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Who cares about Windows versus Linux?

April 1, 2014

Platform wars are as old as computing itself, but they never seem to really die off and go away, they just morph into new ones as technology itself changes. Linux.com takes a look at the classic Windows versus Linux battle, and why the Windows advocates make themselves look silly by bashing Linux.

While I agree with the overall tone of the article, I think the same could be said for all platform advocates who engage in heated battles on the Internet over which operating system, phone, laptop, etc. is better than another. It’s all just a big waste of everybody’s time and energy.

It seems as though you can’t throw a rock on the internet without hitting an article which argues for the superiority of Windows over Linux. With titles like “Five reasons I’d rather run Windows 8 than Linux”, these articles are a dime a dozen.

Truth be told, I’ve written my fair share of “Why X is better than Y” articles over the years (almost always arguing in favor of the superiority of Linux-based systems). They’re fun to write. They’re easy to write. And, perhaps most important, they’re somewhat cathartic to write. Have a hard week where you’ve been forced to use a platform you don’t particularly like? Write an article about how it’s worse than one you do like. It’s good for the soul.

More at Linux.com

Windows Versus Linux

Live and let live, my friends.

Image credit: Superb Internet

Linux and the presstitutes
I can sympathize with the author of the article, I’ve seen far too many mindless Linux-bashing articles written by what can only be called presstitutes. These guys basically whore themselves out for page views by smacking Linux around, knowing full well that taking a stick to the Linux beehive will result in an onslaught of angry Linux bees swarming them (and thus driving up their page views and ad revenue).

The needs of users versus mindless fanaticism
Frankly, I don’t think it makes a lot of sense to spend time comparing different operating systems for the simple reason that the needs of each user may be very different. Linux might work very well for one person, but not so much for the other. The same goes for Windows or OS X too. There really is no one-size-fits-all computer operating system, so fighting about which one is better ends up being a huge waste of time.

My mother is a case in point. A while back I bought her a Mac and did not try to get her to use Linux. Why not? Well, she can be very difficult to deal with when it comes to computer problems. As much as I love Linux, I was not willing to deal with the headaches of being her tech support person. So I bought her a Mac with Apple Care, and now she can go down to the Apple store and complain to them instead of to me. OS X works very well for her, she was born to be a Mac person and I’m fine with that.

Android versus iOS
It’s not just Linux versus Windows that people spend their time arguing about though. The latest battle is the Android versus iOS mobile war. Whenever I see an article about Android or iOS, I know full well that advocates for the two mobile operating systems will be swarming each other in the comments with personal attacks, blatant distortions and sometimes even outright lies to make their points.

Each side will proclaim the virtues of its preferred platform, and will stop at nothing to point out the perceived failures of the other mobile OS. I got so sick of this that I wrote a column for one of my other blogs called “iOS versus Android: Everybody please shut up!” and smacked both sides around for their time and energy wasting fanaticism.

Distro wars in the Linux community
And let’s not forget the heated battles that happen between distro advocates in the Linux community. Those are as pointless as the wars between other advocates, yet they roll on year after year after year. The distro wars have even less of a point since the wide diversity of distros and desktop environments is one of the best things about Linux. There is something for everybody in Linux so why bother fighting about which one is best? Just use what works for you and let others make their own choices.

Tuning out all the OS wars blather
I understand that there are some people who can argue politely, and can engage in useful give and take about various platforms. I never mind reading thoughts from people like that, but they are few and far between these days. So I’ve found myself just skipping comments and even entire articles if I perceive them to be filled with fanboy blah-blah or insipid attacks on rival products. It’s just not worth my time.

I guess we can just chalk all of this up to human nature, and I don’t think it will ever end. I’m firmly in the live and let live camp, however. If Linux works for you, great. If Windows or OS X is your thing then more power to you. The same goes for Android and iOS too, and whichever Linux distro you prefer.

All of this unnecessary conflict reminds me of the chorus from that song from the movie about Namu the killer whale:

”Live and let live, let Nature be your teacher
Respect the life of your fellow creature
Live and let live, whatever you do
And always remember the killer whale, Namu.”

We could surely do with a lot more “live and let live” in the world of technology.

What’s your take on this? Tell me in the comments below.


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32 Responses to Who cares about Windows versus Linux?

  1. chris_clay on April 3, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    You are right in that everybody should choose their own OS and platform. But Microsoft likes to lobby and shove Windows at people, and purposely spread FUD about Linux and probably OS X too, things that are simply not true. They also like to threaten small companies with patent lawsuits against open source & Linux. They haven’t tried to compete by innovating in a long time, instead they’ve been using hidden tactics to try and gain back lost market share.

    I’ve used both Windows and Linux for over 17 years side by side most of the time, from Windows NT 4.0/95 and Linux 2.0 up to current versions of both. Linux can do everything Windows can, and more, and offers a lot of freedom, and in my opinion, reliability too. I’ve swept Windows out and installed a couple of different flavors of Linux for close friends and relatives, and the results have been better than I expected. Finally, we can all use our computers for what they are meant for, rather than maintaining them and fixing things all of the time. With Linux the only thing we run in to is outdated web browsers that need frequent updates because websites are constantly changing. This has been over the past 6 years or so, so to me there are clear advantages of using Linux. Same goes with using LibreOffice, we all manage great and don’t have to worry about licensing fees.

    So, the point is people need to have clear choices in front of them, and pick their OS. Sometimes, they are not presented with all of the options and in my opinion, are missing out when that happens.

  2. ned on April 3, 2014 at 6:27 am

    im not sure what it is exactly your mother does to her computers but as someone who has in the past 2yrs cut his free tech support to family by 99%, i find it pretty funny.
    my parents are in their 80s as are my inlaws and there are 6-7 aunts-uncles on both sides in their 70 and 80s.
    Actually my dad has been using Kubuntu since 10.04. Apart from changing a power supply and adding a HD, Ive basically upgraded to Kubuntu 12.04lts and not done much else.
    As for my inlaws, since they are further away Ive relied on KRDC for remote access.
    Most of my aunts never used a computer so it wasnt simply switching them from XP/Vista.

    You are right though, whatever floats your boat and yes, CHOICE is the best thing in computing. To say that this desktop is what everyone will like is simply idiotic. Its like saying that everyone should like vanilla ice cream and not chocolate.
    Some people like OSX and some people like Metro. Which is fine but what about those that dont? Ah, too bad, its take or leave it…the user doesnt get to decide what he likes…he is told what he must like. Sorry, in our consumer society that is downright stalinist. Linux has got the right idea. You think Unity is the best thing since cordless mouse? Wonderful for you. But for those that dont, feel free to try KDE, Gnome, XCFE or Enlightment or maybe even a Chromebook…. you are sure to find something more to your liking. CHoice for consumers is never a bad thing so why do we pretend that its normal for computer users. CyanogenMod is very popular for a good reason, people like things the way THEY like them and in business the consumer is ALWAYS right.
    The proprietary principle of one desktop does not reflect that.

    As for the who cares? easy. Bloggers and tech media companies. they have a vested interest in keeping this alive.
    the same articles get rehashed every year and always with some top notch linkbait.
    and dont forget that the anti-Linux articles most often come from people who have a vested financial interest in Windows (or are simply the primitive types that so clutter techland filled with territorial “my ______ is better than yours”). When you read Preston Gralla, you know where he is coming from. Trying to find tech writers with No Agendas is hard because advertising dollars matter. Linux doenst have any while the others do.
    As well there is fear and envy. Fear of Linux isnt the funny concept it was a decade ago. And no one does envy quite like Mac fanbois who havent yet gotten over than their mobile OS is way, way, behind Android. Hell hath no fury like a Mac user who is told that his precious isnt so special. when your whole self image is based around your using a product whether a car or, computer and something else comes over which is arguably bigger and better, there is a lot of butthurt there.
    jealousy is a common thing.

    • Jim Lynch on April 4, 2014 at 3:43 pm

      Heh, heh. Well my mother is infamous for NOT listening, and then complaining continually about the very same thing you tried to offer her assistance with! So it’s much easier for me to just let her head out to the Apple store, and then they can deal with her instead of me pulling my hair out in frustration. ;)

      • Brian Masinick on April 4, 2014 at 3:48 pm

        LOL, Jim! Did your mother also give you the infamous “Plaid Curtains” that long-time ET friends like to tease you about? ;-)

        • Jim Lynch on April 4, 2014 at 3:53 pm

          No, she never liked them either. I’ll give her that. Heh.

          • Brian Masinick on April 4, 2014 at 4:00 pm

            Good for her! And I’m sure that once the bills were paid, those curtains were replaced, and possibly burned or shredded! At least they’ve been worth a few laughs over the years! Ha!

            • Jim Lynch on April 4, 2014 at 4:02 pm

              Smartass! ;)

              • Brian Masinick on April 4, 2014 at 4:03 pm

                You love it! LOL

  3. Paul on April 2, 2014 at 7:28 pm

    Kumbaya, we’ll eventually share in the enlightenment you enjoy, and all that.

    That falls apart when I try to live in a world not influenced by Microsoft.

    Back in the 90′s, I tried to buy a computer without an OS so I could install linux without paying the Gates tax. I called the top OEMs of the day and they all said they had agreements with MS. Every machine goes out the door with Windows or the OEM pricing gets pulled up to full ridiculous retail. Yes, we have linux hardware vendors now, but that was then.

    I recently had an opportunity to upgrade my 12 year old laptop. It was a beautiful price on a beautiful piece of equipment. 4730M CPU, 16GB RAM, 4GB video, 17 inch LED screen, Leap Motion, fingerprint scanner, 2 1TB hard drives. $1100… who could pass it up?

    I spent the next 2 weeks trying to get around the various parts mandated by Microsoft’s imperial edict on UEFI. No joy. I probably could have made linux run alone on the thing by abandoning dual boot, but I would not be able to return the machine if I failed. I wound up having to cry uncle and I’m waiting with my 12 year old laptop until someone can find a way for linux to live with this monstrous band aid on Microsoft’s own shortcoming.

    Y’all can kiss and make nice with Microsoft if you like. They cost me cold hard cash and I take a cold hard view anyone who does that to me.

    • Brian Masinick on April 2, 2014 at 7:35 pm

      Paul, that is a good example of why some people in this discussion do not simply want to “take the path of least resistance”, they want to state their case and fight it out. While I have not had that kind of experience, I am definitely sympathetic to it, so you’ve just given us one legitimate argument why it is worth it for some of us to “fight the cause”, whether we meet with resistance or not. In your case, not having a good answer cost you quite a bit of money; there’s a legitimate reason to lobby and fight for more choices and more hardware AND software freedom.

      I’d be interested in more cases like yours.

  4. Roy Schestowitz on April 2, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    I would usually agree.

    However, a lot of anti-Linux is not fanboyism but part of ‘Scroogle’ like whisper campaigns.

    A lot of anti-Windows is reactionary. Some of the comments here already point this out.

    You cannot always turn the other cheek.

    • Brian Masinick on April 2, 2014 at 5:13 pm

      Ray, we can always choose whether or not to “turn the other cheek”. What we have to weigh are the consequences of doing so versus the likelihood of actually making a difference if we do not and instead take a stand.

      Guys like Stallman and Torvalds have long been ready and prepared, making it their career to do so. We are not all that way. For those who are, then always taking a stand makes sense. The majority of people fall somewhere in between the spectrum of absolute freedom (the Stallman extreme) and the “vendor, do it all for me”, proprietary extreme. These days, a mix somewhere in between those two extremes probably appeals to the greatest numbers overall, yet taking that position will, guaranteed, put you in opposition to nearly everyone else.

      So sure, there are reasons to do so and there are people to do so. From a journalistic standpoint, perhaps a different angle is to consider when taking a stand makes either political sense, publishing views sense, or practical sense, and each of these three considerations have their own distinct characteristics.

      Personally, I’ve said it and I’ll say it again, having dialogs, even disputes, makes sense, provided you have a venue and a forum where it’s worth having a long, protracted dialog with some specific objectives.

      To me, it’s the thoughtless sounding off components that make the least amount of sense. Sure, venting helps the individual. Sound, well constructed, long term arguments and recommendations are what benefit a cause. Maybe you need some of both. Torvalds and Stallman certainly go on rants and both will argue, even name call at times. Perhaps some of those things help; often, smart as those two guys are, they don’t, they simply further polarize a situation. I won’t claim that is true in 100% of the cases, but I often wonder if just shutting up, making stuff happen, use it, and then demonstrate it, and demonstrate things that save money, solve real problems, and advance the state of the art, I still believe that would be more effective than “winning” some argument. Do it and show it off, that’s how you win as far as I am concerned in the majority of scenarios.

      There may be other ways; if so, I am open to hearing them and I will listen, though it will not be an EASY SELL; I have to be convinced with arguments and examples that make good sense; I do promise to listen to such arguments. I always am eager to learn good things and new things from intelligent, articulate people, and we have quite a few of them in this discussion.

      • ned on April 3, 2014 at 6:39 am

        >Torvalds and Stallman certainly go on rants and both will argue, even name call at times.

        When has RMS ever told someone to go kill themselves.
        Torvalds is more of a Ballmer type. Heck even Eben Moglen has a nasty side as weve seen him tear into Oreilly (that was beautiful).
        But RMS and Torvalds dont belong in the same sentence when you are talking about behaviour.

        Torvalds and Eric Raymond? Absolutely.

        >Do it and show it off, that’s how you win as far as I am concerned in the majority of scenarios.
        If a bear craps in the woods, can anyone hear him?
        In a perfect world, great inventions should make it on their own. But its not. Its a world of marketing and the BS that comes with it. Where companies can spend a billion dollars to promote a product taht still fails. Did VHS win because it was better than Beta? Superior technology is not enough.

  5. Gary Newell on April 2, 2014 at 8:40 am

    Excellent article Jim.

    As you probably know I have my own blog and I review lots of distros. Very rarely do I actually state that one distro is better than another. I have written articles whereby I have recommended a single distro and given reasons for doing so but as you say each person has their own opinion about how they like their computer to work.

    • Jim Lynch on April 4, 2014 at 3:46 pm

      Hi Gary,

      Yep, I really like ELU. I’ve linked to it in ITworld’s open source roundup. But here’s a link to your blog for those who aren’t familiar with it:


      Do check it out guys, there’s some great stuff there.

      • Brian Masinick on April 4, 2014 at 3:51 pm

        Thanks for the link! Gary, I will indeed check out your blog; I’d not previously seen it, so I appreciate hearing about it and look forward to reading it!

        • Jim Lynch on April 4, 2014 at 3:52 pm

          It’s definitely worth a bookmark.

  6. Robert Pogson on April 2, 2014 at 4:39 am

    Everyone should care about the OS wars because Free Software operating systems are not out to hurt you. M$, for example, deliberately neglected security for many years because it had a monopoly with OEMs and retailers and “Independent” Software Vendors. That hurt us. M$ charged whatever it wanted and crippled our IT systems unless we paid more and more. In the beginning they charged just a few dollars per machine. At the height of its power, M$ charged $hundreds per machine. Thank God that’s ending. Read the EULA. Just a few years ago, it limited the standard client OS to just five machines connecting so we had to pay for server-OS licences and CALs just to use our networks. That hurt us. There are no such problems with FLOSS because you and I can run it any way we want, examine it, modify it and distribute it all for the cost of a download.

    The OS wars are not about what OS is “better”. An OS merely manages the resources in our IT-systems. The technological advantages of GNU/Linux are mainly that that’s all GNU/Linux tries to do. M$’s OS tries to lock us in, milk consumers and businesses of as much money as possible all the while restricting what we can do with our equipment. That’s a crime, something we should fight.

    • Neil on April 2, 2014 at 5:02 pm

      Excellent points.

      Also, if it wasn’t for Microsoft being unable/unwilling to properly secure their OS, combined with the cluelessness of most companies to do anything other than keep using Windows, the NSA and everyone else would have had a MUCH harder time spying on us all.

  7. Tom Cooper on April 2, 2014 at 1:44 am

    It is what drives us humans. It is in sports, tv programs and most things in life. It is what lets us keep things that we don’t understand under check (just for our own sake). With so much information available and abbreviated summaries of things, everyone of us are now pundits on anything.

    Thus we know what we are talking about. The testament to that is the group of people that are saying the same (sub-reddits, forums, irc). Since we are the ones that is talking everybody else should be dumb, because they did not talk as much as we did. Therefore we must be smarter.

    Every opinion is antithetical to the subject in hand. Just take for example this article. By not representing both camps, you are representing the third camp, that preaches how each person should not argue, should not take one side, and live happily ever after (most articles do). By saying to be disconcert about the for and against of any topic, you are representing a group, that just does not understand the dynamics of the two. Its like saying, I know better than all of you (no disrespect).

    What I mean to say is, every opinion is not balancing the equation, but dis-balancing it. Thus the usual course is just don’t be bothered that people are thinking like that.

    If you take Linux for example. I used to be a passionate Linux user. I used to discuss it a lot, visit every article that bashed windows. The purpose of following r/linux is in a way wanting to see such articles and make yourself feel comfortable once in a while. As a new linux user I was stucked in this loop for a long time. Few years back the thought of trying to replace every windows experience (alternate applications, even though I didn’t need most of them), was greater on me. Every time I learned something while using Linux, the though of it is impossible to be done on windows was even greater. When I was happy accomplishing something cool, I wanted to tell the world, what I did was not just a discovery, it is nothing sort of an invention. So why not, I bashed everyone who thought otherwise. For most of us the purpose of Linux was and is anti-windows camp (even if you disagree). Initially to be a radical anti-windows person and to run something other than windows for the first time is a completely different experience (that moment should be something special in every Linux user’s world). The though of accomplishment, the thought of being smarter than other (happens in most Linux users life).

    For some the transition never happens. They are stuck on this loop. People (technical) who exits out of this loop either become a person who does not bother talking about Linux (and even don’t write anything on linux/windows is better type of article) or becomes the second type (a dissatisfied Linux user) who tries to dispel his/her emotions through windows vs linux articles.
    People who exit out of this loop don’t write “you should feel this way” type of article. Therefore I categorize all such articles in this group, who have still lot to learn (not in terms of linux but in terms of life and how to mature oneself in this thought).

    Everyone has and should have a goal. Even with linux the usual course is to fill your brain with something productive e.g learn new tool, learn programming, talk about some technology (write about it), look deeper into flaws of how some software is written, ponder about an algorithm and try to learn how it is done, organize LUG and help people who want Linux help, create some art using the tools (movies, pictures, music, drawing, 3D mesh), create some game, ask and discuss about things you don’t know on related forums, spend time of ircs (dev channels and support channels). People who don’t do these sort of things, either is a sage (who uses Linux for his/her task) but doesn’t bother what others are saying about Linux, or a person who seeks windows vs linux type article, follow 6 or 7 person on youtube who have made their life mission to do the same.

    As for me, I am biased and am proud to be so.

    • Brian Masinick on April 2, 2014 at 1:55 am

      Tom, we all have biases. To say we don’t would also be misleading – to ourselves, first and foremost, and to one another as well. That’s not the point. Disagreeing is not the point either. Even being passionate is not the point. As I read and interpreted Jim’s words, I didn’t feel those were things he was centering in on, I felt he was centering and aiming at hostile, immature arguing. Linux forums are not the only place this happens. Jim points out in his articles that he sees this in many places.

      I see people on Facebook arguing about their favorite issues. Where I see it as being wrong is when people start attacking one another and narrowing the focal point of what they are willing to discuss and listen to. That’s the core of what I feel that Jim is addressing, and that’s where I really agree with what he’s saying.

      I’m not for a moment trying to limit people’s right to debate and disagree. I’m not even saying that others cannot have a narrow viewpoint; each person can think and say whatever they want to say. What can, and often does, happen when people narrow their viewpoints and start attacking others in their comments, the arguments really cease (or at the least are drowned out) and what remains typically does not accomplish what either side in a good debate would hope to accomplish,

      I will say that the discussions here so far have been very good and articulated well. Congratulations to everyone who has been participating in the discussions here. We’ve had various viewpoints expressed and yet we’ve done so, at least past 9:45 PM EDT on April 1, 2014, to do so without personally attacking one another.

  8. Dave Mawdsley on April 2, 2014 at 1:34 am

    I live in a world with a small cluster of computers and pseudo-computers in my lab — Ubuntu desktops and servers, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Nook Color and my wife’s iPad Mini occasionally. The old saw for me is… 1. What do I want to do?, 2. What software gets the job done? and 3. What device/OS do I use to get me there?

    Since my needs vary quite a lot, I’m not limited to one or two devices and I just grab what I need. That’s how it’s evolved for me. No need for a silly battle over which platform should win. Your article is right on.

    • Brian Masinick on April 2, 2014 at 1:44 am

      Well said, Dave! I feel the same way; I use whatever I need and whatever it takes to get the job done. At home, I use mostly the free stuff, but elsewhere, I use all kinds of different hardware and software in many different form factors: phones, tablets, laptops, desktops, servers, appliances… the list goes on and on, and I have a pragmatic attitude of using what gets the job done.

      • Unreality on April 2, 2014 at 2:04 am

        But it DOES matter to some of us what platform we use – both in the philosophical as well as practical (i.e. no money down) way. Is that not OK? Is it not OK that it matters to me that I use only FLOSS software, or that I use FLOSS as much as humanly (unlike RMS) possible? And if it matters to me, is it also not OK for me to attempt to discover why it does NOT matter to you? And if in that discovery process I find out that you are FLOSSing incorrectly – is it also NOT OK for me to show you how to adjust your FLOSSing technique so as to get squeaky clean results every time? etc.. etc.. etc…

        • Brian Masinick on April 2, 2014 at 2:13 am

          Sure, and if you approach others with the concerns you’ve just raised, in my opinion, you are more than welcome to state your concerns and how you deal with the areas that concern you.

          Where that would, in my opinion, come to a healthy stopping point would be a situation, where in spite of what you personally feel are legitimate concerns, the person to whom you are directing your concerns isn’t interested. IF they state their disinterest, then at that point I feel that “you’ve done your job”; you’ve stated your case, and if it’s received, a dialog can open. If the receiver chooses to ignore it or tell you they don’t want to hear it, at that point if you persist, then I’d say you become an agitator. If, on the other hand, they start spouting obscenities at you simply in response to your concerns, in that case, they are the agitator. Still, it’s an indication that they’re closed on the issue, so that tells me to let it drop.

          Now if the person or parties in the discussion disagree, but have a healthy exchange of ideas, then that’s the scenario to me in which a healthy dialog can continue. The other scenarios just are not productive, and at their worst, create a firestorm of hostility that is counterproductive to what began as some legitimate comments containing perfectly valid concerns. That’s when it’s time to do as the singer in “Frozen” sings: “Let It Go, Let it go!”

          • Unreality on April 2, 2014 at 2:28 am

            But that’s not what the article content or title state.
            A healthy discussion is different than a heated battle, but many people do not know how to discuss without the heat. The bothersome component is the temperature of the room combined with the desire to have the last word… hint :) — is it me or you? — Jim alludes to the fact that neither of these two items are truly exclusive to the GNU/Linux vs. World arguments.

            I had a bunch of other stuff floating around in my head — but, it’s gone – Something about no one can ever really win any argument since both sides have at least a small emotional and therefore irrational stake in the outcome… oh well…

            Your turn.
            No more comments from me.

  9. Unreality on April 2, 2014 at 1:12 am

    While the sentiment in your article is great, the “live and let live” philosophy does not necessarily apply here. On one hand, there is FLOSS licensed software and on the other hand there is corporate sunk costs that need to be recouped. The argument is much more nuanced than live and let live. While a horribly one sided “Linux is better” article may be a bit more of the same, a horribly one sided “Corporate X product is better” article means money in corporate treasury coffers to grow new business. These are not equal motivators, and “to win” the argument means something much different on each side. However, I agree with you from the end user perspective – let end users make the final decision on products. But this decision should be an intelligent and accurately informed decision…

    • Brian Masinick on April 2, 2014 at 1:41 am

      @Unreality: Some of those aspects that you have mentioned are certainly reasons to have a discussion; neither Jim nor I am opposed to well thought out discussions, or even some ad hoc discussions. Just to read our own print or hear ourselves speak are not reasons to have good discussion.

      You brought out some potentially good topics to discuss, for instance”

      1. Why should I pay for a commercial product, whether it is based on free software or licensed commercial proprietary software?

      2. If I do so, what advantages to licensed software (free or proprietary) make it worth paying for?

      3. What are some legitimate trade-offs between buying a product or service and supporting it through community discussion forums or other shared mechanisms?

      Plenty of questions like these that are legitimate reasons for a discussion, and there is no single clear cut answer that applies to everyone, but a healthy discussion will help individuals make their own decisions about supporting either commercial licensed proprietary software or freely available software (licensed or open).

      Plenty of choices in all areas, and that’s one thing I am definitely FOR on both the commercial and free ends of the spectrum: an adequate range of alternatives and choices.

      • Jim Lynch on April 4, 2014 at 3:50 pm

        I think the commercial software would simply have to add enough value to get you to pay for it, and it would have to add something that you couldn’t get elsewhere in a free and open source alternative. Ultimately it would be up to the user to figure that out for himself or herself, and it would vary considerably depending on the software in question. Some would be worth it, while quite a lot wouldn’t be worth bothering.

  10. Brian Masinick on April 1, 2014 at 9:00 pm

    Again I think we see “Eye to Eye” on this, Jim. When people want to discuss their opinions and preferences, and can do so in a civilized manner, not trying to convert everyone they see to their way of thinking, but simply sharing their interests and asking others to share theirs, I’m interested in that. But regardless of what the preferences are, if the discussion turns into a “This is the only right way” or something equally non sensible, if the discussion can still be salvaged, I may comment and ask for opinions that are respectful toward others, but if it’s too infantile, like school ground talk, there’s no point in attempting to reason in these cases.

    We’ve had some good discussions over the years, but like you, I’ve seen good and bad, on our forums and elsewhere. Best thing we can do when the opportunity presents itself is to suggest a better way of communicating, and start it off by setting a good example.

    Sometimes we just like to have a little fun, and there’s a place for that, too, as long as the participants “consider it fun” too.

    • Jim Lynch on April 4, 2014 at 3:51 pm

      Hmmm. Well I suppose that good moderation can help, but you rarely see that in article comments. It might be different in a forum though if the forum manager or moderators make it a point to nip nasty flames in the bud. But I almost never see that in comments posted at the bottom of articles. All too often it turns into a nasty free for all, and I quickly leave the page.

      • Brian Masinick on April 4, 2014 at 3:57 pm

        Jim, I think that is the crux of the matter. It may to some appear that I am looking to avoid controversy or even disagreement. That’s not it; I definitely believe in a healthy debate, but only debates that at least have a chance of resulting in something productive. When such debates occur, those are actually some of the best conversations available. Unfortunately, all too often they simply digress into arguments that have no fruitful outcome, often just melting into a name calling match, and I have no interest in that at all. A good debate? Yes, that’s ideal! I’m not looking for a perfect consensus, and it’s not always possible to achieve a positive result from a good debate or a good discussion but at least healthy dialog allows for that, and I am grateful that our discussion here, even in areas where we don’t have agreement, has been useful, well worth discussing, with several good “take aways” already, one of the better discussions here, in fact.

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