Instead of, why not...

Anthony Atkielski atkielski.anthony at
Mon Feb 14 23:06:42 GMT 2005

Ted Mittelstaedt writes:

> WRONG, the specific purpose is what's important, not the tool to
> accomplish it.

Sometimes the tool is part of the purpose, if you must be able to share
data with other people or organizations.

For example, if you have a client or supplier who requires AutoCAD or
Photoshop native files, you have no choice but to run an Application
that can read and generate these, and this in turn determines your
choice of OS.  These two formats are moderately widely supported, but
many file formats are supported only by the applications for which they
were originally designed.

The problem grows more complicated if you need multiple applications; in
that case, you must find an OS platform that supports all of them, or
buy multiple computers.  The numbers overwhelmingly favor Windows in
this type of situation: the greater the number of applications you need
to support, the more likely it is that only Windows will support them
all.  This is the inevitable consequence of the sheer number of
desktop applications available for Windows.

> If someone contracts with you to create an image and give the
> output to them as a photoshop source file, then obviously in
> that case Photoshop is a requirement.

Yes, and unfortunately that happens a lot.  The most frequent constraint
I encounter myself is the need to read or write Microsoft Word files.
Fortunately it is mostly just reading, so I can get away with the free
Word viewer downloaded from MS, but if I must write the files, I have no
choice but to use the dusty old copy of Office running on my oldest
desktop machine.  I personally have no use for Word at all, since I do
all my text processing on Quark these days, but other people don't have
Quark XPress, usually.

> But if the same person wants the output as a tiff image, then there
> is no requirement to use photoshop, there are many other tools
> to create an image and output in tiff.

That goes without saying.

> But if your not needing to supply photoshop output, then you aren't
> actually "needing" to use it.  Your "choosing" to use it.  Which means
> that you COULD switch over to 100% UNIX if you selected other tools
> to use.

Yes.  Unfortunately I _need_ to supply files in certain formats.

But even if this were not the case, the obvious question still arises:
WHY would I switch to 100% UNIX, when Windows works perfectly on the
desktop?  I have no ax to grind against Microsoft; I have no emotional
attachment to any particular operating system.  Windows is the logical
choice for the desktop, why _shouldn't_ I use Windows?

The only arguments I ever hear about this are invalid arguments, such as
claims that Windows constantly crashes or is insecure.  But my Windows
systems don't crash, and I have no security problems with them.  The
only realistic argument is the cost, but I bought NT years ago and it
has run ever since (I still have all the disks, too, so I could install
it on a new machine if I retire the only one).  Windows XP came
preinstalled.  It is true that the cost of installing Windows new on a
machine is formidable, but I'd be compelled to do that, anyway, since I
must have a Windows desktop somewhere.

> People always use the line "I have to run (insert here) Word, Excel,
> Powerpoint, etc. etc. because my boss tells me to do so, that is
> why I can't switch"  But this is MOSTLY in my experience, a load
> of bullcrap.  Most of them could work up their business letter in
> any old wordprocessor, work up their spreadsheet in any old spreadsheet
> program, work up their presentation in any old presentation program.
> As long as the work got done, their boss is going to be happy.
> But people like to say this to give themselves an excuse for
> not having to learn how to use a new program.

They don't need an excuse.  If they have a program that they know how to
use, there's no reason at all for them to learn to use another program.

It's not up to these people to justify to you their continuing use of a
solution that has always worked for them and continues to work for them.
It's up to you to explain to them why they should expend additional time
and effort learning to use something new just to accomplish exactly the
same thing.

> You should hear the whining and pissing and moaning in a typical
> office every time Microsoft upgrades one of their program and
> a new version comes out.

There will be whining and moaning any time a new version of anything
comes out.  Usually upgrades aren't nearly as necessary as having the
applications to begin with, so only a fraction of all upgrades are
actually needed.

It's interesting that you see the users' pain when it comes to switching
to a new version of the same product, but you don't seem to understand
why users would not want to switch to an entirely different product that
offers no advantages and requires a long period of training and
accommodation.  You seem to think that switching from Windows to UNIX is
no big deal, even though it serves no purpose, whereas switching from
Word X to Word Y is a big deal, even though it sometimes serves an
important purpose.

> It's the same issue. People just don't like learning how to do
> something in a new way, that's all it is. It doesen't mean they
> couldn't do it, though.

But why should they?  For most people, a computer is about as
interesting as a washing machine.  They use it for their work, or to get
other things done at home, and that's it.  They want the path of least
resistance so that they don't have to waste time thinking about
computers.  And on the desktop, the path of least resistance is Windows.

> This is baloney. There may be several hundred thousand Windows apps
> out there but there are only a few hundred that most Windows users
> use.

That's all it takes.  Any given desktop application chosen at random is more
likely to run on Windows than any other OS.  The probability that at
least one application out of a random set of applications will require
Windows is the product of the individual probabilities.  Once you're
beyond two or three applications, you have virtually no choice but to
run Windows.

This is skewed by the relative popularity of applications, such that the
most popular PC functions can also be performed by equivalent
applications on other platforms.  But even in this case, the inevitable
question comes up again:  Why bother?  Windows does the job, so why
_not_ install Windows?

> No they don't, they use HTML editors which while they have a section
> that is text input, they do a lot of other things as well.

No, they really do use text editors.  They are usually good text editors
with text highlighting and other useful functions, but they are text
editors.  HTML is just text files with a couple of keywords in them, by
design, and so the most efficient and flexible way to build Web pages is
still with a text editor.

> An accurate statement would be that professional webmasters generally
> use text to build their sites, but it's absurd to imply that they use
> vi or notepad for this.

Some of them do, but more often they use slightly more advanced editors.

I recently switched to UltraEdit 32, for example, which allowed me to
stop using the bloated Visual InterDev that I had for years.  The only
thing I used in InterDev was the text editor and the file tree, and
UltraEdit has both.  But UltraEdit is still more of a text editor than
anything else.  It is almost 100 times cheaper than the latest versions
of Web-building software from Microsoft.

> And if you want to be professional about it and get the thing done
> in time, you use Macromedia Homesite or something equivalent.

No, you can just write plain text.  HTML was invented to be simple to
create with a text editor, and it still is, despite the determined
attempts of software companies to hide this fact.

But this is irrelevant to FreeBSD.


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