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  • #2247927

    Is the Linux Desktop Dead?


    by rkuhn040172 ·

    Just a few quotes from a recent study:

    Ironic the story comes out this week, the same week that I, a pro-Microsoft supporter, just loaded Fedora 6 to test out.

    While I have zero intention of using Linux on my desktop, I do try to keep on open mind, I do try to learn about the alternatives, and I do try to keep abreast on the rest of IT (even if it is only a small percentage of the total).

    We can argue until the cows come home on the technical merits of either OS, but it just seems quite clear that Linux can’t overcome the one thing that makes Windows more used…a marketing plan.

    “Research by the National Computing Centre (NCC) found only one Linux desktop for every 300 currently running Windows XP in UK organizations”.

    “Three-quarters of’s 12-strong CIO Jury backed the view that the Linux desktop dream is dead”.

    “At the moment there are too many options for the Linux desktop to support mass market tools”.

    “It is not free, as you pay for the support and there are so many flavors that it dilutes any potential attractiveness”.

    “Simply put, there are currently few business benefits that would justify such a switch from Microsoft to Linux for many IT departments”.

    “My view–to have any chance of gaining ground, Linux has to get ahead, rather than always be a couple of years behind”.

All Comments

  • Author
    • #3139368

      Linux Desktop dead? Not at all…

      by techexec2 ·

      In reply to Is the Linux Desktop Dead?

      Linux desktop is not dead at all. It is better than ever and more worthy of consideration than ever.

      I love these panels of clueless nameless CIOs. Do you REALLY put your faith in such people?

      :^0 :^0 :^0

      • #3139361

        Clueless? Nameless?

        by rkuhn040172 ·

        In reply to Linux Desktop dead? Not at all…

        The names were posted at the end of the article and there were some notable companies in there too.

        Again, technical merits aside, I think their point was more business oriented…strategic, marketing, etc…rather than is Linux or Windows better.

        There is definitely a problem with some aspects of Linux. Marketing is probably number one. How do you address that?

        • #3139300

          I’m not sure you can

          by tony hopkinson ·

          In reply to Clueless? Nameless?

          Marketting is a function of an economic business model. It’s much more than advertising.

          Branding, consistency, control. Choose one of the big distros and enter as a contributor and most of the arguments in terms of service and support get binned.

          Technically there is no argument at the very least for all except some specialised areas, in terms of business functionality there is no difference.

          User training, you can get desktops that make that equivalent to upgrading what version of office you are using. Power users would possibly need more training. Obviously IT and support would as well.

          You can add up the benefits of a switch to linux as long as you like, the cost of simply doing the switch in a large organisation is enormous though and fairly quantifiable, the benefits tend to be a lot more fuzzy.

          Try pushing that past a bean counter, when you are talking an outlay in millions just to achieve the benefits. Not even MS’s much vaunted marketting effort could sell that.

          Greenfield site, look at it.
          If you are still on old kit (95/98), look at it versus a vista upgrade.

          Because I and others say linux is better? you won’t be able to sell that.

        • #3202627

          But Part of That Business Economic Model

          by rkuhn040172 ·

          In reply to I’m not sure you can

          Is also the public’s perception of the product.

          I, for one, have softened my stance about Linux (at least a little) over time as I have finally had the time to analyze the product better recently.

          Again, technicalities aside (since I see the two products each having their own benefits and costs, ups and downs), what is Linux going to do to get that mass appeal?

          Grant it, Linux is fighting an uphill battle against the immensely huge Microsoft marketing machine.

          But what is Linux going to do to change the public’s perception or even lack thereof of Linux?

          Let’s face it, the vast majority of desktop users haven’t even heard about Linux and even if they have, they know nothing about it.

          It’s not good enough to double growth every year when you are starting at 1-2% of the market.

          And believe me, this isn’t one of my normal anti-Linux rants. I truly am interested in what Linux can do to accelerate their growth potential.

          Besides, while I’m not a Linux user (I don’t count testing and experimenting) and don’t plan on it any time soon, I am interested in Linux, Apple, etc keeping Microsoft honest and otherwise at least attempting to keep the market competitive…the consumer benefits the most from all of this just like in the browser wars between IE vs FF.

        • #3202560

          Linux isn’t a ‘brand’ though

          by tony hopkinson ·

          In reply to But Part of That Business Economic Model

          The distros are brands, some formally as in Redhat others non commercially such as Debian.
          How does Redhat compete commercially with windows is a valid question, linux however only competes technically.

          That might sound like nitpicking but you are sort of asking how cars compete with Toyota, a bit of a nonsense when you look at it that way.

          If you want to look as the contention for number of installations between various linux distros and windows, doing it from a commercial perspective will leave you floundering, Linux is not commercially driven after all.
          If Linux unified so it could compete with MS, it would lose it’s current appeal and MS would kill off GlobalLinux before they could finish painting the logo on the head office wall.

        • #3202529

          Yes But

          by rkuhn040172 ·

          In reply to Linux isn’t a ‘brand’ though

          These are all great points but many argue that the “appeal” that you speak of, namely many different distros that appeal to all different types, is exactly what is preventing Linux from gaining mass appeal.

          Without some “unified Linux”, it is difficult to put up much of a challenge to a commercial OS like Microsoft.

          I’m not justifying Microsoft’s marketplace behaviour one way or another, but let’s face it, there is a tremendous amount of momentum behind Windows.

          Without some sort of “unified Linux”, how can Linux or any individual distro put up much of a challenge for the desktop space?

          I don’t particularly like Linux myself, however, I do concede many technical merits to Linux. But again, the question is how does Linux or any distro of Linux compete with the commercial OS’s like Microsoft?

          Will Linux and all of its various flavors ever get a more meaningful amount of marketshare on the desktop?

          It seems to me that Linux in the server room was an easier sale. How do you translate that success into the desktop market?

        • #3202413

          You seem to have fallen into the trap

          by tony hopkinson ·

          In reply to Yes But

          of wanting to judge Linux by the same criteria as windows.

          You keep talking compete and market and commercial. I don’t see anyone competing with MS on this front unless they self destruct.
          It could only happen if they dropped the ball, stabbed it several times, poured acid over it and then set it on fire. 😀

          Personally I think linux should stick to it’s strengths, attempting to compete with MS on their own ground is a mistake.

          They’ll have you for breakfast.

          In terms of appeal, linux itself will not win the battle, it would have to be software that was wanted / needed that couldn’t run under windows. The only candidates that I can think of would be 128 bit or maybe 256 if MS continue to lag on that front.

          Bearing in mind the desktop market that would have to be games as far as I can see. You just don’t need that sort of welly for basic desktop apps. Not even aeroglass needs it.

        • #3202421

          Rickk, may I refer to what you said???

          by kiltie ·

          In reply to But Part of That Business Economic Model

          Quotes from yourself, here are not out of context, since they seem to be repeated throughout your posts.

          [i]While I have zero intention of using Linux on my desktop, I do try to keep on open mind[/i]

          great, I wish everyone were that way about unbias, but I note your opening qualifier “zero intention”

          [i]it just seems quite clear that Linux can’t overcome the one thing that makes Windows more used…a marketing plan[/i]

          Marketing? Linux is not selling anything, it is just being good at what it does and getting better, it needs no massive promotional campaign to do that.

          [i]There is definitely a problem with some aspects of Linux. Marketing is probably number one. How do you address that?[/i]

          Marketing is a M$ business model, no need for that for Linux, so no problem at all.

          [i]I, for one, have softened my stance about Linux (at least a little) over time as I have finally had the time to analyze the product better recently.[/i]

          Good for you, maybe you are overcoming the prejudices, but [i]only a little?[/i]

          [i]Grant it, Linux is fighting an uphill battle against the immensely huge Microsoft marketing machine.[/i]

          Linux is not fighting any battle at all, it doesn’t need to, it stays where it is, slowly growing.
          M$ is losing ground all the time, it’s pouring money into the Marketing Machine to slow the inevitable decline.

          Read the tech news

          [i]It’s not good enough to double growth every year when you are starting at 1-2% of the market.[/i]

          While I would quibble about the year bit, 6 monthly is better, but assuming a year, use mathematics.

          Doubling growth (let’s split the difference, for sake of argument at 1.5 years)

          [b]Then in about 5 years that is about half the market[/b]

          But I think it will be a lot sooner than that, maybe 2 years, because of other influences (that subject alone deserves another post).

          [i][b][u]And believe me, this isn’t one of my normal anti-Linux rants[/u][/b][/i]

          errrr well, ummmmm that kinda says it all, dunnit?

        • #3216193

          I agree with you Tony about economic benefit

          by rknrlkid ·

          In reply to I’m not sure you can

          I recently became involved in the network administration of a church here where I live. They had been running 2 Windows 2000 servers, and about a dozen desktops running Windows 2000 Professional. The previous guy moved, and (of course) left no documentation, and nothing to prove they were running non-pirated software. My co-worker and I each independently came up with the exact same solution: redo everything and install Linux. She wanted Fedora Core, I wanted Ubuntu, but the end result is the same. They cannot afford to purchase new licenses for everything they own now, nor can they afford to purchase new hardware. A basic Linux distribution has everything they will need to run their church. And the price is right too…free.

          When it comes down to economics, the choice is pretty clear. This church will save over $27,000 in software costs alone by switching to some form of Linux. The only costs they would incur at this point is in familiarizing the staff on how it works.

        • #3279591

          Fedroa, Ubuntu and Xandros.

          by skipplummer ·

          In reply to I agree with you Tony about economic benefit

          You’re absolutely right. There’s nothing that MS can do that Fedora, Ubuntu or Xandros Linux based systems can’t do. (Xandros is a low priced Linux based system that may do more than the other two.) Microsoft didn’t really have a marketing system… short of making a deal that put it on every new PC years ago. Even today the PC itself is just a pile of low priced “hardware”. All that you’re paying for when you buy a new PC is the Microsoft operating system that’s on it and, like it or not, people are in the MS habit.

        • #3202629

          Yes. Clueless and Nameless. And, you’re wrong. Desktop Linux is not dead.

          by techexec2 ·

          In reply to Clueless? Nameless?

          [b][i]”The names were posted at the end of the article”[/i][/b]

          Duh! 😀 I did not say they did not have names. I said they are nameless. They haven’t made a name for themselves and are not notable. I have never heard of any of them and I read a lot. A relevant list of CIOs should include members of the Fortune 500, not these guys.

          [b][i]”There is definitely a problem with some aspects of Linux. Marketing is probably number one. How do you address that?”[/i][/b]

          Answer: (2) (3). Do you really think Microsoft gave Novell hundreds of millions of dollars up front in this deal without an expectation that Linux Desktop sales (and revenues from Novell to Microsoft) will grow soon?

          [b][i]”It is not free, as you pay for the support”[/i] Graham Benson, IT director at[/b]

          Wrong. Only a clueless executive would say such a thing. You do not have to pay for the support (from the distro makers). Obviously, you must pay [i]SOMEONE[/i] to support your users, just like Windows or Mac OS. There is a lot more to the total cost of Linux vs. Windows than support. How about MS Office? How about that expensive Windows Vista license?

          [b][i]”I’m openly not a technologist. The real role that CIOs can add value is around business change. You have to know enough about technology to be able to understand how value can be realised through that but I’m not a techie.”[/i] David Lister, Reuters CIO[/b] (1)

          Well…that pretty much explains why Reuters may not use Linux on the desktop anytime soon. This has nothing to do with OTHER people who will choose Linux on the Desktop around the world.

          [b]In Closing[/b]

          That article was flame bait.

          You are wrong. And, those clueless nameless CIOs are wrong. Is Linux on the Desktop going to defeat Windows on the desktop? Absolutely not. But, Desktop Linux is not dead. It is better than ever and is just about to take off.


          (1) The McCue Interview: Reuters CIO David Lister

          (2) Oracle Enterprise Linux

          (3) Novell & Microsoft Collaborate — Customers Win

        • #3202616


          by rkuhn040172 ·

          In reply to Yes. Clueless and Nameless. And, you’re wrong. Desktop Linux is not dead.

          “Duh! I did not say they did not have names. I said they are nameless. They haven’t made a name for themselves and are not notable. I have never heard of any of them and I read a lot. A relevant list of CIOs should include members of the Fortune 500, not these guys.”

          Well, I just did some research on them, and as you said, I haven’t heard of any of them either.

          But that doesn’t make them any less credible. After doing my research (I listed some details from Brewin Dolphin below), I learned alot.

          Besides, I’ve never heard about you before so does that make your opinion any less credible?

          You and I have had differing opinions on TR before, we know nothing about each other, yet I still enter the discussion with an opinion that I should listen to others on TR so as to learn whatever I can and get that differing point of view.

          “Brewin Dolphin Securities – largest independent investment manager in the UK, 100,000 private clients, charities and pension funds, manage ?19 billion.”

          Are you a CIO? With a company that has over 100,000 clients? A company that manages 19 billion?

          Now, your last statement I’ve heard over and over and over again:

          “But, Desktop Linux is not dead. It is better than ever and is just about to take off.”

          Especially the “about to take off” part. That is said year in and year out and I have yet to see it happen.

          I’m not knocking Linux, just merely posting the question, “What is it going to take to accomplish the reality of Desktop Linux…to a sizeable portion of the population? Similar to what Linux has done to the server room.

          Linux has done a great job in getting in the server room. Why not the desktop? What is it stopping them?

        • #3202475

          My Reply

          by techexec2 ·

          In reply to Reply:

          [b][I]”Besides, I’ve never heard about you before so does that make your opinion any less credible?”[/I][/b]

          Credibility is a different question. I’m just as nameless as the 12 CIOs in the article. Citing my opinion in the article would not be any more or less credible. That’s the point. The article says [b][i]”Linux is unlikely ever to be a viable alternative to Microsoft’s Windows on the desktop for corporate IT departments, according to leading CIOs.”[/i][/b] Since they chose nameless people with no apparent qualifications or reasonable justifications, the article is complete crap. It is flame bait and grandstanding. Those people are not “leading CIOs” and are not qualified to pronounce Desktop Linux alive, or dead.

          [b][i]”I still enter the discussion with an opinion that I should listen to others on TR so as to learn whatever I can and get that differing point of view.”[/i][/b]

          I agree. But, an opposing view must be substantiated or it will be disregarded. This article said “Desktop Linux is dead” and just offered unsubstantiated comments from unknown people as evidence. Pathetic.

          [b][i]”Are you a CIO? With a company that has over 100,000 clients? A company that manages 19 billion?”[/i][/b]

          The size of the business has nothing to do with the value of the CIO’s opinion. The specific CIO is what matters. These guys are nameless (and clueless, in my opinion).

          Ask “Is Desktop Linux dead?” to someone with a name. Ask Larry Ellison (Oracle CEO) or Ron Hovsepian (Novell CEO). I’ll bet they say “no”. That doesn’t make them right. But, their opinion carries some weight, unlike the “12 leading CIOs” that you and I have never heard of before.

          [b][i]”Now, your last statement I’ve heard over and over and over again: “But, Desktop Linux is not dead. It is better than ever and is just about to take off.” Especially the “about to take off” part. That is said year in and year out and I have yet to see it happen.”[/i][/b]

          I have not been saying that until very recently. My comment comes from my own personal recent experience with the latest Linux distributions.

          [b][i]”I’m not knocking Linux, just merely posting the question, “What is it going to take to accomplish the reality of Desktop Linux…to a sizeable portion of the population? Similar to what Linux has done to the server room.”[/i][/b]

          Your original question was about Desktop Linux being DEAD. The article says so. That is what I disagree with.

          Now, you’re asking why Desktop Linux is not MORE ALIVE — entirely different question. I do NOT think Desktop Linux will be adopted by a sizable portion of the population. For example, home PC users are going to continue with Windows for a long time (forever?) for compatibility with application software they use and games. If you have an iPod and want to run iTunes and have one PC, it cannot run only Linux.

          [b][i]”Linux has done a great job in getting in the server room. Why not the desktop? What is it stopping them?”[/i][/b]

          Linux in the server room is entirely different. A Linux server can sit on the network and do that job completely and very well. Remember: Windows did not even [i]HAVE[/i] networking in the beginning. And, when it later did, it was a goal to mimic Unix, just like Linux!! It is no surprise that server Linux is thriving.

          Why hasn’t Desktop Linux grown more? I think there are a variety of reasons. Some of them are:

          – Corporate environments have to permit it. Many aren’t even “adventurous” enough to permit Firefox on Windows!! Others are adventurous (1).

          – If you have Windows apps, you cannot run them on Linux (very well).

          – Up until recently, the Desktop Linux experience has been lacking. It is much better now. Much Better GUI management tools. A lot more stable. More eye-candy.

          Windows has already conquered the desktop. I don’t think Linux is going to conquer Windows as merely a desktop OS. But, as the importance of network-based applications grows, the importance of the desktop OS will diminish and Desktop Linux use could increase.


          (1) Desktop Linux adoption

          The state of the 2006 Linux desktop

          IBM signs Linux deal with Germany

          Linux took on Microsoft, and won big in Munich

          Brazil falls in love with Linux

          Brazil trains government sector on Linux

          IBM moves Linux beat to Brazil

          China and Brazil choose Linux

        • #3202457

          Nice detailed response with excellent sources

          by kiltie ·

          In reply to My Reply

          Not many bother to provide source references , they just expound opinions emotionally based.

          kudos mf (whatever that means lol)

          My personal opinion:

          Linux is the way of the future, there appears no doubt about that, even M$ is giving ground on that (see recent news).

          Linux has conquered most of the server market, because of its scaleability.

          It still has a way to go to get the Desktop market, I’d give it another few years
          ([i]It’s almost there[/i]) to “get it right”, then comes the battle of persuading the general public about that.

          However, I see no rush, M$ already doing that job for them, a WGA here a SPP there, throw in a Vista with exorbitant prices and totally ridiculous, unenforceable EULAS, to alienate there (previously loyal customers).

          oops, I forget




          (apologies to the sensitive for that sarcasm)

          VOILA, it’s magic.

          Linux converts, no effort needed at all






        • #3202443

          I was going to say “Thank you”…

          by techexec2 ·

          In reply to Nice detailed response with excellent sources

          I was going to say “Thank you”, but since I didn’t read your post, I can’t say it, and I am not subject to any EULA that might or might not have been contained within it.

          :^0 :^0 :^0

        • #3202438

          Linux can’t compete just yet

          by scifiman ·

          In reply to Nice detailed response with excellent sources

          Linux has made some inroads, and continues to do so. But it has just touched the corporate world. And it is certainly not on most corporate servers. Not by a long shot. It will remain on the fringes for some years yet, until several things happen.

          1- A big one is that Linux has nothing, that I’m aware of, resembling Active Directory and global security policies that large companies need. It doesn’t comingle very well in a mixed environment either. Not across thousands of desktops.
          2- Most companies also have quite an investment in Windows expertise and training. Tossing that isn’t easy and it adds to the TCO equation for free or low cost Linux.
          3- As does the typically poor driver support, and most companies have a wide range of PC’s, from 6 yr old white boxes to the latest Dell workstation. Now think a dozen or more sites spread around the globe. We should hire more tech’s to go mess with each desktop/laptop to get them, and keep them, working? Is Linux still low cost after that? Microsoft has very deep driver support. Buy a program or a card and even grandma can get it installed. That doesn’t happen with any Linux I’ve tried. It always takes a lot of messing around. Most people don’t care about the OS, they just need their applications to run.
          4- Companies also have an enormous investment in older applications, both off the shelf and custom, and the data from them. And 30,000 employees (mostly computer illiterate) that are used to working with them. Retrain them all? How much does Linux cost now, for those of you running a tally?

          It’s all well and good to play with Linux at home or for a 7-person office. It will do fine there if you have a lot of patience. So yes, Vista seems like it costs a lot up front, but Linux isn’t nearly as low cost as zealots like to pretend. I think they’re realizing that but due to it’s very nature, the Linux community will take a number of years yet to evolve into a cohesive system that companies can embrace.

        • #3202415


          by kiltie ·

          In reply to Nice detailed response with excellent sources

          @TE, the CAPS were to make it look kinda EULA like, hehehe

          (did I get name right?)

          Too many “oopsies” there mf (aka faux pas, aka shot-in-foot), gonna let the big boys have the meat of your carcass, I am satiated after my meals today.

        • #3202409

          One of the biggest corporates in the UK

          by tony hopkinson ·

          In reply to Nice detailed response with excellent sources

          All main business systems hosted on non windows platforms IBM, Novell , HP, VMS and Linux. Very few windows servers, lot’s of windows desktops as in 1000s though.

          Chances of windows breaking in to the IBM, VMS and Linux hardware, nil.

          The former two have something like 20 years of in house software running on them, the linux boxes are for lamp stacks to do MIS and intranets . I implemented 8 in the 18 months
          I was there, including the windows desktop apps to display the data they were serving through MySQL.

          Breaking in to the corporate desktop market, you have a point but most of the big old boys are still using big old iron.

        • #2481268

          OMFG Kiltie

          by dumphrey ·

          In reply to Nice detailed response with excellent sources

          WWW;MYSHEEP.RFUN.NZ ?!?!?!?!

          IS this you?!?!

        • #3202352


          by rkuhn040172 ·

          In reply to My Reply

          1) You state “they chose nameless people with no apparent qualifications”. I’d bet some of our TR members from the UK would not appreciate your quote. Just because you’ve never heard of them and don’t know their qualifications or companies doesn’t mean they aren’t qualified.

          2) Related to #1, you seem to pick as sources numerous articles about China, Brazil, and Germany. Can you name any named and qualified individuals from these countries that their opinion should matter?

          You seem to have no problem respecting the opinions of your own hand picked individuals from Oracle and Novell but deny the qualifications of those chosen by others.

          I’d hardly expected Oracle or Novell officials to give me an honest opinion.

          3) “Corporate environments have to permit it.”

          Lame excuse for the Linux world not convincing them that it is better. My point throughout this thread has been more about the unorganized promotion of Linux and less about the technical pros and cons. The Linux world when it comes to the desktop seems to not have a plan to accomplish their very goals. You’ll never compete without a cohesive, well thought out plan and that plan will require organization, time, money, unified strategy, marketing, etc.

          4) I agree with some of your points and I’m not doubting Linux. I do have issues, however, with the complete lack of organizational structure, planning, strategy, etc of Linux. I think it is over-hyped and over exergerated until someone comes along to put the pieces together and is able to compete in a competive way against Windows as opposed to the present state of Linux.

        • #3219548

          You are missing something important here

          by techexec2 ·

          In reply to Really?


          Desktop Linux is not winning bigger vs. Windows because Windows is entrenched on the desktop. No amount of marketing is going to dramatically change that.

          Two examples:

          1. IBM put out an enormous, very expensive, first class, coordinated effort to market OS/2. It was a miserable failure because customers wanted Windows and Windows applications.

          2. The Apple Mac running OS X is a professionally marketed, outstanding, very polished, very stable, very functional, very safe platform with lots of applications including Microsoft Office and iTunes/iPod, the dominant digital music store, desktop player, and portable music player. Even all of that is not displacing Windows in a major way.

          More marketing, or “organizational structure, planning, [or] strategy” is not going to help Desktop Linux displace Windows in a major way where Windows is already well entrenched.

          That said…Desktop Linux is still not dead.


          The rest of your post is redirecting the subject to me, my comments, the hypothetical offense by TR members from the UK about my comments (I never mentioned the UK), my alleged misguided respect for the opinions of Ellison and Hovsepian (I never said I respected them), the technical pros and cons of Linux (I never mentioned them), etc. This redirection is all in vain. Your (original) points are lost. And, I am not one of the pathetic sadistic bastards here who love to tear people apart given an opening like this (doesn’t mean God smiles on me more than anyone else).

          Let’s just agree that you are a good guy, there are people in the world who love you that prove that, and you learned a few things from this discussion, just like all of the rest of us.

          [b]MY SUMMARY[/b]

          1. Desktop Linux is not dead.
          2. Lack of marketing and organization is not the reason Desktop Linux is not more alive.
          3. Desktop Windows is going to continue to dominate for a long time.
          4. The article was poor, flame bait, grandstanding, and false.

        • #3219542

          Desktop Linux is not dead. It is killing…

          by techexec2 ·

          In reply to Really?

          Something else…

          Desktop Linux is not dead. It is killing desktop Unix. And, server Linux is killing server Unix.

          These Unix vendors, or their Unix businesses, are dead or dying:

          Apollo Computer
          Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) — Digital Unix, Tru64 Unix
          Groupe Bull/Honeywell
          Hewlett-Packard — HP-UX
          IBM — AIX
          Nixdorf Computer
          Santa Cruz Organization (SCO) — Unix, UnixWare, Xenix
          Silicon Graphics Inc (SGI) — IRIX
          Sun Microsystems — Solaris

        • #3219471

          Solaris? dying / dead?

          by jaqui ·

          In reply to Really?

          Sun Microsystems has gone open source with it.
          [ their own version of an open source license ]

          Within a year the entirety of the Solaris OS will be open source, so we can’t honestly say that Solaris is dying off. Sun has guaranteed that Solaris will be around forever with this move. Those that like Solaris will get copies of the sources and keep working on it even if Sun’s version does die off.

        • #3219430

          Hey Jaqui…

          by techexec2 ·

          In reply to Really?

          I was saying that Linux is killing the Unix [i]BUSINESS[/i] of those companies. I agree that open source Solaris will essentially never be killed.

          [b]By the numbers – The slow death of Sun’s Unix systems business[/b]

          – Sun has lost money every year for the last 5 years totaling a staggering $5.375 BILLION.

          – Sun’s Unix systems sales revenue has fallen from $15 BILLION in 2001 to $8.4 BILLION in 2006.

          – Services revenues (consulting, outsourcing) have become a very significant part of Sun’s total revenue, accounting for 35% in 2006.

          – If you remove services revenue during the last 5 years, Sun’s accumulated losses would have been $24.890 BILLION. :0

          – Over the last 10 years, Sun has sold $123.5 BILLION of goods and services and accumulated a $40 million NET LOSS. The profits posted from 1996 to 2001 were completely offset by losses from 2001 through 2006.

          Sun’s Unix systems business is dying.

          Sun Annual Reports

          edit: Added 10 year stat, clarity, typo.

        • #2481275

          What is stopping Linux

          by dumphrey ·

          In reply to Reply:

          on the desktop is simple. MS Office, Adobe Photoshop, AutoCad… the list goes on. These companies produce software that are core business applications. If these applications ran natively on Linux, MS would loose a ton in licensing of desktop software. Look at Linux server, the applications people need are there, apache, Oracle, Sendmail, blah blah blah. Many enterprise backbone technologies are available in a way that will integrate with whatever desktop system or domain structure is in place.
          How do we resolve this issue? Use substitutes? well, Gimp, as good as it is, is no where near ready to replace CS3 in commercial graphics or printing. Open Office instead of Office? I see no problem here other then perception and occasional format issue. The problem is a catch 22… desktop apps will not port to Linux until its financially viable, but it will be a very long time to viability unless these apps port to Linux…
          But then again, maybe these commercial apps may become redundant with the steady progress of OSS.

        • #2481333

          Linux is growing, not dead

          by rcenname ·

          In reply to Clueless? Nameless?

          I think Linux could be easily used by most people who do web surfing and e-mail. It would actually be faster and safer for those people. In the business world, Windows has more applications with more features. However, if Linux was given a chance in the business world, it could do just as well, if not better. But the learning curve is much greater.

      • #3216427

        Linux Desktop is alive, functional, and productive.

        by intj-astral ·

        In reply to Linux Desktop dead? Not at all…

        The Linux desktop is alive, functional, and productive. This is my verdict after nearly four months of using it. Granted, the first month was spent testing, learning, experimenting, and trying out solutions for my concerns (making backups, how to undelete, concepts like permissions, etc.). Once my concerns were satisfied to my approval, I migrated my email from Windows Thunderbird to the Linux version, installed Star Office, and set up Star Office to default to Microsoft formats as opposed to it’s own internal ones. This insured I could share documents with Windows and Mac users without a hitch.

        I have gone through nearly a whole semester in a class doing this with zero problems reported regarding my files. I have no reason whatsoever to expect problems with productivity now, have not in the past, and do not for the future. It works, and works, and works. It’s like a high-quality sound system run by a professional crew: the system becomes transparent and you are free to experience what you are supposed to.

        I have never seen an operating system so stable, usable, and functional. In fact, I believe this could actually raise workplace productivity, seeing how windows-style reboots are rare and mostly unnecessary. Viral and spyware slowdowns? Non-existent. Star Office 7 has never crashed while I was working on a paper. It’s actually a relief to leave behind the virus-ridden, spyware-crippled Gateway boxes at work and come home to my Linux desktop. As a result of first-hand testing and successful work with live data over a few months, my verdict is that Linux as a desktop is functionally alive and well. Ease into it gradually and intelligently and you’ll see what I mean.

        • #3216294


          by kiltie ·

          In reply to Linux Desktop is alive, functional, and productive.

          I am glad your Linux experience is going well.

          (Myself, I am sitting on the fence, mainly because I haven’t chosen any of the Linux distros to go for.)

          However I suspect that the person who started this thread might not leave your opinion alone for long.

        • #3290184

          Still here, Thankfully. There are ways to try it…

          by intj-astral ·

          In reply to Great

          The easiest is to try a “live” version that runs from a cd, such as knoppix. No installing, just boots and runs. There are others as well.
          The other is to simply install it on a second hard drive and mult-boot from C:\ or use something like System Commander. Look up an article called “Linux is not Windows.” And of course, backup your data before you choose to install.

          To me, finishing a continuing ed course as I will shortly and completely writing in Linux
          counts as making it officially viable. I wanted it for a reason and purpose and it has delivered. Yes, it is viable and dependable.

        • #3290183

          —- duplicate post deleted——–

          by intj-astral ·

          In reply to Great


      • #3216216

        Novell no longer Supports SuSe

        by jerome.koch ·

        In reply to Linux Desktop dead? Not at all…

        While the free distro is still there, Novell made the business decision to no longer sell support for its SuSe desktop. This leaves Red Hat as the choice for businesses.

        I wouldn’t degrade CIO impressions. They are after all the ones who must do the selling to CEOs, CFOs and boards. When evaluating software, CIOs look at market penetration as well as how many Fortune 500/1000 Corps use that software. In the end, there must be a business decision to go to it. Part of the TCO is training costs for support..How much will it take to train desktop and server admins to get trained well enough to support a piece of software?

        The hidden costs are huge- especially in the realm of business interruptions. A CIO isn’t going to put his career at risk in order to satisfy a small group of enthusiasts, or open source gurus.

        Novell’s removal from the desktop market is a reflection of the very hard sell it takes to get market penetration. Like RedHat, Novell is concentrating on the application server market.

        • #3216173

          Wrong — Novell is still selling desktop Linux

          by techexec2 ·

          In reply to Novell no longer Supports SuSe

          [b][i]”Novell made the business decision to no longer sell support for its SuSe desktop.”[/i][/b]

          [b][i]”Novell’s removal from the desktop market is a reflection of the very hard sell it takes to get market penetration.”[/i][/b]

          Wrong. From Novell’s website:

          [i]”Does your business need a better balance between desktop functionality and cost? Novell Desktop solutions based on SUSE? Linux Enterprise 10 are low cost, easy-to-use and secure. They meet today?s demanding requirements through intuitive design, flexible deployment, centralized management, ironclad security [b]and global product support[/b].”[/i] (1)

          [i]”Novell provides comprehensive enterprise level Linux support for the entire IT environment – [b]from the desktop to the data center[/b]”[/i] (4)

          (1) Novell Desktop Solutions

          (2) SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10

          (3) SUSE? Linux Enterprise Desktop: How to Buy

          (4) Novell Linux Support

        • #3279750

          Yeah. Novell is doing lots of new product development for Linux.

          by stress junkie ·

          In reply to Wrong — Novell is still selling desktop Linux

          Novell purchased SuSE Linux for the express purpose of having a platform upon which it could give it’s older product line new life. Novell is currently selling Group Wise and its network single sign on product called Identity Manager.

          Additionally Novell is doing a lot of research and development for SuSE Linux. They have integrated the Xen virtual machine software environment, their new Zen software package manager, and added YUM and SMART as additional software package managers. That all takes a lot of developer time so it is very expensive to produce and support. They have created a server based on Open Xchange, which is a free replacement for Microsoft Exchange Server. They charge for that configuration. They charge for all of their enterprise server products but their own web site says that they need to have the corresponding products on the desktop.

          Novell is offering certification classes. That generates revenue. They have free Wiki style documentation and discussion forums hosted on their machines.

          Novell is also offering support for a fee covering many Open Source products including their own products. People learned from Digital Equipment Corporation and IBM that support services is a huge profit margin business. I think that is Novell’s basic strategy, recent events involving Microsoft notwithstanding. I think that they want to provide high level support services to business customers as their main revenue stream. In order to reach that goal they are doing a lot of development for their Linux distribution.

        • #2481265

          TechExec2 You are wasteing talent

          by dumphrey ·

          In reply to Wrong — Novell is still selling desktop Linux

          unless you are teaching On-Line Research and Data Retrieval classes…..

          Seriously…. “Speed Googling” in the next Olympics… all you my man.

    • #3202316


      by jaqui ·

      In reply to Is the Linux Desktop Dead?

      This might help you to see where your viewpoint expressed in this thread isn’t based on an accurate foundation:

      Linux != Windows

      Problem #1: Linux isn’t exactly the same as Windows.

      You’d be amazed how many people make this complaint. They come to Linux, expecting to find essentially a free, open-source version of Windows. Quite often, this is what they’ve been told to expect by over-zealous Linux users. However, it’s a paradoxical hope.

      The specific reasons why people try Linux vary wildly, but the overall reason boils down to one thing: They hope Linux will be better than Windows. Common yardsticks for measuring success are cost, choice, performance, and security. There are many others. But every Windows user who tries Linux, does so because they hope it will be better than what they’ve got.

      Therein lies the problem.

      It is logically impossible for any thing to be better than any other thing whilst remaining completely identical to it. A perfect copy may be equal, but it can never surpass. So when you gave Linux a try in hopes that it would be better, you were inescapably hoping that it would be different. Too many people ignore this fact, and hold up every difference between the two OSes as a Linux failure.

      As a simple example, consider driver upgrades: one typically upgrades a hardware driver on Windows by going to the manufacturer’s website and downloading the new driver; whereas in Linux you upgrade the kernel.

      This means that a single Linux download & upgrade will give you the newest drivers available for your machine, whereas in Windows you would have to surf to multiple sites and download all the upgrades individually. It’s a very different process, but it’s certainly not a bad one. But many people complain because it’s not what they’re used to.

      Or, as an example you’re more likely to relate to, consider Firefox: One of the biggest open-source success stories. A web browser that took the world by storm. Did it achieve this success by being a perfect imitation of IE, the then-most-popular browser?

      No. It was successful because it was better than IE, and it was better because it was different. It had tabbed browsing, live bookmarks, built-in searchbar, PNG support, adblock extensions, and other wonderful things. The “Find” functionality appeared in a toolbar at the bottom and looked for matches as you typed, turning red when you had no match. IE had no tabs, no RSS functionality, searchbars only via third-party extensions, and a find dialogue that required a click on “OK” to start looking and a click on “OK” to clear the “Not found” error message. A clear and inarguable demonstration of an open-source application achieving success by being better, and being better by being different. Had FF been an IE clone, it would have vanished into obscurity. And had Linux been a Windows clone, the same would have happened.

      So the solution to problem #1: Remember that where Linux is familiar and the same as what you’re used to, it isn’t new & improved. Welcome the places where things are different, because only here does it have a chance to shine.

      Problem #2: Linux is too different from Windows

      The next issue arises when people do expect Linux to be different, but find that some differences are just too radical for their liking. Probably the biggest example of this is the sheer amount of choice available to Linux users. Whereas an out-of-the-box-Windows user has the Classic or XP desktop with Wordpad, Internet Explorer, and Outlook Express installed, an out-of-the-box-Linux user has hundreds of distros to choose from, then Gnome or KDE or Fluxbox or whatever, with vi or emacs or kate, Konqueror or Opera or Firefox or Mozilla, and so on and so forth.

      A Windows user isn’t used to making so many choices just to get up & running. Exasperated “Does there have to be so much choice?” posts are very common.

      Does Linux really have to be so different from Windows? After all, they’re both operating systems. They both do the same job: Power your computer & give you something to run applications on. Surely they should be more or less identical?

      Look at it this way: Step outside and take a look at all the different vehicles driving along the road. These are all vehicles designed with more or less the same purpose: To get you from A to B via the roads. Note the variety in designs.

      But, you may be thinking, car differences are really quite minor: they all have a steering wheel, foot-pedal controls, a gear stick, a handbrake, windows & doors, a petrol tank. . . If you can drive one car, you can drive any car!

      Quite true. But did you not see that some people weren’t driving cars, but were riding motorbikes instead. . ?

      Switching from one version of Windows to another is like switching from one car to another. Win95 to Win98, I honestly couldn’t tell the difference. Win98 to WinXP, it was a bigger change but really nothing major.

      But switching from Windows to Linux is like switching from a car to a motorbike. They may both be OSes/road vehicles. They may both use the same hardware/roads. They may both provide an environment for you to run applications/transport you from A to B. But they use fundamentally different approaches to do so.

      Windows/cars are not safe from viruses/theft unless you install an antivirus/lock the doors. Linux/motorbikes don’t have viruses/doors, so are perfectly safe without you having to install an antivirus/lock any doors.

      Or look at it the other way round:

      Linux/cars were designed from the ground up for multiple users/passengers. Windows/motorbikes were designed for one user/passenger. Every Windows user/motorbike driver is used to being in full control of his computer/vehicle at all times. A Linux user/car passenger is used to only being in control of his computer/vehicle when logged in as root/sitting in the driver’s seat.

      Two different approaches to fulfilling the same goal. They differ in fundamental ways. They have different strengths and weaknesses: A car is the clear winner at transporting a family & a lot of cargo from A to B: More seats & more storage space. A motorbike is the clear winner at getting one person from A to B: Less affected by congestion and uses less fuel.

      There are many things that don’t change when you switch between cars and motorbikes: You still have to put petrol in the tank, you still have to drive on the same roads, you still have to obey the traffic lights and Stop signs, you still have to indicate before turning, you still have to obey the same speed limits.

      But there are also many things that do change: Car drivers don’t have to wear crash helmets, motorbike drivers don’t have to put on a seatbelt. Car drivers have to turn the steering wheel to get around a corner, motorbike drivers have to lean over. Car drivers accelerate by pushing a foot-pedal, motorbike drivers accelerate by twisting a hand control.

      A motorbike driver who tries to corner a car by leaning over is going to run into problems very quickly. And Windows users who try to use their existing skills and habits generally also find themselves having many issues. In fact, Windows “Power Users” frequently have more problems with Linux than people with little or no computer experience, for this very reason. Typically, the most vehement “Linux is not ready for the desktop yet” arguments come from ingrained Windows users who reason that if they couldn’t make the switch, a less-experienced user has no chance. But this is the exact opposite of the truth.

      So, to avoid problem #2: Don’t assume that being a knowledgeable Windows user means you’re a knowledgeable Linux user: When you first start with Linux, you are a novice.

      Problem #3: Culture shock
      Subproblem #3a: There is a culture

      Windows users are more or less in a customer-supplier relationship: They pay for software, for warranties, for support, and so on. They expect software to have a certain level of usability. They are therefore used to having rights with their software: They have paid for technical support and have every right to demand that they receive it. They are also used to dealing with entities rather than people: Their contracts are with a company, not with a person.

      Linux users are in more of a community. They don’t have to buy the software, they don’t have to pay for technical support. They download software for free & use Instant Messaging and web-based forums to get help. They deal with people, not corporations.

      A Windows user will not endear himself by bringing his habitual attitudes over to Linux, to put it mildly.

      The biggest cause of friction tends to be in the online interactions: A “3a” user new to Linux asks for help with a problem he’s having. When he doesn’t get that help at what he considers an acceptable rate, he starts complaining and demanding more help. Because that’s what he’s used to doing with paid-for tech support. The problem is that this isn’t paid-for support. This is a bunch of volunteers who are willing to help people with problems out of the goodness of their hearts. The new user has no right to demand anything from them, any more than somebody collecting for charity can demand larger donations from contributors.

      In much the same way, a Windows user is used to using commercial software. Companies don’t release software until it’s reliable, functional, and user-friendly enough. So this is what a Windows user tends to expect from software: It starts at version 1.0. Linux software, however, tends to get released almost as soon as it’s written: It starts at version 0.1. This way, people who really need the functionality can get it ASAP; interested developers can get involved in helping improve the code; and the community as a whole stays aware of what’s going on.

      If a “3a” user runs into trouble with Linux, he’ll complain: The software hasn’t met his standards, and he thinks he has a right to expect that standard. His mood won’t be improved when he gets sarcastic replies like “I’d demand a refund if I were you”

      So, to avoid problem #3a: Simply remember that you haven’t paid the developer who wrote the software or the people online who provide the tech support. They don’t owe you anything.

      Subproblem #3b: New vs. Old

      Linux pretty much started out life as a hacker’s hobby. It grew as it attracted more hobbyist hackers. It was quite some time before anybody but a geek stood a chance of getting a useable Linux installation working easily. Linux started out “By geeks, for geeks.” And even today, the majority of established Linux users are self-confessed geeks.

      And that’s a pretty good thing: If you’ve got a problem with hardware or software, having a large number of geeks available to work on the solution is a definite plus.

      But Linux has grown up quite a bit since its early days. There are distros that almost anybody can install, even distros that live on CDs and detect all your hardware for you without any intervention. It’s become attractive to non-hobbyist users who are just interested in it because it’s virus-free and cheap to upgrade. It’s not uncommon for there to be friction between the two camps. It’s important to bear in mind, however, that there’s no real malice on either side: It’s lack of understanding that causes the problems.

      Firstly, you get the hard-core geeks who still assume that everybody using Linux is a fellow geek. This means they expect a high level of knowledge, and often leads to accusations of arrogance, elitism, and rudeness. And in truth, sometimes that’s what it is. But quite often, it’s not: It’s elitist to say “Everybody ought to know this”. It’s not elitist to say “Everybody knows this” – quite the opposite.

      Secondly, you get the new users who’re trying to make the switch after a lifetime of using commercial OSes. These users are used to software that anybody can sit down & use, out-of-the-box.

      The issues arise because group 1 is made up of people who enjoy being able to tear their OS apart and rebuild it the way they like it, while group 2 tends to be indifferent to the way the OS works, so long as it does work.

      A parallel situation that can emphasize the problems is Lego. Picture the following:

      New: I wanted a new toy car, and everybody’s raving about how great Lego cars can be. So I bought some Lego, but when I got home, I just had a load of bricks and cogs and stuff in the box. Where’s my car??

      Old: You have to build the car out of the bricks. That’s the whole point of Lego.

      New: What?? I don’t know how to build a car. I’m not a mechanic. How am I supposed to know how to put it all together??

      Old: There’s a leaflet that came in the box. It tells you exactly how to put the bricks together to get a toy car. You don’t need to know how, you just need to follow the instructions.

      New: Okay, I found the instructions. It’s going to take me hours! Why can’t they just sell it as a toy car, instead of making you have to build it??

      Old: Because not everybody wants to make a toy car with Lego. It can be made into anything we like. That’s the whole point.

      New: I still don’t see why they can’t supply it as a car so people who want a car have got one, and other people can take it apart if they want to. Anyway, I finally got it put together, but some bits come off occasionally. What do I do about this? Can I glue it?
      Old: It’s Lego. It’s designed to come apart. That’s the whole point.

      New: But I don’t want it to come apart. I just want a toy car!
      Old: Then why on Earth did you buy a box of Lego??

      It’s clear to just about anybody that Lego is not really aimed at people who just want a toy car. You don’t get conversations like the above in real life. The whole point of Lego is that you have fun building it and you can make anything you like with it. If you’ve no interest in building anything, Lego’s not for you. This is quite obvious.

      As far as the long-time Linux user is concerned, the same holds true for Linux: It’s an open-source, fully-cusomizeable set of software. That’s the whole point. If you don’t want to hack the components a bit, why bother to use it?

      But there’s been a lot of effort lately to make Linux more suitable for the non-hackers, a situation that’s not a million miles away from selling pre-assembled Lego kits, in order to make it appeal to a wider audience. Hence you get conversations that aren’t far away from the ones above: Newcomers complain about the existence of what the established users consider to be fundamental features, and resent having the read a manual to get something working. But complaining that there are too many distros; or that software has too many configuration options; or that it doesn’t work perfectly out-of-the-box; is like complaining that Lego can be made into too many models, and not liking the fact that it can be broken down into bricks and built into many other things.

      So, to avoid problem #3b: Just remember that what Linux seems to be now is not what Linux was in the past. The largest and most necessary part of the Linux community, the hackers and the developers, like Linux because they can fit it together the way they like; they don’t like it in spite of having to do all the assembly before they can use it.

      Problem #4: Designed for the designer

      In the car industry, you’ll very rarely find that the person who designed the engine also designed the car interior: It calls for totally different skills. Nobody wants an engine that only looks like it can go fast, and nobody wants an interior that works superbly but is cramped and ugly. And in the same way, in the software industry, the user interface (UI) is not usually created by the people who wrote the software.

      In the Linux world, however, this is not so much the case: Projects frequently start out as one man’s toy. He does everything himself, and therefore the interface has no need of any kind of “user friendly” features: The user knows everything there is to know about the software, he doesn’t need help. Vi is a good example of software deliberately created for a user who already knows how it works: It’s not unheard of for new users to reboot their computers because they couldn’t figure out how else to get out of vi.

      However, there is an important difference between a FOSS programmer and most commercial software writers: The software a FOSS programmer creates is software that he intends to use. So whilst the end result might not be as ‘comfortable’ for the novice user, they can draw some comfort in knowing that the software is designed by somebody who knows what the end-users needs are: He too is an end-user. This is very different from commercial software writers, who are making software for other people to use: They are not knowledgeable end-users.

      So whilst vi has an interface that is hideously unfriendly to new users, it is still in use today because it is such a superb interface once you know how it works. Firefox was created by people who regularly browse the Web. The Gimp was built by people who use it to manipulate graphics files. And so on.

      So Linux interfaces are frequently a bit of a minefield for the novice: Despite its popularity, vi should never be considered by a new user who just wants to quickly make a few changes to a file. And if you’re using software early in its lifecycle, a polished, user-friendly interface is something you’re likely to find only in the “ToDo” list: Functionality comes first. Nobody designs a killer interface and then tries to add functionality bit by bit. They create functionality, and then improve the interface bit by bit.

      So to avoid #4 issues: Look for software that’s specifically aimed at being easy for new users to use, or accept that some software that has a steeper learning curve than you’re used to. To complain that vi isn’t friendly enough for new users is to be laughed at for missing the point.

      Problem #5: The myth of “user-friendly”

      This is a big one. It’s a very big term in the computing world, “user-friendly”. It’s even the name of a particularly good webcomic. But it’s a bad term.

      The basic concept is good: That software be designed with the needs of the user in mind. But it’s always addressed as a single concept, which it isn’t.
      If you spend your entire life processing text files, your ideal software will be fast and powerful, enabling you to do the maximum amount of work for the minimum amount of effort. Simple keyboard shortcuts and mouseless operation will be of vital importance.

      But if you very rarely edit text files, and you just want to write an occasional letter, the last thing you want is to struggle with learning keyboard shortcuts. Well-organized menus and clear icons in toolbars will be your ideal.

      Clearly, software designed around the needs of the first user will not be suitable for the second, and vice versa. So how can any software be called “user-friendly”, if we all have different needs?

      The simple answer: User-friendly is a misnomer, and one that makes a complex situation seem simple.

      What does “user-friendly” really mean? Well, in the context in which it is used, “user friendly” software means “Software that can be used to a reasonable level of competence by a user with no previous experience of the software.” This has the unfortunate effect of making lousy-but-familiar interfaces fall into the category of “user-friendly”.

      Subproblem #5a: Familar is friendly

      So it is that in most “user-friendly” text editors & word processors, you Cut and Paste by using Ctrl-X and Ctrl-V. Totally unintuitive, but everybody’s used to these combinations, so they count as a “friendly” combination.

      So when somebody comes to vi and finds that it’s “d” to cut, and “p” to paste, it’s not considered friendly: It’s not what anybody is used to.

      Is it superior? Well, actually, yes.

      With the Ctrl-X approach, how do you cut a word from the document you’re currently in? (No using the mouse!)
      From the start of the word, Ctrl-Shift-Right to select the word.
      Then Ctrl-X to cut it.

      The vi approach? dw deletes the word.

      How about cutting five words with a Ctrl-X application?
      From the start of the words, Ctrl-Shift-Right

      And with vi?


      The vi approach is far more versatile and actually more intuitive: “X” and “V” are not obvious or memorable “Cut” and “Paste” commands, whereas “dw” to delete a word, and “p” to put it back is perfectly straightforward. But “X” and “V” are what we all know, so whilst vi is clearly superior, it’s unfamiliar. Ergo, it is considered unfriendly. On no other basis, pure familiarity makes a Windows-like interface seem friendly. And as we learned in problem #1, Linux is necessarily different to Windows. Inescapably, Linux always appears less “user-friendly” than Windows.

      To avoid #5a problems, all you can really do is try and remember that “user-friendly” doesn’t mean “What I’m used to”: Try doing things your usual way, and if it doesn’t work, try and work out what a total novice would do.

      Subproblem #5b: Inefficient is friendly

      This is a sad but inescapable fact. Paradoxically, the harder you make it to access an application’s functionality, the friendlier it can seem to be.

      This is because friendliness is added to an interface by using simple, visible ‘clues’ – the more, the better. After all, if a complete novice to computers is put in front of a WYSIWYG word processor and asked to make a bit of text bold, which is more likely:

      * He’ll guess that “Ctrl-B” is the usual standard

      * He’ll look for clues, and try clicking on the “Edit” menu. Unsuccessful, he’ll try the next likely one along the row of menus: “Format”. The new menu has a “Font” option, which seems promising. And Hey! There’s our “Bold” option. Success!

      Next time you do any processing, try doing every job via the menus: No shortcut keys, and no toolbar icons. Menus all the way. You’ll find you slow to a crawl, as every task suddenly demands a multitude of keystrokes/mouseclicks.
      Making software “user-friendly” in this fashion is like putting training wheels on a bicycle: It lets you get up & running immediately, without any skill or experience needed. It’s perfect for a beginner. But nobody out there thinks that all bicycles should be sold with training wheels: If you were given such a bicycle today, I’ll wager the first thing you’d do is remove them for being unnecessary encumbrances: Once you know how to ride a bike, training wheels are unnecessary.

      And in the same way, a great deal of Linux software is designed without “training wheels” – it’s designed for users who already have some basic skills in place. After all, nobody’s a permanent novice: Ignorance is short-lived, and knowledge is forever. So the software is designed with the majority in mind.

      This might seem an excuse: After all, MS Word has all the friendly menus, and it has toolbar buttons, and it has shortcut keys. . . Best of all worlds, surely? Friendly and efficient.

      However, this has to be put into perspective: Firstly, the practicalities: having menus and toolbars and shortcuts and all would mean a lot of coding, and it’s not like Linux developers all get paid for their time. Secondly, it still doesn’t really take into account serious power-users: Very few professional wordsmiths use MS Word. Ever meet a coder who used MS Word? Compare that to how many use emacs & vi.

      Why is this? Firstly, because some “friendly” behaviour rules out efficient behaviour: See the “Cut&Copy” example above. And secondly, because most of Word’s functionality is buried in menus that you have to use: Only the most common functionality has those handy little buttons in toolbars at the top. The less-used functions that are still vital for serious users just take too long to access.

      Something to bear in mind, however, is that “training wheels” are often available as “optional extras” for Linux software: They might not be obvious, but frequently they’re available.

      Take mplayer. You use it to play a video file by typing mplayer filename in a terminal. You fastforward & rewind using the arrow keys and the PageUp & PageDown keys. This is not overly “user-friendly”. However, if you instead type gmplayer filename, you’ll get the graphical frontend, with all its nice, friendly , familiar buttons.

      Take ripping a CD to MP3 (or Ogg): Using the command-line, you need to use cdparanoia to rip the files to disc. Then you need an encoder. . . It’s a hassle, even if you know exactly how to use the packages (imho). So download & install something like Grip. This is an easy-to-use graphical frontend that uses cdparanoia and encoders behind-the-scenes to make it really easy to rip CDs, and even has CDDB support to name the files automatically for you.

      The same goes for ripping DVDs: The number of options to pass to transcode is a bit of a nightmare. But using dvd::rip to talk to transcode for you makes the whole thing a simple, GUI-based process which anybody can do.

      So to avoid #5b issues: Remember that “training wheels” tend to be bolt-on extras in Linux, rather than being automatically supplied with the main product. And sometimes, “training wheels” just can’t be part of the design.

      Problem #6: Imitation vs. Convergence

      An argument people often make when they find that Linux isn’t the Windows clone they wanted is to insist that this is what Linux has been (or should have been) attempting to be since it was created, and that people who don’t recognise this and help to make Linux more Windows-like are in the wrong. They draw on many arguments for this:

      Linux has gone from Command-Line- to Graphics-based interfaces, a clear attempt to copy Windows

      Nice theory, but false: The original X windowing system was released in 1984, as the successor to the W windowing system ported to Unix in 1983. Windows 1.0 was released in 1985. Windows didn’t really make it big until version 3, released in 1990 – by which time, X windows had for years been at the X11 stage we use today. Linux itself was only started in 1991. So Linux didn’t create a GUI to copy Windows: It simply made use of a GUI that existed long before Windows.

      Windows 3 gave way to Windows 95 – making a huge level of changes to the UI that Microsoft has never equalled since. It had many new & innovative features: Drag & drop functionality; taskbars, and so on. All of which have since been copied by Linux, of course.

      Actually. . . no. All the above existed prior to Microsoft making use of them. NeXTSTeP in particular was a hugely advanced (for the time) GUI, and it predated Win95 significantly – version 1 released in 1989, and the final version in 1995.

      Okay, okay, so Microsoft didn’t think up the individual features that we think of as the Windows Look-and-Feel. But it still created a Look-and-Feel, and Linux has been trying to imitate that ever since.

      To debunk this, one must discuss the concept of convergent evolution. This is where two completely different and independent systems evolve over time to become very similar. It happens all the time in biology. For example, sharks and dolphins. Both are (typically) fish-eating marine organisms of about the same size. Both have dorsal fins, pectoral fins, tail fins, and similar, streamlined shapes.

      However, sharks evolved from fish, while dolphins evolved from a land-based quadrupedal mammal of some sort. The reason they have very similar overall appearances is that they both evolved to be as efficient as possible at living within a marine environment. At no stage did pre-dolphins (the relative newcomers) look at sharks and think “Wow, look at those fins. They work really well. I’ll try and evolve some myself!”

      Similarly, it’s perfectly true to look at early Linux desktops and see FVWM and TWM and a lot of other simplistic GUIs. And then look at modern Linux desktops, and see Gnome & KDE with their taskbars and menus and eye-candy. And yes, it’s true to say that they’re a lot more like Windows than they used to be.

      But then, so is Windows: Windows 3.0 had no taskbar that I remember. And the Start menu? What Start menu?

      Linux didn’t have a desktop anything like modern Windows. Microsoft didn’t either. Now they both do. What does this tell us?

      It tells us that developers in both camps looked for ways of improving the GUI, and because there are only a limited number of solutions to a problem, they often used very similar methods. Similarity does not in any way prove or imply imitation. Remembering that will help you avoid straying into problem #6 territory.

      Problem #7: That FOSS thing.

      Oh, this causes problems. Not intrinsically: The software being free and open-source is a wonderful and immensely important part of the whole thing. But understanding just how different FOSS is from proprietary software can be too big an adjustment for some people to make.

      I’ve already mentioned some instances of this: People thinking they can demand technical support and the like. But it goes far beyond that.

      Microsoft’s Mission Statement is “A computer on every desktop” – with the unspoken rider that each computer should be running Windows. Microsoft and Apple both sell operating systems, and both do their utmost to make sure their products get used by the largest number of people: They’re businesses, out to make money.

      And then there is FOSS. Which, even today, is almost entirely non-commercial.

      Before you reach for your email client to tell me about Red Hat, Suse, Linspire and all: Yes, I know they “sell” Linux. I know they’d all love Linux to be adopted universally, especially their own flavour of it. But don’t confuse the suppliers with the manufacturers. The Linux kernel was not created by a company, and is not maintained by people out to make a profit with it. The GNU tools were not created by a company, and are not maintained by people out to make a profit with them. The X11 windowing system. . . well, the most popular implementation is xorg right now, and the “.org” part should tell you all you need to know. Desktop software: Well, you might be able to make a case for KDE being commercial, since it’s Qt-based. But Gnome, Fluxbox, Enlightenment, etc. are all non-profit. There are people out to sell Linux, but they are very much the minority.

      Increasing the number of end-users of proprietary software leads to a direct financial benefit to the company that makes it. This is simply not the case for FOSS: There is no direct benefit to any FOSS developer in increasing the userbase. Indirect benefits, yes: Personal pride; an increased potential for finding bugs; more likelihood of attracting new developers; possibly a chance of a good job offer; and so on.

      But Linus Torvalds doesn’t make money from increased Linux usage. Richard Stallman doesn’t get money from increased GNU usage. All those servers running OpenBSD and OpenSSH don’t put a penny into the OpenBSD project’s pockets. And so we come to the biggest problem of all when it comes to new users and Linux:

      They find out they’re not wanted.

      New users come to Linux after spending their lives using an OS where the end-user’s needs are paramount, and “user friendly” and “customer focus” are considered veritable Holy Grails. And they suddenly find themselves using an OS that still relies on ‘man’ files, the command-line, hand-edited configuration files, and Google. And when they complain, they don’t get coddled or promised better things: They get bluntly shown the door.

      That’s an exaggeration, of course. But it is how a lot of potential Linux converts perceived things when they tried and failed to make the switch.

      In an odd way, FOSS is actually a very selfish development method: People only work on what they want to work on, when they want to work on it. Most people don’t see any need to make Linux more attractive to inexperienced end-users: It already does what they want it to do, why should they care if it doesn’t work for other people?

      FOSS has many parallels with the Internet itself: You don’t pay the writer of a webpage/the software to download and read/install it. Ubiquitous broadband/User-friendly interfaces are of no great interest to somebody who already has broadband/knows how to use the software. Bloggers/developers don’t need to have lots of readers/users to justify blogging/coding. There are lots of people making lots of money off it, but it’s not by the old-fashioned “I own this and you have to pay me if you want some of it” method that most businesses are so enamoured of; it’s by providing services like tech-support/e-commerce.

      Linux is not interested in market share. Linux does not have customers. Linux does not have shareholders, or a responsibility to the bottom line. Linux was not created to make money. Linux does not have the goal of being the most popular and widespread OS on the planet.

      All the Linux community wants is to create a really good, fully-featured, free operating system. If that results in Linux becoming a hugely popular OS, then that’s great. If that results in Linux having the most intuitive, user-friendly interface ever created, then that’s great. If that results in Linux becoming the basis of a multi-billion dollar industry, then that’s great.

      It’s great, but it’s not the point. The point is to make Linux the best OS that the community is capable of making. Not for other people: For itself. The oh-so-common threats of “Linux will never take over the desktop unless it does such-and-such” are simply irrelevant: The Linux community isn’t trying to take over the desktop. They really don’t care if it gets good enough to make it onto your desktop, so long as it stays good enough to remain on theirs. The highly-vocal MS-haters, pro-Linux zealots, and money-making FOSS purveyors might be loud, but they’re still minorities.

      That’s what the Linux community wants: an OS that can be installed by whoever really wants it. So if you’re considering switching to Linux, first ask yourself what you really want.

      If you want an OS that doesn’t chauffeur you around, but hands you the keys, puts you in the driver’s seat, and expects you to know what to do: Get Linux. You’ll have to devote some time to learning how to use it, but once you’ve done so, you’ll have an OS that you can make sit up and dance.

      If you really just want Windows without the malware and security issues: Read up on good security practices; install a good firewall, malware-detector, and anti-virus; replace IE with a more secure browser; and keep yourself up-to-date with security updates. There are people out there (myself included) who’ve used Windows since 3.1 days right through to XP without ever being infected with a virus or malware: you can do it too. Don’t get Linux: It will fail miserably at being what you want it to be.

      If you really want the security and performance of a Unix-based OS but with a customer-focussed attitude and an world-renowned interface: Buy an Apple Mac. OS X is great. But don’t get Linux: It will not do what you want it to do.

      It’s not just about “Why should I want Linux?”. It’s also about “Why should Linux want me?”

      Originally posted at:

      • #3202302

        Now that was

        by tony hopkinson ·

        In reply to Rickk,

        f’ing good.

        10 / 10

      • #3219547


        by stress junkie ·

        In reply to Rickk,

        The post made several points that I had never thought of.

        • #3219477

          and, to top it off

          by jaqui ·

          In reply to Excellent

          It’s not a rude or antagonistic post.

          The website given has had that up for a while, and it was wrtten to point out the differences without being insulting.

      • #3219456


        by gsquared ·

        In reply to Rickk,

        This is, simply put, the best-thought-out, most well-written piece I’ve ever seen on the subject at hand.

        Thank you for bringing it to my attention.

        (Personally, I consider the last argument the most important and would have put it at the top of the article, but it works as-is.)

        Of course, the author shows his own bias in assuming the Linux community is in any way monolithic. If enough people want Linux to work like Windows/OSX, those people will certainly do so, without regard to whether this author thinks they ought to or not, but I think the author would understand that. It would negate/reduce a few of his statements, but they would still be, in general, basically true.

        Again, thank you for posting this. Made me rethink a few things.

        • #3219346


          by jaqui ·

          In reply to Wow!

          if it’s the best thought out and well written piece then there can’t be quibbles 😉

          I do agree, it’s the best explanation of the differences, and the different goals of open source operating systems and commercial operating systems that has been written to date.

          they did create a distro that looks and operates like both osx and windows, Ubuntu and Kubuntu repsectively.
          They adopted the critically flawed disabled root account regular user admin model that MS’ products have proven is a critical security flaw. Yet they think it’s a great improvement to the linux os.. to make it as vulnerable to exploitation as windows.

      • #3219287

        Excellent post

        by kiltie ·

        In reply to Rickk,

        Kept me busy a while while I go through my massive network rebuild. (more on that later, in another thread)

        I think this ought to be an article, not a post, or maybe as a series of articles, it is so large.

        [b]@PTB? how about that idea?[/b]

        Great stuff mf, mucho kudos to you

        thanks J

        • #3219245


          by jaqui ·

          In reply to Excellent post

          I’m not the author of the post content.

          I wish I had written it, but I didn’t. 😀

        • #3219216

          np, I found it

          by kiltie ·

          In reply to hey

          (courtesy of Col)

          but the credit goes to you for passing it on my friend.

          😀 😀

      • #2481281

        Read this and take it on board

        by j-mart ·

        In reply to Rickk,

        This artical / post indicates how pointless the old Linux – Windows flame really is

    • #3219539

      This guy is a Troll

      by kiltie ·

      In reply to Is the Linux Desktop Dead?


      Title of thread:

      [b]Is the Linux Desktop Dead?[/b]

      Quote from a post of his here:

      [b][i]And believe me, this isn’t one of my normal anti-Linux rants[/i][/b]

      I wonder what his [b][i]normal anti-Linux rants[/i][/b] are like?

      nah, don’t wanna go there either, got better things to do….. (like checking out Vanessa’s tattooed notes)


      • #3219530

        Not a Troll

        by rkuhn040172 ·

        In reply to This guy is a Troll

        Just opened a discussion up about a story in the media.

        I thought Jaqui’s article was quite good. I’ve always thought Tony’s comments were very good as well.

        The problem is when extremists from either side, Windows or Linux, make crazy statements.

        For example, concerning the differences between Linux and Windows. There are signficant differences and to deny that is foolish. The learning curve for a Windows user to learn Linux is huge.

        So, the Linux user comes back with the reply that the learning curve isn’t bad for non-Windows users or non-PC users.

        Well, that’s just not reality. 80-90% of the desktop market is Windows. If Linux is ever going to grow into a significant market share, they must convert exist Windows users or wait until they die.

        You can’t have it both ways.

        Even while I have major differences of opinion with Jaqui or say Tony, their responses are typically much more thought out and well meaning.

        For example, Jaqui’s article said something to the effect of if Linux gains market share on the desktop…great…if not, oh well because Linux is about Linux and not a business adventure.

        I understand that perfectly fine and have no problems with it.

        But then enter the Linux zealots who think that Linux is taking the world by storm. Ain’t happening anytime soon on the desktop.

        Quite frankly, I get tired of the media giving so much attention and time to an OS that has such a tiny market share. I’m glad Linux is around to help keep Microsoft honest, but really, there are more OSX desktops out there than Linux desktops yet the number of media stories about Linux is multiple fold more than the number of stories about the Mac.

        I respect and understand certain aspects of Linux such as some of the points in Jaqui’s article. Like flexibility, the ability to modify things…aka the whole damn Lego example 🙂

        But my point with this discussion and the point of the business leaders in the original story is this:

        The goal of Linux, the pro’s, the benefits, the xxx are great, but is that (Linux) what businesses (because that was the point of the article…Linux on the business desktop) really want, need, expect, etc?

        No one is doubting the benefits or accomplishments of Linux. But the question remains the same. Is Linux really what the business world wants or needs (in it’s current form) on their desktops?

        Where is the AD like capabilities in Linux? And I grow tired of the FF vs IE argument as well. Where is the AD like functionality for me to control FF like I can control IE thru group policies?

        Again, I’m not questioning or attacking Linux at all. I simple put the question forward, “Is Linux really ready for the business desktop?” And by ready, I mean in large numbers. Used by small and large shops alike. Used by advanced PC users as well as people like Grandma. What to do about the custom apps writing purely for Windows. Etc Etc Etc

        • #3216394

          My apologies mf

          by kiltie ·

          In reply to Not a Troll

          You are not a Troll Rikk, I realise that now, but what you are doing is similar to troll methods, so it stymied me a moment.

          But your agenda was different, it was to promote discussion.

          It has opened up a lively debate, hasn’t it?

      • #3219522

        Kiltie needs meds adjusted?

        by scifiman ·

        In reply to This guy is a Troll

        Kiltie has time to insult someone, but once again is unable to put together a rational paragraph stating an opinion with some solid facts to back up that opinion. Don’t even post if you can’t contribute.

        • #3219290

          no need to be rude

          by kiltie ·

          In reply to Kiltie needs meds adjusted?

          If you do so, you destroy any validity to any points you want to make.

          May I repeat, that my point related to his confession to be an anti linux person, and that he normally posted that way, yet he opened this thread purely in order to do that.

          Hence a Troll.

          Nope, not insulting, merely clarifying, as later posts show, he has been around before.

        • #3216407

          You should see some of my posts.

          by stress junkie ·

          In reply to Kiltie needs meds adjusted?

          I don’t think that Kiltie’s post deserved that critique. If you want to see what can happen when meds aren’t working look at some of my posts. 😀

        • #3216401

          Who Needs Meds

          by rkuhn040172 ·

          In reply to You should see some of my posts.

          Hell, you should read some of my posts when I haven’t had a cigarette recently. 🙂

        • #3216395


          by kiltie ·

          In reply to Kiltie needs meds adjusted?

          Yes I take meds, maybe they need adjusting too.
          Perhaps you meant that as a joke? (I hope so) or as an insult? (I hope not)

          However it is true….

          I am registered disabled on 3 counts, but I still try and help the community.

          I consider my disabilities private and personal, but no secret, I would rather be judged as a peer.

          [b]So please do not mock afflicted people, I feel that we still have a lot to contribute.[/b]

          Feel better now?

      • #3219475

        ~chuckle~ I wouldn’t say that.

        by jaqui ·

        In reply to This guy is a Troll

        I have gotten into some of rickk’s more “normal” linux rants with him, this is actually a reasonable discussion 🙂

        • #3279743

          Yeah, this is rational.

          by charliespencer ·

          In reply to ~chuckle~ I wouldn’t say that.

          Some of rickk’s earlier posts were real charcoal starter. Although I still question the bias of someone with a “No penguins” avatar.

      • #3219450

        Well he’s actually becoming quite reasonable

        by tony hopkinson ·

        In reply to This guy is a Troll

        In the Past Rikk has been a target for a polite verbal kicking off a few of us and of course some less polite ones. 😀

        We appear to be getting through to him, a year or so ago he would have smashed his PC to bits rather than put linux on it 😀

      • #3216413

        Good discussion. Rickk is not a troll.

        by stress junkie ·

        In reply to This guy is a Troll

        I think that rickk’s reference to his own posts as anti Linux rants is a humorous characterization. Rickk has his point of view and his reasons supporting that view. Discussions like this one are helpful to everyone. Linux and Unix fans have their opinions challenged and have to rethink their position. At the same time we get to express our opinions and challenge rickk’s positions. Everyone wins.

        Even though I am a fan of Linux I have never taken the position that it is really good. I am a very reluctant fan of Unix and Linux. In fact, back in the 1980’s when I was running VMS machines I was one of the people who used to consider Unix the most successful computer virus ever written because people paid to obtain and install it on their computers. Unix doesn’t come anywhere near the excellence in design of DEC VMS. However these days the discussion is between Unix and Linux vs. Windows. There is plenty of room for discussion because there is no clear winner.

        A discussion like this one gives us all a chance to think.

        • #3216397

          Good point

          by kiltie ·

          In reply to Good discussion. Rickk is not a troll.

          However Rikk is still trolling, it is an excellent go at provoking discussion.

          He doesn’t seem to mind (see his post above), my comments are not intended to be insults, merely an observation, and most seem to realise that.

          Good thread Rikk, I wanted to alert the more gullible of the members…..

          *** wink ***

        • #3216345

          Nice Parsing of Words

          by rkuhn040172 ·

          In reply to Good point

          You say now that I’m not a troll, I’m just merely trolling.

          No one here seems to agree with you.

          Once again, the discussion isn’t about the technical merits of Linux or Windows, it’s about what will it take to get Linux on more desktops?

          Linux is undeniably successful, but again the question remains, what will it take to become more widely used?

          Is it enough to grow at the current pace or is there something out there that will accelerate (or even decelerate) it’s rate of grow?

        • #3216343

          What will get it on more desktops?

          by jaqui ·

          In reply to Nice Parsing of Words

          How about enforcing the anti monopoly laws and making system manufacturers and vendors offer linux desktops as well as windows desktops?

          until you can walk into any retail outlet and see linux desktops on display, it will not get the rapid growth that will push ms into really working on improving their products.

        • #3216312

          I Have No Problem w/ That

          by rkuhn040172 ·

          In reply to What will get it on more desktops?

          But what then happens if they don’t sell well?

          For example, the version of XP in Europe that doesn’t include Windows Media Player. Doesn’t sell well.

          The court thought they were doing the right thing, and they may have or may not have, but still in the end, the consumer chose not to purchase it (rightfully or wrongfully).

          How long do you offer a product that doesn’t sell…or maybe it does sell and my point is mute.

          Of course, in the end the answer maybe to start selling PC kiosks like. Have the hardware installed, pre-configured, etc and have the OS “customizable”.

          You purchase the PC say at a retailer taking the hardware as-is and then they burn a CD/DVD of your OS of choice at the point of sale.

          Seems to me I read an article about this sometime recently. The OS, unlike the hardware, doesn’t have to be pre-package in ahead of time yet the product could still be purchased and taken home that day with a choice of OS.

        • #3216297

          Assertions only

          by kiltie ·

          In reply to I Have No Problem w/ That

          [b][i]For example, the version of XP in Europe that doesn’t include Windows Media Player. Doesn’t sell well.[/i][/b]

          From what source are you getting that info? The Daily Mail?

          Are you inferring that a Windows product without Media sells poorly? or that one with it does? As I understand it isn’t any extra on the price, if anyone bought Operating Systems on their own.

          I suggest that you made it up.

          Let’s assume a domestic consumer, for now, to simplify things.

          Does anyone buy XP? Usually they buy a computer that has an OS on it already to use, they never go shopping just for an operating system.

          And no, I don’t have facts to base that on, just talking common sense.

          Imagine this scenario, if you will (in the near future, to include Vista).

          A reasonably priced entry level Desktop system is being offered for sale at a major retail outlet, good price at $300, so the ordinary lay customer thinks.

          However no OS. So he can’t use it immediately.

          However, the salesman says, in addition to this latest high tech computer we offer a choice of Operating Systems:

          Microsoft Vista Ultimate/Superb/ da bestest in da wurld at [b]$399[/b]

          Or a Linux, most of which [b]are free[/b]. This Ubuntu has a pretty Desktop wallpaper……

          I am not making any decision here, what is a non techie customer going to choose?

          One method doubles the cost, another is “free” and looks nice.

          No contest in my opinion

          [b][i]When you remove the Operating System from the Computer, sell them separately and [u]not make it inclusive,[/u] there may be some real decision making going on.[/i][/b]

        • #3216264

          Kiltie, Kiltie, Kiltie

          by tony hopkinson ·

          In reply to I Have No Problem w/ That

          You are trying to put MS out of business!
          Let’s see you can have have this windows one and lease the OS for an extra 300, or you can have this one.

          Can you imagine the sales and revenue graphs in Bill’s office, They’d have to dig a hole in his floor 😀

        • #3216205

          Sales for Windows XP ‘N’

          by rkuhn040172 ·

          In reply to I Have No Problem w/ That

          Unfortunately, I didn’t make up those sales figures.

          Here’s from Microsoft’s website:

          A link from WindowITPro:

          I could give more, but essentially the argument is one of two.

          First, Windows XP ‘N’ cost the same as as the real thing so why get less and pay the same.

          Second, people have grown accustomed to Windows Media Player, use it, and like it.

          The consumer has spoken. They want the full version regardless of what the European commission says or thinks they want.

          Now, I don’t doubt some of your others assertations, however, you directly challenged me on the sales figures for Windows XP ‘N’ and I have provided proof.

          I’m sure that since you disagree with me, somehow you’ll find a way to deny the reality that Windows XP ‘N’ isn’t selling or question my sources, but just because you disagree with something, you can’t deny reality.

          Virtually anyone who works in IT knows that Windows XP ‘N’ has been a miserable failure.

        • #3279581

          Or that either…

          by skipplummer ·

          In reply to I Have No Problem w/ That

          I’ve been online since ’93 and when I buy a new computer today that is a prerequisite; that it have no OS pre-installed. That has always left me free to use the MS, Ubuntu or Xandros OS of my choosing. It’s been working for me. There are still many online vendors where it’s possible to by a completely new machine with no OS installed. comes to mind as one of them.

        • #3216311


          by rkuhn040172 ·

          In reply to What will get it on more desktops?

          I agree with your point of “enforcing the anti monopoly laws”, however, I really don’t like your choice of words (you may have done it inadvertently) when you said “making system manufacturers and vendors offer linux desktops”.

          You can’t “make” a manufacturer or vendor offer something that they don’t want to offer.

          You can level the playing field, you can eliminate shady business practices, you can break up monopolies, etc but you can’t force or make someone sell something that they don’t want to sell assuming they are making the offerings legally.

          Which is what I think you were getting at. They aren’t making those choice decisions legally. There are entirely too many “gotcha’s”.

          But if they were to, you can’t force or make a manufacturer or vendor do something they have chosen not to do.

          If what they are doing is legal, which again I think you were implying what they do today isn’t or shouldn’t be legal (which I’d have to agree with), but if what they are doing is legal, you can’t force them to do something.

        • #3216270


          by jaqui ·

          In reply to Also

          it’s MS that has them locked into including windows installed on every system they sell.
          the contract that gives them a cheap cost per unit for windows requires windows to be installed on every system or they lose the price deal.

          and if one major manufacturer was taken to court for promoting a monopoly by only offering windows systems then you have forced all manufacturers to offer os options

          one retail chain taken to court for promoting a monopoly by not offering systems with other os options would make retailers harass the manufacturers to supply the options.

          people can’t choose if they don’t see the options.

          enforcing the anti monopoly laws would force both retailers and manfucaturers to offer the options, so you can “force” the offer the option on them, by enforcing existing laws.

        • #3216209

          Once Again, I Agree Mostly But Still Disagree

          by rkuhn040172 ·

          In reply to Also

          I agree that MS uses some shady tactics that at times border on illegal and at other times is probably out and out illegal.

          However, two things. One, if what you’re saying is so true and clear cut, why hasn’t it happened yet?

          Two, price deals and exclusivity deals are made all the time in the real world and not just by MS.

          One of the strongest selling points for Linux is it is “free” and available to all with an internet connection and/or mail (and even sometimes like Ubuntu they’ll pay the shipping for you too).

          I’m just not 100% sure that forcing manufacturers or retailers is the way to go.

        • #2481254

          At current growth

          by dumphrey ·

          In reply to Nice Parsing of Words

          Linux will slowly gain ground on the desktop front. Microsoft on the other hand, has very little ground to gain. China and India seem to be its 2 current push markets. As the Top of the pack, MS really has no where to go but down. Be that next year or 50 years from now.

          So, I am content with Linux continuing its current slow creep into the desktop market.
          as for accelerating its growth, ajax and other technologies developing platform independent applications could be a big boost. Why pay $200 or $300 per seat if all you need is stable web browsing?

    • #3288737

      What about Longhorn

      by sysadminii ·

      In reply to Is the Linux Desktop Dead?

      It’s ironic that you speak of the Linux desktop being dead. I just read an article on Longhorn and it appears they are taking a Linux approach to the next release of Windows by offering the shell install and forgetting the GUI to cut down on resources being used. That sounds almost like a “shell”…hmmmmm. Can everyone say it with me..”shell”. It sounds like Microsoft is copying Linux…I am sure we can get a copyright lawsuit out of that like Microsoft always wants to do.

      • #3288699

        Two Points

        by rkuhn040172 ·

        In reply to What about Longhorn

        First off, you already crossed a line that I didn’t in regards to this thread.

        1) we are talking about the desktop here not servers

        2) we aren’t debating the technical merits of each respective OS

        I purposely asked the question this way. We are only dealing with the desktop and we are only dealing with the acceptance of Linux as a desktop replacement for Windows as the article suggest.

        I concede many, many technical aspects to Linux. It is superior in many ways but all OS’s have their strengths and weaknesses.

        What I was discussing was what is it going to take to get Linux on more desktops? Business desktops in particular but home users as well.

        Linux is growing like a weed, but even if the weed triples in size from 1 inch to 3 inches, it still is competing in the shadow of Windows (on the desktop) which would compare more to a small tree. That tree isn’t growing anymore but it’s still a tree.

    • #2484001

      What needs to happen

      by techrepublic ·

      In reply to Is the Linux Desktop Dead?

      I am trying my hardest (over several months) to move from Windoze to Linux and am finding it very challenging. The only reason that I am spending the time that I am is because of security. In particular, the lack of in Win$.

      My choice is to spend a lot of my time working on Windows security for my several computers (at home and at office) or spend that time learning Linux. I feel, though I vacillate, that this will be a good investment over time.

      I can see a huge difference between Ubunutu 5.04 and 6.06 and I hope that these constant improvements will continue. In particular, I hope to see it become easier to install hardware. It usually takes days or weeks for me to get a new device installed, and without forum help would not have lasted one day!

      The beginning Linux user faces an uphill battle with a lot of techincal documentation and forum help that is not always very helpful. I have used Windows forums for years and find forum replies to be fast and usually tailored to the original poster’s level of understanding. As a result the learning curve is very fast.

      By contrast, Linux forum replies range from none to slow to dismissive to contemputous to technical to helpful in the extreme. I take full responsibility for my sometimes clueless posts and am very grateful for any help, even if I feel somewhat worse for wear afterward. While all those who reply are to be commended for their time, the helpfulness of some of these replies is sometimes quite limited to the Linux Newbie. (Caveat, some are truly outstanding in their helpfulness.)

      Please do not misunderstand. I am not complaining, far from it, rather simply trying to compare the helpfulness of replies in the two O/S forums. If you take anything away from this post, I hope it will be to keep it in mind when you are kind enough to help someone in need. Please do so in language that is likely to be understood by the poster and that will encourage them to perservere through what is sufficiently difficult to make a far too high percentage of the Newbies give up and go back to Windoze.

      So until Windoze vastly improves its very poor security, Linux is going to attract those like me who have had enough of the W$ security treadmill. I just hope that hardware installation will get up to the same level of ease as for software.

      Thanks again to all who do give their very valuable time to assist us newbies.

      • #2767039

        Since December 2006 a Lot has Changed

        by samuel c. ·

        In reply to What needs to happen

        a) The failure of Vista.
        b) Big improvements in Linux Distro’s.
        I started with Ubuntu 5.04, Now 8.10.
        Mandrake 2005 to Mandriva 2007.
        Open Suse 11
        Fedora 7.
        c) Hardware and Flash Memory.
        d) Popular Sub Notebooks, Cost Less and work Better with Linux. (or Win XP, not Vista)
        e) The move from Unix to Linux on the Largest Systems.
        On the Other Hand integration needs improving.

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