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Monday, March 16, 2009

TOYA Boys Fight Linux Flow

There might be TOYA girls too but I haven't run into any as of yet.

This publication is subject to change that though.

It's expected when Microsoft tries to stop the spread of GNU/Linux. It's my understanding that we as an entity might officially be causing them some grief. Even those who sell, distribute or package MS products are forced at the point of an auditing pen to do Microsoft's bidding. It all comes down to money.

A lot of money. Cumulatively, they are only doing what they are supposed to be doing...protecting their market.

So that's where I get confused. It's perfectly understandable for companies "with some skin in the game" to get defensive, but what about those villagers who rally to Castle Redmond's defense? Sure they are Microsoft Windows users but what point is there in them trying to stop others from at least trying Linux? I mean aside from those obviously being compensated.


Please. It's a product.

The Free Software Movement is just that...A Movement, and one that is picking up momentum far past the comfort level of many corporates. It transcends being "a product" by virtue of those who make it so. When folks mention that they are either in the middle of a Linux experiment or thinking of conducting one, why are Some Windows Users doing everything they can to discourage it? Worse a Linux User, you might be surprised at how your "friends" really think of you...when you are not there that is.

Case on point.

A reader recently emailed me about his latest "project". He belongs to An IRC# that houses car enthusiasts. When they are not talking about cars, other subjects pop up. One member kvetched about his constant problems with viruses and spyware. Our guy here mentioned that he hadn't had that problem in ages and that he really should give Linux a shot. What follows is a bit of the history of what happened. We are posting text from that IRC chat and some of the text that deals with cars and other non-Linux stuff has been omitted. He introduces the text of the chat and then posts the meat of the subject. What follows is a narrative from our guy and a posting from that chat:

"Well finally last week John got a real bad infection of some virus on multiple systems and as usual had to haul the systems down to some computer repair place to get the current virus problems taken care of. While he was doing this he mentioned that he had an older system just sitting around that he didn't use any more. I said he could try Linux on that older system to see what it was like. Anyway after listening to me tell him yet again how Linux has NO VIRUS problems finally last night he started the download of Ubuntu to try on this older system. So I went to bed at that point and left John to his download. Unfortunately while I was sleeping and John was sitting up "babysitting" his download the other "computer experts" joined the chat room. The following is an excerpt from the resulting conversation they had with John regarding his Ubuntu download (I have corrected some spelling mistakes and removed lines where they car conversations intruded):"

(12:57:37 AM) nickj2: downloading linux, john? may i ask why? (01:01:21 AM) nickj2: john, which linux have you downloaded? and can you boot a live-cd to try it out first? (01:06:14 AM) JohnH: Hi Nick, just got done, ubuntu 8.1 (01:07:34 AM) JohnH: Nick, I am a sucker for free, just got my new computer back from the doctor who removed a viris and installed a viris program, that wasn't free (01:08:21 AM) nickj2: there are free anti-virus programs available (01:08:54 AM) nickj2: it will be very interesting to hear how you get on with linux. but PLEASE, try running it as a live-cd first (i.e. burn it to a cd and boot from it, without installing it) (01:08:54 AM) JohnH: I figure if I can use an operating system that doesn't get a virus, maybe I will be better off (01:09:07 AM) JohnH: I just did that (01:10:00 AM) JohnH: Well, you know I am computer uneducated, so if I can run it, anyone can (01:10:41 AM) nickj2: uhm... did someone tell you there aren't viruses for linux? (01:10:49 AM) JohnH: I will try it on my old computer when I get time (01:11:00 AM) JohnH: ahhhh, yep (01:11:19 AM) JohnH: or maybe just free protection (01:12:08 AM) JohnH: anyway, Steven is always crowing about it, I just figure --why not try--??? (01:13:55 AM) JustinXJS2: you may want to back your pictures up to a cd first, better to be safe than sorry (01:14:00 AM) nickj2: hehe (01:14:43 AM) JohnH: I will try it on a computer that is collecting dust for a couple of years (01:15:04 AM) JustinXJS2: good plan (01:15:11 AM) JohnH: You guys don't give me a good feeling (01:15:44 AM) JustinXJS2: well John... everyone and their dog loves free, if linux were a halfway decent product, everyone would be using it (01:15:47 AM) JustinXJS2: :-) (01:15:48 AM) nickj2: colour me sceptical... (01:16:23 AM) JohnH: One question, have either of you tried anything recent? (01:17:13 AM) JustinXJS2: yes, I have ubuntu 8.04 running on a machine (01:18:20 AM) JohnH: it must suck, but he doesn't want to stick his neck out (01:18:50 AM) nickj2: linux is still a sepcial-interest system. in a windows world, it's still an outsider (01:19:53 AM) JohnH: Geez, I wake up a 2 am to download something that looks to be not quite the rainbow I was hoping for (01:20:18 AM) nickj2: if you like tinkering, old-school computer hobbyist style, it's excellent. and free. if you just want things to work, all the time, then you're better off with windows. linux is free though. (01:20:44 AM) JustinXJS2: Frankly, it is a pain in the ass... but I build that machine specifically for doing CNC work, so I dont need to use it for anything else and cant really anyway, the CNC software slows the machine to crawl (01:21:13 AM) nickj2: frankly, i'd have expected linux to be doing a lot better in 2009 than it is, but it has a huge glaring problem: there's too many variations of it. rather than developing a single solid linux, everyone is splitting off making their own little variants (01:21:34 AM) nickj2: it certainly ain't no rainbow. free or not (01:22:04 AM) JohnH: why don't you guys speak up when Steven is boasting that it is the best thing since sliced bread (01:22:49 AM) JustinXJS2: because it turns into a 4 hour arguement, I dont have time to argue with steve about how he is a supernerd anymore (01:23:02 AM) nickj2: i must have missed that (01:23:41 AM) JohnH: Crap, I think I will have a couple shots of vodka and hit the sack---mini-nerd over and out (01:23:52 AM) nickj2: oh, justin brings up a very important point there... never try to argue with a linux user. about anything.hehe (01:24:00 AM) gordiegor: maybe to him it is,but to morons like us( PC wise ) its not the thing,he can take care of tweaks and bugs very easily ! (01:24:06 AM) JustinXJS2: haha (01:24:22 AM) JustinXJS2: yup, dont argue with the linux users, it is hopeless (01:24:34 AM) JustinXJS2: night John (01:24:50 AM) nickj2: cheer up john, at least you haven't installed it... (01:24:51 AM) JohnH: I'll try and keep my mount shut about this secret of yours so others will continue downloading it (01:25:11 AM) nickj2: and you didn't pay for it (01:25:31 AM) JohnH: nope, only in sleep


Where to start...

Maybe with John. Question for you John...Why are you so concerned about what others think about what you put on your computer? It's your computer physically, but if you read the EULA like I asked, you might find out that everything on it is in question as to who owns it. You do with your machine as you wish and let everyone who doesn't like it get bent in the neck...

":linux is still a sepcial-interest system. in a windows world, it's still an outsider"

Is that right? I'm not going to jump through the hoops of innumerating the mega-corps and entire nations that have switched to this "sepcial-interest system". I just picked that line out because I need people to see the ignorance that abounds on the subject. Congrats at making print.

So...while not exactly railing against Free Software, you can see the tone here. The misconceptions flow like cheap beer at a frat party and the condescending tones are obvious, While working this story, I discovered a young lady in Austria who was publicly ostracized for admitting she used Linux at home. The "Offended" group? Her Sunday School.

So let me talk to those specifically doing this sort of talking. What do you gain by this? Further, put aside all the other fluff stuff and ask yourself some tough questions.

Am I an idiot? Then why am I using a product that allows other applications to spy on me...the applications that I am supposed to trust to protect me?

btw, a side trip to read the above link is time well spent.

"No, I'm not an idiot thank you, I have to use it at work"

Pass given...pity poured liberally upon your wounds. How about at home?

Resume self-questioning please...

In fact, why am I using a product to "protect me" at all? Why should I have to? why am I purchasing a product so that the product I already purchased will work? That sucks.

You are only a victim until you realize you have a choice...then you are a ???

You complain time and again about having to pay for your computer to be "cleaned" but you turn right around and put the same stodgy system on there that allowed for the infection in the first place. Why do you do that when you have alternatives? Victim or Dunce?

Or just plain mentally lazy. Constantly suffering the pain of your buggy system is less hassle than taking a couple of days to learn something new?

If so, I'll let you fill in the blanks. Let the people who are taking advantage of a better way do so without interference...don't try dragging them back down into the muck so you will have some company.

Have you read the MS EULA's? You know, that thing you click "I agree" at the end so you can use your new system? If you HAVE read them and still insist on using Windows, then I am tempted to fill in some blanks of my own. Here...take a peek at this. We have an entire article devoted to these digital prisons coming up soon. You might find it worth your while to get some chain-cutting tools out then. You find absolute comfort in staying with a product that counts on you being uh.....there's no tactful way of stating it.

Dumb and lazy.

In reality though, if you count the time in a year you spend "maintaining" your system, you could be using one that doesn't demand that you bend over for the King and His Court. To kiss his ring of course...

Microsoft or some of its partners can come into your computer at any time, for any reason and do anything they think they need to do and you cannot do anything to stop it. Aside from quit using it that is.

I don't see that happening as much as it should...reference the mentally lazy reference above.

And the part about it being difficult? I don't know which Linux version you've used but I have 10 and 12 year old kids picking this system up for general use in about 45 minutes. Maybe if you run into problems I can forward them one of your emails and we can get you some help.

So the next time you decide to "help someone" by giving them yourself a favor and do some reading before-hand. If you are stuck in the 90's, good luck to you. If you fear change that much, I wish you further luck. If you rather pay for software that drastically reduces your freedom and abilities, that's your sad affair. Don't resort to TOYA to keep someone else from joining the 21st century.

You might not get referred to as a TOYA Boy.

Oh, TOYA? That would be Talkin' Out Your A**.

All Righty Then.


Anonymous said...

Please. It's a product.

Oh, that link is priceless. Do you think he's actually tried to pay someone at You Tube to take it down?

Anonymous said...

I thought it had to do something with the Toyota company. :)

I had those conversations before... and hope to have them again.

Anonymous said...

Amen to that brother!



Anonymous said...

Microsoft Vista corporate edition: its free too! lol

But seriously, IRC is for old people. Everyone knows that imageboards are CRUISE CONTROL FOR COOL.

Unknown said...

I'll never understand how people that spend all sorts of time combating viruses and spyware....even taking the machine down to take it in for cleaning can complain that Linux takes up to much time.

I mean if something doesn't work right off the bat and you have to look for the solution it only once. Its not a weekly ritual like PC cleaning and doesn't cause any downtime when something gets out of hand. If you ask me it takes more of a geek to keep a Windows box functioning or to even get it installed with drivers than it does for Linux.

Anonymous said...

People can be fairly fanatical about their choices in life.

In many parts of the world, supporters of different soccer clubs do attack each other physically and even try to kill each other.

The same for political parties, religion, or any other perceived "lifestyle choice".

For those who have spend a lifetime getting knowledgeable (or so they think) on a chosen subject, incompatible approaches are a threat.

The idea that you try to prevent people from trying out other computer platforms is rather dull on these scales. Go watch Vi vs Emacs or Gnome vs KDE.

What is remarkable is the level of ignorance normally displayed. It is a open door that the less one knows, the less doubt one has.


Anonymous said...

The logs would be easier to read if you added line breaks.

FelixTheCat said...

They targeted someone who hasn't had the chance to at least dip their toes in the water, much less gain some reasonable experience (I'd imagine he has years of M$ experience versus ?? of Linux), and then commence to forcing their own bigotry and phobias down his throat.

It's funny, I'd imagine he probably asked for help on that IRC channel with his computer, and I can definitely imagine not a single one of them piped up to help him then. Oh, but it's good enough for them to heap a steaming pile on anything different, though, even though the "status quo" is defective by design!

All advocates can do is pound that one point home, over and over again, until more folks have some light bulb moments.

One other thing I took away from that conversation: notice how they won't confront a relatively seasoned Linux guy directly, but they'll certainly talk smack behind his back and have a great giggle about it afterwards.

Anonymous said...

Interesting. I am a Linux user and purchased an iMac because of the video applications. Linux just doesn't quite cut it in the video editing department. Kdenlive has loads of potential though.

Anyways, I received similar harassment from my sister who had only used a Mac once. She hated the mouse. She also doesn't understand how I can not get any viruses. Ah well, dumb asses will be dumb asses.

Personally I can't comment on Windows Vista because I have never used it. I won't be able to comment on Windows 7 because I won't use it. It is ridiculous when people offer up advice for something they have never tried.

Unknown said...

"But seriously, IRC is for old people. Everyone knows that imageboards are CRUISE CONTROL FOR COOL."

I AM old people. Besides, every time I try to be cool now, I either get hurt, make a fool out of myself or make a bigger fool out of myself.

I much prefer being old people...there is a certain dignity in it. Besides, it's fun watching you guys "be cool".

"The logs would be easier to read if you added line breaks."

Zayne you have my apologies. Something about the combination of my machine and the Blogger applet just won't let me do it without spacing them way screwy. As much of a hassle as it is to read them this way, the other way was like reading Charles Manson graffiti.


Anonymous said...

Now I see the brilliance of this argument. Before, I had always entered into scraps concerning the merits of one system over another. Your approach is fantastic. When I offered it to those who normally find ways to further their arguments, all I got was sputtering and attempts to swing the conversation back around to the old topics. They cannot answer these questions without making themselves out to be fools. Maybe brilliant is a bit strong...but it isn't far from it. Thanks for showing me how to win these debates.

Shawn Meehan - Miami

Robert Pogson said...

I am in education and have had the pleasure to introduce GNU/Linux to thousands of folks of all ages. Fortunately, abusive personalities are rare but occasionally I meet the TOYA types. Other good arguments they cannot match:

*The side by side test. In a lab we have a bunch of identical clients. Booting GNU/Linux on a machine as a thin or thick client beside XP/2003 is instructive. I did it yesterday for a student and his mouth fell open. A bystander asked why we don't run GNU/Linux on all the machines. ;-)

*Price. Just make an accounting of all the software purchases needed:OS, AntiVirus, Office, etc... and compare it to a download and brief installation. I once helped a new PC owner install stuff on Vista before SP1. After 4 hours, the AV still did not work and the system was as slow as a snail. If time is money, that other OS costs a bunch more than the sticker price. There are some businesses that budget $1000 per PC per year...

*New... The number one technique a computer guy in a school can use to introduce new users to GNU/Linux easily is to do it with a bit of new equipment. If the CRTs are replaced with LCDs, users hardly notice the new OS. It's all new, right? I have found going to GNU/Linux is easier than going to Vista for many people. Less is more in the human interface.

*The necessary app argument - When the troll demands that no one accepts GNU/Linux until application X runs on it, ask what fraction of users in the world use that app. Take Photoshop, for instance. Granted it has features professional print graphics folks love, but what fraction of us do that kind of stuff for a living. It is 1% perhaps, not a show-stopper for GNU/Linux. In education for instance, 100% of students' needs can be met with GNU/Linux. Some teachers may need to use a proprietary client to report to upstream masters but students do not.

An excellent article as usual. Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Nice article. I see that kind of thing often. Some Windows users are hopeless. I have a small home based computer support business and many of my customers are of course Windows users. I see virus/spyware infected systems frequently. If they aren't too bad off I try cleaning them but in most cases they are already so far gone by the time I see them the only efficient solution is to back up the customers data, wipe the drive and reload the system. Trying to "clean" a Windows system in this condition is just not cost efficient for me or the customer.
I always try to make the customer aware they can have a choice and that Linux is available to them. Some opt for it but most are locked in (or think they are) by Windows or some Windows based application.
Those that do go to Linux have no problems. None of the people who have gone to Linux are what you would call "computer savvy" which tends to counter the "Linux is for geeks and too hard" myths these Windows "experts" spread around the net.
I had a common scenario yesterday that I see quite often. A woman calls with not just one, but two systems infected with spyware. In one case she actually gave them her credit card number thinking it was a legitimate application. (one of the many "con" programs that uses fake virus alerts to scare the victim into buying the program) She wanted me to look at one of the systems so she brought it to my home based shop. I fired it up on the bench, yep, the usual ton of spyware and virus indicators I see in "owned" Windows systems. I gave her a quick rundown of the situation and asked if she had the discs for the system....of course not. I rebooted the system to a Knoppix hidden partitions indicating that I could not do a system recovery from the hard drive. In other words she either lost the discs if she was the original owner or she picked up the system used and the original owner neglected to include the discs.
This is where it gets hard for Windows users in this situation to understand. Most do not understand that their systems are really two different things. Hardware.....AND software. Anyway, after more explaining her situation I could tell she barely understood why I couldn't just "fix" it and make it work without spending a fair amount of time on the project and the cost of a new copy of Windows to replace her missing copy of Windows. I did offer Linux as a possible solution but I could tell in this case that was going to be too hard for her to understand given that she barely understood her current situation with Windows.
So after telling her "No Charge" and warning her to keep an eye on her credit card I said goodbye to her and her infected system. Many years ago I would have been more sympathetic towards her plight. These days I know better. Users with systems like this are a potential sinkhole that can consume the few precious hours my life has remaining to me. While I do offer the Linux option, and thankfully some take it, I long ago learned how much time can be lost trying to help Windows users. Time you can not get back and time you can't realistically bill for. In some cases YOU are better off leaving Windows users to wallow in their stupidity or ignorant arrogance. Obviously the people in the subject of your post deserve everything they get with their choice of operating systems. I can't wait til they or their like show up at my shop. I'll retire off of idiots like that. I know that sounds brutal but sadly thats the way things are in this business that is so controlled by such an illegal and unhealthy monopoly. While I love advocating for Linux and helping people with their computers there are times when you have to balance the value of your life against their self chosen problems. As I have gotten older I have gotten wiser. I really weigh the decision to "waste" my remaining life's hours on Microsoft caused problems these days.

Anonymous said...

Ken... why bother to "set these TOYA's straight" ? They are the equivalent of buggy whip manufacturers before the advent of the automobile. Their ideology can be likened to the high priests of the flat earth society before Magellan. Their minds as "open" as a closed door.
We all know that the Linux tide is rising. Outside of NA the tide rises even faster. M$ sees the writing on the wall and they are very afraid. Time is on Linux's side, it will continue to improve and slowly it will seep into the consciousness of the vast majority of the public as a FREE alternative. Never mind the equally valid "freedom" bit.
As Gandhi said... "first they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win".
Or to quote Yogi Berra... "it ain't over till it's over. :-)

Mick said...

What point is there in them trying to stop others from at least trying Linux?

I think it boils down to Stockholm Syndrome.

Anonymous said...

It's their pride at stake, Ken. If Linux > WinDOS, they go from power-user to power-loser, from leader of the pack to bleeder in the back.

Anonymous said...

My last linux installation was in 2006, i'm using a source based distro, usually update once in two weeks via a cron job, i reboot the computer about once a month to install the latest kernel.This is pretty bleeding edge and yet so stable.Source based distros aren't for beginners but if you take the time to learn it, it won't be a hassle and it will save you time in the future.It's pretty confortable to maintain the OS this way, and go about doing what you need and like.

r_a_trip said...

Anonymous said...
It's their pride at stake, Ken. If Linux > WinDOS, they go from power-user to power-loser, from leader of the pack to bleeder in the back.

I think these words carry truth. Going from King to beggar is not an attractive proposition. (Back in the dark days I had the same reservations)

On top of that, if GNU/Linux becomes dominant, they will be forced to use it (application and hardware support, employers platform choice, etc.). If the switch is made and it takes them by surprise, they will be instantly back to square one. Noobs with no usable knowledge.

If a little TOYA can make the difference between being able to "retain value" on your MSFT knowledge and being relegated to Linux noob... If I were still in that predicament I'd become a master of talking manure myself.

I left the dark side in 2000 and I did a little sun bathing in 1998 and 1999. At the beginning I was really averse to the idea that GNU/Linux one day could become a mainstay anywhere in day to day computing. Now I think GNU/Linux should be the majority system.

During my GNU/Linux years I have learned enough about computing, that I can confidently say that the platform is mostly irrelevant. It's about your knowledge and the creativity to use what is available to get the output you want.

It's just that GNU/Linux has the tools to do that in abundance.

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous

"This is where it gets hard for Windows users in this situation to understand. Most do not understand that their systems are really two different things. Hardware.....AND software."


When you are dealing with someone who is mystified by the concept of right Vs left mouse clicks, it is almost impossible to explain to them that while they DO physically own their hardware, their software is a different story. If you can get them to actually read the EULA, then you have a shot of getting that "light bulb" to illuminate. If not, your decision to let them wallow in their own ignorance is the best bet. Your post is full of wisdom that should be heeded by those who tilt at windmills.

I work in the Windows Repair Business and I see it every day. If I were to offer Linux as a solution and my supervisor ever found out, I would be fired immediately.

Helios' run-in with the tech not too long ago is just a physical manifestation of the palpable fear my owners have of Linux. It's only a matter of time and they know it. The memo's we receive on a monthly basis is proof enough that they know it is coming and are doing everything they can to stop it.

Anonymous said...

I find it humorous that a car enthusiast would complain about Linux having too many variations. Isn't that one of the core things that make cars interesting?

Alex said...

Regardless of my motivations for using Windows, I haven't gotten a virus in ten years, and I use exclusively free anti-virus tools.

Then again, it might be because I'm not an idiot...

So in the "maintenance" category, I'd rather deal with "viruses" than the wildly varying application install techniques across the distroverse.

Mike Santana - Coos Bay said...

Seems we have something in common...I've never encountered a virus either. Nor have I had to update virus patterns, defrag a hard drive, reinstall my OS because it has suffered bitrot. (even Microsoft says to reinstall every 6 months). I've never had to stumble across the internet searching for an app that works and doesn't hose my computer, I've never had a blue screen of death and most importantly, no one, and I mean no one has any control over my computer but me. You many be more than comfortable with DRM-ladened systems on your machines but I am not. It doesn't matter whether you know it's there, the fact that it is there and you allow it says tons. Someone at any time and for any reason can come into your Windows computer and do anything they want and you can't do a damned thing about it. Glad you are ok with that.

I've used one distro for three years and have not rebooted this machine for 11 months. I don't know what the "distroverse" is. Over 50 thousand software titles are available to me in one place. With two clicks of the mouse I know that the software installed herein will neither harm my system or conflict with any other app on my machine. Do a search for one specific dll on your machine for a particular app and you will find dozens of variations of that dll being used by dozens of other apps.

It's only a matter of time until they conflict and you enter registry hell.

Hum....I don't have a registry. I don't worry about any one else controlling my data or my machine either.

It's sad to see people operate their machines under such a disadvantage.

Anonymous said...

@ Santana

Bingo Baby

@ Alex

Most senior citizens are not "idiots" either. This is a strange and sometimes frightening world to them. The fact that you know how to control your computer is a wonderful thing. I think I will launch a party celebrating the fact. No wait, I cannot do that. There are too many older people who do what they think is right and still get hosed by a leaky, unstable system.

That's all right though isn't it Alex. You are in control, all is right in the world I guess. Everything is alright with you. Screw those "idiots" who struggle with things they never should experience. Such as: Oh never mind, Santana outlined them perfectly.

Anonymous said...

"Alex" works for Microsoft I am thinking. He is from Bellevue...7 miles from Redmond.

Just a guess. I'd protect my "product" too if something totally free and in many cases, superior was being passed around.

A matter of time folks...just a matter of time. Alex is young, he has time to jump.