Linux

Linux quest for a free, lightweight, mobile device-oriented OS platform

TR member dcolbert wanted to achieve long standby time, stellar battery life, and instant-on accessibility on his Lenovo IdeaPad S10. Find out what he discovered during his quest for a free, lightweight, mobile device-oriented OS platform.

One of the primary drivers for my interest in Linux over the last couple of years has been my netbooks. A couple of years ago, I picked up an Eee PC 704, and the Linux-based OS on it was horrible. Out of the box, it wasn't well configured for the kinds of uses most people would have in mind for a netbook. For example, Flash was absent, video and audio codecs weren't installed, and it was very difficult to modify or add additional software.

I decided to look into Linux alternatives. After being very disappointed with several platforms designed specifically for netbooks, I finally got Ubuntu 9.04 running well on it and called it a day. However, it was difficult to do and required a much higher level of expertise than the average netbook user was supposed to have. I walked away from the experience convinced that even the best Linux could deliver was far too little to make it a contender or threat to mainstream OS platforms.

I've argued that the killer features for the iPad (and other similar mobile consumer electronic devices) are instant-on and super-long battery life. I wondered, "How can I get long standby time, stellar battery life, and instant-on accessibility of an iPad on my Lenovo IdeaPad S10?" I decided that, to make it fair, I should find an OS that was lighter than Win Pro 7 that's currently installed. So, I ordered a 9 cell battery and started cruising the Internet looking for free, lightweight, mobile device-oriented OS platforms designed to be competitive with iOS and Android.

I was interested in something that would run the Intel AppUp marketplace, as they have probably the strongest library of native apps designed to work on the Atom platform, including Angry Birds, Dropbox, Evernote, Twitter, and more. They're way behind the curve but ahead of most of the other "Johnny Come Lately" markets.

Unfortunately, AppUp supports two OS platforms - Windows and Moblin. Moblin was the obvious choice based on my criteria, but both the official Moblin distro and the Ubuntu version left me unimpressed. I tried Ubuntu Moblin on my S10 after testing it on a VM, and I ended up wiping the entire volume. Then I looked at the pure Moblin distro, but I only got as far as downloading the .iso and preparing a VM before I decided that it wasn't going to meet my criteria either.

So, I went back to searching. I tried several "Netbook Remix" versions. I even tried Mint and various suggestions from TechRepublic members, but nothing came close to satisfying me. Ubuntu and Windows were still the best choices for Atom-based mobile PCs, and they represented an old paradigm of personal computing. On my Eee PC 704, I settled for Ubuntu with the Riceeey Tweeks for Eee PC. It was less than ideal, but it worked and was legitimate.

I'm sure that some of the things I tried have matured and improved over the past two years, but I'm like most consumers. If my initial experience with a product is very unsatisfactory, the odds are that I'm not going to consider that product again in the future. Like many consumers who have given the various Linux distros a shot, I feel that the time I've wasted on those distributions more than offsets the fact that the software didn't cost me anything.

The fact is, every major FOSS distribution aimed at consumer markets has fallen short in one way or another. Linux has failed repeatedly, across every distribution, to gain any significant market share in this segment, because it doesn't meet the basic expectations of consumers. Even Android, after less than five years, has no doubt exceeded the market penetration of Linux by a substantial margin.

Granted, Linux has made tremendous strides, particularly in the last several years, but the best Linux offerings have always been behind the curve, rough and unfinished around the edges, and just not up to the quality of the professionally packaged commercial competition.

Quite a few of my issues were trivial. For example, Moblin Ubuntu didn't activate my wireless nics, because they're broadcom and not FOSS drivers. For me, it's second nature to go in and enable the non-free drivers - but those little details defy logic and cause some people to walk away from Linux. There were also bigger issues, like packages that didn't install right and things that looked like they could be made to work with a lot of hacking of configuration files at the command line. Overall, it was a lot of hassle that I didn't want to deal with.

But because I wanted this to work, I keep looking. Interestingly, I found something I hadn't seen or heard about before - a little Linux Ubuntu-based distribution aimed at lightweight cloud-based computing called Joli OS by Jolicloud. As I read more about it, I became intrigued and decided to give it a shot. It isn't perfect - it has some flaws and needs some polish, and there are some significant problems that could cause it to stall if they're not addressed. But I think this could be the one, or at least it could be a contender, because it has the right framework from what I've seen so far.

I hope you'll join me in my next post, where I plan to discuss in detail my experiences with Joli OS. I've set myself some criteria, and I'm going to try to spend at least a couple of weeks using solely my netbook (no tablets) to see if a netbook built on a lightweight, Linux-based distribution can compete toe-to-toe with the big boys.

About

Donovan Colbert has over 16 years of experience in the IT Industry. He's worked in help-desk, enterprise software support, systems administration and engineering, IT management, and is a regular contributor for TechRepublic. Currently, his profession...

45 comments
athurman
athurman

I find that Puppy works on every machine I have ever tried it on and it works well. There are many apps and one can run it from mini-CDs, USB, hard drives, compact flash drives, and more. Try it, you'll like it.

jimb
jimb

through the years, i have wanted to convert all my computers over to linux. i have a peer to peer system running XP, and it does work very well, but i LIKE the idea of linux, and really want to implement it, one system at a time. but not being a linux guru (not even pretending to be one), i need a linux distribution that can do the following: 1-install easiy -- they al do this now 2-connect to a microsoft peer to peer network automatically, just type in workgroup name, user name, and password. presto, a message saying "you are connected to the xxxx workgroup" without resorting to downloads, command lines, browsing knowledge bases, or other time wasting procedures. 3-connect to a remote file server be it ms windows, apple, or linux without reading half a dozen tech notes. 4-speaking of technotes. though they are written for newbies, they always leave little steps out. remember, they are written for people who don't know how. Be arrogant when you write them, and pretend that the person asking the question is very, very stupid. pretend you are a good programmer and cover all the steps; some people are no smarter than computers, they need a step by step procedure. i really don't think that those items mentioned should need to be asked for, but should be part of every linux distro that wants to take on MS. I got a lot of this feedback from my friends who bought the early linux netbooks, and later returned them.

jslozier
jslozier

I noticed much useless ramblings about FOSS and Linux goals. The only goals that matter for each Linux distribution and each FOSS project are the goals they state about themselves. Some are oriented towards a niche use only, some are oriented for a general use by "regular" people as an option for Windows primarily. Judge each group by the goals they have set from themselves, not another's goals. Another issue is that most computers come with Windows installed, the average user does not need to setup the drivers for the computer to work. Having installed both Windows and Linux there are many Linux distributions that are as easy to install as Windows. True, there are some distributions that are much harder to install. If you are building a computer for someone and install an OS you should set the drivers for the installed video, audio, etc. to work correctly. The real problem for Linux is that it is not a normal default OS on a PC, it is a replacement OS. Being a replacement OS is more difficult for any user to install and get to work correctly.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I spent last night installing Win7 at home and found it a very nice replacement for WinXP. I'm not sure if it's DX10 taking affect or new OS bias but Dragon Age seemed to look much better. I have the lack of sleep hangover to prove it. Think I'll go fetch the Joli installs now that you mention it. I remember seeing the distro pop up but it seemed more of a thinclient for webapps than a locally centric distribution. Any excuse to cut a fresh VM and have a look though.

stephenmark1
stephenmark1

I have written to many columns about the reluctance in developers of, say, Ubuntu to try to get it to function (on the surface, like Windows, say, XP). I did some very basic programming in the days of Sinclair etc, but pressure of real work, maintaining the Offshore Oil structures, prevented me from getting far with programming. Database is the workhorse of engineering construction and maintenance and nobody wants to be going into the command line and doing iffy adjustments. Ubuntu has been my main attempt to get Open Source as my main program, but it has fallen with things like downloading software; especially software not in the downloaded installation system. What irks me most though is the sheer snobbery of the geeks; who tell you what to write as code but never explains just where to insert it; or how to identify the correct location for the code. Training manuals are poorly written by the geeks and written for other geeks. I have not come across one that explains anything important adequately; because it is geek to geek speak. You have a problem with getting something small in size but able to function on tablets and note books without the problems suggested. I just want to get Ubuntu to run on my desktop (LIKE WINDOWS ON A GOOD DAY). I have to reinstall regularly because things get mucked up trying to improve the system and add suitable software. I also find that unlike Windows XP I cannot clone a hard drive so that I have a standby for emergencies. Ubuntu has to make software installation as easy as it is in Windows; or describe more fully insertion of code into the command line. This means explaining what the screen will be displaying concerning the software and the place of insertion and any other useful information in plain language; not geek!

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

[i]If my initial experience with a product is very unsatisfactory, the odds are that I???m not going to consider that product again in the future.[/i] Not correct as an example my Initial contact with Windows was a complete disaster which was only marginally better than DOS and if comparing DR DOS to M$ DOS the M$ offering was complete junk. So much so that I used to run W3.11 on DR DOS because I had to have Windows. When 95 and newer became available there where some improvements but they always held up massive holes the most noticeable being the complete lack of [b]Security.[/b] It's not that Windows is Great which it isn't it's the fact that M$ has Marketed their products in such a manner to make people accept the Short Comings of their products and accept this as [b]Normal[/b] which is what I find amusing. Today it's not how well something works but how it works in comparison to Windows that all things are measured by. Quite often things that are more secure or better designed fall flat because they are considered as too different to Windows to be usable. Col

mybatteryishot
mybatteryishot

They say this is the future. Please keep us posted! Very interested to see how this linux distribution competes.

dcolbert
dcolbert

I don't remember what I didn't like about it - but I didn't like it. Is it based on RedHat (or whatever they're being called today). Is the package management via .rpm? Because .rpm sucks. I mean, seriously, that is why all the most popular *nix distros that have any significant market penetration (in as much as Linux has any significant market penetration on the desktop at all) are Debian based. It is because .deb package management is the easiest and most realiable package management to work with. /.rpm sucks rant... Sorry... anyhow, I don't remember what it was about Puppy that I didn't like - but I didn't like it. Mint either. I've tried them both because people were raving about them and how "I've tried it with multiple machines and never had any problems"... and all that... And my experience with both was, "nope... this is Linux as usual".

dcolbert
dcolbert

After working for fortune 500 IT shops for over a decade, the one thing that was consistent at every shop I've ever worked at was this: A desire to have comprehensive, step-by-step documentation of *everything*. Along the way, I've worked with a lot of people who were far more gifted with the technology itself than I am, who didn't have as much fortune in their careers. Some of them have even told me, "I know I'm smarter than you at this stuff, I don't understand how you get ahead and I'm stuck here in an engineering job." There are a number of reasons, but one of them is that I've cultivated the skill to produce *very* thorough, step-by-step documentation. I include screen shots and leave very little to the assumption that the reader *knows* what they are doing. Here at my shop, I consistently push the goal, "I want your documentation so clear that even a monkey could do it". This is something the Linux community *absolutely* fails at more often than not. I think it illustrates how Linux is at two extremes. The ultra-elite niches at the very top and the duct-tape and bailing-wire starving idealists at the bottom. Too often there are huge omissions and gaping assumptions about the knowledge level of the readers in the help I see online for Linux. Frequently, if the person has to ask for clarification, they get their head ripped off. Any Linux advocate who denies this about the Linux community is one of two things: 1: Someone who doesn't understand what quality, *detailed* documentation actually is. or 2: A liar. I constantly see Linux documentation, walk-thrus, howtos, and discussions in forums that I would not accept as documentation in my environment. I'm talking posts by moderators in the Debian and Ubuntu help forums. I'm talking HowTo: documents published on leading Linux websites. Inexcusably inferior documentation. You'll find the very BASIC documentation, and the very advanced documentation - but the bridge in the middle is largely missing in my experience. It is one of the huge liabilities. I think it is because many Linux evangelists never learn how to produce good quality corporate documentation, because they never work at normal offices. They're either at startups full of geniuses putting together supernodes to do something that is going to change the world, or at broke little shops just trying to keep their heads above water with a single IT guy supporting all of their FOSS solutions. Keep your eyes out for the next part of this blog, Jimb. I think you'll be interested in my experience with JoliOS.

dcolbert
dcolbert

I'm finding out more about it as I go along. One weird thing is that when I first downloaded it, there was NOT a "local apps" folder on my Lenovo S10. When I installed it a few days later on my Eee PC 701, this folder had appeared (and a welcome and necessary addition, at that). I confirmed that, nope, I wasn't crazy - this icon wasn't on my Lenovo S10. I booted up my Lenovo S10 yesterday, and suddenly this icon was on the desktop there, too. The Cloud... lots of convenience, but you give a lot of control to whoever is managing the cloud side of whatever you're doing. Cool that they make a little tweak, and then they can push it. But also illustrates that the Cloud Master can give, or take away. There is a lot of trust involved.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

" I have written to many columns about the reluctance in developers of, say, Ubuntu to try to get it to function (on the surface, like Windows, say, XP). " I don't think they are trying to copy the WindowsXP interface. If that is a primary need then something like Lindows or a similar distribution would be worth looking at. " Ubuntu has been my main attempt to get Open Source as my main program, but it has fallen with things like downloading software; especially software not in the downloaded installation system. " What software are you having issue finding, downloading and running? Someone here may have a suggestion that solves the download or provides the same functionality through a different program. "What irks me most though is the sheer snobbery of the geeks" Not all us geeks though the loud snobs are not hard to find and some forums are better than others. By "code" I suspect you mean cli commands which would go in the terminal window but where I given insctuctions without where to use those instructions, I'd ask for clarification. If the response was hostile, I'd ignore that person and work with those who are helpful. For training manuals, have you only looked at websites or have you checked the local book store. Things like "Ubuntu for Dummies" may be very helpful and tend to be written in plain language (it's the name of the book not a critisism). "I have not come across one that explains anything important adequately; because it is geek to geek speak." What do you need explained? Post your questions here or send me a private message. As for regularily having to reinstall.. what are you doing to it? It may very well be issues with Ubuntu causing your grief but even with Canonical's distribution, regular reinstalled because of a broken system seem odd. For cloning a hard drive, you probably want Clonezilla (I recomment the liveCD) or Mondo Rescue. Both will give you a bootable restore image. "Ubuntu has to make software installation as easy as it is in Windows;" How are you doing software installs or how does it differ from Windows? Are you not finding specific programs in the [Programs] -> Add/Remove Software GUI or do you mean configuration after installation? It shouldn't be any more difficult than using the Windows Update interface; find desired program, check box, press [install] button. if your downloading Ubuntu specific .deb files (program packages) from websites, you may want to first see of those programs are available in the repositories. If it does come down to getting a third party .deb file for your version of Ubuntu, it shouldn't be any more than downloading to your local folder (download, desktop..) and double-clicking. Screenshots and well written howto are always prefered though. I've often read through steps on howtoforge. http://www.howtoforge.com/the-perfect-desktop-ubuntu-9.04 http://www.howtoforge.com/the-perfect-desktop-ubuntu-10.04-lucid-lynx (page 2, step 5 shows opening a terminal and editing your repository list; /etc/apt/sources.list) My Mandriva and Debian server builds both started from howtoforge walkthroughs.

dcolbert
dcolbert

As Neon will point out, it isn't *exactly* their goal. I think Ubuntu's goal is to offer a choice with integrity and values based on a socially conscious philosophy. They see themselves being adopted by the poor, meek and enlightened across the globe - and that this is a path to eventual numbers to rival the user-base of commercial OS platforms like OS X and Win32/64. Meh... maybe it is. Seems like a hard, tough road and that even if it is achieved, they're not quite comparable markets. Neon would appreciate that you're focusing your demands and complaints on a specific distribution - something he has tried to drill into my head repeatedly - and to his probable exasperation, with no lasting results. :) On the other hand, I think it is better to look for, demand and expect the solutions you seek from Linux as a larger *community*. Ubuntu, as it exists organizationally, philosophically, is *never* going to be able to deliver the distribution you're asking for above. Neither is Debian... If Linux delivers what you are asking for, it will be from an unknown source, somewhere new and unexpected - and it will requiring dispensing with *many* of the traditional Linux community philosophies that hold Linux back - *broadly* speaking.

Gis Bun
Gis Bun

Lack of security in Win '95? There was no security. But then few cared - unless you worked for a bank or a government.

dcolbert
dcolbert

This one is a little more difficult to address... I think the analogy doesn't work great. At that time, Windows was misunderstood and really seen as something experimental that rode on top of DOS, and DOS was dominant over everything else. DR Dos (Trivia, it isn't DOCTOR DOS, it is Digital Research Dos) - was mostly popular among IA86 users who were jealous of the multi-tasking that was emerging on 680xx based machines - mostly the Amiga. I mean, what *other* reason was there not to use DOS 5, 6 or 7 at that point in time? DR Dos was most popular with the extreme edges of PC Geekdom. The earliest Windows versions were in a similar category. Only the ubergeeks were playing around with it. Everything prior to WFW 3.11 was kind of acknowledged among the nerds I knew as being not really RTM but more experimental - more, "This is WHERE things are headed, but we're not there yet". Even with those things aside, at that time you had some pretty narrow choices. AmigaOS or GEM/TOS on ST if you wanted a color GUI (but those two machines were seen mostly as video game machines), a Mac... which was OUTRAGEOUSLY priced and only offered black and white... or an IA86 machine with maybe EGA color graphics. With the arrival of the 386 and VGA and WFW 3.11, suddenly the IA86 offered a lot of what the competition did, for a lot less money, while maintaining compatability all the way back to the 8088/8086 XT/5150. All it took was Wolfenstien 3D and Wing Commander and the fight was pretty much over. It wasn't just marketing or luck. At the time, Microsoft consistently was hitting what the market needed. They were on the right architecture, and they were providing GOOD ENOUGH. Was Mac Classic "better" than WFW 3.11? That is a good question. WFW 3.11 on Intel architecture made Microsoft the IBM of the last 30 years, while Mac Classic OS took Apple down a road that almost led to insolevency, had not Steve Jobs reinvented the entire company. Better seems kind of a hollow victory, if your company ends up bankrupt. I mean, during the era you're talking about, I was the envy of my locab BBS scene because I had a fully loaded Amiga 2000. 4MB of RAM, 40GB of SCSI hard drive, RGB monitor, Digitek Digiview scanner and Audio sampler.It was a $4000-$6000 rig in the day. There was no doubt that my machine was years ahead of everything else at that time - it was widely acknowledged. But ultimately, Amiga was a dead end and I ended up with a 386DX40 running WFW 3.11 then Win 95. There is no doubt that WFW 3.11 was crude compared to Mac OS, Amiga OS, and even GEM/TOS. But it was good enough - and the situation was quickly addressed with Win95. I think people lose their historical perspective.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

It's like with Entertainment. Most people expect the Movies they watch to be a certain flavor of dribble, and they get all angsty when it isn't. It takes a lot of self-examination to be able to make a truly subjective evaluation of an OS, rather than a subjective evaluation based on marketing.

jeb.hoge
jeb.hoge

I've got Joli as the sole OS on a netbox and as a secondary OS on an Eee. That Local Apps folder has always been there since the OS was called Jolicloud. OTOH, I have seen some icons change appearance almost on the fly and some of the integration of cloud storage has been not exactly what I expected (e.g. they said they'd integrated Dropbox into the file storage system but I still had to install the client app before it actually was functional). The truth about Joli is that underneath the skin, it's still Ubuntu. The interface is all web, but when you tap into Local Apps or Local Settings, it's the normal Ubuntu file system, control panels, and what have you. Joli just makes it so that you can easily have your desktop synced across systems and your interface becomes more smartphone than desktop.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

The data belongeth to The Company. The application server belongeth to The Company. That's all good. I'd love to host some of the webapps out there on my own server for personal use. A Google Office consumer appliance or distribution is a pretty powerful thing to dream about. As soon as it invovles a third party and sending my data outside the network it's like Nemo's dad meeting the lantern fish; "Good feelings gone." It even goes beyond trusting the company providing the service when legal jourisdictions come into play. Canada and the US have very different privacy laws. If your data is hosted in the US, those different laws apply not your local laws and expectation of privacy.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I even opened with pointing out that duplicationg Windows UI is not Canonical's goal. For my tastes, I find they focus too much on the bleeding edge (Ubuntu current based on Debian beta and alpha distribution versions) and place responsability on the end user by focusing on free software (leave things out of defaults like closed source hardware drivers). Now, with a distro like Debian that's fine. I expect the extra step of enabling non-free repositories to get those closed drivers. With a distribution like Ubuntu where Canonical's target customer is average users, not having those closed drivers included by default just causes grief. " On the other hand, I think it is better to look for, demand and expect the solutions you seek from Linux as a larger *community*. " Consumer demand can push product evolution and I sure wouldn't argue against demanding higher standards from all tech vendors (I have to agree with Mr Schneier on that for the improvement of information security alone). On the other hand, the larger community is not beholden to one indavidual and not uniformily made up of people who's design goals and user needs are to deliver a polished desktop distribution. Why don't we expect more from the greater Windows community and question people not employed by Microsoft for not contributing to solutions for our needs? In the Windows world we just say "oh.. it's just how it is.." reboot the server once a week and carry on yet even half that grief outside the Windows world is a sign that the sky is falling. With companies in the Windows community who do provide services, do we expect them to provide things for free? Why is a double standard acceptable?

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

Actually it was [i]Intergalactic Digital Research DOS[/i] which was Ripped off by Sun who using a DR DOS Manual wrote the Dirty Operating System which was latter on-sold to M$ after IBM [b]Stuffed Up[/b] their meeting with DR DOS by being more IBM that they normally were. But prior to that I was working on the IBM Main Frames and using them exclusively. When I saw that computers where the way of the future I bought the Kids a Commodore Vic 20 and I played with it more than a bit. I didn't like it all that much but it was easy to use. ;) I then went to a IBM Clone a 286 running DR DOS 6 with a Menu System which was very basic but again very easy to use I think it was called 3D Menu back then and I even had an old version of Windows as a option in the Boot Menu. Not sure which version but I think it was Windows 2/3. That unit had a 40 MEG HDD and a MEG of RAM with a 256 Color Video Card and Color Monitor. Latter I got a 486 System which was way over the top it had a 100 MEG HDD and 128 MEG of RAM which I had to fight to get as it wasn't so much the money but the hardness to get those 8 X 16 MEG RAM Modules and the Unfillable 100 MEG HDD. Again I ran DR DOS on this and Windows 3.11 For Workgroups as well as the good old reliable 3 D Menu to launch the DOS Apps. These just worked better in DOS rather than launching them from within Windows but at least Windows was easier to network. With the 486 I got a copy of M$ DOS 6 or 7 not sure which now but even then the DR DOS 6 was far better and allowed better options that M$ DOS never achieved. ;) When I went to the Pentium 90 which was a very expensive unit though cheaper than the 486 it was a much better spec unit with a 2.5 GIG HDD that needed a Special Controller Card to fully utilize that Massive HDD. It ran UNIX even then and was Dual Booted to Windows 95 then 98 and eventually 98SE Though to be perfectly honest I was mainly using Unix with only DOS/Windows so I could use Word Perfect which was then the Standard WP App. I needed WP so I could exchange documents with Customers/Clients of that time so Windows was sort of necessary after I switched to WP6 for Windows which was more or less forced on me by a Salesperson who insisted it was better. Since that system I've used all versions of Windows and it has yet to reach the stability and reliability of the Unix System I was using along side it. But then again back then Computers where not consumer products which where compared to White Goods and considered as [b]Disposable.[/b] Now days with the way that computers are sold if you get a major corruption with the OS it's almost cheaper to throw away the unit you have and buy a new one than to have the unit repaired by a professional. Even today not many users actually know what they are doing and provided that their infected systems do not give then too many problems they just live with the Substandard OS and Infections that they have picked up along the way. This is why there are so many Attacks on Windows Systems the majority of Users don't know any better and panic when they get informed by E'Mail that their systems are infected. In the mean time they just live with their infected systems and go about their merry way spreading the infections to anyone who they connect to. Not to mention that accepting this behavior as Normal and that there is nothing better. Many even believe that M$ [b]Invented Computers[/b] or at least if they know about Apple believe that M$ [b]Perfected Computers.[/b] Loosing all of their Data on a Semi Regular Basis when they return their new systems to the makers for Repair/Replacement is also considered as [b]Normal[/b] and is the way that things are. Doesn't matter that their Data is the Most Important things stored on these systems no matter who they are the Computers have Value and their Data has no Value so it's ignored by all supposedly Professional Repairers/Sellers who supply new/repairs to customers. Even as recently as January this year I saw the results of a Business Computer Supplier rip out an Old System fit a new system and destroy all Existing Data on the Old. This was a new system and wouldn't use the Old Data so it wasn't necessary to transfer it or do anything to at the very least Back it up. This crowd provide Business Systems to Newsagents under contract and have been performing this way for ever according to those that deal with them. Their customers have to prove that they have paid their bills till the Newsagents have a Data Base of Payments. I don't know how much gets lost or how much the Individual Newsagents loose when there are disputes but it's certainly not an acceptable practice in my opinion. But these Business accept it and they think that it's normal to get infections, Fragmented HDD, constantly needing to reboot the things and so on which are all Windows Failures in Proper Design. The so called Companies supporting these business are just as shoddy as M$ and unfortunately this is accepted as the way that things are and there are no actions taken to prevent this abuse of Customers by those adversely affected. As for easy of loading I don't see much difference between Windows, Unix, Linux or any of the others. Sure you can have a Slipstreamed Install Disc for Windows but that just results in you needing to do a new clean install so you don't have to load any Additional Drivers. That is not a Windows Install any more than it is an acceptable way to repair a Windows Install as you are only getting part of the Windows Install Disc that was included with the cost of the computer. If you are using the Makers OEM Install Disc doesn't matter if it's M$, Conical or any of the other Distro Makers they are all difficult to use and you need to hunt down drivers for all of them. So from that prospective I don't see that much difference between the current offerings. :0 Col

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

That is scary huge thinking back to running Renegade on 386/486 boxes when a 100 MB IDE was almost inconcievable. GBs or MBs? I did have the ram though; 4 when 2 was standard, 8 when 4 was standard 16 when stores shipped 8 MB by default. The decision was always Win3.11 with slow task swapping between nodes versus Deskview with display bleeding but fast task swapping. I could run a local and a dial in nodes noticably or accept some screen artifacts from the second node when the first was meant to be in view. (think that was about the 8 MB ram days for me) Damn I wish I could get my old BBS running again. Either a modem emulating telnet deamon and SSL tunnel or preferably an SSH front end would do it. At least once a year I go through any fossil drivers and telnet2modem apps I can find trying to get the basic connectivity in place so I can restore my backups. Even have a few of the old users who turn up from time to time mentioning it. Just getting the modem emulated would be enough to use Terminate as an SSH terminal app. The issue tends to be in delivering valid AT commands from what I can tell. either the BBS app, fossil drivers or answering app (for those who use the mailer front ends) seems to take issue.

dcolbert
dcolbert

"It isn't the fault of the OS, it is the fault of the shepple who are content with garbage like Windows". In effect, "If people weren't such morons, they would prefer Linux". Be that as it may - the fact is that Windows has a massive appeal to a huge audience. IF so many brilliant people are involved in the Linux community, and the Linux community really wants Linux to be a contender for a statistically significant number of desktop instances - then you would think one of those pony-tailed, bearded, Mountain Dew swilling geniuses wearing sweat-stained t-shirts sporting a Tux iron-on would put it together. Listen, you can make a deep, intellectually stimulating piece of cinematic art that really explores innovative new techniques and concepts with conveying idea and emotion through cinema - and you can be widely recognized within the narrow film industry as a true innovator, a genius with the medium, a true pioneer - and be a complete box office failure with no commercial value and completely obscure outside of cinema. You might consider this "being a success". But if that is how you're going to define success, don't sit around complaining about it the next time Vince Vaugh, Will Smith or Adam Sandler releases a knuckle-dragger cro-magnon man of a film that follows every tired formula Hollywood has been using for the last 40 years and still breaks a bazillion dollars on opening week during a recession. Your film of experimental lights and sounds and dischord that explores the true depths of humanity's emotional landscape probably IS better, even if it is so marginal 99% of the population has no use for it. Yeah... like most Linux distros. The OS as art, only accessible to those who can truly appreciate it. Until someone can take the creative ideas of that cinematic genius and make it broadly accessible to mainstream audiences, it is just pretentious horse-droppings with little to contribute to society as far as I'm concerned. And for the most part, for the last 15 years, that has fairly accurately described the Linux landscape. (Somewhere over in ZD-Net Land, Both Ed Bott and Loverock Davidson just had their eyes roll back in their heads in pure ecstasy)...

dcolbert
dcolbert

It isn't just Ubuntu, though. The difference is philosophical and ideological... JoliOS assumes you want restricted drivers enabled. JoliOS assumes you want non-FOSS codecs and other software installed. These are the little things things that turn people off when they try to make the switch to a Linux distro. They *annoy* normal people and set up the stereotype of what kind of people evangelize for Linux. *cough*liars*cough*. But JoliOS seems to dispense with that BS - and thereby, becomes something MORE than Ubuntu. "We're not going to MAKE you enable non-free drivers, making you click on a disclaimer that acknowledges how using the non-free drivers undermines the goals and ideals of the FOSS community. Nope, we know you just want your machine to work, so we're going to install them by default. You know, like every successful commercial OS" .

dcolbert
dcolbert

For as frequently as you invoke the idea that Microsoft advocates who beat on Linux haven't given it a spin recently, you frequently trot out examples of Microsoft products that have been untrue since... late 2003... reboot the server once a week If you've got modern Windows servers you need to reboot once a week - you're not a very good Windows admin. There is something wrong you need to fix. We're also confusing our targets here (something that inevitably happens in these discussions). Microsoft has continiously improved their server platforms and responded to the demands of the greater community of Microsoft Professionals. The thing is, you don't hear a lot of negativity from this community because for the most part, it is a community *very* happy with their experience. The only time it becomes an issue is when Linux professionals go on the offensive againt Microsoft server platforms, Microsoft professionals say, "you don't know what you're talking about", and the Linux professionals, in return - call the Microsoft professionals "shills". Otherwise, the Microsoft community is a quiet one, because it is a *happy* one. Heh. But this discussion has been focused on desktop market penetration - to be even more specific, *consumer* desktop market penetration. That isn't servers, and if you have to reboot it every DAY it shouldn't be as big of an issue (because, well, most consumers shut their machines off completely at the end of the day and start them again the next morning)... Oh, and MOST windows support is through free forums and google, barely indistinguishible from the typical Linux support methods - other than that they Windows communities are generally full of nicer people who don't yell, "RTFM, NOOB!"

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Yeah, the local scene did fade quickly when the first ISP arrived in the area. years later in University, I did get the board running over telnet but I wouldn't dream of putting up a clear text protocol now. I think I used virtualmodem's free single node license on a win2k box at the time. All my gear was dos based so as a nastalgia project I'm limited to emulation or vms that will run it. The one interesting finding in my travels was the number of telnet BBS that turned up after. Even now, if one wants to play Usurper it's a search and telnet away. For a while I satified my itch by hitting the old door games on other's boards. I had heard of more network friendly board for unix like platforms. maybe I should look into that more though it would probably negate the option of restoring my door games.

dcolbert
dcolbert

On a Sparc 10 available via IP (SSH/Telnet) running FreeBSD for a few years, awhile back. You can't go back to the original modem scene. It just doesn't work the same today as it did in the late 80s, early 90s. The Internet killed the local BBS. I remember Tiger. That sounds later than my time. I was pretty much out of the modem scene by '89. Citadel historians claim Citadel 86 to be one, if not THE earliest example of FOSS. It was free, and the source was open and freely distributable - with many different variants of it popping up based on the original code.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

One node for me, one node for the single phone line and only twenty or so callers in the local area. It was well known among the seven or so boards in the area but I'd be shocked if it was known any further than that. You had a beast of a machine also compared to my use of the family IDE/486/8ram. Citadel BBS sounds familiar but it may be my spending a few days with Citadel mails server a few weeks back. I think it was Tiger BBS that was starting to pop up near the end of the local scene; a Win95 based Ansi/Asci which prefered it's won GUI terminal app for callers and probably the first time I saw a BBS multitask over the same phone line beyond the side features in zmodem. I should have another go at dosbox as it aperently does a telnet to modem bridge. I'll probably send you my facebook details. I've run into the fringes of the modem to IP folks online but it can be elusive.

dcolbert
dcolbert

Yeah... two 20mb Miniscribe 3.5" SCSI drives. They cost $300 each used. I burnt one out learning my lesson about proper termination of a SCSI chain. Fixed the drive a couple years later by finding the same drive with bad media and a good interface card, then someone knocked it off the edge of a counter and killed the media. I had a 486DX running a BBS that had a 140MB ESDI drive during this era, and my BBS was one of the elite file x-fer boards of the time in the 916 area code. I had 4MB of ram. That cost several hundred dollars too. Each chip surface socket mounted by hand in banks. There is a Facebook group of old 916 modem enthusiasts, and they've gotten old x86 source compiled and running on VMs with RS232 emulation putting the BBS software online via IP. If you've got a facebook account, send me a private message and I'll see that you get an invite to the group and put in touch with the guys who are doing this. It is mostly a group of Citadel BBS users... no Fido or other BBS Sysops represented there - but they're doing what you're talking about and it seems they've had significant success.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

You have to recognize where the goal are yet again. FSF and activist groups trying to spread the use of FOSS; absolutely, they care about market penetration. For profit businesses also have interest in market penetration along with profitability. You can't attribute those motivations to the entire community though. These entities are members within the community not the greater entity which governs the community. In addition to them are people using the development model or resulting software for Not all automobile enthusiasts are designing and selling cars while retail companies that would fall within the automobile community may or may not be doing enough. Is GM's line of cars failing because enthusiasts not employed by GM are not focusing on the same design and business goals as General Motors? Not really. We don't attribute the motivations of business entities within the auto community to the community at large. Why must we project these goals on the greater FOSS community including those who are not profit or politically motivated? We're back to the old stalemate. All Swiss people are elitist snobs because an Englishman saw a french movie once and decided so. It isn't "Linux" that cares about market penetration. It's for profit or political organizations that happen to build a product around it or promote a given licensing model. Making the blanket claim that "Linux" is not doing enough marketing or won't ever take over the retail market is faulty because it assumes that the entire community has the same reason for using it and retail oriented end goals; a faulty starting premise does not result in an accurate analysis.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Helping the same user change ther password for the fiftyith time gets tired. Show the same user how to cut and paste faily for a week gets tired. One smiles and helps out because that is the job and the user's talents are in completely different topics outside of technology. Another example is cleaning the same malware off a machine over and over because a client won't update pay to renew the data file subscription even after you explained out it works. Reinstalling the OS over and over because they keep breaking it the same way regardless of how often you show them otherwise (perhaps you are not approved to lock the OS down for them?). Maybe you sell them a new computer every six months because they insist on keeping the machine beside a staticy, magnetic blower that consistantly kills the machine with dust buildup or the mentioned electrical forces. No matter how many times you suggest a more robust machine or different placement within there offices; six months ticks past and they come through the door like clockwork. I don't see building out infrastruture as doing the same parasitic support work over and over. Your not returning to sell them yet another switch because they keep failing (symptom) for some reason (problem) the customer is unwilling to fix. I don't get the impression you are anyhow.) In the case of infrastruture, your building out a new data center to replace or suppliment an existing one. Might have been my error in the beginning with reading "support" in the smaller scale or direct "tech support staff" meaning rather than meaning solution provider (possibly Value Added Reseller). if it wasn't obvious then the end result is the sum of both our errors, however, if you did understand my meaning of "support" where I mistook your meaning; stop being obtuse.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

You got all that out of a single paragraph? This might be a "read what I said not what you want me to say" thing not that I'm immune to that particular trait either. " That title probably reads pretty sharply but as a member fo the tech support industry, I too am a parasite. " - not a critisism as it's the same business I get my groceries from; a common possition of employment if you will - I'm not better or worse than you in terms of supporting repeat issues " As an old boss used to say "I love microsoft. We get to visit our customers weekly on billable time." " - factual statement. - it also shows understanding of where the sentiment comes from. When you bill hourly for answering questions, answering the same queston over and over is great; more money, less labour. It sucks for the tech but management loves it. - Microsoft and Windows mentioned because that was the quote. - The quote focusing on Microsoft and Windows because that is what we sold and supported. " I'd still rather address the problem instead of treating the symptom over and over though. " - Industry is not relevant. Doctors don't want to see the same person back over and over for the same easily preventable issue. You think an engineer wants to design the same bridge over and over again without improving the design? - I don't simply do the same install over and over, I try to improve the system build each successive time regardless of OS branding. " I wouldn't say the parasitic economy around repeat customers is a good attribute." " - industry remains irrelevant. I wouldn't claim a parasitic relationship in any business is a good thing especially businesses primarily based around it. Overall, commiseration and understanding that we both profit from repeating ourselves but disagreement on the nature of that work being a good thing. Repeat customers is good. Repeat issues is not so good. You chose to read into it some developed argument about Windows inferiortiy. You chose to read into it some development of Linux superiority or even the mention of it. I tend to be pretty litteral. If I did not state it exlicitly or suggest it very obviously (usually with some "..."), you can bet it wasn't what I meant. Next will you claim my BBS comment is some grand essay on the veasability of one OS or another? Talk about changing the argument to suite your whims.

dcolbert
dcolbert

I suspect you are still standing on the outside looking in and claiming your observations are absolute fact of the internal situation. That's not to say that your being kept outside; quite the contrary. You're welcome join in and analyse the situation from the inside. I'd say this shifts responsibility, yet again. "If people want to find out more about Linux, the doors are open, they just need to seek us out". Which *is* reasonable enough, if Linux *is* content to maintain a very narrow niche/cult status. Perhaps it is a case where the Linux community is sitting among itself, thinking, "we've got a good thing here, and we're happy with what we've got and where we are going"... and some intermediary comes in, views this, and goes back to the rest of the world and says, "This is going to take OVER"... and the intermediary becomes the voice and face of Linux to the rest of the world. If that is the case, it is just a misrepresentation of the goals and desires of the Linux community by third parties in the middle. But that makes the endless flame wars in forum after forum, the endless Linux trolls baiting every post by Ed Bott, every tech blog or article that paints a Microsoft product in a positive light, difficult to understand. This rogue group that doesn't really represent the real, inclusive, and happily content Linux community is sure causing a lot of damage to their reputation. I mean, recently I saw someone start a response by calling out "extremist right wing-nuts". My response was, "When you come out of the corner swinging like that, you're not interested in dialog or discussion". Likewise, the LINUX community is where terms like M$ Lusers started, where posters started calling bloggers "shills". The Microsoft community never came out with accusations against the Linux community. The smear campaigns started in the Linux community, not the other way around. My observations are the absolute facts of the EXTERNAL observation. The external observations are the ones that matter. yet you disparage them all for not persuing that goal. They disparage themselves by simply being associated with a community who has claimed such a lofty goal, and never come remotely close to delivering on that. Going back to your original point - your complaints, again point to a failure of the Linux community. If there was so much misunderstanding around details relevent to Microsoft or Apple, they would engage in PR campaigns to correct the perception. Microsoft understands you can't expect your MARKET (even if your market gets your product for free) to come to you seeking clarification on misconceptions. You've got to clarify misconceptions yourself. Again, the Linux community, as represented by you, shifts the blame, "We're here, and we have answers, if you just seek us out"... If that is the best you can offer, then you'll continue to be misunderstood. That isn't the fault of the users/consumers, it is the fault or your own communities inability to organize an effective PR campaign to fix those misconceptions. The Linux philosophy is to expect the responsibility to be the USERS at all facets of engaging with the product. That works for about 2% of the total population on average, it seems - as a relatively steady number (in certian subsections, it may be dramatically higher or lower - for example, the French, socialists, fat guys with cheetos in the beards and horrible fashion sense). Again, if the Linux community is content with that revolution, viva la revolucion de FOSS. But if the Linux community wants more, it shouldn't hold its breath.

dcolbert
dcolbert

It depends. You've developed two different arguments here. One is the line of reason: "Windows requires more support because it is an inherently inferior OS with reoccuring issues that are never addressed or resolved by the vendor". The other is: "Linux is an inherently SUPERIOR OS, but requires a little more cerebral horse-power and effort in order to fully leverage, but USERS prefer to have their hands held and to have someone else fix all their problems". See - this is the other thing that happens in these Linux debates. You've got two slightly different issues above, but during the course of a debate, you (this is a rhetorical you, "you, the online Linux debater as a generalization") slowly blur the definition between the one point and the other. If users don't want to RTFM, and want it made as easy as possible, and don't want to be taught how to do things themselves, I'm fine with the job security of being there to pick them up and point them in the right direction every time they fall down, over and over and over and over again. And, here is the thing - that is exactly what most USERS want. Just like most automobile owners don't want to change their oil, fill their tires, or otherwise be more involved with the experience than getting in, turning the key, pressing the gas, and steering their way down the road. There is nothing more implicitly "parasitic" about working in the tech industry providing support to end users than there is in being an automotive mechanic. At my level, that support means figuring out that to cope with business growth in our current location I'm going to have to figure out how to consolidate, lower energy consumption and heat output, increase cooling, increase storage, and deliver better reliability, recovery and disaster recovery solutions. It sounds real easy on the surface, and honestly, it *isn't* rocket-science - but the CFO, COO and CEO don't want to deal with it. They want it done. Just like any other end user. Exchange of talent, skill and knowledge for compensation is inherently "parasitic" - in that sense. Someone needs something they don't readily have, and I'll provide it for a fee. That may be smiling while guiding someone through doing an actual *reboot* of their PC, or providing a new high-level data-center architecture and design solution.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

.. I don't even want to think about what inverts where during freefall and I don't envy the sudden whipping snap when you pull the shoot. "Listen, my point comes back again and again to claims" Fine.. but who is making these claims and under what motivation? Have you seen me claim that domination is just around the corner if only XYZ? Have you frequented FOSS conferences and measred the cross-section of claimants? I suspect you are still standing on the outside looking in and claiming your observations are absolute fact of the internal situation. That's not to say that your being kept outside; quite the contrary. You're welcome join in and analyse the situation from the inside. Your coming back to your claims again and again and consistantly ignoring relevant releated information for the convenience of those claims. The distribution or social group making the claim is absolutely relevant unless your intent is simply to throw claims completely out of context to be accepted on blind faith. When frequently asked what he thinks about Microsoft, Mr. Torvalds replies "I don't think about them. The are simply not interesting to me." His sentiments are not a one-off obscurity. In relation to Mr. Torvalds, your claim is false; the kernel can't fail at something it's not trying to achieve. On the other hand, Mr. Stallman is absolutely persuing world domination of end user freedom in a political sense. In relation to FSF, the claim is very much the situation and the FSF is very unlikely to ever achieve a world where only free software is run on computers. Backtrack, as mentioned, is not focused on world domination and death of Microsoft. Canonical is indeed looking to take a chunk of the desktop market. Red Hat's real focus remains in the server space not the desktop. One third of the examples are actually capable of being a failure based on desktop market metrics yet you disparage them all for not persuing that goal. When you choose to ignore the context, you paint every one and every distribution with the same brush and result in a distorted view of the situation. That remains my ongoing disagreement with your possition.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

That title probably reads pretty sharply but as a member fo the tech support industry, I too am a parasite. As an old boss used to say "I love microsoft. We get to visit our customers weekly on billable time." I'd still rather address the problem instead of treating the symptom over and over though. I wouldn't say the parasitic economy around repeat customers is a good attribute.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

As an OS geek, I say.. bring it! Heck, I even had a go at Plan9 based on reports that it was very different from what I had in the collection. There are also some interesting but obscure oddities that run from under 1.4 MB while being surprisingly usable.

dcolbert
dcolbert

I am one of the world's foremost successes at nude arctic skydiving. I'm not good, I'm like a pale-blue & shrunken greek adonis plummeting toward the melting iceflows below me. That first paragraph is a doozy, Neon. Listen, my point comes back again and again to claims... we can blame those claims on numerous things, for example, ignorant tech journalists, or fringe extremist FOSS users - that Linux will challenge, contest, and quite likely usurp the mainstream commercial OS desktop platforms. Not that REDHAT, or Debian, or Ubuntu will do so... that LINUX will do so - that it is somehow inevitable. The points you've made direct AWAY from that foundation argument to arguments I'm not trying to have. So, yeah... I'm not about heading in that direction, because that wasn't my thesis. When framed your way, it is a completely different argument. And though there may be some truth at a much more granular level down the road you would like to take, I'm focused on high level perceptions. Addressing your points distracts from the high-level view I'm leading toward. I believe the high level view is more important. That high level is that after at least a decade of "Is next year the year of Linux on the desktop", the MOST penetration that all of LINUXdom combined, oriented or not, has had into that segment has been... insignificant. So far, the REAL world experience has been, regardless of what various distros are or are not good at, that Linux *sucks* for the desktop. Is there a paticular distribution that is good, maybe BEST for a particular user with particular needs or desires in CERTAIN circumstances? Sure! Why does or should that matter to ME? Or to any of the hundreds of millions of Windows and OS X users?

dcolbert
dcolbert

In this case, the "you" was Linux... as an entity comparable to the avant-garde film producer or director in this case. My argument is that Linux HAS made the choice of what it perceives as INTEGRITY over more conventional measures of success, but then it always whines and moans when it sees that talentless hack produce another blockbuster box-office release - and bemoans the idiocy of the movie-ticket buying public. The answer is simple, stop with the avante-garde and write to the masses. One or the other. Be exclusive and embrace it, or be accessible and embrace that. I belive you've taken the discussion where you are more comfortable having it, probably sub-consciously. I've maintained that a lot of this is philosophical, metaphysical, and ideological *core belief* that really has a lot more to do with personal identity than simple choice of OS. I think some of the places you've taken this actually illustrates this claim of mine. We have fundamentally different opinions on how the world works (both how it SHOULD work and how it DOES work) - and those are where we find friction between ourselves time and time again. You want a world where you can have your philosophical, ideological cake and eat it too. I'm the guy who says, "that'll never work". I'm OK with that, though. I don't want a world where everyone blindly agrees with me. Heck, I wouldn't want to write if that were the case. Any time I write an article and I see, "Everyone is going to agree with me on this", I dread it. I may get tons of hits *reading* the article, but I get no discussion. That is boring.

dcolbert
dcolbert

Product quality and listening to users has very little to do with how Microsoft dominated the software market. They delivered a good'ish product, strong marketing and a lot of questionable market hostile business strategies. This is very subjective opinion. The time that Microsoft stood accused of "questionable market hostile business strategies", in retrospect, is a matter of opinion. There wasn't anything *competitive* to "lock out". "Locking in" vendors was also of questionable value, as there wasn't really a lot of alternatives to put on, anyhow. The fact is that Microsoft was far and away in the lead at the time, way ahead of anything else out there. The lock-in didn't really matter that much from the consumer perspective, as that is what they WANTED anyhow. In fact, in many ways, it is very similar to the place that Apple finds itself now with iOS and rising cries of Apple abusing their market position. The fact that both Microsoft and Intel and several other tech companies of this era all had their troubles with "aggressive business practices and potential monopoly positions" and that we've emerged through to a technology era more diversified than at any time since the 8/16 bit era illustrates to me that this was all hogwash, to begin with. If Microsoft or Intel had a monopoly and successfully abused it at any time in the past 30 years, we wouldn't have the choices we have today. If they had monopolies, they were weak and short lived, and I doubt Government regulation had very much impact on that. These are tired FOSS arguments against Microsoft, and in retrospect, they're looking even weaker than they did at the time that they originated. You're hanging on to cherished notions of the Linux advocate that look as fanciful as claims that Unicorns ran around the forests of England and a wizard advised King Aurthur's Court. Microsoft and Intel are struggling to remain relevent. Their peak consisted of a 20 or 30 year period maximum. IBM had a 100 year rule. AT&T almost as long. Aggressive business policies certianly helped both companies to succeed. But a continious focus on improving their products to satisfy their paying customers is the foundation of the success of both firms. They NEVER told their end-users, "no, the problem isn't our product, the problem is YOU". That chant only comes from the Temple of Linux. In your opinion, how many times must one see the same question repeated and answered before the apropriate response is "that was fixed, read the manual"? I've been working in the PC industry since '90. At all points, a huge portion of my job has been dealing with support issues - generally concerned on the same issues, asked over and over and over again. Like Microsoft, I'm HAPPY to address those questions... over and over again. There is an ECONOMY that exists around this. If those questions weren't there to be asked, I'd have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars of income potential over the lifetime of my career. So, ASK away, and I'll ALWAYS answer the question with a smile and I'll do my best to *never* treat you like a moron. When I lose site of this, because I'm dealing with a customer who is upset that their 4GB .pst file has ate all their mail archives and they never made a backup... I try to center myself and remind myself of this. That is the Microsoft way. The Linux way is to say, "It is well documented that your .PST should be as small as possible, you should have made multiple backup copies, and none of this is my fault. Tough. RTFM next time, luser". My SQL guy went to a training session recently. He came back with this tale. All the Win and Mac guys drove up in BMWs, Benzes, Land Rovers, or at the very least, nice Toyotas and Hondas with loaded interiors. All the Linux guys showed up in lowest level beater econoboxes. What does this have to do with my point above? Everything. It is an entire community out of step with how things work, and paying the economic price for that. This isn't an absolute rule (we could argue Zuckerberg is a Linux geek, that Google is full of well off Linux geeks), but it IS generally, broadly true across the IT ecosystem.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Doesn't the point that not all FOSSdom is hell-bent on world domination or toppling Microsoft not directly related to your point that FOSSdom may never achieve world domination or the toppling of Microsoft? Providing relevant information is now "reframing the argument"? So Linux based distributions have been a dismal failure at not achieving a goal they don't all have? How does that work exactly? You've been a dismal failure at a nude archtic skydiving... it is self-evident. The fact that you haven't tried to become good at it is irrelevant and just twisting the argument to spin your own point.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I have indeed made my choice. I use multiple OS since each does something better than the others. yeah, I could find another tech to eco my sentiments but that wouldn't prove anything. Do you feel I've twisted your argument or intentionally split away into new tangents and if so, where?

dcolbert
dcolbert

This was actually the rated G version of my disparaging description of a "typical Linux geek". Did you miss the uproar when I further described him as fat and with cheetos crumbs in his beard and an RFID blocking wallet in his khaki shorts in another thread? Wow... THAT made people WAY more upset than I expected. The line between "snarky" and "receiving death-threats in your in-box" is a fine line, indeed. :) Microsoft and Google both started out as virtually *nothing*. They fought against huge established incumbents. They had set-backs and disappointments. But they emerged. I expect nothing less from the successful Linux variant that would be able to eventually compete toe-to-toe with the dominant commercial OS platforms. In fact, Google and Android are, arguably, the model for doing just this. I argued from the beginning - YEARS ago - the next big thing in OS platforms won't resemble ANYTHING we use today - Linux will *never* compete with Windows and Mac OS. Mac OS, Windows and traditional Linux desktops will be irrelevent when the game changer arrives. We may very well be living in that time right at this moment.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Product quality and listening to users has very little to do with how Microsoft dominated the software market. They delivered a good'ish product, strong marketing and a lot of questionable market hostile business strategies. What does holding system vendors hostage to only ship one OS brand "user focused"? Manipulating the market through product and format lock-ins.. that's listening to users or consumer friendly behavior? We're not talking myths here. We're talking about a convicted monopoly with so much lock-in established that the government couldn't actually impose significant sentansing - they are as addicted to the readmond meth lab as others. Please don't insult the readership's intelligence by suggesting that Microsoft got to where it is through good old fashioned hard work and listening to end users. Win7 shows a concerted effort but that took competition from other OS and the market rejection of Vista. IE didn't move past version 6 and display some respect for standards until Microsoft was forced to do so by competiton after years of the user base pleeding for it. " As long as the Linux community keeps approaching the user community with this attitude of, "stop being a moron, grow some brain cells, and realize that YOU have to bend to your OS platform, rather than the other way around" " Speak for yourself. Don't project your bias on me. While the elitist prick is not uncommon in any OS fan club, they are not usually well regarded within the club either. The majority of people I've met are very open to new users, questions and information sharing when the topic introduction isn't designed to put them in a defensive posture. Even then, they tend to make a pretty good effort before walking away or lowering themselves down to your stereotype. Where I primarily see hostility is against false claims, old and long solved issues and demands of entitlement. In your opinion, how many times must one see the same question repeated and answered before the apropriate response is "that was fixed, read the manual"? I'm sure you've never been frustrated with a user when answering the same question for the twentieth time. "this isn't working, here's what I've tried" - myself and many I know will bend over backwards trying to help you with that issue. We want to learn too. "this crap is broken, fix it for me now" - you'd best have a service contract for support cause no one is taking much voluntary interest in helping you out regardless of what OS it is. In no social exchange does one get to antagonize another beyond civility then claim that the other's anger is proof of a normal disposition.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

"then you would think one of those pony-tailed, bearded, Mountain Dew swilling geniuses wearing sweat-stained t-shirts sporting a Tux iron-on would put it together" Way to premote stereotypes. Perhaps I'm just tired today or your trying to counter balance Hal's sentaments but your comment seemed overly antagonistic. If, however, that was your intent; you've played the game well. You don't think there are several related variables outside the OS technical details such as marketing budget to consider? Even Red Hat and Canonical lack the deep pockets and market momentum that Microsoft exploits to maintain it's possition. Google was a no-name with little budget when it pumped Android out into the mobile market was it? That's not to say "waa.. they have money and my favorite horse doesn't".. it's simply to point out that over-simplifying the market doesn't really add any value with or without the stereotyping.

dcolbert
dcolbert

The rheotrical "me" in this case is not I, Donovan Colbert, or you... it is the platform USER. And *yes*, it IS all about that rhetorical *me*, in that case. That is exactly HOW Microsoft grew to dominate their field - they were *user* oriented. I've even heard this used as a Linux anti-MS argument, "Microsoft focused on features and user demands to the exclusion of everything else, including security, leading to the security mess that Microsoft platforms were by the time of Win XP"... It was all about enabling the USER experience. Me, Me, Me! EXACTLY. As long as the Linux community keeps approaching the user community with this attitude of, "stop being a moron, grow some brain cells, and realize that YOU have to bend to your OS platform, rather than the other way around", they're going to be a niche market. Apple figured out a way to satisfy the ME with *nix derived platforms. Instead of offering EVERYTHING but making it outrageously difficult and onerous to achieve, Apple's approach has been to simply say, "You *can't* do that. This ISN'T possible". So you've got 3 groups of thought here... Give 'em what they want, all of it... Give 'em what they want, all of it, but only if they can display that they deserve to have it. Don't give 'em anything they can't handle. The first and the last philosophy seem to be working. The middle one, not so much. The middle way is Linux. This is the thing though; not all those brilliant people and distributions want to be the next Windows. Immaterial to my argument. One of my co-workers I shared my argument with - he said, "The Linux guys will just change your argument to focus on something else". My argument was carefully framed. If you WANT to be obscure, fine. Don't whine when the mass-audience summer blockbuster breaks box-office records and YOUR film lost money playing in art-house theaters. You've made your choice, integrity over more conventional measures of success. We can argue about the most visible goal of the Linux community in GENERAL over the last 20 years - but I think the vast majority would agree that it *seems* to be to compete with commercial desktop OS platforms as a viable alternative. A goal that it has hardly made ANY forward progress on during those 20 years. Your own experiment actually proves the point. I hope not - because the point would be that Linux can NEVER actually achieve the goal of being a viable successful challenge to the mainstream OS platforms. You *may* be right, though. I address that possibility in my next post. Remember, this is MY point. Your point reframes the argument so that you can successfully defend your position. Your point doesn't matter here, because the argument surrounds the point I am trying to make - which is that Linux has been a dismal failure at challenging the commercial desktop OS platform market. That isn't opinion or caused by there being different distributions aimed at different niches... It is self-evident.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

From the other side, a product must be three times better than the current incumbent to be considered half as good. If pointing out that competitors must be three times better than the ecumbant to get any credit is elitism, the oposite side of that coin is an inflated sence of self entitlement; "I want my OS to do XYZ so therefore all FOSSdom should be focusing on my needs. It's all about me, me, me. The developers should stop what they are doing, drive to my home and custom build my system for me.. and all for free." "IF so many brilliant people are involved in the Linux community, and the Linux community really wants Linux to be a contender for a statistically significant number of desktop instances" This is the thing though; not all those brilliant people and distributions want to be the next Windows. Backtrack wants a rocking tool set for forensics and security professionals. Debian just wants a general purpose OS to use in peace. Canonical does indeed want to take Microsoft's desktop lunch money. These different distributions are not a single purpose OS but many different objects built for destincly different uses. Backtrack is not going to turn up on pre-installs at Best Buy and Ubuntu is not going to ship with the various tools and kernel/driver tweeks included into Backtrack. Your own experiment actually proves the point. You've tried and abandonned distributions that did not fit your needs and are now trying a distribution who's focus may be your needs as a target user. Joli can exist and focus on your needs without dictating that Backtrack also do the same. For you various distributions may be utter failures where for me, they are options that enable what I do and somewhere inbetween are probably a number of distributions we share an opinion of for similar or competely seporate reasons. (I'm sure not an Ubuntu promoter though interested to see what the Canonical/Debian working relationship results in provided it's not importing Canonical's poor decisions into Debian proper.) FOSSdom is far larger than any one target user or distribution. It's not a single car manufacturer but an entire transportation industry with trains, planes and automobiles all built for different purposes. Is Ford not free to assemble it's cars differently from Honda based on it's target customer and intended vehicle use? Is it not acceptable for a car manufacturer to design the chassis to hold the engine in back and boot in front even though most other's place the engine behind the headlights?

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