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Thread: Does anyone else get this feeling? (Warning: [rant on])

  1. #1
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    Does anyone else get this feeling? (Warning: [rant on])

    Ok, this is a warning, this could be long, and it is not intended to just be me ranting, I want others feedback and thoughts as well...

    First of all, take a look to the left, specifically, my join date, from that date, to current, I have been running Linux. So, this "feeling" comes from a few years, and not just a "beginner's" out look, or perspective.

    Here goes...

    Does anyone else get the feeling that, running an alternative Operating System, that being, non-Micro$oft or a Windows OS, that we are being, what's the word I am looking for... Given the shaft? Singled out? Made to look, or be, a rebel?

    To explain, this hasn't been the first time this has happened, it happens anytime I change my Internet Service Provider, or actually expect to get any information from a service's Technical Support. Sooner or later, the question comes up; What kind of Operating System do you run? XP? Vista? Windows98 SP2? Win2k? etc... and when I respond; I run Linux. The line almost goes dead, and the person responds; I am sorry, we do not support Linux. From this point on, in our communication, I am trying to keep the person on the phone, and keep them from hanging up on me. It's almost like I told them I want to contract a virus and pass it on to them.

    I realize that M$ has done a lot of FUD, a lot of negative press on the lines of people getting away from their dominance of the OS market, and they want to protect their own "share" in this area, but, hey, what's with the support thing?

    Case in point; I just changed my ISP from Cable to DSL, and previously, it was Dial-Up to Cable. During the "initial" cost and features discussion, the "OS" question came up. The salesman, get this, the Salesman almost hung up on me when they heard I ran Linux, and not the "normal" sheep OS. What's with this? Linux has a Web Browser, it has a better one, and more "secure" one than Windows has, and, I might add, it has been cross-ported to Windows. When it comes to a ISP, why does it matter what OS I run? Linux has mail, web browser, and a lot more "options" to use with the internet, as it's "alternative" OS counterpart does, most are cross-platform as well. So what gives?

    Is it because you actually have to "know" what kind of hardware you have? Or, more likely, is it because I can't, or they can't suggest, the only "fix" is to run the Install CD that only runs on a Windows OS?

    Each time I have changed my Internet Service Provider (ISP), after the hardware and wiring is installed, I have had to call the "Front Line" Tech Support for them, to get all the information that would normally "automatically" be installed if I ran their Install CD. Like the e-mail SMTP and POP3 server names, authentication requirements, and login information for the modems. The "Front Line" Tech's were dumbfounded, and constantly repeating things like "Why don't you just run the Install CD?"

    Upon hearing that "I Can't" run that P.O.S. ( if you don't know what this acronym is, search Google ), the Tech is almost ready to disconnect the call, and deactivate the account. Like running Linux is worth loosing all the revenue they would get from a paying customer. In may cases, I have had to have my call "raised" to the next level of Tech Support, and the "Second Line". Explaining, yet again, to this "next level" Tech Support person what the issue is, they, not only know what I am talking about, but, chances are, they run some form of Linux Distribution (flavor) themselves.

    The "Call" then becomes a lot more "friendly", and we almost have a nice conversation about why we run what we are running, what other software we like, and even, what or when we "converted" to a Linux alternative of the "norm". The Technician "knows" what web browsers are used on Linux, and how to get around in them to change the settings. They "know" the different mail programs in Linux, and where to change all the settings to get mail working. What gives?

    Am I looking for a conspiracy here? Or is this just an extreme bias towards running something that the normal "sheep" are running?

    I started running Linux back in 2003, and when I started running it, I knew, possibly in twenty years, everyone was going to be running some form of Linux. May be, Micro$oft has seen this same vision, and is trying to make it not happen? I realize that running any flavor of Linux is a little harder than running what is being provided by the producers of Windows, but, like I always said; I run what works, what is more secure, and doesn't reflect how much money you can spend on just an Operating System, let alone what software you want to buy. Quality of the product over Cost.

    I also realize that, upon hearing from anyone I talk to about what OS they are running, that, if they run any form of Windows, they don't have a clue what hardware they have on their own system. It's almost a joke; How much RAM do you have? I don't know, a lot... What kind of processor, or how fast is it? Hmm, it's a new one, a fast one too... It even goes down to simple things as well, like what size monitor do you have? It's big! In many cases, I am trying really hard not to break out in laughter on them. Same situation, but the person runs some form of Linux Operating System... Well, let's just say, have you ever heard the joke about when two "Geeks" or "Nerds" get together? We are "almost" trying to "out do" each other on who has the better, newer, faster, system. To give you a small example; Well, I have an AMD 3000+ 64bit, 1.8 GHz processor, running idle at 1.0 GHz, up-shifted it gets the 1.8 GHz, 2 GB RAM... Oh, I like running Intel, I have the Quad Core version, running at an idle of 2.0 GHz each, and when I fire up "xxx" it gets me around 6.5 GHz, and only increases my internal temperature of the cores around 10 Degrees.

    As you might guess, these two people are completely alone in a group of people. They have completely isolated themselves as "Techies", and unless anyone else in the room has a clue what they are talking about, no one is ever going to come near them. I find this a constant when it comes to someone who runs Windows, and someone who runs some flavor of Linux (generally speaking). Most of the people I meet who run any version of Windows, tend to be the kind of people who bought their computer from a "Store", and they just bought what they could afford. When it comes to people who run any form of Linux, they bought what they wanted, knew what they wanted, and wanted it for a certain price. (like they did shopping around and cost comparisons). In other words, someone that was "in the know".

    Before I get "flamed" for this, I am making a generalized statement here. I've run Windows, lots of them, over the years... but, I never became more intimate with my computer, or its internal workings, till I "converted" to Linux. I have "never" bought a computer at a Department Store, in most cases, my purchases have been made at local, Ma & Pa run, Stores, found in "strip malls", and from the look of the store, inside and out, barely making enough money to keep the doors open. I know my way around the aisles, what certain pieces of hardware look like, and what the prices are. My usual "first contact" conversation with a Store Owner is, lets say, highly technical, and in most cases, the person has either held their own, or exceeded my expectations of experience. The ones that can do that, get almost always, frequently visited, and I might add, many, many, purchases. This has been something I have always done, through all the years I've been "in" computers, which has been around the lines of some 35 plus years now. Only since converting to Linux, have I realized that, most of these kinds of people, tended to be running something other than Windows.

    [rant off]

    So? Anyone else? Thoughts, feelings, opinions? Feedback even? Stories of your experiences, past or current? Agree or disagree? All are welcome... I know I can't be the only one with this feeling, or treatment... I'd like to hear them, please share here...

    Thanks,
    LC (aka LadyCuddles / AcidPirate)

  2. #2
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    here in Sweden I get a paper with all the information needed to get online (atleast this far),
    the suport is like you say sceptic to anything but M$ products,I have noticed that if I ask to be put in touch with their " business" end I usually get GREAT support for Linux, SUN, Cisco... but the "tech" in the "houshold" end has no clue what these are (solid backbone of the internet).

  3. #3
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    I'm going to write in defence of those techies (and then run for cover )

    While I've admitted my novice status with Linux I'm no slouch when it comes to the hardware. For many years I ran one of the UK's leading hardware firms and tech journalists, among others, used to contact me for my opinions on the latest hardware. During that time I had some great employees - people who really understood computers and knew their way around any operating system. However, our company supported only Windows PCs. This is the way it worked:

    Standard tech staff were paid well and were able to support customers operating Windows PCs. They had to be constantly retrained, kept up-to-date with which hardware conflicted with which other hardware, which versions of a particular driver were buggy, which BIOS settings caused problems with which hardware etc etc. It was a huge amount that they had to be kept up-to-date with and that information doesn't come in an Updates for Dummies book, it came from the constant testing and problem solving in our labs/workshops. It costed us enormous amounts of money. Per version of Windows! We often sold specialised PCs (security camera control centers, video editing switches, building environment control systems etc) that we were very, very specific about: You remove Win 2K from this machine and put something else on and you will blow your support contract out of the water. That's because it took several hundred hours to get a specific system working properly in a particular specified environment.

    However, the same logic applied to home PCs. If you run a support desk you begin to realise that no matter how stupid you think customers can get they'll always surprise you by going one further. Training front line staff just to handle Windows problems was expensive enough. Add another £100,000 to train them all in Linux for the 3.5 customers likely to call in with Linux problems wasn't cost effective. If you do provide a great Linux support line and encourage customers to take up Linux you end up adding a massive bill to your support desk costs. It's cheaper to pay the full cost of each user's Windows licence than it is to provide them with Linux support! Bear in mind that a lot of these could have absolutely no experience dealing with Linux and many believe that it's entirely your job to get everything on their PC working 100%.

    I suspect that a lot of the time when you run into techies who can't answer Linux questions, it's because the volume of calls doesn't justify the company spending money training them. It is frustrating but only a wider uptake of Linux will solve this problem.

  4. #4
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    as I said, the professional end could supply the needed data of DNS, pop, smtp, ip, gateway... the support hardly need to know what hardware/software I run to provide raw data?

    getting things going on a Web/mail/DNS... server in a rack somewhere, properly configuring a SUN SPARC station, or setting up a Cisco router/switch... that should be referred to the respective makers/maintainers of those.

    As I have gone trough MSCE and N+ (had to get money to live and male prostitution...NO!), given a bit of support as a result (ok loads) I know the hassle involved in getting things across sometimes, but raw data asked for by an obviously knowledgeable person?

  5. #5
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    As I (I think I did) said in my original posting... This is just a simple ISP connection thing, information only needed. The "tech" only needed to provide the "end user" of their product or service, required connection information. Which, is not "platform" specific, or OS specific. Rather: Open your e-mail program (whatever that is), and enter this for SMTP and POP3 servers, check the box marked "Server requires Authentication" (or not) - fill in the login information (you should already know), and then click "Done" / "Apply" / "or whatever your program uses for confirming" - etc...

    The problem wasn't that they didn't really know this information, but rather, they only provided that information for Windows users, and only by using their own Install CD, which only ran on Windows. As mentioned, a nice sheet of paper of this information would have been nice (for those of us who either, know not to run stuff that is going to install "way more" junk than we will ever use, like on Windows, or, the small share of us who prefer to run an Alternate OS that can't run that Install CD)

    Having a tech tell me: I have to install Windows to run an ISP's Install CD, just to get my internet connection working (in Windows), is not the best practice. Nor is a "tech" saying that, as an ISP, they don't want Linux Users using their service, and thus, not provide me with the connection information to getting online with their service, without having some OS that is only Windows. (Both of these are what I was getting from the "front line" technicians)

    This whole "feeling" is what I was getting, just from my ISP... we never, and never really had to, get into hardware, or even the internal workings of the software involved... Web Browsers are pretty much the same, in either OS platform, same goes for e-mail programs... I guess what I was really trying to get across, was, that being or using, Linux, you tend to be considered a "Hacker", you become more concerned with "information" or "settings", than the actual names of programs... I.E. KMail instead of Outlook, or Outlook Express... and FireFox, or IceWeasel, or Mozilla, instead of Internet Explorer... the programs are different in names only, basically, but what "they do" is generally, identical - given you have the information for the settings in either, or all, of them. Right?

    So? What's my beef? Simply, not providing the needed information required to use the product you "bought", and giving a reason for it because you don't run what they want you too. In other words, because I don't run Windows, we aren't going to give you the required information to get our service running on your system, to you. This is precisely what I was commenting about, in the original context of this post, and what my ISP was doing.

    Using the "General" response to getting an answer from their customer that they don't run Windows, with a flat out, sorry! We don't "support" that! Is not valid, they are an Internet Service "provider", not Microsoft - or a program manufacturing company bent on only providing their software to "Windows" customers. They provide internet service, to who-knows-what types of computers that are being manufactured, past, current, or future. This includes, but not limited to, Mac's, PC's, and since ISP's also do service for "Companies" - my guess is, they need to deal with some mini, and mainframe computers as well.

    Again, this isn't like AutoCad, or PhotoShop, it's internet service... I need to get my e-mail, and surf the web, kind of stuff. Just tell me my homepage to point to, and the server connection information for my e-mail stuff. I'm not even asking them to do it for me, like having to even know what I have to run to get that information put in, just the bloody info itself, that's all.

    You'd think I was asking for the password to cracking into the I.R.S. database or something, considering the attitude I was getting for the tech. I am a paying customer, of their service, I should be able to "use" that service. Apparently, not, if I don't run the OS they want me to (?)

    Oh well, my posts tend to be long, and I guess my point doesn't really come across in them. My point, basically, was, that in many cases, what OS you run is completely unimportant, but, tends to become, apparently, dire consequential when it really isn't. (when it comes to certain things. like; internet access)

    My biggest beef is that, this whole attitude is, or more likely, only going to get, worse over time. It won't stop with what OS you run, but, will propagate into what Program you run, what Options you set, and if you are "current" on your Windows Registration Contract or not. In most cases, Linux people can stand by, and watch everyone else deal with it, but, as in the case of that whole fiasco with Microsoft wanted to dictate who "accesses" the network as "trusted" or not, some things may not come to pass.

  6. #6
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    I have had similar problems, mine were with Hughes Satilite internet, however I dual boot Linux and windows and just let the tech's install while running windows and when they left I rebooted
    and switched to linux it connected and there were no issues. I might add that all tests with various distros I never had to make DNS or network settings they were always automatically detected
    and the distro under test just worked (The power of Linux)

  7. #7
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    cuddles wrote:

    >>
    Is it because you actually have to "know" what kind of hardware you have? Or, more likely, is it because I can't, or they can't suggest, the only "fix" is to run the Install CD that only runs on a Windows OS?
    >>

    Yes, in a way ... there is a big 'push' now-a-days to keep the general public 'mainstream'. Though it has always been the case, imo, it seems to be being encouraged more so.

    It's all about 'making money' -=- much easier to do when the population is dumbed down ... just enough (grin).


    It hurts, doesn't it


    jm


    The FVWM wm: www.fvwm.org

  8. #8
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    You'd think I was asking for the password to cracking into the I.R.S. database or something
    LOL

    only going to get worse over time
    There I think time will surprise you. The market's getting fragmented. In days gone by providers had to support just one version of Windows. Now there are half a dozen. Similarly with browsers, standards and hardware platforms. Eventually providers will reconcile themselves to supporting a wider and wider range of everything. Including operating systems.

    I appreciate that this doesn't help you now, of course.

  9. #9
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    First of all, if you really talking to a real tech support person, you should have no problem to get what you want. That is the spec of their product, right?

    However, with the globalization support model nowadays, you maybe talking to some so call technical support in India, these so call "tech support" answering calls base on a so call knowledge base question sheet or document, it likes a flow chart in the old day when we write program.

    For example, ask the first question, what OS you are running. Then if the answer is (A) Win Xp go to question 2, else if the answer is (B) Win 98 go to question 3.

    Now obviously, the cheat sheet does not contain the answer Linux. That's why they cannot help you out.

    To me those so call technical support people is not a real technical support stuff, they are just a telephone operators.

    I used to build my own pc myself but now I gave up and just buy it directly from the big department store when they have big sales. Like Canadian $199 for an AMD 3200 eMachine with the windows OS on the boxing day sales in Future shop as an example.

    I usually will make the machine dual boot with linux or in some case, buy a new harddisk and swap the original windows one but install linux onto it.

    Now, I don't like M$'s way to try to monopoly the OS market, but I do not resist them. I use them so long they come with the machine. The same things as to the IBM MVS, AIX, Digital VMS, HP UX, Sun Solaris, Linux, windows, Apple OS/x. They are good OS to me so long as I can have choice to choose the one I want.

    Just my 2 cents

    Rgds,
    Chip

  10. #10
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    Ahh, as it is going to be another year, in just a few (twenty or so) hours, I have a New Year's Resolution...

    1st. I refuse to stop ranting on subjects or topics I feel very dear about.
    2nd. I refuse to give in to power tactics, or bullying, that Mico$oft, or other companies force on people.
    3rd. I plan to exercise more, and take my high cholesterol medicine (if I can afford it).
    4th. I plan to look more aggressively for a better job, and one in my IT Field (get me the heck out of the Deli !).

    As to the purchase of at least one more PC this year, I'd like to buy two more; one more "heavy duty" desktop PC to use as a torrent seed box, and the second PC, a nice "high end" laptop to go "walk-about" with. I realize that if I do buy a new computer, it will probably come with a form of Winblows OS on it, and if it does, I will "play" with the OS for a couple of days, and then blow away the installed OS, and install a nice Debian Linux OS. Possibly a Debian Testing minimum, or go with a nice Stable instead (I am getting tired of the volatile Sid at the moment).

    I am tired of the "Windows" OS's, and having seen the work being done on Linux, I can't give in to what the run-of-the-mill sheep are being provided, even on purchased computers, from what "M$" is handing out. I also don't like the whole thing that Microsoft is doing with their OS. If I buy an OS, off the shelf, or on a purchased PC, I _own_ the OS, I don't rent it, I don't lease it, I own it. To force people to continually pay for something that they already purchased, is, lame, in my words.

    I should not have to continue to pay a registration fee, monthly, yearly, etc... for something that I purchased. This whole thinking is like buying a house, or a car, out right, paid-in-full, and having to continue to pay a usage fee just to keep it working. More likely, if I bought a pair of pants, or a nice dress, paid-in-full, and not on a lease or rental plan, and being forced to continue to pay for it. You don't rent a PC OS, you buy it. Just because Microsoft is getting pist off that some people are _stealing_ illegal copies of their OS, doesn't give them the right to make something people purchase, into something that they should now be renting or leasing. Just deal with it guys, make your OS more secure, make your OS more bullet proof, etc... but don't force people to buy something, and then turn around and make them rent it from you.

    This is not the same as what McAffee or Norton AV (Anti-Virus) software does. You buy the "engine" or install the engine, and then buy, or rent, lease, the ability to download signature files. When the engine becomes out-of-date, you buy, rent, lease, a contract to upgrade the engine, and usually get a few months of signature downloads along with the price. This is not the same as an OS. I used to use both of the above AV software, until I found "free" versions, which was just before I found the open sourced world of Linux, and being able to do the same thing with my operating system.

    I guess that a few Linux distributions have realized they can make money, just like Microsoft has found, in selling your operating system, instead of just giving it away, and so, you can't say (anymore) that Linux is a (generally speaking) free and open source OS anymore, which is a shame, because I think Linux as a whole has been one big thorn in the side of Microsoft from the start. I think the whole "Microsoft is pist off because they are loosing profits from illegal copies" is a bunch of bollocks. I think the real reason, though I am sure M$ will never admit to this, is, they are loosing more and more customers due to other sources of alternate operating systems on the market. I am sure M$ has lost a little profit from the early forms of them, like OS2/Warp, X/Windows, etc... not to mention bringing in the whole world of Linux into this.

    Amazing really, thinking back over the years, all the forms of operating systems that have come, and gone, since I started in the computer field back in 1973. I remember working on DOS 1.12, and a few versions of Mac OS. In my years, I have dealt with mini, micro, mainframe, etc... systems... workstation and server versions, and it really can be daunting the list. As you might guess, my resume lists like a computer history journal of the whos-who of past stuff... wonder what the new year will bring?

    LC

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