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.
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.