Microsoft Chokehold on OEMs in South Africa

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The hunt for a Linux PC
,----[ Quote ] | Where can the average South African consumer get their hands on a | new PC loaded with Linux instead of Windows? Not a lot of places,
| as it turns out. `----
http://www.tectonic.co.za/view
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Name some places in the US.
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On Mon, 5 Feb 2007 22:08:50 -0600, GeekBoy wrote:

There would be if there were any buyers.
I suppose I could ask a Linux user if there were some places to buy Linux computers, but, although I know hundreds of computer users, none of them use it on their personal computers.
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Off the top of my head I only know one place that sells Linux preinstalled. Fry's Electronics. And that is a low budget computer. You can usually get it minus monitor for $199. And it is the Linspire distribution (Formerly Lindows thanks to M$).
I have it on one of my personal computers. It's good to know the major operating systems if it is your job.
There were a a lot of Linux on new computers a few years ago, but mostly got dropped as Linux got a bad reputation as not being very user friendly for the new or average user. Also many hardware companies do not even make drivers for it.
The problem for putting it on new computers it lack of support for newer or average users. M$ can do support because of also the sales of other items to go along with their OS. There is many Linux providers and not many of them selling other software with their distros. Mostly only expensive support.
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GeekBoy wrote:

I always wanted to get into Linux but feared it. Its used for a lot of science aps, professional astronomy & spectroscopy etc. I was always waiting for a windows version? My son is a CEO and former CIO or a large corp and would have given me a machine years ago .... Linux is used for higher level telescope control and spectroscopy analysis software like SPECTRUM; the windows counterparts are all pure crap full of bugs and no documentation at all (real crapware, eg. Vspec!).
Im too old to do it now ......... maybe?
Give me a headsup if you think I should do this - why is Linux sucha bitch to operate?
Jerry
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On Tue, 06 Feb 2007 02:26:30 -0600, More Advertising

More than anything, the lack of a standard user interface or GUI.HTere are several "flavors" of them out there some good and some bad and if they can ever get standardized on one style GUI they could grow more. More than anything else MS provides the standard GUI to write software for and to work with. ----------------- TheSnoMan.com
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SnoMan wrote:

I think that the most popular distros for newbies, Ubuntu, kubuntu, PCLinuxOS, OpenSuse, already HAVE standardised on either KDE or Gnome....
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SnoMan wrote:

Except they keep changing that standard at will.
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wrote:

What is a "standard" interface?

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In comp.os.linux.advocacy, GeekBoy
wrote on Tue, 6 Feb 2007 12:16:50 -0600

Microsoft Windows Vista(tm), presumably. Of course that tips the entire problem on its head, since X has been standardized long since presumably, by the X/Open group.
But that's part of the problem. What does one see? A bunch of windows. Microsoft has basically implemented a user/system interaction model involving windows, menus, mouse clicks, etc. that everyone more or less recognizes (yes, including that dumb horizontal scrolling bar in the file requester! Java copied that for some bizarre reason). Others have different implementations, with somewhat different results. I don't claim that Microsoft "innovated" anything here, though they are ubiquitous enough to have commoditized the problem to some extent.
I'm old enough to remember the close icon being in the upper left, for example; Amiga and Athena had some interesting ideas about scroll bars.
Amiga:
The scrollbars for Intuition/Workbench 2.0 or 1.4 (?) placed the up/down/left/right buttons near the lower right -- quite different from the now-more-or-less standard placement of the right/down near the lower right, left near the lower left, and up near the upper right, making troughs with arrows at each end. I've not seen Amiga's layout anywhere else, and am not sure of its real usefulness, though it might have been an attempt to minimize mouse movement. (I don't remember whether other applications followed suit.)
I don't know if this was kept in 3.0.
Scrollbars could also be shifted by clicking in the "trench".
Athena:
Classical Athena scrollbars used all three mouse buttons. - Left: Move up or left, with the proportion dependent on the distance from the top or left and the current cursor position.
- Right: Move down or right, with otherwise similar semantics to left.
- Middle: Drag to the desired position.
There was no concept of clicking in the trench.
This is quite different from the "one button" mode used by every other GUI I can think of offhand. To be fair, these were remappable if one wanted to bother tweaking resource files.
One can also customize some applications to move the scrollbars around.
Some applications are "hot" -- the window updates as the scrollbar moves. There are also issues with the thumbwheel, which in X shows up as buttons 4 and 5. Many apps interpret these as commands to scroll up or down, and may interpret them as other commands if SHIFT or CTRL is pressed. Ctrl-Thumb in Epiphany allows for font resizing, for example; Shift-Thumb goes through the URL history. If one positions the cursor on a tab in Epiphany, Thumb will move through the tabs.
Windows had the slightly annoying issue -- that could be construed as a godsend if one's careful enough -- that if one moved off the scrollbar while dragging, the scrollbar snaps back to its original position. One can also press <ESC>. For the most part Gnome and KDE follow the X model: a grabbed scrollbar is grabbed until released, regardless of where the pointer (and in some cases the editing cursor) ends up.
There is also the cut/copy/paste issue. X used two mouse buttons again, plus the notion that only one client could select [*] a range of something at a time. (This is enforced at the protocol/Xlib level, in fact.) Windows, and I think Apple as well, used the X, C, and V keys, along with a modified -- in Windows, CTRL, and Apple uses an Option button which looks a bit like a four-leaf clover. Nowadays, Gnome and KDE are copying Windows (since most x86 PC keyboards don't have a flower :-) ). I do not know precisely how the Windows clipboarding works. X has a rotating text clipboard; the apps could either use that or the selection protocol.
I will briefly mention menus:
Apple:
The menu for whatever window was active is always at the upper left. One selects items by pressing, then dragging down, then releasing, or by clicking, dragging down, and clicking again -- I forget which. Maybe both.
Amiga:
Amiga is a modified Apple. Instead of having an always up menubar, one presses the right mouse button; the menubar then appears, overlaying the current screen titlebar. One can then move the pointer to the appropriate item, which drops down the requisite menu. Releasing the button selects the item and visually removes the menubar. Moving the pointer off the menu rolls up the menu.
Gnome, KDE, Motif, and Windows:
Each window has its own menu area at the upper left, below the title bar. Icons on the title bar allow for minimization, maximization, and closing (request). The lower right can be used to stretch the window -- and the other corners can stretch the window as well, though it depends on window manager. (Twm in particular had some very weird notions but is now rarely used.)
All of these can have popup menus as well, which show up when a mouse button is pressed. The Amiga is a little weird in that respect, but all others simply wait for the right mouse button. In some cases all three buttons with a modifier can also be used -- Xterm in particular has three popup menus accessible by Ctrl-Button 1 through 3.
In all cases, "panels" are also available -- in Gnome's case a menu is provided at the upper left, but is generally static, unlike Apple's. Icons can also be registered, then clicked, on these panels. For its part Microsoft has a quicklaunch area, plus an icon area, plus the infamous "start" button, which in Vista got changed to a flag logo.
Vista is also innovating its start menu, which is now looking more like a rather complicated dialog box.
Gnome and KDE provide "capplet" functionality; in my case, for example, I have two geyes at opposite corners, plus a clock capplet, a load capplet, and the workspace switcher. Windows also has a clock; I'm not sure how it coordinates with a calendar. Gnome's clock drops down a calendar which includes events scheduled with Evolution -- days with such events are marked in a bold font, and clicking on such days adds a list to the calendar showing the events.
So...how standard is all this? Good question, and I've not gotten down to the desktop icons yet. Note that Motif didn't have desktop icons representing files and directories; it had desktop icons representing windows. Windows 3.1 used icons for programs and program groups.
Gnome, KDE, and Win95 now put window icons in an icon area, making a bit of X's protocol slightly less than useful (one can create a custom icon window in X but I don't know where that will end up now).
Applications include additional clutter; Eclipse can be festooned with draggable actionbar icons, for example. IE, Word, OpenOffice, and Mozilla have similar functionality. Opera didn't bother. Gimp has its own ideas, and is being annoying (I can't put the subrequesters back into the main toolbar). :-)
The new Office GUI introduces tabbed menus -- dubious from a usability standpoint, but somewhat attractive from a visual one. Vista introduces 3D elements, though XGL and Looking Glass probably preceded it (though I do remember Windows making some noises about silly demos at one point).
Welcome to the New World Order.

[*] X implements a primary and a secondary selection system; the secondary one is now rarely used.
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After takin' a swig o' grog, The Ghost In The Machine belched out this bit o' wisdom:

With XFce, you can put them wherever you want on the title bar.

Is that like the KDE/fluxbox slit or the XFce/Gnome dock?
My god you type a lot.
--
Convert your Billy-box to a Linus-box today!

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In comp.os.linux.advocacy, Linonut
wrote on Tue, 06 Feb 2007 22:20:50 -0600

Ah.
Actually, I was referring to the sliding area of a scrollbar, which visually looks a bit like a trench. You're referring to something else entirely specific to the window manager/environment. I'll admit I'm not familiar with those beyond noting that mwm, the Motif windows manager, did have an option for putting icons in a mwm-managed window. The window manager I use now -- metacity -- emulates Win95 and every other Windows family by putting long buttons in an area of the panel with text, usually on the bottom.

I type fast. :-) Comes from 6th grade; never regretted it.
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Something that it is more consistant to write installation instructions to install apps to or configure devices. The different "flavors" of Linux makes this a bit more difficult. ----------------- TheSnoMan.com
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wrote:

It's all the same. Windows uses a graphical interface to make changes to text files to tell it how most of it to operate. Same thing in Linux.
No matter what branded or styled window interface they use (KDE, Gnome), they still have to use the X-windows server which is standardized in all Linux distros.
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In comp.os.linux.advocacy, GeekBoy
wrote on Tue, 6 Feb 2007 14:40:49 -0600

Not quite.
WINDOWS:
Presumably, most of the system is geared towards making modifications to that great big grab bag, the Registry; this Registry has settings galore in it, and I'd frankly have to look to see where things are for such things as TCP/IP, graphics display characteristics, and other miscellaneous crap. Some third party tools might still use .INI files.
LINUX:
Gnome has its own ideas on registry entries, though they are backed up by a file in ~/.gnome2 somewhere. I'd frankly have to look. Most of these are for the user's benefit. I don't know where KDE puts things but suspect a vaguely similar structure.
System settings are handled elsewhere, scattered in various places in /etc. For example, /etc/conf.d/net is for the aforementioned TCP/IP settings. Graphics are handled through /etc/X11/xorg.conf . Since Linux has a fair number of daemons, these need to be configured as well; these generally are also in /etc/conf.d or /etc/ somewhere.
There are also tools such as webmin, which attempt to GUIfy all this.

That's only a small part of the problem. However, it's fairly straightforward, except maybe for Apache -- but Apache isn't exactly a typical desktop app.
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Linux was derived from UNIX. UNIX was designed by and for programmers. Linux still heavily retains its roots with text interface. I have a book that is 5 inches thick full of commands and included text based software that is included with Linux and it covers only basic operations. It could take months to years to learn all that and the power that could be done as compared to windows.
Some software packages for Linux, is a serious learning curve and most non technical users would not be able to understand even how to insall some software on their Linux. A lof of people who make software feel it is best to have the software compiled on their system is best policy to ensure it runs properly.
That has changed a lot with different versions made for different platforms and making a RPM file for the software package which is similar to the Windows Installer.
The desktop has also become a lot better and more windows like.
One good thing about Linux is that there is just not too many viruses and other malware for it.

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GeekBoy wrote:

Not so at all. It can take years to truly become an expert with windows. There are 1000's of little known hidden features buried among the multitude of applications, registry entries etc. Most people tend to work around those features and instead opt for the limited usuability of the GUI. I still drop to the DOS prompt because some things are far easier from the command line than in Windows GUI.
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GeekBoy wrote:

I can believe that.

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a
places,
get
major
mostly
for
make
newer
items
support.
Linux
be
non
best
it
platforms
and
That is because it is way too small of a target and provides no real bang for the buck.
--
If at first you don't succeed, you're not cut out for skydiving



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After takin' a swig o' grog, TBone belched out this bit o' wisdom:

No, it's because Windows is the low-hanging fruit, according to Bruce Schneier.
--
"The reason (for) new versions is not to fix bugs. ... It's the stupidest
reason to buy a new version I ever heard. When we do a new version we put in
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