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From Our Blog 62

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UBUNTU LINUX VS. VISTA: WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Tech writer Serdar Yegulalp, who uses Windows but prides himself on having an open mind, recently compared Windows Vista with Ubuntu 7.04, a Linux OS that's known for having a consumer-comprehensible interface. The result is a comprehensive and personal look at the two operating systems. On what side of the fence do you come down? --Barbara Krasnoff

Ubuntu for me, just because Microsoft programs get slower and slower. Internet Explorer gets slower, while Mozilla Firefox still loads fast and streams faster with fewer lockups.

The PC now is a necessary tool rather than a neat thing to have, so who among us would be satisfied with a tool that needs to be resharpened periodically rather than no sharpening at all and still receive comparable results? --John Dawson

I've been using Ubuntu for several months now and absolutely love it. There are only three things that force me to keep Windows in my house: games for Windows; development tools (some of the ones I use are only available as Windows installs); and Adobe product support (Flash Professional, Illustrator, etc.).

Although I'm not as hard core of a gamer as I have been in the past, I like to fire up the occasional game. Unfortunately, I don't think the big game developers and publishing houses will port or produce mainstream games to Linux any time soon. Running some games through emulators just isn't worth the trouble, and most PC games need DirectX support.

I'll continue to use Ubuntu and the tools it has as much as possible, but until the mainstream tools are supported better, it's dual-boot for me. --Dan Perovic

I tried Vista for a few weeks, but for me it wasn't worth the high price. ($740 for Ultimate--are you kidding me?) Instead, I switched to Linux about two months ago, and I've been very happy. All technical problems and questions I had were answered by Google. I miss some Windows-only games, but my new Wii satisfies my game urges nicely. Linux is totally worth the effort. --Randy Johnson

We have been installing Ubuntu on our laptops and office computers. It works fine, networks easily, and works on our older, less fancy hardware. About the only gripe we've had is that some of our crew (who aren't supposed to be watching movies on the job anyway) had to download the codecs manually for some multimedia formats. We're using the 6.10 version of Ubuntu; the newer version will be put on all our machines later on. We still have a few Windows XP machines, but we have no plans to use Vista. For our humble office and home users, we just can't afford the fancy hardware and license fees. --Bob Phillips


ENOUGH ALREADY WITH INTERACTIVE TV
Dear Microsoft: Thank you for your concern about the lack of interactivity in my television. I realize that your researchers have only my best interests at heart, but please tell them that interactivity isn't necessary. TV is passive entertainment, and I'm fine with that. Perhaps the researchers working on interactive TV could be reassigned to help engineer the paperless office. That effort seems to be taking a lot longer than it should. --Thomas Claburn

Love it, and it's so true. Microsoft should stick with what it knows best--spreadsheets and operating systems with security holes. --Scott Van Achte

I'm sure you were right on the ball with a prediction that people would only want to use cell phones for talking. Who would ever want to send text messages through a mobile phone? That's what computers are for. And who would want to take a picture with a phone? Don't we have digital cameras? And of course, why on earth would anybody want to send an E-mail from their phone? Computers do that, too. What? Watch video through a computer? Home videos? Poppycock! We have televisions made by professionals. That's all people want to see.

Anybody watching the converging media world for the last five years can see a blurring of the line between television, voice, mobile, and Internet. People want their information and their entertainment whenever they want it and catered to them. Therefore, the TV world must embrace interactivity before it loses all of its millennial eyeballs to other media. Will there be an adoption curve? Of course. But old-school thinking of the golden age of television should be left to my parents' generation. --Reed

Speaking as a computer tech who spends much of my time fixing mistakes brought on by Microsoft's "unintentional features" (glitches), I would rather see Microsoft working on producing a relatively stable product for once instead of trying to put its grubby fingers into another part of our lives.

Still, I see interactive TV as having some decent benefits: A news anchor's story quips out a statistic, and a link scrolls across the bottom of the screen that you can click to explore what the stat really means in the context it was taken from and not the spin given by the story's writer.

Or a politician's voting record may be available for your perusal while he's talking out of both sides of his mouth. --Nick L