Why use Linux?

Discussion in 'Video Games and Technology' started by Shipwreck, Apr 1, 2008.

  1. Shipwreck

    Shipwreck Will smack your bitch

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    Is it really that much better than the Mac OS or Windows? And what on earth is Ubuntu?
     
  2. KA

    KA PENIS GOES WHERE?!!

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    youre not a fan of internet searches arent you XD

    if not mistaken ubuntu is the favored version of linux out there, theres a whole lotta them, thats the point.
     
  3. Shipwreck

    Shipwreck Will smack your bitch

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    I've been on google, youtube, and wikipedia for hours just looking up stuff but I'd feel better knowing if people on this board were using it and impressed with it. I was looking to build my own PC and maybe put it on there.
     
  4. Gordon_4

    Gordon_4 The Big Engine

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    Major selling point: most versions are FREE.

    They do require the user to be of above average competance to use effectively, but nothing some google-fu and pateince can't solve. I tried out Suse Linux once, the free version of Novell Professional Desktop and it was ok but not my thing.
     
  5. Prisoner1138

    Prisoner1138 TFW2005 Supporter

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    I've used various versions of it over the years, and while it has gotten better I'm still not impressed with it.

    For someone who just needs email, web browsing, and the basics, it's fine on a certain hardware set. Like a low end PC, a laptop like the EEE, etc. For the most part the UI can be made to be very user friendly. But the moment that user needs to change a piece of hardware or run some out of the ordinary application, that's where it falls flat on it's face.

    It's also the same reason why companies like Dell and Walmart can't sell linux based PC's for cheap. The person thinks about buying the PC, sees that it can browse the internet, edit documents. And then they walk right over to the software aisle and see a couple linux distros and some linux for dummies books. 9 times out of 10 that user will go get a windows system instead or return the linux box they just bought. "But you can get whatever software apps you want online", even if you can find the app what happens when the user needs to open the shell and install dependencies and all of that "fun" crap?

    Linux also has a nasty habit of being worse to deal with for the average end user than a jacked up windows install, if something goes wrong.

    Linux however is and probably always will be great at one thing. Being a server. Once it's configured it just runs and no one tinkers with it unless they absolutely know what they're doing, and it just works. It's the same reason why it can work well as a base OS for a router, a NAS, a streaming media box, or whatever other appliance. Because the user doesn't actually have to or get to mess with the OS itself.

    Every year it's "Hey guys, linux is almost ready for the desktop for the average user!" Be it fedora, lindows/linspire, xandros, ubuntu, or whatever. But it's never actually the case. It's been "almost ready" for almost a decade now.

    OSX also has one up on linux as far as joe schmoe usability is concerned, and it's the same reason as windows. It doesn't rely on a massive library of free applications that don't have to appear to be "perfect". People want to get folks to use their software, which means getting folks to BUY their software. No one wants to buy something that's going to make you spend half an hour updating libs and another 15 minutes install dependencies and then having to tweak a makefile just because you have one of 40 different distros that differs in some minor way as far as the end user is concerned.
     
  6. Red04Cobra

    Red04Cobra Well-Known Member

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    I've been running SuSE 10.3 on one of my machines for a little over a year now. It runs pretty well and I can do just about anything I want to do with it, short of playing a lot of games. However some of those work as well. If you're building your own machine, do a lot a reading about what particular pieces of hardware have good drivers for whatever flavor of *nix you decide to install on your machine. The main thing i've seen issues with are wireless cards and modems. Other than that, i've not had an issues getting any machines up within the same amount of time it takes to get a Windows machine up and running. Video card drivers could be another problem area, but as long as you go with an ATI or Nvidia (much easier driver install IMO) you should be alright.

    As far as dependencies go, RPM's make things a LOT easier. I've had very little if any trouble, getting a package to install and running into problems because off some obscure package not being installed. One thing i'd make sure to do is install all of development packages when installing Linux. That way you'll have make and other related binaries already installed.

    Also there are a lot of good resources once you have your distribution installed. Generally speaking, if you have a problem, just take note of any error messages and do a search on that. Likely you'll find a solution, and if not ask on a message board.
     
  7. atlianz

    atlianz TFW2005 Supporter

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    We use Suse here at work.
     
  8. TGCLightGuard

    TGCLightGuard FOR THE ROYALTY!

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    I use Fedora Core 6...maybe. I've upgraded and tweaked it since, because I like command line.

    What? I was a DOS Child. Linux gives me my command line fix and a GUI if I need to use it. Plus, thanks to WINE, I can still play games and use my Windows based programs...

    I just don't have sound support yet. :redface2: 
     
  9. flamepanther

    flamepanther Interested, but not really

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    If the user has Ubuntu or some other user-friendly variant of Debian, or if they're using Foresight or any other Conary-based system, here's what happens: The system automatically downloads all the dependencies during the install process. Then, assuming it's a GUI program, it gets added to the user's menu of programs in GNOME, KDE, or XFCE. That's it. There is virtually no software for which a normal end-user would need to use the CLI or manually install anything.
     
  10. Prisoner1138

    Prisoner1138 TFW2005 Supporter

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    That's the same claim various distros have had for YEARS. "You'll never need to use the CLI again with RPMs!" "one click install for any application in linspire!"

    And the reason why it never works? Look at your own post and you'll see why. "There is virtually no software for which a normal end-user would need to use the CLI or manually install anything." For one, it isn't true. Second, who are you to decide what the normal end user needs to run? The normal end user runs whatever applications they want for whatever reason they want, and when that user wants to run some random app that you might think they have no business messing with, but now they can't entirely install it via the GUI everything goes to crap. It's pretty much the reason why Linux hasn't managed to work. It can't be "virtually all apps", it needs to be ALL applications and ALL driver installs.

    Don't act like you never need the CLI, because it's not true no matter what you or some company publishing a linux distro wants to claim. And you still never actually answered the question of mine that you quoted, so I'll ask it again.

    What happens when that user needs to open the shell and install dependencies and all of that "fun" crap?
     
  11. XJunky

    XJunky Howdy Ho Veteran TFW2005 Supporter

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    Yeah, with package management utilities like apt-get and Synaptic, it's quite easy to install many useful tools and applications. I've been tinkering with Ubuntu (Gutsy) at home after using it at work and I like it a lot. There's a bit of a learning curve, but it's getting to the point where (IMHO) it's just as steep as Windows. Also, like everyone else says, it's free. It's also free to develop new tools and utilities you want to use (granted there are some free development tools for Windows too).
     
  12. XJunky

    XJunky Howdy Ho Veteran TFW2005 Supporter

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    That's a solid point there. It's not possible, or at least very difficult to get away from using the command line in any Linux distribution. OS' like Ubuntu make it easier, but you still need to know how to run commands manually for many things.

    To answer your question though, in my experience, I have never found an application that I've wanted to use that can't be installed. Googling install issues usually reveals solutions to build problems. Also, in the case of Ubuntu, the users are very knowledgeable and helpful (although a bit blunt sometimes).
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2008
  13. funkatron101

    funkatron101 TFW2005 Supporter

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    Are there still issues with Linux and Adobe creative suite?
     
  14. RoboticPlanet

    RoboticPlanet Exclusively Exclusive

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    I'll echo the sentiment that one reason Linux is great is it's free.
    If you have a good understanding of how a computer works (as opposed to thinking it's a magical box), and you aren't afraid of your computer, then it's worth checking out Linux.

    You'll want to try out Ubuntu since it's probably the most user friendly Linux distro. You shouldn't have trouble getting around and installing most basic software (document editors, video players, web browsers) but be prepared learn and use the shell at some point. I was never part of the DOS generation, but in my couple years of using Ubuntu I've come to love the CLI and prefer it for most computer browsing and file tinkering.

    Whenever I've wanted change something, improve something. or in a few cases fix something, I've scored solutions on ubuntuforums.org. Since Linux doesn't hide what it's doing like commercial OS's do, it's easier to dig around and mess with stuff. IMO, you have a lot more freedom to play with your computer in Linux, but if you don't know what you're doing it easier to get into trouble too. Fortunately, with the aid of the Live Install disc problems are correctable without an annual reinstall as with, say, Windows.
     
  15. flamepanther

    flamepanther Interested, but not really

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    In which case Windows also fails your test. If all apps are fair game, even ones that VERY few people will need, then I already have several Windows applications that are CLI only. Likewise, I've had programs that don't even mention that you'll have to hunt down and download various library DLLs and drop them in your system folder. It has nothing at all to do with the OS and everything to do with the people writing and packaging the software.
     
  16. Prisoner1138

    Prisoner1138 TFW2005 Supporter

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    The amount of windows apps requiring bothering with the CLI is tremendously lower than linux.

    The average end user doesn't need to compile an app in windows, it's already been done for them. Linux on the other hand can require it quite often. I've never had to compile a windows app to use it(and I'm not talking about being the person developing the app), nor do I know anyone that has includes IT professionals. In linux, yea I've had to and so have most linux users I know.

    And as far as some major adjustment to the GUI that's so extensive even an app(that isn't going to require compiling) can't do it, when does the average user give enough of a crap to even want to do it?

    Your idea of the average user seems to be flawed somehow. The average user wants their computer to boot, let them install an app by clicking a new buttons, and run their app. That person could be a gamer(fat chance in linux), someone who needs to do office work, maybe even a graphic designer. And that's not even going into the fact that just not everyone has the time to screw around with linux and spend a few hours on google and forums trying to figure out something they could most likely do in a couple of minutes in windows with a windows app.

    For an end user, sure Linux is free. But what else after that? I can think of plenty of MAJOR disadvantages for using Linux, that just aren't there in windows. And it goes right back to the reasons why a massive retailer still can't sell a computer to someone for browsing the internet and checking email for $150 less just because of the OS.
     
  17. flamepanther

    flamepanther Interested, but not really

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    ...except that you said
    You can't have it both ways. Does the user have to NEVER need to touch the command line, or does "almost never" count for something? One or the other.
    I've never had to. Oh, I've chosen to on a few occasions where it was easy and I didn't want to wait around for someone to compile the newest version of some program the day it was released. Even in most of those cases, It would have already been compiled for me even if I didn't insist on using the 64-bit version of Ubuntu instead of 32-bit.

    You also said something important here that I've tried to touch on some aleready. "It's already been done for them." What part of that has to do with the operating system? None of it. It's all about demand, and about who is making and using the software. Windows has more users, so there is more demand for binaries for that OS. There's also still the assumption with a lot of developers that most people using Windows wouldn't know how to compile the software, can't be bothered to learn, and wouldn't have the tools to do it in the first place, and that Linux users are more likely to put up with having to do it themselves.
    Oh, there are apps that can do skin Windows, but you've got to deal with Windows' system file protection and other such nonsense. And it isn't that nobody wants to do it, it's just that they:
    A) don't know that it's possible
    B) don't want to pay for Microsoft's "Plus!" add-ons
    C) don't want to do it badly enough to deal with bypassing Microsoft's arbitrary restrictions.
    D) some combination of the above

    It shouldn't even be an issue. Anyone should be able to do this. I remember a LOT of people used silly themes when Windows 95 and 98 came out. Most of them weren't even very good, but people seemed to love them. In a GNOME desktop environment, I can download a GTK theme, drag it onto my theme manager, and now I've got a new theme installed. It's even a very simple matter to mix and match theme elements, something that can't be done easily even if you've hacked XP's lockout of non-Microsoft themes.
    I like how I'm not allowed to gage the average user, but you somehow are.
    In Ubuntu: From the desktop, click "Applications," then select "add/remove." If needed or desired, change the "show" drop-down from "supported applications" to "All available". Search or brows the catalog of software and place a check mark next to the programs you want to install. Click "Apply changes". That's it. No searching multiple websites for separate downloads. No trips to the store. No outrageously overpriced programs. No trojans and spyware hiding in the "free" software.

    Or

    If a site or vendor offers the software as a .deb type package for Debian: Download the .deb file to a folder on the computer. Double-click it. Click "Install package". Done. That's as easy as, or easier than doing the same thingi n Windows.
    Games will come when a widespread base of end-users does. Some companies already support gaming in Linux. More than adequate solutions for both general office work and graphic design come pre-installed in Ubuntu, and are very close in quality to their expensive competitors, if not always just as good. The best additional free office and design tools are included in the repositories, and can be installed in about four clicks. If the user absolutely MUST run the Microsoft and Adobe apps that have become so entrenched in their markets, and can't be bothered to figure out Wine, they can pay a small fee for Crossover Office. They will then have programs like MS Office and Adobe Photoshop running as if they were native applications, and still for far less than it wouid have cost to buy Windows.
    An awful lot of people think they don't have time to screw around with or learn anything about their computer at all. These people call me. I do technical support for a living, so I know a lot about the impatience, frustrations, misconceptions, and needs of the end user--reasonable and otherwise. These people also don't want to have to defragment their hard drive. They don't want to have to clean or edit their registry and/or they don't know how. They don't want their system to be so ridiculously vulnerable to spyware and viruses that they have to shell out once every year for bloated protection software suites, which all too often end up causing problems with their Internet access. They don't always understand that trying to have TWO firewalls or anti-viruses running is a very bad idea. When all of that is working, they don't want to have to be bothered by messages from the software, and they don't want to constantly be updating it (and often they aren't). They want their systems to be fast and efficient, even though they refuse to upgrade their cheap five-year-old hardware. Their presence in online forums is minimal. In casual IRL conversation, you'll likely never hear them talk about their computer. You probably have several in your family and at your workplace. You likely get ancient joke, hoax, or inspirational e-mail from some of them marked Fw:fw:fw:. Many of them don't play any games besides Minesweeper and Solitaire. This is not the intermediate computer user, but it is the bulk of the computer-using population: the average user. Windows frustrates them to no end, but it's what they're familiar with. They're usually not aware that there's any real alternative. Often, they're not even aware that any failing of Windows is the source of their troubles. They blame their Internet connection, their web content portal provider, or Norton (although these cause their own problems as well).

    Ubuntu Linux is ready for these people.


    After that, it continues to be free, fast, and secure, doesn't massively fragment its own filesystem, and receives major improvements from the developers more often than Windows does. I can think of several major disadvantages to BOTH operating systems that just aren't there in the other. Otherwise, I would not have both Windows and Linux installed on my PC. I would stick with one or the other. Claiming that no version of Linux has advantages for the end user other than being free is simply a lie.

    I've said in another thread not too long ago that desktop Linux is not ready for everyone yet. For the user that barely touches their setup after the initial install, and mostly just needs e-mail, word-processing, spreadsheets, web browsing, and multimedia, it is ready. That's an awful lot of users, but they're not going to make the switch on their own. For the user who wants better performance and more control over his system, and doesn't mind relearning a few not-too-difficult things about using the computer, Linux is also ready--especially if he doesn't need to have the latest flavor of FPS, RTS, MMORPG or whatever gaming genre acronym is completely dominating PC gaming at any particular moment. People in this category ARE interested in switching to Linux, and they've been doing it in increasing numbers every year as the end-user-oriented versions of Linux make more and more improvements. When I first heard of Linux, only developers were using it. The last couple of years in particular, the level of knowledge and patience required to use Linux and actually like it have gone down drastically. Anyway, it's the people in this category that will coax users in the first category onboard. Already, I've seen novice PC users around me take an interest in Linux and Ubuntu in particular, and some have even started using it. My sister asked me to install it for her, and she had previously been wanting to switch to Macintosh. As the userbase in these two categories becomes larger, more hardware and software vendors will adopt Linux support. It's already happening. Once that reaches a certain point, that is when Linux will be ready for everyone else. Just because it's not ready for you yet doesn't mean it's not ready for anyone else, or that it doesn't have some major advantages. Just because you're somehow not impressed with the progress doesn't mean that it isn't making any. To make that sort of suggestion is incredibly misleading.
     
  18. Prisoner1138

    Prisoner1138 TFW2005 Supporter

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    Ok, I'm not going to read all of that, but I will respond to you. Why? Because in the end, I don't care. I know what I work with casually and professionally, and I know where what works. You can go on for pages and it won't change that Linux as a consumer end user OS has been a failure for years and will be for years to come, and the sales data from retail is there to prove it. For some reason you think you somehow qualify as the "average user", when you aren't. Go ahead, keep thinking that. It's not going to change where Linux is highly successful and where it falls flat on it's face consistently, and to try and deny that is fanboy rhetoric, that I don't feel like reading.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2008
  19. flamepanther

    flamepanther Interested, but not really

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    Sorry to double post, but I felt that Shipwrecks questions deserved to be answered separately from my little back-and-forth with Prisoner.


    Whether Linux is better than OS X and Windows depends on what you want to do with it. If you just want to do basic things (e-mail, office apps, Web, music and video), have your system perform better, and not worry about huge vulnerabilities in your OS and web browser--and do all of this for free--nothing can top Linux. If you like to tinker with things, are a bit of a control freak, or would like to tweak the hell out of your system until it looks and behaves just the way you want it to, and you are willing to be patient and learn a few things, Linux is also better than just about anything else. In a nutshell, it's more efficient, more configurable, and more secure. Any other advantages and disadvantages are going to depend on circumstances.

    If you're working on a brand new system that you're building, giving Linux a try won't hurt, and only you can decide if it's better for you. Just remember that it is different from Windows and Mac, and give it a fair chance. Keep in mind that you will not be able to run all (or even most) of the latest games state-of-the-art games. If you want to be playing DirectX 10 games etc., you might want to look elsewhere. If emulators, indie games, and clones or ports of classic games are more your thing, you should be more than satisfied. Installing hardware and software can be easier or more difficult in Linux. It depends entirely on what you're trying to install.



    Ubuntu is one of several "distributions" of Linux. As you've probably already read elsewhere, Linux distros are different collections of software that run on a Linux kernel and come configured in different ways. Ubuntu has become possibly the most popular distro very quickly because it is arguably the most user friendly, and because among the other distros that try to be easy to use, Ubuntu subscribes most closely to the open source and free software philosophy that drives much of the Linux community. Ubuntu is based on Debian, which means it uses the "Apt" packaging system. Debian-based systems are configured to use an online repository of software that is custom tailored for your version of Linux and your type of CPU. Installing software from the repository is like using "Add/Remove Programs" in Windows, except that it actually is used for adding programs, and it is as simple as checking off the programs you want on a list of what is available. Removing software is done by unchecking programs on the same list. Several programs can be added and/or removed in a single step. The package manager automatically notifies you if the program you want requires other software to run (and also installs the required software for you) and warns you of any known conflicts between programs you are trying to install.

    Apart from the advantages of Debian's package system, and a careful selection of the most user-friendly system tools available for Linux (some of which were developed specifically for Ubuntu), Ubuntu is also very well known for having a very involved, friendly, and helpful community of supporters around the world. Probably more than any other distribution community, the Ubuntu community is welcoming and patient toward new users. They do their best to help beginners and each other, and in the case of the developers, to continue to make Ubuntu easier to use.

    Ubuntu comes with a healthy selection of programs already installed. Notably:
    Open Office - A commercial-quality office suite closely equivalent to and mostly compatible with Microsoft Office or Corel's office suite, funded in part by Sun Microsystems
    Mozilla Firefox
    Mozilla Thunderbird
    Evolution - An e-mail client and contact manager more full-featured and similar to Outlook than Thunderbird.
    The GIMP - Often considered the next best thing to Photoshop
    Pidgin - An instant messenger that is compatible with AIM, MSN, Yahoo! and others and can manage contacts on all of these networks at once.
    BitTorrent

    It also comes with software to view PDF files, rip audio CDs, create and burn CDs and DVDs, and play music and video, as well as several basic accessories like a notepad and calculator, and several simple games like solitaire, mahjong, minesweeper, Tetris, snaker, etc.



    And since you're looking for users who have had experience with Ubuntu, here's mine:

    When I first started using Ubuntu over two years ago, it was much more difficult than now, and not just due to lack of experience. I had a lot of trouble getting started, but even then, I was impressed by several things. The first thing I noticed was that Linux had found and started using my ethernet card and modem before it even finished installing the OS. Windows does not see my card automatically, and needs a driver installed separately. That wasn't the only thing I noticed. My video card was displaying at a higher resolution than Windows would do without drivers, and my sound and SATA were working immediately. All of those require driver intalls in Windows. Also, yes, the OS really is that much faster, although it sometimes takes longer to boot. I had to struggle to install proper drivers for video (3D capable), install multiple hard drives, get Flash working (has never been an issue on 32-bit versions, but my PC is 64-bit and I insist on having an OS to match), install software-based MIDI sound, try out Compiz), add MP3 and DVD playback support, and to basically figure out how the system worked. After wiping the partition and starting over two or three times, the major problems ceased. I learned first hand that everything the Ubuntu community is known for is true.

    Since then, things have improved dramatically. Using the Live CD, I can now start using Ubuntu on a new machine before the installation even begins. The issues with installing video drivers and with Flash on 64-bit have been taken care of. Multiple hard disk and software MIDI (most people don't even need soft MIDI) have been smoothed relatively well, and can be perfected with some research and only minimal effort. Compiz is installed automatically, and can be improved with barely any effort. MP3 and other audio/video codec support can now be added automatically as needed by the built-in Totem media player (let's see Windows Media Player download the CSSC and Quicktime Alternative for you). Monitor configuration has been improved, and is supposed to be improved much more in the next release, which comes out this month.

    There's still room for improvement, and not everything has been good. Enabling all buttons on a five button mouse requires a simple edit to a text file. Playing encrypted DVDs will require you to manually add an extra repository to your package manager, due to patent and DMCA concerns. Some software for a few obscure special interest purposes isn't available, and theres the aforementioned lack of current commercial games, neither of which is the fault of the OS, but a result of using anything besides the dominant OS.

    Overall, my experience with Ubuntu has been very good. If you're going to try Linux, it is definitely the version I suggest you start with. I originally installed it because 64-bit Windows was not viable at the time, and I wanted better performance in certain applications that I use. I keep a dual-boot system, and I expected never to switch away from using Windows as my primary OS. As I learned what I could do with Linux, Windows started to feel confining. As I got used to it, and as it improved, I gradually reversed my position, and now use Ubuntu as my primary OS, rebooting into Windows only to play certain games. There's nothing for which I absolutely have to have Linux, but I enjoy it. I've created a desktop environment that is exactly what I want, and I get general system performance that I don't get from Windows. My experience is not atypical of the sort of people who have been switching to Ubuntu. No doubt you're hearing more and more about people switching to Linux, and about Ubuntu. There are good reasons for that, but you have to try it for yourself to see if those are good reasons for you.
     
  20. flamepanther

    flamepanther Interested, but not really

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    You know what? You can't correctly respond to what you don't read. If you had read, you'd see that I don't claim to be the average user. Far from it. But you didn't, so your response fails at making any sense or being relevant to the discussion. All you've done by bothering to post that is demonstrate your attitude that somehow makes you willing to criticize without understanding. You can't make a valid argument that way, or have an opinion that could be of any value to anyone but yourself.

    What happened to the ignore button?
     

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