Robert Pogson

One man, closing all the windows.

GNU/Linux in USA

  • May 29 / 2011
  • 5

GNU/Linux in USA

Reading the posts and comments here, one would get the idea that GNU/Linux is not advancing in the USA. Not so. Check out LXer’s database of migrations. By far, the most migrations listed are for the USA. Some of that could be language barriers since LXer is an English language site, but it is clear that many in the USA find GNU/Linux quite serviceable.

One of the first entries was a small business, a pharmacy with a server and 5 clients. They were running NT in 2004 when support was cut off. They found the business software had a release for GNU/Linux and the result was the system ran faster with a one-time cost of migrating.

Another entry was University of Detroit High School and Academy needing an upgrade. They depended on NT and that other office suite. Moving to LTSP would obviously save them money but they had to check out thoroughly to be sure. It worked and they got the added benefit of improved performance on the same hardware, something I have observed many times.

Some of them are migrations from UNIX operating systems like Largo, FL, and Kenosha, WI. Kenosha had 300 PCs and only 5 IT people and smooth sailing. They migrated in 1995 and were still happy with GNU/Linux a decade later when those who made the mistake of going with that other OS were being beaten by waves of malware and higher licensing costs.

Lots of migrations were only about servers but businesses large and small saw lower costs, higher performance and higher reliability from GNU/Linux, which are also desirable on the desktops.

Georgia’s library system, faced with a $3.5 million quotation for a new server and web application/database, bought a server cluster for $250K and hired two programmers to lash together a brand new Integrated Library System using FLOSS components on GNU/Linux and released EverGreen, first-rate ILS as FLOSS. 1000 libraries now use it.

The FBI used FLOSS for its Emergency Response Network.

Google, of course, may be the largest user on the planet on servers. They use GNU/Linux on the desktop too and have produced Android/Linux and Chrome OS.

The USA has lots of High Performance Computing using GNU/Linux.

The fact is, GNU/Linux works everywhere for everyone and the whiners’ claim that GNU/Linux is flawed is only based on lack of appearance on retail shelves. What are they going to do next year when more machines running Linux are on the shelves than that other obsolete OS? Even the USA, the strongest user of that other OS can see the benefits of using FLOSS and .


  1. oe May 30th, 2011


    Most definitely agreed on that point on netbooks. ASUS eee’s take hand to glove to many distro’s and after being wiped and setup are decently powerful little machines. I use one with a mouse and keyboard as a alternative workstation that I can take and go. They did seem to sell better when native with LINUX which used the hardware to the full extent. Now you have to be lucky to know someone bold enough to wipe the Other OS off and unlock the full potential with a well tailored GNU/Linux distro. I can attest these puppies can actually run MatLab2010 and edit full-on OO technical papers with UNR; though I’ll admit it is nice to have a full keyboard and, to a lessor extent, a mouse, when typing lengthy portions. BTW UNR has seem-less multiple moniter support on the eee’s just one more example of how LINUX continues to please me with it’s “Out Mac’ing the Mac”.

  2. Bender

    And with the global tendency for prices to go lower and lower that other OS will stick out more and more as a burden for customers and OEMs. It was already a burden for cheap netbooks, i predict lower prices for tablet editions for the next iteration of their system to gain temporary win. The same was with XP, they lowered prices because the OS they had was pure crap for netbooks, it still is but it’s the tablet now that will be the king and Android&GNU/Linux will drive the prices down so M$ will be forced to lower the prices and extort more in other ways.

  3. Robert Pogson

    There are many more reasons than cost to avoid that other OS: performance, malware, re-re-reboots, and lock-in of documents and the IT system. At first M$ charged so little no one noticed the price. Then they hid the price. Then they charged what their partners would bear. Their price on low-end systems is an enormous part of the ticket-price and it is important. For large organizations the price paid to M$ is huge but because it is a small part of the whole price of the system, many consider it value for money, but if you look closely, M$ causes nothing but costs.

  4. Contrarian

    I think the most important take-away from this story has been missed. A lot of Linux success is due to its replacement of previous Unix installations, as noted, and there are many instances of Linux replacing or being selected in place of desktop Windows where budgetary issues made the acquisition cost savings the most important factor. What was not stressed, though, is that Linux’s best chance of winning is where a solution to a problem is being presented rather than a cost avoidance.

    The pharmacy example was not so much a replacement for a few NT installations as it was the acquisition of a complete management system that was designed to work with Linux as an OS platform. The customer was sold on the benefits of the system, which was far from “free” (as in beer). This is where Linux can shine the best. There is no comparison when the end result is the best. Whether the money is more or the money is less, it is the maximum overall benefit that will be considered, not the buyer’s emotional preference for a familiar face.

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