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Columnist Lowers Bar While Raising Vista Question

Written by Gordon Fecyk, 3/13/2009

In this week's local news: A Linux instructor rants about Vista.

The Shawano Leader might as well have asked a Catholic priest to write a column about Islam.

A NEWSPAPER LIKE THE SHAWANO LEADER typifies American small-town press. A column in one of these local papers can set or change the opinions of thousands of tight-knit readers. Local elections are won or lost, and local businesses thrive or wither by their whim.

This is why when Joe Cicero wrote "Switching to Vista a mistake?" this week, I realized I was about to become very unpopular. Here I am, trying to encourage safe computing and embracing change, and here is the local Linux and Networking Security instructor dissing Windows Vista in the public eye, like it's the fashionable thing to do in 2009.

Hm, a Linux instructor writes about Vista. This local rag might as well have asked a Catholic priest to write a column about Islam.

LINUX RELIGIOUS FANATICS ASIDE, Cicero confirms and encourages almost every misconception of Vista brought up by the uninformed since January 2007. Cicero claims he, "downgraded to Windows XP due to regular crashes." Most people he knows were, "forced into it by purchasing a new computer." His current laptop's Vista installation, "took over twenty-five gigabytes of disk space." And he compares Vista to Windows Millennium Edition while ignoring that Windows 2000 even existed.

Unless a 2.5 GB DVD somehow installs into a package ten times its size, these have to be extreme exaggerations at the least.

Most likely, Cicero is referring to the default installation that major PC vendors put on their new computers, which comes with not just Vista, but a whole array of junk software. No joke: Vista performance on a Dell desktop PC improves when you remove Dell's "shovelware."

If USA Today published this, letters to the editor would fill their mailbox. I don't see an excuse for it in a small-town newspaper. I can only hope that the lack of an online copy of this column means that The Shawano Leader's editors realized just how ignorant it actually was.

There is a certain truth in the saying, "those who can, do, and those who can't, teach." Cicero should stick to teaching Linux.

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