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Author Topic: You Can't do THAT on Windows! but on Linux it "just works"  (Read 1524 times)

Lazarus Long

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You Can't do THAT on Windows! but on Linux it "just works"
« on: April 13, 2007, 05:23:07 pm »

Although it's true that Linux causes me want to try the SLUI (sledge hammer user interface) from time to time, I am collecting an ever-increasing list of things that are much simpler in Linux than in Windows. Rather than semi-jack another thread, I'm starting this one.


Garden-Variety USB Mice and Keyboards

A good example is plug-and-play compatibility with USB mice and keyboards. When I plug some of these into a Windows XP box for the first time, the OS spends a few minutes trying to recognize the new hardware and install the driver. A USB keyboard I recently installed on one box had to go through the "Found New Hardware Wizard" three times to load three different drivers before the keyboard worked.

I've also had to reinstall the driver(s) over and over on every reboot for some peripherals, until the drivers finally "stick" on the third or fourth (?) time.

With Linux, however, my mice and keyboards nearly always just work - the same input devices, the same box, just a different OS. Plug and play. No special drivers to load, no special setup. There shouldn't be, because these input devices are about and old as basic as they come. It ain't rocket science, fer cryin' out loud!

(As an aside, I typically stick with PS/2 keyboards and mice when possible. Why? Because all of my desktop computers have PS/2 ports, so I might as well use these and free up my USB ports. However, I also use a lot of yard-sale & thrift-store hardware, and end up with some useful USB input devices this way. The abovementioned USB keyboard that Windows made a big song and a dance about was a small-form-factor keyboard I got at the thrift store specifically to fit in a narrow space on one of my desks. The store didn't have a small keyboard with PS/2 interface.)


External USB Drives


With Windows '98, you have to find and install a driver for each USB drive you want to use. Windows XP rarely requires you to supply a driver, but the first time you plug a USB drive into a particular computer, Windows XP has to spend a few moments recognizing the hardware and setting up a driver from its built-in collection of generic ones.

So why doesn't Linux have to set up a special driver for each external USB drive you plug in? SuSE 10 mounts them automatically. Xubuntu puts an icon on the desktop when you plug one in, and you can mount and unmount with the right-click menu. Puppy Linux uses has a handy graphical mounting tool. But none of these distros, not even the ruthlessly stripped-down Puppy, has to set up, let alone go hunting for, a driver for a USB flash drive.

Now, even Puppy and Xubuntu, as relatively sleek and lightweight as they are, probably tax older systems a bit more than, say, Windows NT4 did. But these distros are still pretty fast, and support for the FAT32 filesystem and USB storage is built in, requiring no setup. It's a tradeoff that works for me.


And, last but not least:

Free, Simple Incremental Backup

Windows may have a simple command line tool for incremental backup, but I'm not familiar with it. Long live rsync!


Maybe I should have put this thread in Show and Tell.

Nah.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2007, 09:15:03 pm by Lazarus Long »
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lee n. field

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Re: You Can't do THAT on Windows! but on Linux it "just works"
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2007, 06:31:04 pm »

Quote
I am collecting an ever-increasing list of things that are much simpler in Linux than in Windows.


Garden-Variety USB Mice and Keyboards
External USB Drives

With the 2.6 kernel and hal, dead easy, but it has not always been so.

Quote
Windows may have a simple command line tool for incremental backup, but I'm not familiar with it. Long live rsync!

ntbackup.  You'll have to dig for the command line options, but you can do it.

What I would really, really like is a windows version of tar that would work natively (as opposed to working with a unix emulation like cygwin) with tape drives.

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