Robert Pogson

One man, closing all the windows.

Posts Tagged / market share

  • Sep 01 / 2014
  • 0

Time For the GNU/Linux Desktop

Gary Newell has a thoughtful article on the relationship between the GNU/Linux desktop and that other OS.“Why does it have to be one thing or another?. For Windows to survive must Linux die and for Linux to succeed does Windows have to die? Of course not. The people who want to use Linux will and those who don’t won’t.” His facts are true but he comes to the wrong conclusion by omitting one important fact, M$ is out to get us.

Let’s not forget history:

  • 1997 – When faced with the “horror” of sub $1K PCs M$ wrote, “current PC technology is totally sufficient for most office tasks and consumer desires and that any performance bottleneck is not in today’s PCs but in today’s COM pipes. This in itself might slow down replacement cycles and life time shortening until we find true MIPS eating applications- a priority not only INTEL should subscribe to.” Ever since, M$ has continually taken actions to slow PCs down through use so consumers and businesses will continue to buy new machines with new licences. We don’t need that.
  • 1997 – Paul Maritz wrote, “The real issue deals with not losing control of the APIs on the client and not losing control of the end-user experience. For Netscape this is synonymous with winning the browser battle. That is because they don’t have Windows. We have an asset which has APIs and control the end-user experience: Windows.” In the browser war, M$ deliberately used tying to that other OS as a tool to damage a competitor. IT is supposed to be about the most efficient way of creating, finding, modifying and distributing information, not killing competition and leading users around by the nose. We don’t need that.
  • 1995 – S. McGeady wrote, “On August 2. 1995. in a meeting of Intel and Microsoft executives, Bill Gates told Intel CEO Andy Grove to shut down the Intel Architecture Labs. Gates didn’t want IAL’s 750 engineers interfering with his plans for domination of the PC industry. Gates made vague threats about support for other platforms. and on the same day he announced a major program to support Digital Equipment’s Alpha microprocessor, an Intel competitor. Gates was livid about IAL’s investments in the Internet and wanted them stopped. All of this was said in the presence of executives from both companies.” M$ set out to stifle all innovation related to basic utilities in IT by fair means or foul. We don’t need that.
  • 2004 – The European Commission finds M$ disrupted interoperability in IT. We don’t need that.

So, treating M$ as just another supplier in the IT-playground is a major omission in the argument. M$ is out to get us and is not a neutral business. Therefor we should prefer every other option before them including GNU/Linux on our desktop/notebook PCs simply because GNU/Linux is not out to get us and the authours are entirely motivated to provide good software at the lowest price and fewest burdens. That, to me, overrules all of Newell’s arguments which assume M$ is benign.

M$ has deliberately violated the laws of competition in USA and elsewhere repeatedly, systematically and with malice. They are out to get us. At first they got an exclusive deal with IBM to get their foot in the door, piggybacking on IBM’s branding with business, then they demanded exclusive deals with ISVs and manufacturers, then they punished any manufacturer who stepped out of line and installed competing products, then they created an endless chain of incompatible file-format changes and created whole industries based on the existence of overly complex secret protocols and finally forced the world to accept a closed standard as an open standard… That whole burden has served to render IT more expensive to own and to operate and much more fragile than it should be just on technical merits.

Allowing that other OS to live side by side with GNU/Linux is neither essential nor desirable. The cancer that is M$ needs to be cut out of IT for good. There may be some who prefer the devil they know but the new folks and the folks who come to the light of FLOSS don’t need to leave any oxygen for M$ lest the cancer grows again.

See Linux has run out of time – I looked into the trap, Jim.

  • Sep 01 / 2014
  • 3

M$ Admits Defeat

You know how M$ likes to impose exclusive deals on “partners” to ensure monopoly is strengthened?“Microsoft has recently reduced the number of chassis suppliers for its Surface tablets and is now outsourcing all the orders to Ju Teng. Microsoft stopped placing chassis orders with its China-based supplier in August

Since Surface tablets only have limited sales, separating orders to multiple suppliers is not helping Microsoft negotiate for favorable prices.”
Well, the shoe is on the other foot now. They can’t demand lower prices from every Tom, Dick and Harry manufacturer. They are cutting back to a single supplier for “Surface” products. I guess dreams of monopoly in the mobile space have faded at last. M$ has no magic. M$ is not all-powerful. M$ cannot force the world to accept its technology. M$ cannot convince the world that it is folly to adopt other technology. M$ has lost its mojo. Good. The world of IT is better off without them.

See Microsoft reduces Surface chassis suppliers; may adopt similar strategy for other components.

  • Aug 28 / 2014
  • 19

Resistance to the Linux Desktop Is Futile – Get Over It

Bruce Byfield responded to news that Linus still wants the desktop by trotting out some of the usual ideas and one I know to be false:“Free-licensed desktops have been an alternative now for almost a decade, but many average computer users have no idea that they exist.”

You see, I was out in the world for more than a decade teaching in many different communities all over Canada. At first it was rare to meet anyone who had ever heard of GNU/Linux. After a few years, about 2004, if I recall correctly, I began to visit random communities where one or more people actually had used GNU/Linux. These were communities from about 1K to 4K people in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Northwest Territories and Nunavut, so one person in 1K is tiny but definitely far beyond, “many average computer users have no idea that they exist”. I can promise you that all of the high school and many of the younger students in those communities did learn about it so the proportion abruptly changed to about 1 in 10.

For the past three weeks I have been attending meetings of about 7 people. These are randomly selected people (Diabetes). It turns out that 4 of those 7 (including me) knew you could use GNU/Linux on the desktop and two (including me) had worked in places where GNU/Linux was used on the desktop. That could have been a fluke but it mirrors what I was seeing out there in the world. When I went to a new community, I often asked students if anyone knew of GNU/Linux. At first no one did out of 100-300 students that I taught. A few years later there were always a few students who had used GNU/Linux in some school or other or knew someone who used GNU/Linux. Now we have Chromebooks and Ubuntu and other GNU/Linux PCs selling all over the world.

There’s just no way to put Linus and RMS’ genie back in the bottle. We have a billion people using Android/Linux for pity’s sake and they are not just Apple-like rich folks, but folks from every continent and every walk of life. I would bet that half of all humanity at least knows there are alternatives to Apple and M$’s offerings. That’s a Hell of a lot more users than “many”. There may be “many” that still don’t know but they are certainly not holding back GNU/Linux. The OEMs and retailers who still promote that other OS even though consumers largely reject it are the problem. They had better get on board the FLOSS band-wagon or they will be replaced by other OEMs and retailers as the goto suppliers of humanity.

See Resistance to the Linux Desktop.

  • Aug 28 / 2014
  • 3

Popularity (or lack of it) Of That Other OS on Servers

According to Netcraft, it’s been many years since M$’s OS was so unpopular on servers, like early on in the Age of the Web…

You have to wonder how a company with lots of salesmen, lock-in with OEMs, retailers/channels, $billions in off-shore banks and elsewhere, many thousands of programmers and advertising could be so unpopular. Yes, it’s the same company that was once 95% of OEM desktops and was prosecuted for illegal activity all over the globe. All other things being equal (?) the difference is choice. Someone with the technical savvy to put up a website or to run a webserver, has choice, knows he has choice and makes that choice for convenience, efficiency, reliability, performance or whatever. The consumers usually don’t know they have choice and OEMs and retailers are not helping them find that out. But consumers have choice. They can take a bug-ridden OS from M$ and visit or and fix the problem once and for all. Consumers can also buy a PC with GNU/Linux already installed or find a PC with no OS on which they can in stall GNU/Linux. It’s pretty easy and takes just 15 minutes to an hour or so depending on how slow your PC is. If any problem arises, one can find a solution in seconds using Google or visiting the website of the supplier. You can find many different kinds of GNU/Linux at where all the features are displayed. You can install GNU/Linux so it’s very similar to how XP used to work. BTW, that Android smartphone you love has Linux there underneath. You know that’s smooth and reliable. So is GNU/Linux on the desktop.

Advantages? Exactly the same as those folks with all the millions of servers running GNU/Linux and Apache web server:

  • lower licensing fees ($0, it doesn’t get any lower…),
  • reliability (less bloat/fluff, more substance),
  • software designed by techies for techies, not salesmen,
  • oh, and one last thing, permission to run any way you like on as many machines as you like, and you can examine, modify and distribute the software (Software Freedom).

Yes, Victoria, you can enjoy all that your PC can be just like the geeks on the web with their powerful servers.

  • Aug 26 / 2014
  • 8

GNU/Linux Traction On The Desktop

Christine Hall is a wise woman. She wrote, “With the success of Chromebooks, it’s only a matter of time before the OEMs start pushing well designed laptops and desktops with customized versions of Linux installed. It’s bound to happen. Computer makers pay a fortune to Microsoft every year for the privilege of installing Windows. But Windows’ luster as a brand has faded, making this is no longer money well spent.”

I saw that years ago when I worked in schools. We could afford a lot more IT because we used GNU/Linux and the vast majority of users had no problems with it at all. GNU/Linux needs OEMs to offer this desktop to retailers in bulk ASAP. They can make more money through higher margins and the retailers can make more money through higher volumes. It does no one any good to stick with Wintel when it doesn’t sell well at all. OTOH, Android/Linux and ChromeOS are selling like hotcakes and GNU/Linux could offer something more than both on the desktop, all native code.

See Don't Fret Linus, Desktop Linux Will Slowly Gain Traction.

  • Aug 25 / 2014
  • 6

Start Talking About the GNU/Linux Desktop

Linus just mentioned that he thinks GNU/Linux could succeed on the desktop and folks come out of the woodwork dumping on the idea…“The briefest glance at market share data suggests that I’m not alone, either. While hundreds of millions of people want Linux powering their smartphones, and millions of businesses are content to let Linux run their servers, virtually no one wants Linux running their laptops and desktops.” The quotation to the right is from an article wherein the authour in a circular fashion argues that GNU/Linux on the business-desktop won’t succeed because of consumers’ needs… That’s laughable. Business is all about work, after all.

Further, business has no need of “consumery” things to use GNU/Linux for servers. Neither do Google, Munich, Largo, India, Spain,… You get the picture. These folks are assuming nothing is happening with GNU/Linux desktops despite things happening. That puts their entire thesis in the garbage.

If you look at global web-stats for GNU/Linux desktops, you see steady growth in a declining or stagnant market for legacy PCs. That means GNU/Linux is becoming accepted on the desktop by many more than just we geeks. Dell and Canonical have actual salesmen delivering it in China and India. OLPC is delivering it to schools in emerging markets around the world. Governments in Europe are adopting it at a great rate. And yes, even businesses are seeing that GNU/Linux works for them on desktop as well as server.

Shortly, I will be going to a meeting where one participant has asked me for help with GNU/Linux on a notebook. She doesn’t like what M$ does for her there. I’ve made up a bootable USB-drive with the Debian installer and a repository of stuff the typical desktop user will need, including Synaptic and gksu so she can customize her notebook when she gets home. I will start her off with a basic installation of Debian GNU/Linux and add the XFCE4 desktop environment with a selection of a few typical applications: FireFox browser, VLC media player, GIMP image editor, and Ristretto image viewer. XFCE4 is similar to what she liked from M$: XP. If M$ won’t give her what she wants, I and the FLOSS community will. When random people you meet are interested in desktop GNU/Linux, this is no time to abandon this thriving technology. It works for ordinary people.

Nope. If you haven’t already started talking about GNU/Linux on desktops, get going.

See (Or Not) Can we please stop talking about the Linux desktop?.

  • Aug 22 / 2014
  • 42

Notebook Reality

All over the web, supporters of Wintel are celebrating the first quarter of growth in ages. Reality is that the top five OEMs of legacy notebook-PCs had growth in their market shares but the market as a whole only grew 1%.“After seven consecutive quarters of shipment declines, the global notebook PC market improved in Q2’14. According to preliminary results from the NPD DisplaySearch Quarterly Mobile PC Shipment and Forecast Report, notebook PC shipments reached 45.1 million units, up 1% Y/Y.” Meanwhile Android/Linux increases an order of magnitude more than that. Smartphones are shipping more units than desktops ever did and tablets are becoming a mature market. The Wintel PC is becoming a niche market, only thriving with businesses who resist change and need keyboards, large screens and pointers.

NEWS FLASH! You can hook those up to many smartphones and all tablets… Even businesses don’t actually need legacy PCs but they are willing to pay well over the market price for desktop IT because they are afraid to change. Change will happen though. It’s inevitable. Governments are changing because taxpayers demand efficiency. Businesses generally don’t care how wasteful they are as long as revenue covers the costs. Even M$ is insisting businesses change to a cloud model. That opens up M$ to competition everywhere and GNU/Linux and FLOSS on small cheap computers has no barrier but retail resistance. Some governments and businesses already have switched to FLOSS. More will do so in the next year or two. The cost of escaping XP is in their face or recent memory. The cost of switching to GNU/Linux can be less than going to M$’s next lock-in.

See Notebook PC Shipment Results Improve after Seven Consecutive Quarters of Decline, According to NPD DisplaySearch.

  • Aug 20 / 2014
  • 12

Reports Of The Death Of GNU/Linux In Munich Are Greatly Exaggerated

Here and elsewhere we read that the mayor and M$ are drooling to pave over GNU/Linux with that other OS in Munich…“Suggestions the council has decided to back away from Linux are wrong, according to council spokesman Stefan Hauf.
He said the council’s recently elected mayor Dieter Reiter has instead simply commissioned a report into the future IT system for the council.”
Not so. The mayor is grumbling and has asked for a review of IT in general. That’s a normal part of the life-cycle of any IT-system or version of software. I did that at several of the schools where I worked and the decision to go to GNU/Linux occurred frequently. In GNU/Linux, a result could be to go to a later release of Debian, or to adopt LibreOffice 4.x or to go with thin clients almost everywhere…

Of course, the mayor might get a different result if he accepts voluntary labour from M$ or hires his nephew to do the research, but the council is wide awake and understands the issues, so I doubt there will be some coup in IT.

Further, I can’t see this mayor being reelected if he urges the city to spend ~$30million on returning to the fold of M$ rather than maintaining GNU/Linux for peanuts.

See Ditching Linux for Windows? The truth isn't that simple, says Munich.

  • Aug 18 / 2014
  • 1

M$ Craps On Their Own Servers. Why Trust Them With Your Computers?

It sickens me to hear the tripe spouted here all too often that, “You get what you pay for…”, “Starting at 18 Aug 2014 17:49 UTC, we are experiencing an interruption to Azure Services, may include Cloud Services, Virtual Machines Websites, Automation, Service Bus, Backup, Site Recovery, HDInsight, Mobile Services, StorSimple and possible other Azure Services in multiple regions.” “FLOSS can’t work…”, and “developers with stock options in M$ do better…”.

How can that be when M$ is constantly patching mistakes they made years ago designing their systems according to the whims of salesmen and despite $billions in vested, can’t keep their networks going anywhere close to what a couple of good servers can do with GNU/Linux? Then there are the constant stream of re-re-reboots, malware, bugs, slowing down and endless friction due to the restrictive EULA. It’s all so sad that people keep paying this monster straight out of a “B” horror-movie. I recommend Debian GNU/Linux. It’s the right way to do IT.

See Microsoft Azure suffers Total Inability To Support Usual Performance (TITSUP).

See also, The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?

  • Aug 18 / 2014
  • 4

Real People Now Ready To Accept A Real OS

Christine Hall writes about the evolution of the mental lock-in of ordinary people using IT.“cell phones and tablets have made people less afraid to move away from their Windows comfort zones. Indeed, I think that people have never been in love with Windows, it’s just what they knew. Now that they’ve seen that they’ve been able to learn to use Android and/or iOS like pros, they’re more than willing to move on when it comes to their PCs as well.” She’s seen what I’ve seen, that ordinary people a decade or more ago likely had no clue about anything except that other OS. Now people are willing to try GNU/Linux much more readily.

When I first taught in the North, no one I met had heard much about GNU/Linux and no one had tried GNU/Linux on a desktop, even myself. After a few years of using GNU/Linux in schools, everything changed. I met students, parents and members of the community who had used GNU/Linux before I arrived and I travelled to a new community almost every year. Students and community members also travel and several in each community had previously installed GNU/Linux or attended a school that used GNU/Linux much as I did. That was before Android/Linux and ChromeOS took off…

Today, a good fraction of humans have used Android/Linux on a PC-like smartphone or tablet and they are unafraid. They are used to operating without a EULA around their necks. They are used to an OS that doesn’t slow down or pick up malware like pocket-lint. They are used to an OS that doesn’t artificially raise the price of their PC. They are ready for an OS not designed by salesmen. They are ready for FLOSS and GNU/Linux on desktop/notebook PCs. Suggest they move on. Suggest they visit if they have the functionality to browse the web left in their PC. Suggest they visit too.

See The Time to Recommend Linux & FOSS Is Now.

  • Aug 15 / 2014
  • 0

Small, But Not Too Small, Cheap Computers

As the market for Android/Linux smartphones matures, they get bigger and more powerful.“Huawei Honor 3C 4G LTE Smartphone use 5.0 inch screen, Hisilicon Kirin 910 Quad-Core 1.6GHz processor, has 2GB RAM, 16GB ROM, 5MP front camera and 8MP back camera, and installed Android 4.4.” A decade ago, these specs would have been spectacular on a desktop PC. Heck, I was using ~512MB RAM in those days and my digital camera, alone, cost as much…

With a 5 inch screen these things aren’t competing against desktops/notebooks as much as they are competing against tablets. IDC reports 300million smartphones shipped last quarter. Is the market mature yet? The legacy PC reached about 360million units shipped in a year but these days is down to less than 300million in a year.

See Huawei Honor 3C 4G LTE Smartphone.

  • Aug 12 / 2014
  • 2

iPad vs. Chromebook – No Contest

Recent news about the popularity of Chromebooks with schools may seem puzzling“Schools in Hillsborough, New Jersey decided to make an experiment out of its own program. Beginning in 2012, 200 students were given iPads and 200 students were given Chromebooks. After receiving feedback from both students and teachers, the schools sold off their iPads and bought 4,600 Chromebooks.”. After all, a keyboard is a great input device and writing is one of the three “Rs” but why not just by a notebook PC? The answer is that the high cost of maintaining the legacy PC is too great. Keeping content on the server makes the job easier and with Chromebooks, schools don’t even need to own the server… Then there’s the malware, the slowing down, the re-re-rebooting with that other OS… That makes the ChromeBook a winner in education and probably a lot of organizations large and small, even consumers. Of course, they could get those benefits with “straight” desktop GNU/Linux but it would take more technical knowledge. Again Chromebooks win.

See iPad vs. Chromebook For Students.