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Where does Linux go from here?

By Joe Barr on October 20, 2007 (2:00:00 PM)

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Linux is now mainstream -- so mainstream, in fact, that two of the top three Linux distributions are commercially successful operations, and the third aims to be. Every day, more and more old-school IT firms shake off their initial doubts, get in line behind their customers, and try Linux and other free software projects. In the face of such success, will Linux remain true to its free software ideals and to the community which created it? Or will it morph into a corporate byproduct, driven by the bottom line, and complacent with all forms of predatory intellectual property (IP), including software patents and closed, proprietary standards which are standard fare in the IT industry.

Red Hat is the most successful commercial distribution of Linux. It has refined the model of selling services, not software, to the nth degree. Michael Tiemann, the man who first viewed the GPL as a business plan rather than a license, brought that model with him when Red Hat bought the firm he founded, Cygnus, which was the first successful open source company. Red Hat has been successful without selling out its beliefs in open source and free software. It puts its money where its mouth is on issues such as software patents, open standards, and the OLPC project.

In terms of revenue, Novell is Red Hat's largest competitor, and while it now owns the SUSE name and distribution, it's more of an old-school proprietary software firm than a Linux company. Novell's deal with Microsoft has chafed many in the free software community, who view the deal as a sell-out. In its defense, such contracts have long been common in the software industry. All of Novell's PR problems around the deal reflect the difference in how business is done in corporate boardrooms versus how business is done in the bazaar, where profits are welcome but sharing is the sustaining ethic rather than the secrecy of closed source and the chains of IP. But the deal has also given Novell new blood, new cash, and a certain cachet in those boardrooms where legalistic bombasticism is an accepted fact of life.

Ubuntu, however, looms on the horizon. Its popularity in the Linux community is booming among those who choose Linux for their computing platform rather than use it because it's required by their job. That popularity -- Mark Shuttlesworth estimated this week that there are six million Ubuntu users today -- comes partly because it is free-as-in-beer as well as free-as-in-speech, but more importantly because it delivers what users want on their desktops. Ubuntu excels in multimedia capabilities and wireless compatibility by offering "non-free" device drivers for use with the click of a button. While Red Hat and Novell focus on pleasing pointy-haired bosses, Ubuntu focuses on personal desktops. The Ubuntu approach is proving an important barometer for just how much "non-free" software is acceptable to the community in a Linux distribution.

The other Linux distributions, whether community or commercially driven, pale in significance to the top three. Yes, Debian is important and unique, Mandriva is still kicking, and Linspire lives on. So do hundreds of other distributions. But none of them belongs at the same table as the big three, based on popularity of their desktops. While some would argue that distros like Xandros and Linspire are key for corporate acceptance of Linux on the desktop, they pale in significance when their revenues or usage is compared to Ubuntu, Novell, or Red Hat.

Old-school IT

Linux is surrounded by proprietary IT firms. Some of them view Linux as a profit maker, others as a threat to their profits. Both sides represent a challenge for Linux in holding to its ideals of freedom and openess.

The first large IT firm to really grok Linux was IBM. It has a long and mutually beneficial association with Linux, Apache, and other FOSS projects. The company has learned the language and the mores of the FOSS world, and has made significant code contributions as part of those projects along the way.

One of the reasons that IBM began to embrace Linux -- which it described as a "disruptive technology" -- was because it wanted to shake things up at Microsoft. Linux gave Big Blue a chance to regain some clout in the world of operating systems, something it lost after it abandoned OS/2.

One of the positive results of this alliance of the IBM boardroom and the Linux bazaar has been new life for and new profits from IBM's mainframes. Yes, IBM has driven some kernel changes for their own benefit. That is just as it is supposed to be with Linux development. If you want the software to do something differently than it currently does, you code it and you submit it to the maintainers. Over time, many of your changes end up in the kernel. IBM has accomplished its goals without trying to destroy the fabric of the community or stage a junta to replace Linux creator Linus Torvalds.

Hewlett-Packard, Intel, and AMD are other proprietary IT firms that arrived at the party early. Google's incredible financial success owes a great deal to its choice of Linux as the platform for its servers. Even Dell, once loyal only to Intel and Microsoft, is dabbling again with Linux, and apparently going to expand its Linux offerings. Oracle, believe it or not, plans to create a distribution of its own.

By contrast we have SCO and Microsoft. SCO thought it could get rich through litigation, and if it destroyed Linux along the way, well, sorry, but that's the nature of corporate warfare and collateral damages. But even with financial backing from Microsoft, it appears the only thing SCO has destroyed is itself.

Microsoft is drawn to Linux like a moth to a flame. It doesn't want to get too close, but it just can't stay away, not with so much money in play. All of Microsoft's attention to Linux, however, has been negative, attempting to stifle its continued growth. Microsoft has not come to praise Linux, but to bury it -- to to try to bury it, anyway, with advertising campaigns, by funding for SCO's litigation efforts, and by calling it communism or a cancer. It's the money that drives Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to utter such complete drivel that the entire Microsoft public relations machine is thrown into chaos trying to do damage control.

The most powerful influences on Linux in the group? IBM, no doubt, is on top. Google is probably second, not only by illustrating the power of Linux, but by generating enormous profits thanks to the cost savings which come as a result of using it. Microsoft, now lurking in the shadows while it plans its next assault, is third in influence, even though all of its efforts have negative rather than positive.

The next step

Red Hat and Novell should both continue to thrive, with each appealing to a slightly different customer base: Novell will benefit from its deal with Microsoft among firms who fear a legal assault from Microsoft, while Red Hat will win with firms that choose vendors based on technological merits and those seeking freedom from monopolistic vendors. The irony is that both offer a better solution at a lower cost than Microsoft.

Ubuntu is going to have to get serious about its commercial operation one of these days. Even someone as rich as founder Mark Shuttlesworth cannot continue to fund its development forever without a revenue stream -- perhaps through deals with OEMs such as Dell, perhaps by following the Red Hat lead and selling subscriptions for support to casual and corporate users. However that plays out, it can't help but impact the Red Hat and Novell side of the equation If Ubuntu succeeds commercially, it will be as a major player, eating a large slice of the available market pie. If Ubuntu fails commercially, its will create a vacuum that Red Hat and Novell might fill.

Microsoft might become an even larger influence on Linux than it is today. What if, for example, Microsoft decided to plop a new GUI atop the Linux kernel and enter the fray with its own version of Linux? The company has never been shy about copying success demonstrated elsewhere, and Apple has done very well doing exactly that with BSD.

Such a move could solve a couple of problems for Microsoft. It has never really been very good at developing operating systems, and a move like that could not only free it from that chore, but provide a new basis for maintaining monopoly control over Microsoft Office: the GUI itself. Imagine the corporate appeal of a robust and secure Linux distribution coupled with 100% Microsoft Office and back office compatibility.

It's a given that Microsoft will continue to use the same tactics it has used all along -- disinformation, saber-rattling, and duplicitous advertising -- despite the fact that those tactics are not working, as witness the failed SCO attack. My bet is that Microsoft will opt to get into the Linux business while the company still matters, and that it will be no more trustworthy once it does than it is today.

Linux and free software are here to stay. No single commercial firm will ever control the Linux ecosystem like Microsoft has the rest of the software industry. Though both may prosper, the bazaar will outlive the boardrooms, and Linux popularity will continue to grow on servers, desktops, appliances, and embedded devices.

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on Where does Linux go from here?

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Where does Linux go from here?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 74.95.127.142] on October 18, 2007 10:21 PM
how did you write this article on the 20th? it's only the 18th... m$ft taints any pool its in, so maybe it's time for ol me to switch to bsd. i don't think it'll happen though; microshaft has too much tied up in its IP to jump ship now. on the other hand, perhaps the novell deal was just a way of dealing with a reality wherein they'd already used linux code..

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Re: Where does Linux go from here?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 91.106.217.92] on October 20, 2007 07:43 PM
Don't be so sure. Because Linux can be split into three components. the kernel, the desktop and the Window manager, there is not very much stopping Microsoft using say the Kernel, and providing it's own X11 and window manager which would be totally closed, Thus keeping their treasured IP.

They could also expand into the Linux market for business with a Microsoft Linux version of Office that would only run on their version of the os This would maintain their monopoly, and they could eventually cut the resource hungry Windows lines for business and concentrate on Office and other markets where they are making money.

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Re(1): Where does Linux go from here?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 83.56.144.92] on October 22, 2007 09:13 PM
They don't need to do so. They already have a suscessor or Windows, developed by their research center and don't understimate it, it is really cool, nothing to do with this crap of windows. The problem to MS is that it isn't compatible with windows applications, BUT will be compatible with .Net. I bet that in some 3 years, they will quitly kill windows.

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Where does Linux go from here?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 213.84.183.106] on October 20, 2007 04:35 PM
Why is it that any success or main-streamism is [or can] only be measured by money ?
But then again people do sell out for a buck.
C

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Where does Linux go from here?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 80.108.103.172] on October 20, 2007 06:08 PM
Boy, sorry if it offends you but i found this article BAD.

I, as an advanced user, do not care at all about commercial enterprises.
Really, they can all go to hell for as much as I care.
And if that means some things wont be maintained, I neither care.

There are so many hobby workers anyway, their work gets overshadowed by the
enterprise guys that continually make PR of how great Linux is, instead of just
really WORKING on the problems that make it SUCK in some areas...

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Re: Where does Linux go from here?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 82.69.130.94] on October 20, 2007 11:40 PM
Indeed, we should measure the success of GNU/Linux systems by how much we can do with free software, not by how much money RedHat is making - rms makes this point at http://resources.zdnet.co.uk/articles/comment/0,1000002985,39118891,00.htm

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Microsoft Linux?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 71.123.93.126] on October 20, 2007 06:09 PM
There would be so many gotchyas in it that it would drive people foolish enough to try it to a real Linux. Another words it would make a brief but nice stepping stone to Linux. Not a bad idea.

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Re: Microsoft Linux?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 68.243.205.207] on October 21, 2007 08:10 PM
There is already a version of Microsoft Linux...it's called Novell / SuSE

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Where does Linux go from here?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 71.131.180.11] on October 20, 2007 10:23 PM
Microsoft Office is their cash cow and it relies utterly on the Windows kernel. Trying to put their Explorer GUI and Office on top of Linux, while easier than continually developing their own kernel, would be a major task.

And then they would be in the same position the Windows fanboys accuse OpenOffice of being in - if it's indistinguishable from Linux, why not use Linux?

The main advantage to them would be that they could offer a cheaper OS to corporations while not forcing the corporations to retrain everybody currently using Office to use another office suite. But how much cheaper would Microsoft be able to sell an MS-Linux? Not much - especially if they intended to jack up the price anyway, since greed is Bill's watchword in life. The fact it costs them less to maintain a Linux kernel than an MS one doesn't lead me to believe that Bill will charge any less for it.

I don't see it happening until Microsoft is already so on the ropes from Linux's advance that it won't matter what they do, anyway. It would be a PR disaster to abandon the MS kernel for Linux. It would be an admission of utter failure on the part of MS to be an OS company - an admission long overdue, but nonetheless a PR disaster.

Linux, however, will not penetrate corporations on the desktop until corporate inertia and incompetence is overcome. Only when corporations realize that making Bill the richest guy in the world is not an effective use of their IT capital will Linux come into its own in corporations. And it will have to do that before the driver issues are resolved, as well. Once corporations shift to Linux, they will demand certified drivers for their hardware from their suppliers, and those suppliers will in turn demand them from the peripheral manufacturers. This is happening to a slight extent with Dell, already.

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Where does Linux go from here?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 24.80.34.124] on October 21, 2007 12:32 AM
I have to say your sliding over Debian as an also ran with no more than "Debian is important and unique" is a grave error. Looking at Debian will easily answer most of the questions in your 1st paragraph. It doesn't matter the commercial success of Red Hat and Suse, there will always be Debian and it will never be "complacent with all forms of predatory intellectual property ." Well, at least as sure as never can be in this world.



I wish the corporate distros all the good fortune they can garner. That said Free Software is too different a beast to ever be completely co-opted by the corporate world. They will try but the community can fork and fork and fork, the resulting offspring overwhelming the commercial world with value to everyone.




I can never understand the insistence by otherwise intelligent people on the ease of use of Ubuntu. Their install is no easier than many, many other desktop oriented distros out there and in fact more difficult than some. Ubuntu is a tremendous success story but the reason for that success is marketing, followed by an effective compilation of user forums, website, documentation, development and, yes, ease of use. Perhaps Ubuntus success is the unique combination of all of the above in just the right amounts. Certainly not because it is any easier to plug in their CD, install the OS and get support for patent laden file formats. If that was all it took others (PClinuxOS, Mandriva, Mepis, Linspire to name a few) beat Ubuntu to that goal both then and now.

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I may never stop laughing!

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 4.224.30.114] on October 21, 2007 02:59 AM
The new *buntu offerings have brought the MS drones out of the woodwork. Here is a statement for ya. Linux will NEVER be dumbed down to fit the ideas of a select few that refuse to apply themselves. I am a Debian freak. I am running Sidux as my main system. These choices Fedora 8 > Mandriva 2008 > PCLinuxOS 2008 > Debian proper > *buntu 7.10 > Suse 10.3 just to name a few. All of these require some effort. If you want to widen your horizons and save money then just use them. If you don't care for freedom > FSF > GPL then use MS. MS will soon let you down when they start using FSF GNU/Linux to save there company. MS values run as this statement. "Create a system that any fool can use and only fools will use it!"

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Re: I may never stop laughing!

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 83.56.144.92] on October 22, 2007 09:15 PM
I'M SO IMPRESSED . . . YOU ARE BIGGEST HERO OF ALL THE LINUX GEEKS. . . Do you fell better now? it is enought to compensate your lack of self-stem or do you need to insult somebody else?

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Re(1): I may never stop laughing!

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 4.225.146.35] on October 23, 2007 07:51 PM
Friend I am sorry if I insulted you. We that do use Linux could not be more proud of the coders that have made it possible for each of us. I am just a plug and play guy that depended on the good intentions of others to make a distro that I would be proud to use. Please consider the things that MS does to others was not caused by any of us! You might consider also the FUD MS uses isn't friendly nor is it true. You use the system that suits your way of working. If sometime you want to give Linux a try, you will find the community very helpful.

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Re(2): I may never stop laughing!

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 76.17.164.112] on October 24, 2007 04:49 PM
Keep in mind how much "FUD" the fanboys and zealots use to describe Linux to casual users, basically painting a rosy picture of the OS that simply does not exist. I for one am grounded in realism in that while Linux the core OS is rock solid, the GUI desktop OS is a rather large disappointment that is far from ready to compete with either Windows or Apple. Instead of listening to critics on how to improve, the community would rather add in worthless eye candy like XGL which if anything has shown instability not seen since Windows 95, what a joke. If anything the desktop itself is going back in time. Half of the GUI wants to just copy and emulate Windows, the other half wants to just add in worthless junk. The reality is the desktop will always lag until someone like Novell, Red Hat, or whoever decides to invest the money and time into developing a GUI that can actually compete (something akin to what Apple has done). 0

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Re(3): I may never stop laughing!

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 4.252.64.163] on October 24, 2007 10:59 PM
Okay, I have tried to be polite and friendly. I see that some MS drones don't want nice and friendly. I would like to point out that I am not on a windows site for help or defend/down grade MS. This begs the question why MS drones are on this Linux site? Some people return products, down play good inventions and the reason is they don't know how to use it. Would you buy a new vehicle and return it for these reasons or would you apply yourself to learning the new systems? It is the same with Linux. If you want to participate and use the best operating system that Linux provides then you must apply yourself to higher learning! We have online docs for hand holding and best wishes to be able to allow everyone the best operating systems in the world. If MS happens to be your choice then get on MS sites and vent!

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Re(4): I may never stop laughing!

Posted by: MiKNiX on October 25, 2007 02:16 PM
This begs the question why MS drones are on this Linux site? This leads us to the theory of MS folks are unhappy with Windows and they want another SO. They listen every time more the word Linux. They listen Linux is secure, Linux is.. So they want to run Linux too. But guess what? Linux is not Windows. They get frustrated and suddenly they attack every Linux word they see. The question remains: The get happier with this?

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MS Linux will use BSD

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 12.169.163.241] on October 21, 2007 03:06 AM
M$ will never touch GPL code. They'll use something like OpenBSD because there are no requirements to give anything back to OpenBSD, and for the extra fun of hearing Theo bitch about it.

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Personally, I'd be happier if they forked the production and experimental kernels again.

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 71.224.164.16] on October 21, 2007 03:21 AM
As someone who writes device drivers for Linux, I cannot begin to tell you how much pain it causes me every time there's a new kernel release. At least in the 2.4 days you knew that any changes were to fix actual bugs - but now you have to expect gratuitous changes to APIs, experimental features, and rewrites of core functionality - all of which forces me into the position of having to completely re-test every driver with every distro and to write convoluted #ifdef'ed code to deal with all the various flavors that I have to support.

It's telling that the third edition of the O'Reilly Linux Device Drivers book explicitly states that it is only accurate for 2.6.10 and for no other version.

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Where does Linux go from here?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 85.93.138.198] on October 21, 2007 06:19 AM
wow. i'm a user of Microsoft Windows XP, Windows Vista, Ubuntu and other distros. let's say, we have the freedom of choice. nobody is forced to use Microsoft products, but if everybody finds them easier to use than a rather complex set-up linux distro, then why complaining? If it wasn't for Microsoft, the development of Linux would still be in command line and no user friendly GUI. Linux took a chance by developing something which would match, be better and of course be free of charge compared to Microsoft. Great, so thanks god there's Microsoft, otherwise there wouldn't be a big success for Linux today (or more in future).

It is inevitable that Linux will cost us money one day. how can you support millions of users, servicing servers, developers, etc with only donations? Companies spending thousands and millions for IT do really need to focus on cheaper possibilities and today Linux is the way to go, but does it offer the same service like Microsoft? Ask the companies? They will know, as they are using Microsoft!

Oh, maybe I am missing a point here...but improve reception of Linux for private users, because these also work in companies and will spread the word in their office!

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Re: Where does Linux go from here?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 24.202.164.61] on October 21, 2007 08:54 AM
Windows didn't invent the GUI, credit goes to Xerox here.
It didn't popularize the GUI, Apple did with the Mac II, the Mac Plus...
It didn't even push the GUI further. Actually, it brought personal computing back to the stone age with IBM's help during the era of the IBM-PC (and clones) dominance of the early-to-mid 90's (DOS and Windows 3.x). In the late 80's, Amiga computers were doing stuff that Microsoft only caught up to with Windows 2000 (and even then).

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you're imagining things

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 24.16.138.161] on October 21, 2007 05:45 PM
"Such a move could solve a couple of problems for Microsoft. It has never really been very good at developing operating systems, and a move like that could not only free it from that chore, but provide a new basis for maintaining monopoly control over Microsoft Office: the GUI itself. Imagine the corporate appeal of a robust and secure Linux distribution coupled with 100% Microsoft Office and back office compatibility."

Microsoft has never been very good at developing operating systems? What planet do you live on?

Microsoft has a multi-billion dollar cash machine which is rooted on Windows. Replacing with a BSD variant doesn't solve any problems.

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Re: you're imagining things

Posted by: Joe Barr on October 22, 2007 01:25 AM
What planet do you live on? Microsoft has a multi-billion dollar cash machine which is rooted on Windows.

They sure do. Crappy software, but a monopoly. It has never, ever, been the consumer's choice. It has been the only choice. To a large extent, that still holds true today. Even with the humiliation and shame of a complete failure, like Vista, forcing MS to allow OEMs and consumers to backpeddle without penalty to the relative safety of XP, they still have a monopoly and they still make money because of that.

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Re: you're imagining things

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 81.99.156.5] on October 22, 2007 01:25 AM
Microsoft has never been very good at developing operating systems. That is true, just look at the mess that is Vista.

All they are good at is marketing a mediocre operating system, and illegally extending the monopoly that IBM handed Bill Gates back in the 80s.

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Pathetic-soft

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 201.53.126.106] on October 22, 2007 12:42 AM
How come that company still sells sw that needs an anti-virus ? It must be like 15+ years now
With all those needless features and complexity bonus (yea, and if you do some research during all that time it said it was improving)
They must be truly thankful to Intel and AMD 'cause there is a lot of iron to hide their incompetence !

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Where does Linux go from here?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 72.93.159.11] on October 22, 2007 01:17 PM
Of course, Joe, IBM built the cathedral, runs the seminaries where all the priests and bishops train, and owns most of the land around the cathedral where the bazaar is held. In the bazaar itself, IBM also co-owns the Linux Foundation tent (and guarantees the merchant it will purchase a goodly percentage of his wares), the Eclipse tent and many other of the places where the IT townspeople come to bargain.

-- Dennis Byron

I don't follow your logic however that says Novell and Red Hat "offer a better solution at a lower cost than Microsoft." That is not what the great percentage of the people who never come to the IT cathedral/bazzar are saying. I do agree with you though that Microsoft--which has been wandering the Iand peddling goods from its wagons to all of those who have no need to come to the IT cathedral/bazaar--will under its new management most likely open a new bazaar near the side door of the cathedral.

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Nice article

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 189.25.148.225] on October 22, 2007 03:24 PM
I liked the article. I share some of the author's view, and he also brought me some new and interesting thoughts. Thanks.

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To working...

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 72.25.2.130] on October 22, 2007 06:01 PM
I really, really, really want to support Linux. However, frankly, I just don't have the time to hassle with it. I have made 4 endeavors in the past. And currently have a 5th endeavor for my wife.

If I were to give Linux a score grade it would "C-". I know that's not what a lot of you want to hear. But it's the truth. I don't want to spend several days trying to get a 802.11g wifi card working. I don't want to have to use some install manager or try to figure out how to get some script to run from the terminal in order to install an application. I simply want to be able to click and launch it, and have it install.

Sadly, driver & software installation hurdles plague Linux. (In fact, these were the same issues that plagued Linux when I tried it repeatedly in the late 90's early millenials.) I will say, it's improved quite a bit. At least in video card support apparently. But the truth of the matter is, I'd take XP & OS X over Linux. And that's because I'm anti-Linux or don't support Linux. Far from it, I wouldn't have tried it for my wife's (non-critical use) machine.

So please guys....focus on these issues.

(And don't say "Linux isn't really for the masses." Because everyone else keeps trying to push it that way. And that is the slated goal of many.)

Best of luck all...

- The Saj

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Re: To working...

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 209.242.148.130] on October 22, 2007 07:55 PM
Ah yes more FUD. It took me 3 hours to get an Win Xp installation on my Asus A8JS laptop (Intel 3945 Wifi card). With Ubuntu 7.10 It took me 15 minutes and about 10 more minutes to get on my wireless network.

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To working...

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 69.111.190.12] on October 22, 2007 08:30 PM
I spend some time getting things working in Ubuntu. With every release it's about half as much trouble as the last. Partly because I actually learn how to do things as well as I did with XP, and probably better due to the free flow of information and cooperation in the Linux community. And partly because Ubuntu makes a number of things much easier with each release.

The thing is, any extra effort there may be is more than repaid in other areas: keeping the system and all the software up to date is much easier and less time consuming with Ubuntu. It runs on cheaper hardware. Plus the money you would spend on upgrades to all your software, not just Windows.

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Re: To working...

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 68.255.198.2] on October 22, 2007 10:07 PM
I have to admit that I have been using linux for about 6 or 7 years now, so I may be a bit biased towards it. However, I have problems with every operating system (and I use them all daily).



Windows doesn't have a powerful enough command line for me. I doubt I'll ever update to Vista. It just seems to have gone the opposite direction of where I needed windows to go. The preview I saw for windows 7 earlier today somewhere on the web seemed to be a good move for them. I also don't have $500 to pay for an operating system, just so it will do everything it's supposed to do. I don't have any real applications that I use from day to day that can't be replaced by a free equivalent. I also have to spend a good amount of time updating windows if I do a fresh install, and I can't trust my system during that time. The primary user has too much power by default.



Mac OS X is not customizable enough. I frequently run into things I would like to do on the Mac that there is no option for. I also don't like any of apple's software. I hate iTunes, I hate Safari, I hate iPhoto. The operating system is enough for me to sit in front of the TV and do web surfing and general computing things. I haven't used XCode much because I don't write desktop software for the Mac. I also don't like how much software I have to pay for when I'm using the Mac. It takes a while to find free equivalents of Mac applications while I'm actually using my Mac. I can do more for less money with linux, so it remains my workstation. The security issues I have with windows are lessened by the mac, but only slightly.



Linux is still kind of ugly. The only thing I have to say bad about linux is that it's still ugly. I've used Compiz, but I don't have a powerful enough machine to resize windows smoothly. I use XFCE with its compositing enabled, and I like that well enough. It makes me think solaris CDE combined with OS X. More easily customized than CDE was, and more options than the Mac. As far as it goes, I can get the most done on the command line, so it doesn't really need to be too pretty. In order to get most things working these days, I can at least figure out why they don't work through some logic. If my windows or mac computer loses, say, a network connection sometimes the only way to fix it is through a reboot. I don't have to reboot linux.



While I agree with you that linux needs work, so do the others. I see linux changing much faster than the others, so I use it as my primary TCB computer.

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LITIGATION!

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 141.129.1.98] on October 22, 2007 08:55 PM
It will be held up in court for years to come. I will make sure of it!

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The big pushes will come from Compiz, Xorg, Gnome and KDE...

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 75.212.74.164] on October 23, 2007 12:14 AM
Those modules are what are driving the push forward right now. Of all of them I'd say it's Xorg that's closest to a real breakthrough: abandoning xorg.conf, which I consider one of THE key success criteria right now.

Compiz-Fusion is providing "eye candy" - spin that cube around and people's eyes bug out and starting taking this stuff seriously.

There's one more ingredient to the "ultimate Linux" recipe: package management. Ubuntu is getting smart, trying to merge Click'n'Run with Debian's Apt-Get. If they can successfully manage a seamless relationship between the two, they'll be the ones to beat.

Samba is already a success (allowing integration with Windows networking) on a personal level but needs more corporate network integration. Now that Apple owns it we're likely to see that happen. Likewise CUPS and SANE are in good shape and developing nicely.

IF Xorg can get the graphics engines fully sorted out by next spring (they almost made it for Gutsy), Ubuntu's Hardy Heron promises to be something truly special. KDE will have 4.0 out, Compiz will have enough time to iron their bugs out, Gnome will at least try and compete, and the new ATI drivers should be in decent shape due to AMD's recent "Glastnost policy" of opening up their damn manuals to OSS developers.

Here's the kicker: as long as the kernel and those modules survive, even the loss of all three "major players" wouldn't significantly hurt Linux development. PCLinuxOS, Zenwalk, Sabayon and a number of other "second tier" (PCLinuxOS is arguably FIRST tier) could fill the gaps if given good pieces to work with.

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Where I would like Linux to go...

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 24.16.249.53] on October 23, 2007 03:31 AM
While I like linux and the concept of linux. I have given up on using it for many many things which I know that it can do. You can call me lazy or say that I need to RTFM, but the truth is I like to double click on setup.exe, clicking next a couple of times, picking some options and then the software (email server, SQL server, whatever) is installed, AND importantly.... There is a icon on the desktop which, after I double click on it, opens to a GUI interface that lets me manage the newly installed app. This GUI is no a 3rd party program ether, but the GUI designed by the developers. There are NO text files that I MUST edit ether. This is were I would like linux to go.

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Re: Where I would like Linux to go...

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 10.71.1.195] on October 23, 2007 05:22 AM
I think Linux is great the way It is. I do use Linux for server tasks and It rules. I do use XP for desktop and It rules too. I think that each one is superb on Its area: Linux for servers and Windows for desktop. I also think that OpenOffice is the way to go on Office. I also use OpenOffice on my desktop, despite of some few limitations. Anyway It's difficult to leave Windows because there are so many - must have - softwares that impose Windows. Here, in Brazil, the governor and banks still releases Windows only software that are mandatory to the citizens and corporations. Java could be a way to go, but It's not what happens. For a brazillian citzen, I can say that Windows is yet a must run OS. In the other hand, Windows, here, is very expensive. So If you can't pay, you must have an illegal copy. This conduct became part of our culture. It's a pitty!

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Re: Where I would like Linux to go...

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 80.254.147.36] on October 23, 2007 05:12 PM
Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiight, instead of text configuration files maybe they should just store everything in a central database repository that, if it becomes corrupted (and it will) then your machine is buggered. Let's call it The Registry. There you go. No text files to edit, just the Registry. Let's see you bugger that up because if you do then it could be 'Bye bye OS', instead of just 'Why won't my program work' with the configuration file.

You may prefer the Windows installation method of download, virus check, double-click, click, click, click, click, click, click etc ad nauseum, but I actually prefer the Linux way of typing 'Yum Install ...' or 'Apt-get ...' etc (I don't do the GUI method). A lot simpler, especially updating the products. As for 'There is a icon on the desktop which, after I double click on it, opens to a GUI interface that lets me manage the newly installed app.', well I am using Windows right now and have installed MS Office. When I double-clik on the desktop icon it opens the program, but not a 'GUI interface that lets me manage the newly installed app'.

And what the hell are you going on about the GUI interface for! Not 3rd party but designed by developers! Proves you know nothing! Do you mean the actual GUI or the layout? If the GUI then I take it you don't use anything but MS products, because Adobe certainly didn't make the GUI. If you mean the layout then I stand by my point that you know nothing!

No, I do not think you are lazy. I don't really think you have tried Linux. Actually, if you prefer the Windows way it makes me wonder why you are here? A strong smell of Shrill I be thinking but I could be wrong. Several of the posts in this topic stink of troll or shrill to me.

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Games

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 72.193.181.103] on October 23, 2007 07:30 AM
What's the #1 reason computer junkies still have XP installed? Games.

What's the #1 reason people give for not buying Macs? Games, seriously, according to Apple research.

Yes, I know there's a bunch of cool and independant games for Linux but native clients (or at least automated Wine installers) for the top 10 junky games like CS:S, Wow, EQ, Sims would go a long way to pushing XP out of first place.

Strategy wise, the Linux crowd should court on-going development and encourage OpenGL instead of DirectX.

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Need a GUI

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 196.2.102.42] on October 23, 2007 09:01 AM
Apple showed how, and the OLPC has showed how it can be used in an alternative design. This lowest-common-denominator stuff is a nightmare. It's like design by committee with all the political gumph and "okay" quality that goes with it. I haven't touched it for about a year, but the 10 years of experience using Linux before that tells me that it's still likely behind Win95 in terms of "feel", and comparing to Mac is just a joke.

There is very little innovation on the UI side. A bit of a bar here, moving the menu to the top there, maybe a cute effect over there. Nothing really amazing. There is such scope for killer work but the ball gets dropped every year. We need some Apple-quality interaction experts and serious dollar to get a proper next-gen GUI together.

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Re: Need a GUI

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 80.254.147.36] on October 23, 2007 05:16 PM
Strange but my experience of Linux is the opposite. I actually prefer the feel of Linux to Windows, and rate the feel higher than a Mac which just feels completely sluggish to me. For a start my Linux machine never needs to reboot the desktop (restart explorer) when I am in the middle of something, unlike Windows XP!

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Re(1): Need a GUI

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 76.17.164.112] on October 24, 2007 04:38 PM
While Linux surely does not require the reboot that Windows has in the past, although improved some Windows is still lacking in this area. But let us be real, while Linux desktop may not require the reboot, it does require to log out way too much for such basic tasks as changing the screen resolution which is not a real winner with some. And even then I have found it sometimes a gamble whether the GUI would restart properly. Hell, the latest version of Ubuntu can not seem to even run at 1280x800 which is what my laptop LCD base resolution. If anyone thinks that even something like Ubuntu is ready for primetime, they are fooling themselves. Last thing I want is mom and pop to be running a desktop OS that is not ready for THEIR usage, nothing could harm Linux more.

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Re: Need a GUI

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 76.17.164.112] on October 24, 2007 04:36 AM
You are absolutely correct in your observations in my opinion. I am a longtime Linux user myself as well who has just become so annoyed by this push for Linux to be a desktop OS for the masses. I am not necessarily some old school CLI geek by any means, in fact I actually enjoy GUIs such as Apple, Windows, even BeOS. But, when I work in a GUI, I want one that is actually decent and working, not some "well it works for me" attitude UI. One thing I found interesting in an article in Network World was the amount of time and money spent by Microsoft doing research and focus groups getting real users input on the UI. 100% of everyone I know (average users) who has seen Linux all give me the opinion that it seems amateurish, which in many regards it is. I believe you are absolutely correct in that it will take "some Apple-quality interaction experts and serious dollar to get a proper next-gen GUI together."

Until then, I would much prefer the resources to be spent on improving everything from performance to security, to networking features for the core OS, and just leave the Gnome and KDE to what it is really only good for, the occasional time you need to view something, then logout.

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Games again.

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 212.50.14.194] on October 24, 2007 11:22 AM
Yes, games are reason number 1. Most of the average home Windows users are just gamers (PC or conslole). The big game companies don't accept Linux as a serious gaming platform. Of corse there is Playstation 3 that allows Linux OS, but Sony restricted the GPU access and we can't get the full potential of Linux there.

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I'm happy with Linux like it is now.

Posted by: MiKNiX on October 25, 2007 01:58 PM
I'm also feeling the push for Linux to be a desktop OS for the masses like some body said. Not on the distro itself that I'm using but on every commentary about Linux on Internet forums and blogs.
At same time I'm using Gentoo Linux (which much people criticize about compile times and time spent for a usable system), I'm perfectly aware about distros (like [UXK]bunto) that are improving and redirecting their efforts mostly to allow the distro to be used by the average user.

The conclusion I've made about this subject is that most Linux users are HAPPY with it like it is now, most of us would like more device support and some personal ideas on it. But we are happy :)
At same time we have those (mostly) Windows folks which are not happy with it and are currently listening the word Linux every were. Of course they want THE system that doesn't need anti-virus but the big problem is that THIS system doesn't work like Windows. And then because they have no other alternative than running windows, they redirect all their angry to Linux.

Resuming the message topic, I like Linux, I love Gentoo. I own a Vista ready laptop with 2Gb of RAM and a dual core cpu and guess what? I'm running XFCE on it. I like to have the desktop, Firefox, Sylpheed (mail client) and gaim (now pidgin) in only about 200Mb (excluding cache) of RAM instead of Vista which uses 800Mb (excluding cache). I like to plug a usb storage device and see the system working without INTERRUPTING my work with useless popup messages. I also found my desktop the most productive environment I saw, maybe because it's configured in my way. I like to have a trusted stable repository of packages which I know wont break my system. I like to have my system running without showing BSODs or restarting explorer.exe. In my past laptop I had Linux like this one, I bought it 5 years ago and installed Gentoo 2 weeks after buying it. After installing it, 5 years have passed and I never formated the system, only changed the root filesystem two times. I don't like to plug some hardware on it and after stumbling the linux kernel not finding the appropriate driver, but that isn't kernel-dev guys fault as you know, fame on them because they are doing a great job!

Please keep that ugly comments to yourself when talking about Linux. If you don't like it, don't use it or HELP making it better! But don't ever talk bad about Linux!

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Dumb it down, but keep the flexibility

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 72.223.75.192] on November 02, 2007 06:13 AM
I'll just start by saying that I'm not a wonderfully advanced Linux user, or even remotely close for that matter. If anything I say is utterly wrong, please just kindly dismiss me (and let the people who aren't so keen know why I'm wrong).

If Linux were to be 'dumbed down' so to speak, I think it could (with the aid of good marketing and what-not) quickly become a rival to Microsoft Windows in terms of widespread use. By 'dumbed down,' I mean making great-looking GUIs with "Next" buttons with a few option checkboxes here and there for installation, but at the same time allow for the current style of installation as well. It's my understanding that this system could work in Linux.

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