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11.23.08

Getting More for Less with GNU/Linux

Posted in Courtroom, GNU/Linux, Hardware, Microsoft, Vista, Windows at 8:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Higher wage, more work done, cheaper hardware

Starting something new

WHILE SOME people lose their jobs, others are suffering reduction in wage due to Microsoft Windows Vista, which imperils workflow.

TIGHT ARSED employers are refusing to pay employees for the 20 or so minutes it takes for their computers to boot-up or shut down.

Apparently it has become an issue since the introduction of Windows Vista where boot up and log out times are a lot longer. Several outfits – including AT &T, United Health Group and Cigna – have refused to stump up for time that their employees are idle waiting for their computers to get in the mood to do some work. It could only happen in America and since the companies are in the Land of the Free they are also now being hit by some serious class actions.

This was also covered in:

In a short new article on the same subject , Sam Varghese points out that GNU/Linux suffers from none of the same problems.

Incidentally, GNU/Linux doesn’t take even half that amount of time to boot up and shut down. PCs running GNU/Linux can be left running safely overnight as they generally only need rebooting when a major software change like a kernel upgrade is done.

In a correspondence with a reader, yesterday we were told: “I’m thinking that it would be timely to bring up the observation that when people or organizations are able to buy hardware without Windows, they have generally used the savings on additional or better hardware.

“Case in point is when schools roll out LTSP-based classrooms, the extra money gets used for really nice displays.

“Those extra sales provide a boost to the economy both directly through the sale itself as well as indirectly through improved skills and/or productivity.”

Appended below are references arguing for (if not proving) GNU/Linux productivity advantage [1-7] with some examples from KDE [8-11], some from Compiz [12-16], some from *buntu [17-20] and opposite examples from Windows Vista [21-22].

_______
[1] Dummy Pride

We hear it all the time: computers are too hard to use and need to be easier. Put everything behind a shiny colorful GUI, and reduce complex tasks to a few simple obvious mouse clicks. At first this doesn’t sound too daffy. After all, good tools are supposed to make our lives easier. But there is an awful lot of muddled thinking going on here.

What most folks really want is not a better tool, but a magic wand. They buy Quicken and Quickbooks thinking that will give them instant magical accountant skills. They think PowerPoint turns them into publishers, Photoshop turns them into artists, and having a word processer confers great writing skills. They’re under the delusion that paying thousands of dollars and cramming for a few weeks to acquire a certification means they’re skilled IT professionals. Look how many people can’t compose a decent business letter in an email with a proper salutation, body, and signature (or even with actual sentences), and who look at you like you’re an annoying homeless person when you try to show them how to delete all the annoying bits from that ten-times forwarded stale joke, or use the BCC line. It’s like the guy who collects the finest power and hand tools but has no idea what to do with them. He might as well stand over that shiny 800-piece Snap-on tool set and order it to fix his car. If it doesn’t obey the first time, talk louder.

[2] Make Your Linux Desktop More Productive

There are positively addictive productivity apps available for Linux, along with tools to make switching between Linux and other systems easy, or just running Windows programs themselves if you need to. Today we’re detailing a Linux desktop that helps you move quickly, work with Windows, and just get things done; read on for a few suggestions on setting it up.

[3] 21 of the Best Free Linux Productivity Tools

One of the essential ingredients to running a successful business is maintaining an advantage over your competition. Many different types of computer software can significantly enhance performance at the workplace, or in the home. A polished office suite, a reliable backup system, an intuitive desktop environment, even a welcome break from reality with an immersive game all have their part to play in helping users achieve their maximum potential.

[4] Be a Productive Linux User

Use Terminator: Terminator is a nice way to free your valuable screen space from multiple terminal windows. Instead of using one terminal window for each task, divide an existing window horizontally or vertically each time you need a new terminal window. So if you find yourself using 8 terminal windows, you can use Terminator and pack your terminals into 2 windows.

[5] Be super-productive with Linux

It might sound a bit weird but the kind of Operating System you’re probably using may affect your productivity at work! Though, a user is a more responsible entity when it comes to productivity, but somewhere down-the-line, we can hold your operating system responsible for the same.

[...]

Reasons why Linux may be productive

* The power of command line..

* Customization…

[...]

[6] Why Open Source contributes to productivity

Open source software has become quite popular lately and I think it’s awesome that free software like Amarok, Open Office, GIMP and so on, are becoming so good that they not only rival their paid counterparts, but surpass them in many ways.

[7] Linux is Making Me Fat and Lazy

Because of Linux I hardly have to lift a finger anymore, and because of it my health is suffering. I rarely hop up and down in a fit of temper, I don’t have to drive to the store to buy software, and I don’t get the aerobic benefits of spending hours on the phone with tech support, breathing hard and accelerating my heartbeat. I rarely make site visits anymore. I don’t even leave my chair, because I log in and do fixes and admin chores from home. I even have my remaining tiny herd of Windows users (close relatives only who bribe me handsomely) set up with VNC over SSH, Cygwin/SSH, or rdesktop. I alone have the passwords, mwahaha.

[8] Matthias Ettrich: The KDE-Man!

Nobody in their right mind would choose Windows over GNU/Linux based on the desktop experience alone, says Matthias Ettrich.

[9] Switching from KDE to WinXP #2

Conclusion

I have looked at several features that KDE?s Konqueror has but that WinXP’s Explorer doesn’t have. I have also mentioned a few of the things I don’t like about Explorer and often why I think Konqueror’s way of doing it is better. You may have noticed that there is nothing positive about Explorer. That is true and it is not for lack of trying. The fact is, for me, the way I work, there is just nothing special about Explorer. I didn’t find any feature that struck me as being especially cool or useful that Konqueror didn?t also have.

Switching from KDE to WindowsXP at work has seriously impaired my productivity.

[10] Katapulting away from the menu.

Katapult not only does programs it also does your browser bookmarks as well. Not just Konqueror but Firefox too. Just slingshot katapult into action with the changable key combination and start typing the name of your desired bookmark. Katapult again does its autocomplete magic and brings up your closest matching browser bookmark.

[11] Launch your programs faster with Katapult

One of the biggest navigational issues with any operating system is using program menus. Windows users have to open the Start Menu, scan for the program, realize that the program is probably in the subfolder under the programmer?s name, scan the appropriate subfolder, and then click on the program?s icon. Macintosh users must open Finder, find and click on the Applications folder, and then search for the program’s name. GNOME and KDE users have an advantage: they have categories in their respective Applications and K menus.

[12] Five Compiz features to boost Linux productivity

The cube is perhaps the most hyped feature of the 3D desktop. And, surprisingly, I found that once you actually start using it Cube is actually quite useful, and not just flashy. When cube is enabled you can use the Ctrl-Alt key combination together with mouse to rotate the cube and display all the desktops you have active. It is remarkably easy to use and actually makes it easier to switch through desktops rapidly.

[13] Shelf Plugin preview

I’ve been working on a new Compiz Fusion plugin currently known as Shelf (it was named miniwin2 for a brief period, more on this further down). This is a fairly straight forward idea, and I’m doing this as a bounty for Canonical.

[14] How Beryl/XGL and Deskbar simplified my life

I removed the standard Gnome Window List in favor of Beryl’s Scale plugin. Beryl’s Scale functionality resembles OSX’s Expose functionality. Because the Scale plugin displays all the windows currently open and unminimized at a keypress, I can quickly find the window I want visually and select it either with the mouse or with the arrow keys.

[15] howto enhance your workflow with beryl

Problem is, I spread my applications across all 4 desktops, so that things feel uncluttered when I’m working on an application. However, when you want to keep an eye on several applications at a time, it’s impossible – except, if you have beryl. What I do is set one of the corners of my desktop to activate the scale plugin to show all windows from all desktops (see here for a more detailed explanation). I also make sure that it shows minimised windows.

[16] Freely rotate windows. New plugin I found October 22, 2007

I found this great new plugin which allows you to freely rotate windows in any direction that you want. It is called ‘freewins’

[17] 10 Handy Productivity Tools in Linux

For productivity, Linux can compete with Windows and Mac as Linux has a great set of productivity applications. While some applications run on all platforms, there are others just available exclusively on Linux. Here is a list of 10 apps that are focused on getting things done quickly and effectively.

[18] Kubuntu days…productive days

So, what is the point? It is that, for non technical users, as I am, Kubuntu have reached a point where I’m able to do with linux everything I used to be able to do in windows, install it, make partitions, configure a network, install apps, share printers and directories, configure wifi devices, create users, etc. very easily. In fact, I can do more things now that I could in windows.

We can improve a lot though, but it has been a confirmation of what I already knew (we all know). With linux I’m more productive, even in tedious actions like the ones I’ve done these days.

[19] Three Little Things To Make Your Ubuntu Desktop Beautiful and Productive

How can you make your Ubuntu desktop look beautiful and be productive at the same time? With these three things…

[20] Productivity Cubed

During a recent podcast appearance with Senors Asay, Rosenberg, and Vance, Canonical’s Mark Shuttleworth discussed the 3D desktop capabilities offered in the latest iteration of Ubuntu, Gutsy Gibbon. Given that I’ve been using Gutsy for a few months, and using said 3D functionality off and on I had a special interest in his comments. Among other things, he expressed his hope that the various communities that provide and consume the functionality would seek ways to apply the new capabilities to the task of making the user more productive.

[21] Analyst slams Vista’s ‘backward’ UI

Windows Vista is a step back in usability, researcher claims

[22] Vista: Slow and Dangerous

The most exasperating thing about Vista, though, is the security feature called User Account Control. UAC, satirized in an Apple ad as a security guy who constantly interrupts a conversation, appears as a pop-up asking permission before Windows…

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