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Perception of Linux Among IT Undergrads

timothy posted more than 13 years ago | from the can-this-really-be-true dept.

Linux 893

iconian writes: "The Linux Journal has a story on IT students and their perception of Linux. One of the funnier myths perceived to be true is that 'Microsoft's technical support is the best in the industry and is superior to that offered by the Linux community.' It just goes to show how little real world experience students have. It's a bit disturbing considering they will be the next generation of technology workers."

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A Little /. Christmas Cheer! (-1, Offtopic)

Roto-Rooter Man (520267) | more than 13 years ago | (#2723108)

A Little /. Christmas Cheer! [slashdot.org]
by the Roto-Rooter Man [slashdot.org]

Hello, Slashdot! Here are a few Christmas-time riddles to keep your holidays bright and cheerful!

Q. How is Jon Katz like a yule log?
A. The only useful purpose they serve is causing flames.

Q. What does CowboyNeal have in common with Santa's sleigh?
A. Approximate size.

Q. What do John Katz's underpants have in common with a Christmas tree?
A. Little kids spend a lot of time playing underneath them.

Q. How is Slashcode like an old set of Christmas lights?
A. There's always going to be parts that don't work.

Q. How is the CowboyNeal poll option like a Christmas fruitcake?
A. They might seem okay at first, but trust me: it's only because you don't know how old they are.

Q. What does Hemos have in common with a stocking?
A. They both spend a lot of time rubbing against tranvestites' legs.

Q. How is Jon Katz like a candy cane?
A. They're both curved where it counts, and both get white and sticky after little boys and girls suck on them.

Q. What does VA Software have in common with Christmas decorations?
A. You won't be seeing them two months from now.

Q. How is Unix like Kwanzaa?
A. They were both invented in the 60's, and both are kept alive by leftists who don't know any better.

Q. What does CmdrTaco have in common with a snowman?
A. Spelling ability, lack of genitals, and a simplistic smile which betrays a complete absence of intelligent thought. (Also, both of them usually have a carrot jammed somewhere in their body.)

...and finally...

Q. How is Slashdot like a Christmas wreath? A. Both wouldn't be the same if it weren't for that big hole! [goatse.cx]

Merry Christmas from the Roto-Rooter Man, Slashdot! Don't forget... this holiday season, douche someone you love!

Perception of Linux among Fecal Trolls (-1)

Fecal Troll Matter (445929) | more than 13 years ago | (#2723196)

It sucks!

Thanks Roto-Rooter Man, you really know how to brighten up the holidays.
Did you create each of those jokes yourself? If so, I hear there's a spot open on Whose Line Is it, Anyway? [interscape.net] .

oksala (-1)

initnull (512461) | more than 13 years ago | (#2723113)

oksala en show

Maybe better not to Graduate? (2, Insightful)

psychosystem (250263) | more than 13 years ago | (#2723117)

I didn't finish my undergrad work yet, and took a job in the linux field. Love linux, hated learning crap MS propoganda in school, so I left... Will finish eventually, but not yet... Enjoying what I do way too much... :)

ps- First Post?

Is anyone surprised that "IT" students are idiots? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2723121)

"I done gone to devry and got me a MCSE!" My success starts today!

Re: Not ME!! (-1, Flamebait)

allknowing (304084) | more than 13 years ago | (#2723199)

"Done got my GED. Now Imma go to college and get my learn on."

Slow down. It was obvious high school was kicking your ass.

These are the types that seem to flood the "IT" Industry. And we wonder why so many projects fail.

Re:Is anyone surprised that "IT" students are idio (0, Flamebait)

rossy (536408) | more than 13 years ago | (#2723284)

Took me a bit to figure this. I guess this training is primarily on how to set your alarm clock so that you wake up early enough daily to reboot your employerrs NT servers. I understand that NT servers need this daily.

The Oposite (1, Funny)

JohnHegarty (453016) | more than 13 years ago | (#2723123)

In my college it was exactly the oposite. Linux was everywhere espically amoung the computer students. And pictures of bill gates where burnt around the campus. ;-)

liar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2723146)

i love people who LIE about linux this and that in their school.... what school.. what program? what degree? liar..

Re:liar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2723245)

Yes. He should either fess up to the lie, or tell us what school he REALLY goes to so that we don't make the mistake of sending our kids there in the future:

"In my college it was exactly the oposite. Linux was everywhere espically amoung the computer students. And pictures of bill gates where burnt around the campus. ;-)"

Talk about horrendous English.

Re:The Oposite (0, Flamebait)

ADRA (37398) | more than 13 years ago | (#2723172)

Was this in Computer Science, or Information Systems Management? There is a world off difference starting with IQ, personallity, ..

Re:The Oposite (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2723251)

Same at my uni. Linux is held with high value and Microsoft is the laughing stock.

Re:The Oposite (1)

njug (314066) | more than 13 years ago | (#2723259)

Note that this was the experience of someone at a smallish university in Ireland, too. One with a Microsoft-centric view, to boot. I have friends at university in Ireland (at Limerick) who have to put up with ridiculous outbound firewalls that a university in the states would never use. The environments have different sets of assumptions.
Not to mention, the press exposure is different.

This is not to say that similar things are not true at places in the States, but be wary of generalizing overmuch from this anecdote.

tech support (4, Funny)

oyenstikker (536040) | more than 13 years ago | (#2723127)

Best tech support in the world? #debian and #linpeople on irc.openprojects.net. They correctly diagnosed my problem (use of windows) and helped me get a really nice solution (linux) running.

Re:tech support (5, Insightful)

skroz (7870) | more than 13 years ago | (#2723316)

This will probably get modded as flaimbait or something, but here goes...

From a corporate perspective, IRC is very, very far from legitimate or reliable tech support. Same goes for usenet. People want a phone number that they can call and get an answer RIGHT NOW. Or if they don't get one RIGHT NOW, they want to know that a technician is working on the problem until it's solved.

There's very little of such support available in the world of Linux right now. RedHat is getting there, and LinuxCare used to be on its way.(they're gone now, right?) So yeah, in the realm of Tech Support with capital letters, MS blows linux away.

But you're right. I get answers faster through IRC and/or USENET posts than though MS tech support almost every time.

Some part of truth? (1, Redundant)

chabotc (22496) | more than 13 years ago | (#2723128)

At some level, it might make _some_ sence. As more and more newbie's come into the linx system, it becomes more and more difficult for newbies to ask for the famed linux support and community help. Even if you somewhat know what you are talking about, you risk going thru 2 to 10 emails telling you all the obvious things, and in less nicer words to not bother them, before you get even close to a real conversation. (i just went thru this for a few kernel bugs, which are finaly starting to get fixed).

Ofcource, when that fails, IBM, Redhat and other big companies can still offer top level support for linux ;-)

Re:Some part of truth? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2723169)

there must be something wrong with me - when I saw your last name I coulda sworn it was "chat bot"


Not surprised (3, Insightful)

msuzio (3104) | more than 13 years ago | (#2723130)

I'm hardly shocked. This is just the next generation of suits that I saw cranked out in the late 90s... mindless Visual Basic drones who couldn't program their way out of a paper bag, the schlocks who got all As but couldn't think on their toes to solve real problems.

For the most part, we wouldn't hire them to work at the on-campus computer labs. They could never debug problems unless they had the manuals open, and even then... fat chance.

These are the future ineffectual middle-managers, the guys who got into computers because 4 years ago, they were told dot.com was the way to go... oops, sorry kids, no jobs for you! (*)

(*) unless your frat buddies get them for you, but we'll know that's how you got in, and we'll make you pay for it ;-)

That seems pretty simpleminded (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2723230)

Maybe not all of them share your vision statement Mike Suzio [sixsixfive.com] but you shouldn't insult a whole generation because they don't do the same things you do.

Asshole. Thanks for the pornography. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2723281)

The Slashdot community really needs shit like that in our forums. I'd love to see you arrested for posting links to that stuff.

Re:Not surprised (1)

Kingpin (40003) | more than 13 years ago | (#2723250)

If they're that dumb, how do they pass the advanced classes in OS theory, algorithms, concurrency etc?

Re:Not surprised (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2723276)

They could never debug problems unless they had the manuals open

Perhaps Linux should remove man pages to appease you. Evidently you are the one who hasn't been in the real world. You don't get raises and promotions for solving a problem without looking at documentation, you get promotions and raises for solving problems, period. Why are many sysadmin I know so good? Not because of what they have memorized, but because they know where to find the answers.

...unless your frat buddies get them for you...

And way to be sterotypical while you're at it. I beleive this statement speaks for itself, and shows the true IQ of the poster.

Unfortunately... (1)

cliffy2000 (185461) | more than 13 years ago | (#2723132)

They only polled recipients of Bill Gates' "Millenium" scholarships.

Ask the kids, not the working stiffs (1)

KarmaBlackballed (222917) | more than 13 years ago | (#2723133)

Were these "day" students or "night" students? There is a difference. Most daytime students are younger and are more likely (if in CS) to already know and understand issues about Linux. Night students, on the other hand, are more likely to be older and less familiar with Linux.

Yes, if you are older you are more likely to already be comfortable with some other operating systems.

MS VS. Linux techsupport (4, Insightful)

nam37 (517083) | more than 13 years ago | (#2723142)

Don't get me wrong, I'm no MS lover, but do you REALLY honestly feel Linux has better techsupport than MS products??

Basically, in the past when Ive had a NT/2000 or MSSQL issues I've paid my $200 bucks and got it worked out... everytime. Its not free or fun, but generally MS's paid corporate support is actually quite efficient.

Anytime I've had a Linux issue I have basically been told to RTFM.

Re:MS VS. Linux techsupport (1)

dollargonzo (519030) | more than 13 years ago | (#2723260)

but have yuo used, say, a given DISTRIBUTION'S tech support. if yuo have, yuo are lying, because they are paid to do their job and hence dont tell yuo to RFM, and if yuo havent?...

well, if any FREE support measures up in ANY way to paid support, then the free support must be rEALLY DAMNED GOOD!


Re:MS VS. Linux techsupport (2, Redundant)

superid (46543) | more than 13 years ago | (#2723265)

Not only do I 100% agree with the "RTFM" comment I can also add that the last time I submitted a bug report to Microsoft (scripting engine problem with the Visual Studio IDE) they *phoned* me back to walk me through the fix.

Also, I want to add that I really love MSDN.


Re:MS VS. Linux techsupport (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2723287)

"Anytime I've had a Linux issue I have basically been told to RTFM."

Usually if a newbie is told to RTFM, that is because their question is answered there.

What I like to do when asked questions that are already answered in TFM is to add WHICH manual to look in to my RTFM.

Normally newbies interpret RTFM to mean: this guy is a total asshole, and doesn't want to help me. If you tell them which manual in addition, they'll be more likely to understand that you did in fact answer their question. Its not like it takes any more effort to say "RTFM; man foo" or "RTFM; www.google.com"

Re:MS VS. Linux techsupport (5, Funny)

elias142857 (205791) | more than 13 years ago | (#2723297)

Next time you have a linux problem, send me $200 and I'll RTFM for you.

Re:MS VS. Linux techsupport (1, Flamebait)

Chuck Milam (1998) | more than 13 years ago | (#2723299)

"Basically, in the past when Ive had a NT/2000 or MSSQL issues I've paid my $200 bucks and got it worked out... everytime."

Ok, but consider this: It's a pretty commonly known fact that commercial software vendors release products with known, but usually obscure, bugs in place so they can make you pay support costs later as your encunter these bugs.

Now, let's look at the other side of the coin:

"Anytime I've had a Linux issue I have basically been told to RTFM."

That's because the answer can (usually) acually be found in the "FM". There are no secret agendas to hide the answers from the end user in the hopes of screwing them for support money later.

Re:MS VS. Linux techsupport (1)

Gihadrah (13265) | more than 13 years ago | (#2723315)

Living with Linux requires that you take a larger role in problem solving / issues that may arise on your system than with MS products.

Many people fault MS tech support because they gave up once they met the first-line of tech support. Once you get several layers deep THEY REALLY KNOW THIER PRODUCT. (And this is fair (that the first line is not so brilliant) considering the valume of calls that they take).

While support offerings exist for Linux (I guess - never having used them) you will more likely than not resort to working through the problem yourself.

I agree with the survey ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2723145)

Thus far in my exp in the IT world @ Fortune 500 companies I have worked for. EMC then MS have offered the best support for the buck that I have gotten out of a company

Not at SMU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2723147)

Most of my professors generally start class off with a few minutes of Microsoft bashing. I wouldn't dare admit to my professors that I use Win2k... and I'm not joking.

Real Example. (5, Insightful)

saintlupus (227599) | more than 13 years ago | (#2723148)

One of my interns at work is a CS undergrad, and I think he's pretty typical of the breed. Talks about Linux all the time to be 'leet, but still gave me a resume done in Word on his pirated Win2K partition.

Schools are a tough nut to crack for OSS, because students have no moral qualms about piracy and a lot of professors demand closed file formats for assignments to be electronically filed.


Re:Real Example. (3, Funny)

Kingpin (40003) | more than 13 years ago | (#2723278)

It's easier to copy an MS Office CD, install it and write the resume than it is to either

a. Download open office, install and use that
b. Use TeX
c. Admit you suck and use an AbiWord rpm/deb ;)

Re:Real Example. (1)

Darren Winsper (136155) | more than 13 years ago | (#2723311)

I have to supply my internship CV application in Word or Wordperfect format. I do my CV on StarOffice at home, take it to the CompSci labs and then make any needed corrections on Word2K.

If I had the choice, I'd supply my CV in postscript or PDF format, since then I can ensure my CV looks right. As it is, it's either supplu a Word document or get an internship the hard way.

Don't be so hard on people that supply their CV in Word format, some places require them to.

Good test subjects (1)

four12 (129324) | more than 13 years ago | (#2723151)

A really good article.

If IT or IT-track college students are coming up with ideas like "Linux is too hard to use" or "it needs a common GUI", what hope does Joe Sixpack have of getting things sorted out?

Is there a quick answer? No, not really. It will take time for the *nix "mystique" and myths to die out...

I hate Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2723155)

I love LINUX. I hate Microsoft. People should stop using Microsoft and start using LINUX.

Re:I hate Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2723231)

ima laugh when you die.

Re:I hate Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2723271)

I love LINUX. I hate Microsoft. People should stop using Microsoft and start using LINUX.

Re:I hate Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2723322)

I love LINUX. I hate Microsoft. People should stop using Microsoft and start using LINUX.

Microsoft settlement could make this worse (1)

terrynt (304377) | more than 13 years ago | (#2723157)

If microsoft's proposed settlement where they will provide 1 billion dollars of free software goes through, then really free software will suffer.
Imagine a scenario where a student only sees microsoft software throughout his/her k-12 education.
By the time they reach college where *nix has a stronger foothold they won't know what to do.
Better to get the cash from microsoft to buy modern pc or macs, instead of getting free MS software the old pcs.

Re:Microsoft settlement could make this worse (1)

oyenstikker (536040) | more than 13 years ago | (#2723242)

And this is different than the current system how? A student now only sees macos throughut public schooling.

*These* Are Our New Sysadmins? (1)

Max Entropy (239730) | more than 13 years ago | (#2723158)

There's only one version of the current Linux kernel. There may be too many distributions of Linux, and I think it is safe to say their differences cause confusion to Linux newcomers.

Tomorrow's IT professionals don't understand this simple distinction? *That's* what we're dealing with?

Re:*These* Are Our New Sysadmins? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2723286)

thats right, too many distros. Cosolidate, make one or two distros, and for heaven sakes, stop changing where you store configuration files. Make up your mind. Microsoft os, almost everything is centralized. Not to mention, XFree is far worse then Microsofts GUI. MS's gui is much much easier to use and deal with, and you can actually work with just 1 desktop at 1024x768, and not need 2 or 3 just to fit everything. I'd rather pay a professional to get tech support, then have some kid from Nigeria try to explain something to me about why wuftpd has soo many (bug free linux baby) holes.

Re:*These* Are Our New Sysadmins? (1)

ADRA (37398) | more than 13 years ago | (#2723320)

I don't think that it is such a big deal. I was confused to see SunOS 5.8 running on my machine when I explicity installed Solaris 8.. Ohhh...

Coming from a Windows world, it is a tough paradigm to break. Microsoft and Apple have introduced the OS a a very unified, singular object. One could never boot multiple kernels becuase 1. what is a kernel, and 2. YOU NEVER NEED TO!

Sorry to rant at the posters expense (becuas I feel it also), but I think unless they have been tought on Linux, or the few other production version OS's that commonly support multiple kernels, then it isn't necessarily a sign of weakness.

OT: I think that the multiple kernel boot has become so common that it has hindered the chance of progress in respect to a single kernel solution, with a more abstract module or device driver layer.

there is a difference between IT and CS students (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2723163)

Information Technology (IT) is for businessy type people, computer science (CS)use Unix and various clones of it.

Have you ever used Microsoft Technical Support? (5, Insightful)

Big_Lamer (65521) | more than 13 years ago | (#2723164)

>One of the funnier myths perceived to be true is that 'Microsoft's technical support is the best in the industry and is superior to that
>offered by the Linux community.'

While I can not speak to using the pay-per-use support of the Linux Vendors, if you use Microsoft's Incident based support system, It is really really damn good. I have not contacted any other Vendors where you can call w/ a technical support problem and speak to the developers of the application at 11:00 at night.

Please do not flame... I am not saying that the Linux community provides bad support. In terms of free support services, they kick M$ ass.... I am only speaking to my experience w/ Microsoft's Pay-per-incident support....

Re:Have you ever used Microsoft Technical Support? (1)

nam37 (517083) | more than 13 years ago | (#2723225)

How dare you?? I think there was a positive Microsoft comment hidden in there! :)

+ 5 Technology is Political (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2723165)

"It's a bit disturbing considering they will be
the next generation of technology workers.",

As well as the next generation of drones working
under a Cheney-Rumsfield administration.

Thanks and have an Afghan opium-filled day.

Alarmist (1)

spellcheckur (253528) | more than 13 years ago | (#2723174)

It's a bit disturbing considering they will be the next generation of technology workers."

Isn't this a little bit of an overreaction? Of course people without any experience aren't going to have much insight.
Two year olds defecate in their pants and smile, but we don't go around complaining that "these are the future leaders of our country."

What concerns me more is the (subset of the) current generation of technology workers who think that Microsoft is a superior choice.

...not to mention the present leaders of our country who defecate in their pants and smile.

Hey! (0)

j0nkatz (315168) | more than 13 years ago | (#2723175)

Dark Age of Camelot servers are fucking being patched AGAIN so I have some time to troll today.

Actually I have never seen good tech support outta open source companies. HOWEVER, Sun beats MS's punky little ass as far as support is concerned.

Re:Hey! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2723314)

very true.

Companies like SUN and others, offer execellent tech support. One reason why? They don't change their OS every new release, and thus they can train their helpers in a manner that wont change where stuff is located, etc. As well as the fact that Sun is a large player. I'd like to see Mandrake linux send a tech out to my house to fix a problem :P

Technical Support - how can you compare? (1)

FatSean (18753) | more than 13 years ago | (#2723177)

Considering the development models of the two operating systems, asking which one is "better" doesn't make much sense. Well to me, anyway.

Fast way to dispel that myth (1, Insightful)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 13 years ago | (#2723182)

You have a Windows PC with a subtle problem which is preventing it from running (possibly a trashed library or something similar). It contains several complex pieces of installed software such as Visual C++ that have had their configurations customized. Obtain a fix for the problem and return the PC to service with all configuration exactly as it was initially except for the broken bit now working. This is a pass/fail assignment, any discrepancy will result in you getting an F for the course.

Now do the same with a Linux box with a horked copy of bash preventing a boot.

Re:Fast way to dispel that myth (1)

tenordave (461908) | more than 13 years ago | (#2723224)

Ok, so you've already provided more info for the windows case.

Re:Fast way to dispel that myth (1)

nsrbrake (233425) | more than 13 years ago | (#2723275)

Are you seriouse? I'm sorry, but prior to posting anything else please make yourself a little more knowledgeable on the subject. I've been there and done that in record time, and I still consider myself only adequate with Linux.

Is this really a myth? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2723183)

Come on, guys .. I like Linux just as much as the next guy does, but I would hardly call it a "myth" to say that Microsoft's tech support is far better than anything you'll get with a Linux-based solution. Is it expensive? Sure. Is it cumbersome? Maybe. But at least it's there. Telling somebody to go out and read some FAQ or ask a question to a newsgroup isn't going to do much good, particularly if that person doesn't know what a FAQ or a newsgroup is.

Most IT undergrads these days don't know a lot about the Internet (or at least, they don't know a lot about it yet.) These are kids that were born in the mid 1980s, for crying out loud. When the average /. reader went to school, we had a background with an Internet that had never heard of the "World Wide Web", we posted to USENET religiously, and many of us were subscribers to the venerable SF-LOVERS list. ;-)

The kids these days don't know much beyond Internet Explorer and Visual Basic and all those sorts of things because by and large, they haven't been exposed to the real world yet. Now this doesn't mean they won't be eventually, but at the current time their experience is limited. That aside, I still think we need to consider that the point is valid. Microsoft's tech support is better than anything you'll get with Linux-based solutions .. this doesn't mean that Microsoft's solutions are any better, just that they're more established.

That's okay, it gives us something to work on. ;-)

Real IT students... (0)

CitznFish (222446) | more than 13 years ago | (#2723184)

don't need no stinkin tech support. =]

Actually I can see the point of the article. The Linux crowd is def. considered snooty and unapproachable. (just a perception from real world experiences) I know while I was an undergrad and had a linux question I would usually get scoffed at or the class techie would look down his nose at me and preach. If anything I learned how to be self reliant with regards to trouble shooting, like any good tech person should be..

Asking the wrong people? (2, Interesting)

ThePurpleBuffalo (111594) | more than 13 years ago | (#2723186)

It just goes to show how little real world experience students have. It's a bit disturbing considering they will be the next generation of technology workers.

Having just finished my BSc in Computer Science, I've found that those who want real world experience will go out and find it on their own. Formal education is there to assist your learning, not to spoon-feed you.

Alot of the students are at school for the piece of paper, not to learn and enjoy the subject matter. We attempt to filter job applicants based on a "geekiness" scale to help remove those who are not interested in the field.

Beware TPB

MS tech support? Ha ha ha... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2723191)

Do a search for a Microsoft problem and a Linux problem at groups.google.com and see which is more helpful!

I think you'll notice that Microsoft tech support is rather sub-par!

Money in Linux? (1)

SirDrinksAlot (226001) | more than 13 years ago | (#2723194)

Im still unsure how people make money in linux. Its free and stuff. Only money lately i'v seen has been in venture capital and stock which really is nothing because that has to be paid back (or at least in stock just being a loan for how long the investor wants to keep it there.)
Use banner ads on your website?
I use MacOS X now and man thats good stuff(tm), Now i can see useing that as a platform to use your linux skills on and potentialy make money.
All honesty im not a beliver in opensource because i belive time *IS* money which means my time should be worth a return in cold hard cash. Yes i do understand most linux developers are doing it on their own free will and all that. But what do they do to feed them selvs? I know several people who develop linux applications (little things nothing ground breaking) but then work in factories. Seems like a waste of valuble skills.
When people graduate from an IT program they are expecting to make money because they have student loans and have spent so much money for their education. All i want to know is where this money comes from and if its stable enough to devote much time to. All i'v seen lately are startup linux companies hanging around for acouple months and then file Chapter 11.

The Next Generation (1)

Renraku (518261) | more than 13 years ago | (#2723198)

In my eyes, the next generation is going to be a mix-up of those intellectuals who want everything to be open source and free, and those who just want to be able to pay for their software and use it fairly. It's going to be split between the immature script kiddies who think they're the l33test sysadmin in the city, and humble security experts who quietly update and patch their systems, not wanting to throw their weight around and get noticed by the wrong crowd. It all comes down to this. Microsoft, or Linux? Which one are you for?

IT students, not CS/EE?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2723202)

At my campus, IT students were those too weak to hack it as CS/CE/EE majors. They studied how to give a powerpoint presentation, and how to handle a 3 martini lunch. I don't think they are representative of future techies.

[blood boils] (1)

The Great Wakka (319389) | more than 13 years ago | (#2723203)

grr.... KDE and GNOME are nearly the same. How could they think that? I installed Linux-Mandrake 8.0 [mandrake.com] with VERY LITTLE PRIOR LINUX KNOWLEDGE, and before that installed Caldera eDesktop 2.4, and before that RedHat 7.1 [redhat.com] (tried out a bunch a distros, what can I say?). I find it extremly easy to use. The only thing that bugs me is the installation of non-distro-supplied software. This should be streamlined, so that the program automatically downloads all its dependancies when you tell it to. I don't understand. All these student sound like they've been brainwashed. Next they'll be telling us the virtues of AOL [aol.com] .
(sorry, no hyperlink for Caldera, couldn't remeber if they are still in business or not.)

To each his own... (1)

WhiteBandit (185659) | more than 13 years ago | (#2723204)

I don't know if Microsoft has the best tech support overall, but almost every development issue I've had questions on, they've been able to help me. M$'s shitty programming isn't synonomous with crappy tech support.

From what I've used of Linux, I've gotten some decent tech support, mainly from the community itself, but much of it has also been met with hostile responses since I am technically a "newbie" and I guess many don't want linux to be a trendy thing...

So to this I say, each person really has their own perceptions of how well these companies handle their tech support issues.


Poor Linux Tech Support (1)

mjed (514439) | more than 13 years ago | (#2723206)

Well, this IS a fact. There is no number that you can call to help fix your comp, although MS does have a phone number. Best in the business is puhsing it, but there is a help line in place. For Linux help, you need to search the internet. Though you may get excellent support on certain websites, Linux help all depends on your box being 1: bootable, 2: having your modem set up properly, or 3: Having a seperate machine that can access the internet. With a Microsoft product, all you need is a working phone (and an infinite amount of patience).

Linux isn't Standard - therefore not taught (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2723207)

I personally feel that IT students are taught the most standard subjects that they can learn. Perhaps Linux lacks this prospect to some of today's teachers. Many older people who actually teach this grew up on Microsoft and the "IBM standard." To them perhaps Linux is a new "fad" that they can safely ignore. This however is simply untrue, but does explain their student's lack of insight.

Slanted Article (1)

zerus (108592) | more than 13 years ago | (#2723208)

First of all, this article was written with some extreme bias. With the publisher of the article being a linux magazine and all, they know where their money is coming from, so obviously they're going to write another of the pro-linux/anti-microsoft articles that are so common these days. Just wanted to point that fact out there in case anyone doesn't look at where these stories actually come from. Now about how microsoft's actual tech support, most college students do not deal directly with microsoft's tech support, few people really do. Most people deal with a 3rd party IT firm or an MCSE of some sort. End users are just about the only ones (except the types that I mentioned before and related fields) who actually use microsoft's tech support directly. With a linux tech support line, anyone can call that and get decent help. Linux in IT work is becoming a lot bigger so eventually people will be talking to their IT person instead of the actual company. Things to keep in mind is all

i was just wondering (1)

dollargonzo (519030) | more than 13 years ago | (#2723210)

where did yuo actually GET this data...although everyone on /. will OBVIOUSLY say this is wrong (this is clearly flamebait)

also, i wonder what school(s) were yuo speaking of?
in most high tech schools linux is not only known of , but used!

please stop posting flamebait for /. readers to rebuke mindlessly!


Microsoft support (5, Informative)

trippd6 (20793) | more than 13 years ago | (#2723216)

Microsoft support can be good. It all depends...

One of the factors is if you're calling them at random, or you have a support aggrement. You ALWAYS pay for support from microsoft. It doesn't come with any product.

THe last place I worked at, we had a microsoft select agreement. Boy is that a deal. (Hahah). We got 150 incedents for $50,000. Sounds crazy, but, it was worth it... To bad we could never use 150 incedents, even if we tried. (150 people in the company, 5 IT people).

The cool thing about the select agreement, is you get a TAM (Technical account manager) that can esclate your call. Plus, he has like 10 customers, so he pays close attention to every case. Its kinda cool when he checks in to see if you were happy with a case.

With a select agreement, you get access to subscriber downloads, which rocks. You can download anything microsoft ever released (Well almost). Wanted to try BOB? go for it. MSDOS 5 in chinese, its there.

Some of thier best support people are in thier exchange support group. The reason being, exchange is a POS that needs alot of attention, and fixing database curruption is a bitch.


Linux tech support is spotty at best. (1)

Starship Trooper (523907) | more than 13 years ago | (#2723219)

Well, on one hand, I have gotten some of the best, friendliest, most complete help with Linux from people on IRC and newsgroups. On the other hand, I have also received far more "RTFM" and other condescending, insulting replies than I'd care to. Microsoft technical support may be lacking in a number of ways, but you can bet the people on the other side of the phone want to keep their jobs and are generally reasonable, if a bit tedious to deal with. Linux support, like all things open-source, is the proverbial box of chocolates; depending on the time of day, phase of the moon, and the distribution of quantum fields in the universe, you could end up talking to a genuinely helpful fellow or some fucked-up adolescent douchebag who has a severe case of Schadenfreude.

Professional Linux support provided by Redhat et al. is OK, but there is the aspect of having to pay extra for the boxed Redhat distributions that include support. Your average poor CS undergrad isn't going to pay $59 for "free software", and is more likely to either stick with what he knows (Windows) or ask for Linux help in public fora such as IRC or Slashdot (and potentially be verbally abused). This is where the perception of Microsoft's superior technical support comes from.

Slashdotted (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2723229)

"Warning: Too many connections in /N5/html/maindb.php on line 44

Warning: MySQL Connection Failed: Too many connections in /N5/html/maindb.php on line 44
Unable to select database"

Time to get MS SQL Server or Oracle, you know, a REAL database, instead of mySQL?

Myths (1)

slubberdegullion (544119) | more than 13 years ago | (#2723233)

A lot of these 'myths' seem to be subjective. For instance, he disagrees with a statement about Microsoft making excellent software. While many people would agree with him, this seems less a case of misinformed kids and more a case of a biased teacher.

Curriculum (1)

dygytyz (540345) | more than 13 years ago | (#2723235)

How much of this lack of understanding is due to poor curriculum at colleges and universities? When I wanted to study CS, they were offering classes in COBOL, Fortran, and RPG3. I was doing stuff in Pascal and learning C back then. Even then I kew which way the wind was blowing, so I held out and saved my money instead of going to college.

I'd scream like a schoolgirl if I was that age today and saw classes such as GNU C++, Open Architecture Development, Perl, PHP, and Network and Systems Administration courses being offered. And NOT the dime-a-dozen MCSE (Minesweeper Certified Solitaire Expert) night schools, either.

Maybe I'll go get a teaching certificate and save the human race.

MSDN (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2723237)

Yes, MSDN is better than someone telling you to RTFM when you ask a question. While there are many very nice people in the linux community, there are also a lot of assholes.

Win vs Linux (1)

rossy (536408) | more than 13 years ago | (#2723238)

Ugh.. sanity is doomed! I worked with a company which sells multi million automatic test equipment (ATE), for years this equipment was Sun based. About 18 months ago I was at an off site office location setting up an off line workstation. A new hire was watching me setup the /etc/printcap file and some dummy user accounts so users could use this new machine on the network without YP running. His comment was... why don't we just use Windows wouldn't it be easier? I had to hold back my reply... who hired this guy? Now I work at a compnay which produces lower end test equipment. We have a Windows NT box, which uses MS C++. Although I hate it, once I got over the handcuffed GUI, it actually works (sort-of), this of course, means I will never be able to sell internally a superior Linux based solution. I was at DeVry about a year ago recruiting for my old company. It turns out that 99% of their courses are MS Windows based. They were CONSIDERING offering a UNIX class. This is terrible! What it means is that there are lots of talented folks who think MS Windows is the way to go. Kind of like religion. I've actually found people who like 'vi' over emacs too! I believe that primary computer training should begin with a semester of loading up Star Trek via paper tape into a 110 baud Teletype, then playing the game. The highest scoring players get 'A's. After this, users would realize that you can load and play an entire game of Star Trek on a Teletype over a coupler in the time it takes to boot windows ME. -- Regards Ross

Slashdotted (1)

Oriumpor (446718) | more than 13 years ago | (#2723239)

One of these days I'll be able to actually read an article that get's /.ed without getting a connection threshold error.

Maybe there needs to be a Cached version of the page posted along with the link.

Re:Slashdotted (1)

sulli (195030) | more than 13 years ago | (#2723279)

Or maybe The Linux Journal needs to call for Tech Support.

this snobbery pisses me off (1)

wrinkledshirt (228541) | more than 13 years ago | (#2723240)

One of the funnier myths perceived to be true is that 'Microsoft's technical support is the best in the industry and is superior to that offered by the Linux community.' It just goes to show how little real world experience students have.

This is a myth? I'm sorry, but it's only recently that Linux distributors stopped trying to sell us on the bloody stupid idea that one of the great things about support for Linux is that you have all of USENET available to help you out.

Don't get me wrong, that works fine for me, but being able to phone a 1-800 number works way better for others. I LOVE Linux, but let's not get unrealistic about its strengths. It may be the best OS out there, but if we're going to get all smug about what we think is better about it than Windows then we're turning a blind eye to those things that Windows DOES do better than Linux.

Speaking of perceptions (1, Flamebait)

Lumpish Scholar (17107) | more than 13 years ago | (#2723241)

Here's my perception of Linux (or at least the Linux Journal, once it's been Slashdotted):
Warning: Too many connections in /N5/html/maindb.php on line 44

Warning: MySQL Connection Failed: Too many connections
in /N5/html/maindb.php on line 44

Unable to select database

Re:Speaking of perceptions (1, Flamebait)

1010011010 (53039) | more than 13 years ago | (#2723312)

Here's my perception of Windows:

Microsoft OLE DB Provider for ODBC Drivers error '80040e57'

[Microsoft][ODBC SQL Server Driver][SQL Server]String or binary data would be truncated.

/rpt/inc/company_press.asp, line 21

This error was at Forbes.com [google.com] .

Bundled OS (1)

lamj (153635) | more than 13 years ago | (#2723247)

This article raised an interesting point that most computer manufacturers (or VAR) would bundle Windows OS as well. There is really no benefit to opt out and refuse to accept Windows in the bundle.

Since most average new computer user would prefer to buy a brand name computer that has Windows comes with it, even if they are willing to try another OS (Linux), if they get into the slightest problem they will be re-installing Windows and get on with Life. This may also come from the fear that they will somehow void the warranty (I have not seen any stickers that tells you installing another OS will not void warranty but too many times have I seen something about touching or tempering with something that will void my warranty).

This would be a huge resistance in pushing Linux forward as a major desktop OS. Unless enough manufacturers get upset with MS and they start pushing Linux, the chances of Linux getting popular on desktop is still remote.

It's an MS world... (2, Insightful)

oldmildog (533046) | more than 13 years ago | (#2723253)

Not surprising that kids coming out of college are blind to real life, considering how Microsoft-centric the world has become. It's a self-perpetuating problem: college kids only know Microsoft, so that's the only thing they'll push. Since it's the only thing they'll push, it's the only thing that will sell. Etc ad nauseum.

As somebody that supports a product that runs on both MS and UNIX, I've run into so many techs for whom Microsoft is a religion. They'd rather stretch the limits of running the product on MS, instead of sticking it on a Sun box where it'll crank along, because MS is the only system they know in-house. So the product runs slow... and I look bad. But you can't fault them too much: it's all they know. I blame their CIO for not being more aware of what's going on in the world.

And don't get me started on what a useless certification an MCSE is. It was time wasted for me to get one, and I would maybe pay it passing glance on a candidate's resume if I were hiring someone.

customer support (1)

pavera (320634) | more than 13 years ago | (#2723254)

I think that it is ok that we let everyone know that MS has the best customer support. In my experience the companies that get rave reviews on their tech/customer support are the ones who have people using their tech/customer support all the time, because things are always broken. Great customer support generally can be directly translated into "crappy product".

Clanger is right. (5, Insightful)

Exmet Paff Daxx (535601) | more than 13 years ago | (#2723255)

The students felt that "The KDE/GNOME choice confuses most newcomers to Linux."

This is listed by the author as a "clanger", or repeatedly offered mistruth. I wholehartedly agree with him. As an experienced Linux user, I feel that the KDE/GNOME choice does not confuse most newcomers to Linux, it confuses nearly all of them, as well as experienced users. What the students should have said was "the KDE/GNOME choice confuses everybody".

I'm so tired of having to decide which featureset I want to use today. For C++ development I use Kdevelop, because of the nice C++ features like picklists for virtual functions. However I can't stand KDE's tendency to map its' own colors onto my X applications, nor can I take it desktop switching mode, so for casual web browsing I restart in Gnome. This means that I've had to memorize two control panels, two ways of resizing Xterms (I hate both their Xterm replacements), two ways of virtual desktop switching, etc. If there's anything that's important about the desktop metaphor it is that the metaphor must be intuitive. The problem with choice is that it requires you to gain knowledge in order to make an informed decision. To gain knowledge you have to spend time learning. When I pick up a lab instrument I don't want to spend time learning how to use it's desktop; I don't freaking care how it works. I want to use the instrument.

The GNOME/KDE choice is annoying. Honestly I don't care which one goes away, I just wish one of them would.

$$$ Newbies (1)

mbrod (19122) | more than 13 years ago | (#2723261)

The big problem with this is the new stock of future IT professionals in schools is watered down. They are a mass of people who came running during the .dotboom to get the $$. I am sure the same number of people are going into it because they love it as there was before. Problem is the number of newbies who want to do it as a job and make a decent check aren't _into_ it and outnumber the 1337. They don't know how to go onto IRC and ask for help. They don't know what a newsgroup is. They don't know what FAQ stands for and why they have to read that. Etc. etc.

Linux Journal (1, Offtopic)

mosch (204) | more than 13 years ago | (#2723262)

The Linux Journal has a story on IT students... too bad you can't read it because the Linux Journal hired incompetant IT staff.

C'mon man! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2723263)

Of course IT students are going to have a lack of real world experience because they are just starting out just like everyone who reads and maintains this website once was when they were starting out. Give the students a little bit of time and they will be right at the level all of you are at. Plus, alot of students are very pro-microsoft because they've been humping their MOC books for the past year or so. When i was in school linux was barely mentioned and when it was talked about it was put down by our MOC.

As an undergrad student... (1)

Tony.Tang (164961) | more than 13 years ago | (#2723266)

This is not too surprising. Like a few of the posters already, it's absolutely true: most younger CS students have a vague notion about linux and expound on how "great" it is like there's no tomorrow; unfortunately, most have difficult saying exactly /what/ the difference is, or why the differences are substantial/interesting. It's like media hype, except from students.

Many of these students have never intimately touched a unix prompt (e.g. scripting), let alone play around with a linux box. It's an extraordinarily small portion of CS students that actually venture out and play with the various unices, and it's high time that /.'ers realize that (without raising such a big kerfuffle). Even amongst geeks, we are a /unique/ bunch of them.

Support issues? Not if ... (4, Interesting)

Magus311X (5823) | more than 13 years ago | (#2723270)

You need to know where to look.

A few weeks ago the Exchange 2000 server decided it was going to roll over and die and to corrupt the mailbox stores with it. We tried restoring (which took 30 minutes to pull off of tape) but it was a no go. When the system state backups didn't fly, we realized we might need to rebuild the server from scratch...

Instead of wasting 2 hours pulling off a stock Win2K Server image and reconfiguring everything, MS support actually referenced a few obscure cases and we had it resolved in about 25 minutes.

A few months before a power surge sporked out a rackmount running Samba on Linux 2.4.x. Fsck laughed at us and we had a LOT of data to pull off too. It was going to take about 3 hours to restore the data from tapes. So we gave IBM a call while we were restoring. Only took about 20 or so minutes to get an answer and back up and running.

Verdict? I don't see any problem with Linux support as long as you have a contract of sorts. I wouldn't dare leave big messes or small disasters to usenet or forums -- for ANY OS. That's fine for configuration quirks, or trying something new on a test server, but when something needs to be fixed and you've tried everything in the run book, you need someone you can rely on.

And for the record, with the exception of a burp each, both the Linux and Windows 2000 servers are humming along without a problem. I have no real preference -- they each do their job and do it well.

absolutely true (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2723272)

What is the support that Linux gives that Microsoft does n't. They provide a patch,A person can call their support line and ask them anything about their product. Linux however you have to surf through endles mailing lists. When you report a bug the developer(s) often ignore it..instead of providing you with the basic information. Which is the better? hands down microsoft

Emacs (2)

ffatTony (63354) | more than 13 years ago | (#2723293)

I agree. At my old school (mid-sized public school) senior classmates couldn't use the console version of emacs (no mouse manipulatable menu). I have to admit, I'm not a superior emacs user, but I am quite familiar with my editor of choice (vi, well make that vim)

/. authors and Linux users at there best... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2723294)

instead of taking this, and saying "How can we fix it", you shout "Stupid Users!"

Its sickening! (1)

guru101 (186326) | more than 13 years ago | (#2723295)

I attend the Univ. of RI and I am a CE major. Its nauseaing to see all the incoming freshmen, even sophmores and juniors that have no clue about Unix based OSs in general. The only thing these kids know is AOL, MS and all the other mai-stream, shoved in there faces crap. Thier gonna get a big slap in the face when they graduate and start looking for jobs. I use everything and have no preference. I believe that the big 3, Unix, Linux, and Windows, are good in some areas and founder in others. I don't know about the tech support hting though. I usually just RTFM! :)

Dead On (4, Insightful)

chicagothad (227885) | more than 13 years ago | (#2723302)

I work for a corporation doing production support for large scale internet systems based on M$ technology. I absolutely agree with the statement "Microsoft technical support is superior". Why?

1) Whenever I have a SERIOUS problem with the guts of something run by microsoft. I have actually had them custom write a fix for me for the OS.

2) At the end of the day, I need someone to strangle. Am I going to go tell the CIO of a Fortune 500 company that some hack coder added something to the kernel that screwed us?

3) I know EXACTLY who to call. Who do I call for a Linux issue? Redhat? IBM? Who did I buy it from? Who is supporting it?

Redhat has done wonders for the industry. But I need ONE vendor to contact for ALL my issues who has deep expertise in all aspects of the software. I can't go to Linuxcare or any third party. I want to be on Linux...but I am running these systems on Sun and M$ for just this reason

Heh, yeah right :o) (2)

AlXtreme (223728) | more than 13 years ago | (#2723317)

All around me i see people try linux, and schools starting to use it in projects. As a good geek, i helpt out and promote the greatest OS [debian.org] known to man to the masses on a day to day basis.

Microsoft is increasing prices, the IT sector is having a hard time, but coding and improving opensource software hasn't stopped (Gnome 2.0, KDE 3, Open Office, all major distributions have released or are planning to release new distro's, Mozilla becoming better than sex(r), Evolution 1.0, PostgreSQL (and Mysql, kinda) being a condender to all major databases, and not to forget 2.4.* becoming more stable everyday (okay, it doesn't go okay EVERYday...), and the list goes on and on )

And, besides all these really nice goodies, more and more people are trying out Linux and opensource software. It's becoming more and more mainstream everyday. A whole army of teenagers are experimenting with Linux on a day to day basis. Don't worry about the next generation(r), just wait and see. By the time all you 1-st generation hackers are retiered, Open Source software will be used and known by everyone one on a day to day basis. Server, workstation, embedded, mobile or wearable.
Have a bit of faith ;)

the next generation :)

My perception of Linux (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2723319)

is that it's crap.

There is no winning! (0)

theJavaMan (539177) | more than 13 years ago | (#2723321)

I'm glad I program in Java, and even more glad that SWT is out so I won't hear any more of "Java is slow" shit.

I like Java because I won't be a part of "Windoze Sux!" or "Unix blowz" people. You know. you have to end this idiotic competition. OS is not, NOT a religion, it is just software. You're going to die when you become old. The OS you used won't give you a place in heaven. Surely I love Java, but I don't go around screaming "Java rox! sucks!". You know what really matters? No, not what OS you use or what language you use. All the time people lived, the most important thing was MONEY. You're good with Linux, the company wil pay you money. Good with windows, you'll get paid too.

So get a good paid job and stop wasting your energy.

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