I have been down this well trodden path on many previous occasions. Which is better, Windows or Linux?

For years I watched this battle form. I rather enjoyed it, Windows offered a product that while badly flawed, offered the user a one click solution. You inserted the disk, or downloaded the program, one click was all you needed.

Linux on the other hand was the choice of geeks. Geeks loved it, it took us back to the world of black screens with white (incomprehensible) writing. You could have hours of enjoyment just watching the boot process!

At the end of the fun, you faced the same black screen, and I always waited for the computer to talk to me, as in a 2001 Space Odyssey moment. ‘Oh Dave don’t touch that key’.

Most computer users had gravitated to the more gentle world offered by Microsoft Windows. Windows offered simplicity. Plug it in, away you go! And wait for it to crash.

Yesterday I was talking with a good friend, and well known name in both the entertainment and technology worlds. Charlie Boswell has what I deem the best job in the universe, his tittle at AMD is Director of Digital Media (or something similar). In practical terms this equates to him hanging out on movie shoots, and music adventures!

He is the liaison between the world of technology and Hollywood.

Recently I tried to contact him via email, and got the strange response “I’m in Morocco on a movie shoot, cell phone coverage is spotty, I’ll call you when I get back”.

He did call, and he told me of his latest adventures.

There is a term used in the computer world, it is borrowed from religious origins, Evangelist. Computer Evangelists exist both within the particular company, or may be independents who just believe in some particular technology.  Charlie Boswell is a Cloud evangelist, he was one of the key members in developing AMD’s Fusion Render Cloud.

If you are not familiar with the Cloud, I suggest that you read this and this.

OK, so what has this got to do with the Windows vs Linux discussion?

Charlie wanted to show me a rather interesting use of the Cloud within the movie industry. It involves collaboration of story boards, video editing, etc.

I quickly discovered that this software had a client component. That means that bits of it need to be loaded on your local computer. Three frustrating hours later I gave up. Grabbed another pc from the junk pile, and loaded it with Windows XP. A one click install later and I was into the cloud application.

I have not named the application as I do not believe that it was the companies fault, it was a combination of user error, and Linux unfriendliness.

Linux has come a long way in the past few years, I currently run Ubuntu, but have flirted with several other variations, and for the most part I have little to gripe about. Ubuntu regularly upgrades itself, it keeps Firefox, Chrome, and OpenOffice at the most recent stable releases, and I do not have to worry about the thousands of viruses and pieces of Malware that Windows is so susceptible to. But until Linux truly embraces the ‘one click’ graphical install of all software it will never be widely adopted as a desktop operating system.

I am sure that I will get my fair share of hate mail for this article from the Linux brigade. Before you send me useful advice like RTFB (Read The Fine Book), I can assure you that I did RTFB.

Windows may be known for the famous BSOD (Blue Screen Of Death), in my mind Linux is just as well known for BSOP (Black Screen Of Pain), my pet term for the entering the murky world of the Terminal application! Actually it is very aptly named, rarely do I venture into its clutches without something terminal happening!

When I install a program, I want to click download and find a bright shiny icon named install on my desktop.

It is easy to understand why my wish is unlikely to come to fruition any time soon. No pun intended, but the ROOT of the problem is inherent within the basic philosophy of the Linux community. There are more flavors of Linux than there are at your local Baskin and Robins. To create a universal installer would be a challenge of epic proportions. Add to that mix the fact that at any given time one or more Linux flavors are rolling out new versions. Windows on the other hand significantly changes only every 3 to 5 years.

I believe that salvation lays in the Cloud. As it builds ever more functionality, what you have on your desk becomes increasingly less relevant.

For now though, I have to claim defeat. Windows won this battle with a single click.

Simon Barrett

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