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09.12.13

Battling Microsoft’s Abusive Hardware-Software Bundling by Showing That GNU/Linux is Better Than Windows

Posted in GNU/Linux, Hardware, Microsoft at 10:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft has broken platform bridges like GRUB

A bridge

Summary: How Microsoft’s fight to complicate GNU/Linux booting can be challenged, essentially by making it clear that GNU/Linux is the favoured choice

LAST week I happened to install Kubuntu through Wubi*, a useful tool which Canonical is making deprecated.

About a year ago Microsoft introduced UEFI restricted boot in an attempt to make it harder to change so-called “Windows PCs” (tying software to hardware) into GNU/Linux-running PCs and based on some new posts this continues to pose issues or complications for users of Ubuntu and its derivatives, despite Canonical playing along with Microsoft. For those who didn’t know that Microsoft is a terrible partner perhaps this would be a wake-up call.

Clearly enough, “it is the OEM monopoly that is keeping GNU/Linux from being widespread on the desktop,” iophk explained, citing this new article titled “Linux is clearly the superior operating system”. To quote one key part:

With all due respect, my colleagues are wrong. Linux is hand-down the best option for computing. It isn’t even a competition. Neal Stephenson said: “Macs are hermetically-sealed sedans that look great and have a lot of advertsing. Windows machines are big SUVs that break often, but they’re everywhere and everyone knows how to use them. Linux computers are free tanks that go 90 mph in swamps, get 100 mpg and never break down.”

Jim Lynch, a frequent reviewer of GNU/Linux distributions for around half a decade now, responds in IDG:

Is Linux the best operating system?

Today in Open Source: Is Linux the best operating system?

[...]

He makes a strong case for Linux, and while I mostly agree with the article’s take, I’m still very hesitant to declare a “best” operating system. Why? The choice of an operating system depends so much on the individual user’s needs. This can vary quite a bit depending on the person.

While this may be true, it is important to bear in mind that even Android is in some sense a distribution — one that most of my family has absolutely no problems with. The myth of GNU/Linux as the “hard choice” or the “still catching up” platform continues to plague the press and leads to a shallow consensus which lets Microsoft get away with hardware-software tie-up (as in UEFI restricted boot). If regulators accept that the bundling imposes a worse choice on all buyers, then regulatory action will be easier to make a success. There are already formal complaints about UEFI.
___
* It is a laptop which comes with Windows and it is still being prepared to function as a replacement workstation here.

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