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SubjectRe: Linux vs Microsoft
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> The big advantage that M$ has in this area is their vast database of
> hardware information and an installer that can usually identify and
> configure the OS installation without the user knowing much about whats in
> their box. Sure, it doesn't work all of the time. But it does work most of
> the time and thats good enough for most non-technical users.

Just yesterday I had to help someone (completely non-technical user)
to install a PCI ethernet card into his new Win98 box. Piece of cake,
you say? Boot, insert driver disk, let the "hardware wizard" find out
the rest? Not at all. It took me about 10 reboots until I had the
thing running. The first two times it insisted on installing the wrong
driver (from the Win98 CD instead of the floppy), then it demanded a
reboot after _every_ change in the network config (worse than '95
actually).

The owner of the machine would have been completely lost after the
first attempt. And I would have been completely lost after the third
attempt, if not for the fact that Win98 contains a netstat command
that showed me the board was really sending packets (there was a
cabling problem too).

> Microsoft can easily collect configuration information from hardware
> vendors because of its dominant position in the marketplace. Linux
> distributors are at a major disadvantage. They don't have the size or
> resources to collect and put to use the vast amount of info that it would
> take to make Linux installation fool-proof. For something on this scale to

Most hardware devices come with a driver disk. The one mentioned above
actually did contain a directory named "Linux", which I didn't
investigate further (as Win98 found out it was a RTL8029 so the most
generic driver of all would suffice, though).

M$ would be just as lost as Linux if they didn't rely on hardware
manufacturers supplying drivers. You see that especially for video
cards.

olaf


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