Linux vs. Windows, continued

Linux and Windows have fought two battles on my desktop in the past few days. One Windows won one, and the other was a tie.

First, I asked my mom what she thought about Linux after using it for a month (she had to borrow my Kubuntu laptop while her Windows desktop was broken). She said it worked fine, but it was not what she was used to and just felt a little . . . different. So while Kubuntu Feisty Fawn technically passes the Mother Test--my mother can use it successfully--she wasn't happy with it. To be fair, since her XP desktop is broken, she'll have to get a new computer with Vista and she's not looking forward to that either. She doesn't like change. Also, according to Distro Watch, the most popular version of Linux right now is the one that looks and feels exactly like Windows XP. Maybe if I installed that, my mom would be happier. But as it is, she would rather use Windows XP than Kubuntu. I hate to admit it, but that's a win for Windows.

The second battle was over DVD support. Tonight my wife actually had some time off from her busy job at the hospital, and I excitedly popped in a DVD in my brand new installation of Kubuntu Gutsy Gibbon. Didn't work. Not in Kaffeine, not in VLC. So we rebooted into Windows and watched TV online (legally, of course!). While I was in Windows, I tried playing the DVD there, and it didn't work either, so I began to wonder if the problem was in fact with my hardware, or with the DVD. Turns out, it was neither.

I went back into Linux and, after looking at some error logs and a few forum posts, I managed to install the software that lets Linux play encrypted DVDs. And now the DVDs work (just in time for my wife & me to go to bed, sans movie). But, this battle was a tie because Windows couldn't play the DVD either. Why not? Because Windows doesn't come with DVD support out of the box either! In fact, if you want DVD support in Windows, there's no simple download. You have to pay for it. So arguably it's a win for Linux, but really it's a tie because neither OS supports it out of the box. What year is it again?

At least with Linux it's a simple download. Read the full instructions here:

RestrictedFormats/PlayingDVDs - Community Ubuntu Documentation
Or cut to the chase:

sudo /usr/share/doc/libdvdread3/