Friday, October 10, 2008

Microsoft or Linux

I've had the opportunity to play around on the Microsoft (XP) version of my Eee PC's this week. While I love my Linux machine because it's quick, simple and easy to use, I have to admit that the Microsoft version is not as bad and as slow as I thought it would be (even on this 4Gb machine) and there are some definite advantages to having a microsoft machine such as:-
  1. You have access to the Microsoft Office software suite.

  2. Shockwave player is available.

  3. You can easily map and share drives off a Windows server.

  4. You have access to Windows compatible software (such as Quest Atlantis and Scratch?).

  5. You can upload files to all web2 programs.

Personally I can live without points 1-4 above. I can use OpenOfffice and or web2 programs instead of Microsoft Office. I haven't come across anymore web2 programs which require the Shockwave player as most are Shockwave Flash based which is available on the Linux machine. I don't want to be able to synchronise my files with my 'h' drive and have to wait 5 minutes before I can use the machine. I don't want to be able to use software that is on a mapped drive, that can only be accessed from our server while at school. I don't want to spend ages putting extra software on my machine or 25 student machines to come to that. In fact I don't want to spend years upgrading and installing extra software full stop and I definitely don't want to be relying on technician support.

All I want to have is a machine that is simple to use, one that connects easily and quickly to the internet, accessing software and information from the web (in the cloud). The Linux machine is specifically designed to do this, with its large pre-installed buttons, that link you directly to the cloud (Firefox, igoogle, skype. and much more). The Linux machine is configured as a web tablet where as the Microsoft version is just a mini Windows machine.

However point 5 above does concern me - not being able to upload to some web2 programs (i.e. dipity, animoto, eyespot) which restricts my use of web2 program. Yes I can use other programs (jumpcut, voice thread, glogster etc) but my question is as more web2 programs are developed will there be more programs I can't use? This I'm not sure?

Mark seems to think that the reason why I cant upload files to some web2 programs is because the web sites have been designed using Microsoft software instead of an opensource alternative and the programs can't find a 'c 'drive which is a Windows standard (seems a reasonable explanation to me). Does that mean then that you can't use them on an Apple machine?

Surely all programs that are designed for the web should be of an open standard, designed for all machines (PC's, phones. PSP's) and all browsers (Firefox, Explorer, Opera mini). So maybe if they aren't I shouldn't be worried about not been able to use them! Oh it seems like I can live with that too.

In fact for $400 I can live without all of that. I like the simplicity and speed of the Linux Eee PC with its internet ready design and its easy to restore to factory settings button, but I have to admit for an extra $100 the more complicated and slightly slower Microsoft version with its extra features is a good option too and maybe just what we/you need for your school.

What features do you need?

Which one will you be able to live with ?

Microsoft or Linux?

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