Well, the internet went back to normal speed about an hour after I wrote that last post. I still don’t know why it didn’t work, but at least it seems to be working OK now (although when I get back home, I’ll probably find that it’s broken again).
Anyway, time for something I haven’t blogged about in a while:
Why Linux is better than Windows
One thing I’ve noticed recently is a pretty fundamental difference between Linux and Windows. Linux is built on the principle of having a large number of small programs that do what they do very well. Windows is built on the principle of having a smaller number of larger programs… that don’t necessarily do what they do very well. Not everything, at least. In short, Linux is modular, whereas Windows is monolithic.
There are good sides and bad sides to this: in terms of installing new software, modular code isn’t necessarily helpful: in Windows, if I want to install a piece of software I just click “Install”, and it’s basically there. In Linux, I often have to root out various libraries to get something to work… however, it does mean there’s less waste (if several programs use the same library), and modern package managers such as Gentoo’s emerge and Red Hat’s yum make this much easier (actually, once or twice yum hasn’t worked properly but emerge has always worked for me… bit of an unfair comparison though, because I’ve used yum a lot more).
Which brings me on to another point: control. In Linux, you feel as if you are in complete control of your computer. It gets you right down to the nitty-gritty. This, again, can be a good and a bad thing: sometimes you just want things to work, without having to worry about compiling in a bt869 module into your kernel so you can get s-video out on your video card… *ahem*. But sometimes it’s good to have control, it can be frustrating at times but the sense of achievement you get when you’ve got something working is worth it.
Incidentally, with my example above — I think often the case is not so much that Linux is being difficult, just that hardware manufacturer’s don’t provide Linux drivers, meaning you have to fudge it.