Thorsten Leemhuis has written an excellent survey of the latest Linux release. Linux just keeps getting better. How Linus and company can keep up with new features, bug-fixes, and still have the sanity to envision the future is amazing. Current improvements to responsiveness by limiting maximum wait times should be welcome for desktop users.
M$ is boasting of selling 240 million licences for “7″ in the last year. 350 million PCs have been produced in the last year. That means 110 million did not drink the Koolaid(tm). Why? Most retailers and OEMs are pushing “7″. The answer is business is insisting on anything but “7″. It won’t work with lots of their hardware which still has years of life in it and it won’t run lots of their applications. Many are sticking with XP but some are looking at migrating to MacOS or GNU/Linux which have drivers for their current hardware. Bloat does not sell to people who have choice. Consumers who choose “7″ on this or “7″ on that on retail shelves do not have choice. Businesses do. They have licences for XP Pro and they can move some of those licences to new machines when the old ones die or they can put GNU/Linux on old or new machines. MacOS only runs legally on Apple which sells only a few million PCs each year. On top of that, the ultra-mobile employees find smart-thingies running anything but “7″ work well for them. Every year more businesses are getting off the Wintel treadmill.
Update I came across this on ComputerWorld: http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9192319/Microsoft_Windows_7_beat_expectations
“If the pace of the last three months’ of Windows XP’s losses and Windows 7′s gains continue, Windows 7 won’t pass XP in usage share until the third quarter of 2012, two years from now.”
One of the barriers to migration to GNU/Linux has been said to be “power users”, those users who are expert with that other OS and who will demand nothing less than a powerful personal computer loaded with the latest version of that other OS and a raft of special applications available only on that other OS. This supposedly using the optimum GNU/Linux solution, a terminal server and thin clients.
There is a survey recently published that shows typically less than 25% of users could possibly be described as “power users”. Depending on the size of the organization it makes no sense to spend two or three times the price of a standard PC for the whole organization when the non-power users will not make much use of the extra-cost items. Some numbers to clarify what I mean:
- 100 powerful PCs @ $1000 =$100000
- 25 powerful PCs @ $1000 + 75 PCs @ $500 = $62500
What could you do with $375 per PC savings? Granted, there is some overhead in having two types of systems operating but many organizations have several types just based on phased-in acquisition so one more category or twice as many categories may not make much difference. Certainly most of the CPUs around here are idling all day long, so I would state confidently that thin clients will work very well and the power users could just use a standard cheap desktop. Most of my users report that GNU/Linux is so snappy on the old machines they feel like power users.
The most powerful user should be the system administrator. In GNU/Linux it may cost more to hire someone expert in GNU/Linux but I can argue that that expert can do more than the one expert only in that other OS. There could be questions of availability. In this school I am hoping to eliminate some of that by exposing students to GNU/Linux. I even have one with her own copy of RUTE. A year from now she could likely serve as the IT person if no suitable teacher/staff is found upon my retirement. She might be only the first of several who have expressed a deeper interest in GNU/Linux.
The presence or absence of “power users” should be no barrier to general adoption of GNU/Linux. The same advantages seen on the server can be obtained on fast and reliable desktops running GNU/Linux: security, efficiency, uptime, lower cost etc.