Linux vs. Windows: It's all relatives

Rikki Endsley

ROSE Blog: Rikki's Open Source Exchange

Jan 05, 2009 GMT
Rikki Kite

My 12-year-old daughter, Cleo, received a brand spanking new Flip camera for Christmas. Unfortunately, it was a little anticlimactic for her because nothing happened when she plugged it into the Acer Aspire One she received for her birthday in October.

I was mentally prepared for this hurdle and told Cleo that I'd figure it out while she was off visiting her grandparents in Houston. I hoped that with the growing popularity of both the Flip camera and Linux netbooks, someone would have a quick little fix or workaround for this incompatibility issue.

The day after Christmas, I drove Cleo through an ice storm to the Kansas City airport for her 9:55AM flight, which was delayed by two hours, over and over again. Finally, we decided to drive to my stepfather's house, which is conveniently located 20 minutes from the airport. I had visions of napping in my head, but first I decided to check the airline's website for flight updates. My 21-year-old sister, Kate, offered to share her college-loaner Windows laptop, but she warned me that it was going slow and something wasn't working right.

A couple of hours later, and with the help of Ad-Aware and Clamwin, I'd lassoed 310 "infections" and a virus.

"Have you considered reading our magazine?" I asked Kate. Sheesh. Kids these days.

As I finished lecturing my sister, my stepfather walked into the kitchen with his Windows laptop. "I think something's wrong with mine, too," he told me. Sure enough, pop-up ads started popping up faster than flights were getting grounded at KCI. I told my stepfather that he'd need to call in a professional because we were headed back to the airport... and I suggested that he consider moving to Linux. Sheesh. Parents these days.

On Saturday afternoon, the spouse, dog, and I headed to Tulsa for a night on our way to Austin. I called my friend, Thom, to tell him we were on the road and would arrive in Tulsa by dinner time. When Thom answered the phone, I asked him how things were going in Tulsa. He replied, "Not too good. I just got the blue screen on my wife's laptop and she's going to be mad."

So the Flip doesn't just plug and play on Linux...yet. That's just a minor inconvenience compared to what's going wrong with Windows.


  • flip on Acer Aspire

    Liam, Thanks for the suggestion! I'm going to pull the Flip out of Cleo's hands this weekend and give it another look. (She's been pretty happy just plugging it into the t.v. to watch her mini-movies this week.)

    When I told a colleague about my Windows run-ins over the holidays, he got pretty worked up about how Windows users seem to accept (and expect) these ongoing security problems. I don't mind paying extra for a product if I actually feel like I'm getting a superior product, but when it comes to my kid online, safety comes first.
  • But what is the psychological impact of non-Plug n' Play versus "Something Wrong"

    Firstly it was fun to read, about someone else who's relations bring Windows problems to, despite them knowing that I am generally unimpressed with Windows and tried not to use it due to it's security problems.

    The thing is, you know how this plays out with the Net bloggers and pundists. Simply not being able to Plug N' Play a new hardware device, is a major drama, where as mal-ware infections are "Business as Usual". They're so used to recommending some pet security suite, that it's the end users fault for not shelling out for them.

    It also amazes me, how ppl seem unable to permit M$ Security Updates to be applied, despite the clear "nagging" about it. It would seem to be necessary to just apply them by default after a grace period, and notify user of the roll back options, rather than let them put if off. Though M$ still need to do more work, on their dependant addiction to re-booting when changes are required.
  • Flip on Linux

    I've tried out the Flip on Ubuntu and found that you can get to the video files by just navigating it like a USB stick, the path was /media/FLIPVIDEO/DCIM/100VIDEO to get to the video files. Don't know if this would work the same way on the Acer though. Wrote about it here:
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