Let’s take a little time for operating system comparisons, specifically RedHat Linux, Windows, and Ubuntu. Let’s narrow the focus and concentrate on ease of use.
I have both a RedHat Linux desktop server and a Microsoft Windows desktop server at home. My family uses the Windows server, and I use the Linux server for my personnal research – PhD and such. I have tried to use the Windows server to some extent. Its graphics are nice, but it seems that Windows should be rebooted about once a week to keep the system sane. Otherwise, the server gets very slow. Perhaps memory fragmentation and garbage collection are a problem. I have found Word to be of some use, but Windows really needs some kind of decent text editor like vim. The system administrator messages that Windows spews out seems to be constant. Installing and uninstalling packages is a pain. Security is a pain. I would never do development on Windows. So in short, I do not have much use for Windows.
The RedHat Linux operating system does a much better job of matching my style. I am a Unix Head from way back in the day, so I naturally gravitate to any kind of Unix system. But RedHat Linux does have its problems. It can be a real chore to install new packages. Yes, Yum and RPMS are nice, but there are lots of packages that are NOT in these formats.
Take Python for example. I tried to install Python, Pylint, and Pep8. Yum could not find them and a web search did not reveal appropriate RPMs. So I manned up and grabbed the source code. But now I had problems with mixed and matching the correct versions of Python, Pylint, and Pep8. What a pain. I suspect RedHat does this on purpose to force us to purchase their support. This is contrary to the Unix mantra: “Live Free or Die.” Unix was created by AT&T and given to Berkeley (the result was the Berkeley Software Distribution – Berkeley Unix) and the rest of the development community (AT&T Unix) and God bless them for this. So I am greatly apposed to any violations of this free spirit.
So what about free Unix? Is it still available and how useful is it? Next time I’ll explain that the answer is Ubuntu and how this operating system restored my sanity.