[Gllug] Controversial Joel Spolsky article

Paul John Low pjlow at blueyonder.co.uk
Tue Dec 16 10:54:17 UTC 2003

I great about the Linux box in fact I setup a stable computer for
someone who did not now that much about Windows. They have not come back
to me on how to use anything on Linux. Even through With five mines

Paul John Low 

-----Original Message-----
From: gllug-bounces at gllug.org.uk [mailto:gllug-bounces at gllug.org.uk] On
Behalf Of Richard Jones
Sent: 16 December 2003 10:33
To: Greater London Linux Users Group
Subject: Re: [Gllug] Controversial Joel Spolsky article

Actually, I kicked this off to generate a bit of traffic on this mailing
list, which has been rather quiet recently :-)

But anyway, my take on this article:

I have lots of Linux boxes, a Win2K box and a Mac OS X laptop. As
desktop machines there's really not a lot between them.

The Mac is the only one which "just works" and is very consistent. It's
the only one I would recommend for a newbie who had to support the
machine themselves.

I wouldn't recommend either a Windows box or a Linux box for a complete
newbie if they had to support it themselves (adding new hardware,
software).  But if the system was going to be set up for them and would
remain stable (no additional hardware or software added), then the Linux
machine would have a marginal advantage over the Windows machine.
That's just because the Windows machines I've used have all suffered
from inexplicable "bit rot", even when I've not changed their
configuration in any way (and this includes my current Win2K machine,
which has got slower and flakier ever since I installed it, and I only
turn it on a couple of times a week to do very light service).

He's completely wrong about the Aunt Madge stuff.  When was this
mythical auntie ever going to write shell script?  Never.  Shell script
is the scripting environment for Unix, and unlike the other platforms,
it's used broadly and consistently throughout the system for programming
tasks.  It's a programming language, for programmers to automate complex
tasks, and so sure the programs are written by programmers, for
programmers.  All recent versions of desktop Linux come with graphical
tools to do configuration tasks, the kind of tools which it's unlikely
even mythical Auntie Madge will be using, because she'll be getting her
niece/nephew to set the machine up for her.


Richard Jones. http://www.annexia.org/ http://freshmeat.net/users/rwmj
Merjis Ltd. http://www.merjis.com/ - improving website return on
investment Learning Objective CAML for C, C++, Perl and Java
programmers: http://www.merjis.com/richj/computers/ocaml/tutorial/
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