don't get from Octave, so I'll probably stick with it:

Spoiler:
Image

Image


Number buttons just don't make sense to me - that's a lot of UI space devoted to making the window resemble a physical calculator, and it's fine for mobile devices, where the buttons actually function in the way that they do there, but otherwise, it just seems like a crazy excess of skeuomorphy.

Honestly, I actually like having some excuse to use the terminal, because it's pretty, but this isn't going to be that. = / (I mean, I have a neat compact bitmap font and a RGBA background for it and everything and never get to see them.) I do use apt-get from terminal when I know the name of the package, but that's really just evidence that the Ubuntu Software Center isn't as cool as it ought to be (it's way too damned slow and resource intensive.) And sure, plenty of maintenance and twerking stuff happens from terminal, but I just don't have to do much of that.
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Re: Linux vs Windows vs Mac

Postby Max™ » Mon Jul 16, 2012 5:23 am UTC

Yeah, most of the space on this calc is for the functions and the unit conversions, which is the main thing I use it for unless I'm doing a math course at the time.

I do actually use the buttons sometimes because the gf likes to have the light off to sleep so I can't see to type as easily (I've got the keyboard in my lap or on a little stand, no desk) and I'd miss (as in the absence thereof) the buttons in that situation.

My terminal is just a partially transparent Ambiance, black background/white text. Don't like any of the alternatives as much as this one. I do admit that I would be proud if I had better terminal skillz, but there are things it is ideal for, and there are things where it's just not necessary.
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Re: Linux vs Windows vs Mac

Postby Arariel » Mon Jul 16, 2012 8:01 am UTC

EvanED wrote:If you install bash-completion or the equivalent. Personally, as nice as it is sometimes, I find that it's a mixed bag: when using my Ubuntu system (which apparently has bash-completion installed by default), I sometimes feel that it gets things wrong and fails to tab complete files often enough that it's not worth it.

Next time that happens to me I'll try to make a note of it and post.

I've really never had much problem with it, but in any event, yum repolist is a pretty easy guess for something that would list repos, and is as good a guess as /etc/apt/ in any case.

Which is better: spending time to RTFM (which I'll point out for mplayer is 154 pages, though admittedly the key bindings are right up top) or not having to RTFM because things already work as you expect?


Depends on what saves more time in the long run. And how else exactly is mplayer supposed to present the information? Anyone can just scroll to find the relevant bit to what they want.

I know, but what I'm saying is that doesn't matter! Many to most people have to choose one or the other. Maybe this vulnerability is in CUPS and I've avoided it by picking lprng or whatever, but if the next vulnerability is in lprng, big whoop, I've still lost.

How am I supposed to pick one? Is CUPS widely viewed as being insecure? (And if so, why's it default in, say, Ubuntu?) Are there more secure ones? Will I keep all the features and printer support through CUPS with the alternatives? These are questions that even I don't have the answer to.


Right, this is mainly about terminology. But I suppose if you wanted to be really paranoid, each time you needed to print something, you could install CUPS and then uninstall it right afterwards, which wouldn't quite be an option for Windows. It's also not a particularly pleasant or practical option, I'll concede that. But it's definitely not something you're stuck with. Zero-days aren't always zero-days, and if you hear about a vulnerability, you can replace CUPS with lprng or something else until it's patched.

Steax wrote:Every time I see "RTFM" I read it as "we've invested poorly in our program's usability, but we'll blame you anyway."


Er, anyone who doesn't read the manual to a bloody CLI program has only themselves to blame. Why even bother using a CLI program if a bit of reading repulses you? The point of a CLI program is to learn it quickly, then use it quickly, as opposed to a GUI where you don't learn anything and use it slowly.

KnightExemplar wrote:Well, I don't mean to imply that CUPS is the only printer spooling system. My point by bringing up CUPS is that "Linux" can't get a printer spooler bug, while Windows can. To be able to actually compare apples to apples between Windows and Linux, we'd have to focus on the specific components of Windows, and compare them with valid Linux alternatives.

IE: Internet Explorer vs Firefox. Windows's Printer Spooler vs CUPS. NT Kernel vs Linux Kernel.

A statement like "Linux is more secure than Windows" is just too broad to have any real meaning.


I would agree with that. But why compare IE with Firefox? Half the distros don't even have Firefox as their default browser (usually depends on the DE), and most people concerned about security never use IE (although it's still on many of their computers).


Copper Bezel wrote:The one released in May (TF300T) is a downscaled (well, actually thicker) model with a plastic back. The Transformer Prime (TF201, the one I linked) was released in December and is still $500. The May model has the same processor and display as the Prime. The Prime Infinity (TF700T, released this month) goes back up to the $500 price point. The original (TF101,) despite its slower processor and lower screen res, is still around $400. That is, the price difference depends entirely on a couple mm of thickness and the aluminum back.

Which is really the problem in comparing the Thinkpad to the Macbook Pro, or anything else. Not all features are numbers!


I don't really see the necessity of a prettier case covering identical hardware?

Look, if there's a vulnerability in a package that ships with the OS, and there's a zero-day attack on it, the fact that you could have removed it is small consolation.


Considering you may not necessarily suffer from a zero-day attack, I would think it would be an advantage to be able to remove if you hear of a vulnerability.



When I need a GUI for a calculator (usually either because I can't be bothered to memorise certain fundamental constants or because I need higher precision than python's floating point), I usually use
Spoiler:
Image

The keypad is removable, you can assign variables, it saves history, highlights syntax, gives partial answers as you type, and autocompletes; all in all, it's pretty good. It's not as easy to access for me as fn+f12+'python', though, so I usually don't bother.

When I need plotting, I use gnuplot; GNU Octave uses gnuplot for plotting, as well.

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Re: Linux vs Windows vs Mac

Postby Max™ » Mon Jul 16, 2012 9:03 am UTC

Arariel wrote:I don't really see the necessity of a prettier case covering identical hardware?

Word, I've got an old HP media center I stuck my system into because it was handy and had good airflow for the fans due to being fuckhuge like an xbox.
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Re: Linux vs Windows vs Mac

Postby Endless Mike » Mon Jul 16, 2012 3:20 pm UTC

Arariel wrote:I don't really see the necessity of a prettier case covering identical hardware?

The CPU, RAM, etc. might be identical, but if all you're concerned about is what's inside, then portability probably isn't a concern, in which case, you should probably build yourself a desktop. Casing, keyboards, screens, trackpads, and so on are not things easily identifiable by numbers or specs and can be extremely important in overall usability of a laptop. Because of this difficulty in identity, they're specifically the things manufacturers will cheap out on in the race to the bottom. Bad screens, crappy trackpads, and cheap casings are things you can't really compare without seeing something in person, and often without using them for a little bit of time. About the best you can hope for is that some reviewer somewhere a) reviewed that particular configuration and b) actually knows what he's talking about.

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Re: Linux vs Windows vs Mac

Postby Steax » Mon Jul 16, 2012 4:33 pm UTC

To add to the list, it also includes battery time and how it's affected by applications (those "8-hour battery!" claims are almost always marked with a very suspicious star), charging cable/adaptor/whatnot features (durability, compactness, bending capability), heat (how fast it gets hot, where it gets hot, how quick it is to remove heat), fan noise, screen viewing angles, keyboard dust/dirt vulnerabilities, screen/cover flimsiness, casing scratch resistance, casing chipping resistance, plug durability (like accidentally yanking out a USB port), screen viewing angle, even very tiny things like the sharpness of the casing's edge closest to the bottom of the keyboard (where palms will rest).
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Re: Linux vs Windows vs Mac

Postby Copper Bezel » Tue Jul 17, 2012 12:27 am UTC

Yeah, and I appreciate that those things are finally getting some attention in ultrabooks, even if it means there's a premium on them, now.

Arariel, thanks for the suggestion on SpeedCrunch - it's even better for my purposes.
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Re: Linux vs Windows vs Mac

Postby KnightExemplar » Tue Jul 17, 2012 1:09 am UTC

I would agree with that. But why compare IE with Firefox? Half the distros don't even have Firefox as their default browser (usually depends on the DE), and most people concerned about security never use IE (although it's still on many of their computers).


Because Firefox (or Chrome) are the web browsers on Linux that work better than a phone web browser. So its what I got installed on my distro (erm... Iceweasel. Whatever Debian, its Firefox :roll: ).

Epiphany sucks. I haven't used the KDE equivalent in a while, but I'd imagine that it isn't as consistent at showing web pages as Firefox is. (I still have a few websites where even Chrome seems to fail, but at least it makes it up in the speed department). Web Browsers have turned into operating systems of their own now a days, with many web applications only working in specific browsers.

As for IE vs Firefox... IE has a slower development cycle. It seems when IE9 came out, it was actually the fastest browser for HTML5 Hardware Accelerated 2d graphics. (although it was slower in WebGL based benchmarks, it won on 2D canvas stuff). It isn't true today, but the fact that IE9 led the pack at some point demonstrates that Internet Explorer is indeed competitive again against both Firefox and Chrome. Another good feature is that if a tab crashes in IE9, it doesn't take down the rest of the browser (unlike Firefox).

Anyway, I picked IE because it was more of a "Windows-y" thing to choose. Since Firefox runs on both Linux and Windows, perhaps the comparison is moot. (I use Firefox in both... erm... Iceweasel... whatever).

--------------

As for the laptop discussion... the biggest thing I look for in laptops are actually the keyboards and trackpads. If you get even a crappy Intel i3 with 4GB of RAM, you'll have more than enough power to do anything outside of gaming. With a decent graphics card, you'll probably be able to play some of the latest games as well. (apparently Intel's Ivy Bridge can play Skyrim with integrated graphics alone... on lowest settings on a crappy but playable 35fps, but its possible).

Copper Bezel wrote:Yeah, and I appreciate that those things are finally getting some attention in ultrabooks, even if it means there's a premium on them, now.

Arariel, thanks for the suggestion on SpeedCrunch - it's even better for my purposes.


I've always been a fan of the little pointing stick nub. That little thing has always been more usable to me than a touchpad. I'm kinda disappointed that its becoming more and more rare.
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Re: Linux vs Windows vs Mac

Postby Max™ » Tue Jul 17, 2012 1:36 am UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:Because Firefox (or Chrome) are the web browsers on Linux that work better than a phone web browser. So its what I got installed on my distro (erm... Iceweasel. Whatever Debian, its Firefox :roll: ).

Epiphany sucks. I haven't used the KDE equivalent in a while, but I'd imagine that it isn't as consistent at showing web pages as Firefox is. (I still have a few websites where even Chrome seems to fail, but at least it makes it up in the speed department). Web Browsers have turned into operating systems of their own now a days, with many web applications only working in specific browsers.

As for IE vs Firefox... IE has a slower development cycle. It seems when IE9 came out, it was actually the fastest browser for HTML5 Hardware Accelerated 2d graphics. (although it was slower in WebGL based benchmarks, it won on 2D canvas stuff). It isn't true today, but the fact that IE9 led the pack at some point demonstrates that Internet Explorer is indeed competitive again against both Firefox and Chrome. Another good feature is that if a tab crashes in IE9, it doesn't take down the rest of the browser (unlike Firefox).

Hmmm, don't recall tab crashes being an issue, atm I've got a window open on each desktop with 10 or 11 tabs between the two (one has school stuff that I flick over to and work on) but I probably don't strain it much due to being used to weaker systems for so long, just a dinky 2.4 Ghz dual core and 4 gb of ram is still a racecar to me. Agreed about Epiphany though, not a big fan of Iceweasel either, I just stick on normal ff with my preferred add-ons/settings.

I've always been a fan of the little pointing stick nub. That little thing has always been more usable to me than a touchpad. I'm kinda disappointed that its becoming more and more rare.

That's why I use a PS2 controller as a mouse, with the right sensitivity it's great. Qjoypad ftw!
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Re: Linux vs Windows vs Mac

Postby Copper Bezel » Tue Jul 17, 2012 1:58 am UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:I've always been a fan of the little pointing stick nub. That little thing has always been more usable to me than a touchpad. I'm kinda disappointed that its becoming more and more rare.


I never realized that TrackPoint was originally a brand name. Weird.

Yeah, I think you're the only reason Lenovo still provides them on some models. = P ALPS trackpads are about comparable to trackpoints, but once you get into Synaptic multi-touch, there's no going back. (And then there's Apple.)
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Re: Linux vs Windows vs Mac

Postby Arariel » Tue Jul 17, 2012 6:39 am UTC

Endless Mike wrote:The CPU, RAM, etc. might be identical, but if all you're concerned about is what's inside, then portability probably isn't a concern, in which case, you should probably build yourself a desktop. Casing, keyboards, screens, trackpads, and so on are not things easily identifiable by numbers or specs and can be extremely important in overall usability of a laptop. Because of this difficulty in identity, they're specifically the things manufacturers will cheap out on in the race to the bottom. Bad screens, crappy trackpads, and cheap casings are things you can't really compare without seeing something in person, and often without using them for a little bit of time. About the best you can hope for is that some reviewer somewhere a) reviewed that particular configuration and b) actually knows what he's talking about.

30-day warranties. If you think it's bad by the end, return it, get all your money back. I've heard of Lenovo having very durable build quality, and it's also in their interest to make sure you eventually buy another one; what's the good in putting out a shitty computer when the next time you buy one, you're going to buy a competitors'?

Copper Bezel wrote:Arariel, thanks for the suggestion on SpeedCrunch - it's even better for my purposes.


Glad to be of help. You might still want to check out some of gnuplot's or Octave's plotting capabilities if you do any of that stuff.

KnightExemplar wrote:
I would agree with that. But why compare IE with Firefox? Half the distros don't even have Firefox as their default browser (usually depends on the DE), and most people concerned about security never use IE (although it's still on many of their computers).


Because Firefox (or Chrome) are the web browsers on Linux that work better than a phone web browser. So its what I got installed on my distro (erm... Iceweasel. Whatever Debian, its Firefox :roll: ).


How about Tor/Vidalia? But anyway, it doesn't quite make sense to compare IE to a browser some people won't even install. True, it's probably the most popular, but there's plenty of people who use Chrome/Chromium and wouldn't install it. Contrarily, IE comes by default on Windows computers, and until recently, you couldn't even remove it.

I haven't used the KDE equivalent in a while, but I'd imagine that it isn't as consistent at showing web pages as Firefox is.

Konqueror. (First there came the Navigator, then the Explorer, then the Konqueror. :D)
The only thing going for Konqueror is a handy thing many of the KDE apps (in addition to Dolphin have): a terminal panel, probably since it can also be used as a file manager. Otherwise, it's not too great, but not too bad either, but I know some people use it. Midori also isn't too shabby.

But everyone knows lynx is the greatest web browser ever.


On another note, Chrome/Chomium eats up RAM like a stoned hippie with the munchies, because of the each tab as a separate process thing. Which doesn't help when I have about 25 tabs open (although I only started doing after I discovered add-ons for multiple tab rows. :D)

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Re: Linux vs Windows vs Mac

Postby Steax » Tue Jul 17, 2012 7:25 am UTC

Arariel wrote:
Endless Mike wrote:The CPU, RAM, etc. might be identical, but if all you're concerned about is what's inside, then portability probably isn't a concern, in which case, you should probably build yourself a desktop. Casing, keyboards, screens, trackpads, and so on are not things easily identifiable by numbers or specs and can be extremely important in overall usability of a laptop. Because of this difficulty in identity, they're specifically the things manufacturers will cheap out on in the race to the bottom. Bad screens, crappy trackpads, and cheap casings are things you can't really compare without seeing something in person, and often without using them for a little bit of time. About the best you can hope for is that some reviewer somewhere a) reviewed that particular configuration and b) actually knows what he's talking about.

30-day warranties. If you think it's bad by the end, return it, get all your money back. I've heard of Lenovo having very durable build quality, and it's also in their interest to make sure you eventually buy another one; what's the good in putting out a shitty computer when the next time you buy one, you're going to buy a competitors'?


Sounds sweet in theory. In practice, do you ever see anyone browse around various models for a month until they find one that fits? It's part of why people rely so much on reviews and word of mouth. And of course it's in their interest to make you buy one of theirs. All companies have that interest. It doesn't mean they actually make anything better for certain.
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Re: Linux vs Windows vs Mac

Postby Endless Mike » Tue Jul 17, 2012 12:38 pm UTC

Arariel wrote:
Endless Mike wrote:The CPU, RAM, etc. might be identical, but if all you're concerned about is what's inside, then portability probably isn't a concern, in which case, you should probably build yourself a desktop. Casing, keyboards, screens, trackpads, and so on are not things easily identifiable by numbers or specs and can be extremely important in overall usability of a laptop. Because of this difficulty in identity, they're specifically the things manufacturers will cheap out on in the race to the bottom. Bad screens, crappy trackpads, and cheap casings are things you can't really compare without seeing something in person, and often without using them for a little bit of time. About the best you can hope for is that some reviewer somewhere a) reviewed that particular configuration and b) actually knows what he's talking about.

30-day warranties. If you think it's bad by the end, return it, get all your money back. I've heard of Lenovo having very durable build quality, and it's also in their interest to make sure you eventually buy another one; what's the good in putting out a shitty computer when the next time you buy one, you're going to buy a competitors'

It's nice that you think this, but with the number of awful laptops out there, someone must be buying them. And since laptops are items most people keep for at least a few years, by the time they get ready to replace them, they just think "It's old!" and forget that it was pretty much a piece of shit from the day it was built.

Lenovo is an exception and other than Apple, the only brand I would recommend to anyone, and even their lower-priced lines (the ones they didn't buy from IBM) are not the best quality.

(Also, as an aside, don't mix up return periods and warranties. One is because you don't like something, the other is because it doesn't work, and a 30 day warranty is pitifully short.)

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Re: Linux vs Windows vs Mac

Postby KnightExemplar » Tue Jul 17, 2012 1:37 pm UTC

30-day warranties. If you think it's bad by the end, return it, get all your money back. I've heard of Lenovo having very durable build quality, and it's also in their interest to make sure you eventually buy another one; what's the good in putting out a shitty computer when the next time you buy one, you're going to buy a competitors'?


And we're all the way back to where we've started, right? It only matters if the consumer actually go out and buy a competitor's... Like Apple's computers. Which... they are.

And now we're back to why Apple computers, of higher physical build quality leads to higher sales. And why people value Apple's computers. When you get an Apple computer... its all about the screen, keyboard, trackpad, and form factor. Higher quality physical parts correlate to a higher cost laptop overall. And people are willing to buy that laptop over a "more powerful" one.
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Re: Linux vs Windows vs Mac

Postby Steax » Tue Jul 17, 2012 1:54 pm UTC

Related to that, I think another key success point for Apple has been how their product lines aren't just focused, but also modeled like software; instead of releasing new model XC423HDi, they push a new version, usually labeled by year of purchase (which is probably a better idea anyway), so when a person's old iThingy gets outdated, they don't enter the market looking for a new device. Instead, there's a new version of their old machine, or (for killed lines) a comparable alternative. And since they're well-integrated, moving between them is relatively easy (better than the windows "move all the files and try to find all the installers" model). This prevents people from ever dipping their toes into the frustrating and confusing market of branded laptops, instead opting for "I'll just get the new version of my Mac."
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